The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:
When is a performance judged ready to present?
Students were able to determine when a performance is ready to present through learning samba rhythms and coming up with their own group rhythm and practicing and these rhythms until they felt comfortable enough to perform for an audience of friends and family. The students also used student and instructor feedback in group meetings to make improvements to their pieces. Through their public performances they learned to convey meaning through their presentation of artistic work. Also, through the Taiko drumming experience the CAP students asked questions to the drummers and learned that the musicians, in order to improve the quality of their performance, needed to practice, practice, and practice and develop good relationships with each in order to communicate well, be creative, and collaborate.
At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:
Anchor Standard 5 & 6: Develop/refine artistic techniques and work for presentation and convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work: Learning culminated in a performance. Students performed a group rhythm and Brazil rhythm; they incorporated song, movement, and Portuguese. The students used student/instructor feedback to make improvements to their pieces. I.E, after a practice performance the students identified that timing was important to the musical experience. They worked on the issue and then went through their song again and nailed it. Another group determined that they needed to smile while performing to convey to their parents they enjoy drumming. Through this process they were able to answer the question: When is a performance judged ready to present?
Due to COVID restrictions in the Cascade Schools, we had to identify a different audience to bring the experience of A Splash of Culture. This also required a change in our programming. Through this process we were able to reach more people and provide a unique programming opportunity through book readings/performances by Eduardo Mendonça, who wrote his first book specifically for this project.
By the end of the project, I noticed a greater appreciation and engagement by the students. Those reluctant to participate, were fully engaged at the end. Other students who are usually followers, were giving their input and taking the lead. This was written by one of the students before the performance.
I love the music you tot (taught) us and the inshtermins (instruments) you shoud (showed) us. Tonight 4-30-2021 I am nrvis (nervous) for the porormins (performance) but you helped me practis (practice) and now I thingk (think) I’m rede (ready). I like your music.
One of my favorite moments was when this student, as he was clapping his hands and moving his foot up and down to the rhythm of the music, raised his hands into the air, closed his eyes, and exclaimed, `I love music!`
We revamped our project due to COVID & were able to reach more people. We collaborated with the libraries & Mr. Mendonça wrote his first Brazilian children’s folktale for this endeavor. Unit Souzou was to spend a week residency with us too. They are great performers and teachers. During the height of COVID, they were concerned about being able to stay in business. We were not able to contact them again. A local Taiko group came up for a day to work with the students. Though they are wonderful performers, they are not necessarily great teachers. Their work with the students was engaging but could have been improved upon. The programming outlined in our agreement was not met. Students were disappointed they were to not able perform on stage with the drummers as outlined in the agreement. With more time, we would have vetted this group more closely. Idaho Shakespeare Festival School Performance Tours was supposed to be part of our programming. Cascade Schools declined having the virtual experience at their facility at the last minute which didn’t provide us with enough time to make changes. I would have been more persistent with the school and had them give me answers to my inquiries in a more reasonable time frame. As I learned later from the school board, I also would have gone to the board with my requests. I would recommend to others to be persistent, creative, and flexible. Great things come when we are willing to bend.