Readers may have noticed my recent ‘leave of absence’ from blogging and music materials production. I have been in transition between jobs, homes, and cities, and the move has taken time and energy beyond description. I am happy and anxious to get back to posting!
In June, (yes, in the middle of moving), I had the opportunity to teach a couple of workshops at the annual Arts Express Conference, sponsored by the BYU Arts Partnership. This year, the theme was “Full STEAM Ahead,” referring to the inclusion of arts education (thus the “A”) with the ‘STEM’ subjects. Instrument-making aligned PERFECTLY with the engineering process and some important math and science concepts (fractions, harmonics, frequency, amplitude, acoustics, etc.).
I had the opportunity to collaborate and present with a very fine dance educator, Angela Challis; and together, we helped teachers explore dance and music integrations, create instruments, and compose both music and choreography. The teachers who attended made it such fun because they were creative, collaborative, and willing to 'play' in more ways than one. It was an absolute blast!
Everyone who attended built a mini stomp stick (see previous post) and then composed layered ostinatos and movement using their instruments. Then we divided participants into four groups, and each group constructed a different instrument – (1) a mini washtub bass (post to come), (2) a water pipe trombone (new post), (3) a panpipe (previous post), or (4) a string-o-phone (previous post). When I get the instructions online for #’s 1 & 2, I’ll insert a link here, or follow my blog for notices of my new posts.
Constructing stomp sticks (left) and panflutes (above).
Participants created an ‘informance’ in which they played their instruments and danced in the conference's culminating event in the auditorium. I thoroughly enjoyed the creativity, collaboration and synergy of this event!