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Arts on Tour

College of Southern Idaho

A cornerstone of the College of Southern Idaho’s mission statement is to provide cultural opportunities for the community. To that end, the Arts on Tour performing arts series was created in 1988. This series, which brings international touring performing artists to the Magic Valley, has a long history of artistic excellence. In partnership with the Magic Valley Arts Council and school districts, Arts on Tour brings a number of these performers to local students free of charge to them and their schools. During the 2016-17 Season, Arts on Tour brought four of their seven artists for the following outreaches that addressed the National Core Arts Standards.
• A jazz master class for high school band students by Bria Skonberg
• A performance for 5th graders by Peking Acrobats with a study guide on the art form and theater etiquette
• A performance for middle school students by Carlos Nunez with a study guide on the music and instruments of Galicia
• A performance for middle school students by the performers of Ole with a study guide on Flamenco
• A lecture/demonstration by Los Angeles Cello Quartet for middle school and high school music students

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

How do individuals choose music to experience?

The Essential Question that guided the focus of the Carlos Nunez, Ole, and LA Cello Quartet outreaches was “How do individuals choose music to experience?”
Artistic Process: Responding
Standard: MU:Re7.2.6 (Carlos Nunez and Ole)
Describe how the elements of music and expressive qualities relate to the structure of the pieces.
Standard: MU:Re9.1.E.8a (LA Cello Quartet)
Explain the influence of experiences, analysis, and context on interest in and evaluation of music.

The Essential Question that guided the focus of the Bria Skonberg outreach was “How do musicians generate creative ideas?”
Artistic Process: Creating
Standard: MU:Cr1.1.H.5a
Generate melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic ideas for simple melodies (such as two-phrase) and chordal accompaniments for given melodies.

The Essential Question that guided the focus of the Peking Acrobats outreach was “What criteria are used to evaluate dance?”
Artistic Process: Responding
Standard: DA:Re9.1.5
Define the characteristics of dance that make a dance artistic and meaningful. Relate them to the elements of dance in genres, styles, or cultural movement practices. Use basic dance terminology to describe characteristics that make a dance artistic and meaningful.

At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:

• A sampling of 14 orchestra students from Twin Falls High School were asked to write essays over the music and outreach topics of Los Angeles Cello Quartet
• A sampling of 195 students from across Twin Falls were asked to write short essays over the music and outreach topics of the Peking Acrobats
• The 500 students from Jerome Middle School were asked to write short essays over the music and outreach topics of Ole
• A sampling of 42 students from Kimberly Middle School were asked to write short essays over the music and outreach topics of Carlos Nunez

The student work went into a rubric from 1-4, with 4 being the highest score. Their teachers evaluated their work. The students demonstrated a strong understanding of the materials presented with the following results:
• The average on the Los Angeles Cello essays was 3.57
• The average on the Peking Acrobats essays was 3.1
• The average on the Ole essays was 2.8
• The average on the Carlos Nunez essays was 3.35
The head of the Twin Falls High School Band Program evaluated the students who took part in the Bria Skonberg master class. She noted the students’ performances of jazz rhythms were markedly and observably stronger after their master class. The students felt more confident in their improvisational skills.

Impact

I learned that being in a theater doesn’t mean you have to be serious it can be fun too. And that music is changing and can be mixed together in certain ways. Destiny, grade 6

People have the ability to do almost anything. What I liked about that though was that every time they would fall, they would try again. I saw joy when the person on the board who was flipping bowls on his head. Clover, grade 5

My legit favorite part was when the two guys got into like a ball and went through the hoops… that was cool. When I used to watch stuff like Scooby-doo, Shaggy and Scooby did that, but I never thought that it was possible. Justin, grade 5

The piece being played was so suspenseful, that at times I found myself anxiously watching the rosin drifting in the air, as I waited for the dramatic pause to come to an end. In these moments, it was as if time had frozen and the only thing left was music. Lena, TFHS

In America there are many songs that aren’t appealing to the ear, and hearing something new and beautiful with simple instruments is just wonderful. – Tatem, grade 6

Reflection

Arts Education is vital. The arts make you smarter, they make you more empathetic (which creates a better world), and they make your soul sing. Young people who participate in the arts for at least three hours on three days each week through at least one full year are:
•4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
•3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools
•4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
•3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
•4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem
The student outreaches we do in conjunction with the Arts on Tour performing arts series are truly a joy. Because Twin Falls is geographically isolated from other metropolitan areas and because the median household income is 22% lower than the national average and 15% of the population lives in poverty, many of these kids will never get the chance to see a live performance like we can offer them with Arts on Tour and the caliber of artists who perform. We have found that the artists feel as strongly as we do about arts education and absolutely LOVE doing outreach programs. They believe in their art, and they believe in sharing it with students. This comes through in the programs – we can feel it, the artists can feel it, the teachers can feel it, and most importantly, the students can feel it. In addition to providing free outreach programs that help students and teachers address the National Core Arts Standards and think about the Essential Questions, we hope these outreaches plant a seed of the love for the arts.

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