The academic world wants the arts to be just like them. Some of us, as music teachers, have embraced this philosophy by having classes during the school day, tests, and even finals. As many of you know, I believe in performance, creativity, and composing. This doesn’t really fall into any academic world. Let it be said “I WILL NOT become an ‘academic art.’”
I love assemblies, performances, and showcasing student work. It validates the student and creates an environment of creativity. If we do away with these special times and only teach classes, we risk being just like an academic teacher. Thus, we are not servicing the arts as they were meant to be, an expression of feelings to OTHERS. The arts ARE different from academics. In the real world, they are judged, not graded. By becoming “excellent” in your artsy world, it needs an audience, not a classroom of 24. That is why I have embraced the online world. My students can have a voice outside the classroom, more people online can view my students talent than within the classroom, which has been a blessing. It has created an underground community of creativity and excellence that is judged, not graded.
Here are some examples:
- The Uniquia Show Uniquia, is a seventh grade girl obsessed with making videos. She gives me a video almost daily. These are amazing and tell quite a story about her and her friends.
- Number 47, I had two eighth graders work on a wonderful Flash presentation, one with the visual, the other with the audio. Judge for yourself.
- Single Ladies Dance, Within my sixth grade music class, we reenacted a scene from “Glee,” it was a terrific bonding experience.
- Cmusicmaker, Every Sunday night I skype with a former student, who is attending a different school. He is composer and we have setup a website to showcase his compositions. We talk music theory and how music creates a mood for each of his works.
- Chordsville, for three years a student composed, wrote, and directed a movie. All of the videos are posts, as well as process he did and how he conceived the story.
- Pixx, Another student loves Photoshop, even though I am a music teacher, he works on his own time and gives me wonderful pictures of creativity.
Often I am asked, “So what was your rubric for the project?” My retort is “If I had made a rubric on this, it would have placed a ceiling on their creativity.” Of course you have to let the student know what you want, but DON’T set the limit, students will only work to that level. Have NO limit and demand creativity and excellence, that will be judged.
The Fine Arts is a very small community and is the David within the school. The Goliath’s have all the power and many administrators, as well as fellow educators, have not performed or understand how important the arts are within the 21st century skills. We have to continue stress WE are different and will not become an “academic art,” by just teaching classes and having no additional assemblies or programs, But if that is not supported, then there is always the internet! What a great world we live in!