Friday, March 12, 2010

An Exciting Evening!

Thanks to an invaluable perk, we are very fortunate to be able to have Incrediboy attend school in the highest rated district in the state. I mean head, shoulders, and elbows above the rest. The community is made mostly of wealthy entrepeneurs and white collar professionals. They pay dearly in school taxes and the kids really do have the finest of everything in both resources and opportunities.

The past few weeks, the kindergarteners and first graders have been working on an artist-in-residency program with the capital city's jazz arts group - an association of professional jazz musicians and vocalists. The project consisted of the children creating their own song from scratch, built on the 12 bar blues form and AAB rhyme scheme, and to perform the original compositions at the end of the residency. The kids brainstormed their own topic and lyrics, and then decided what tempo, styles, and solos they wanted to utilize. Next, each student was assigned a glockenspeil, xylophone, rhythm stick set, or egg shaker - each to be incorporated into the piece.

In addition to the obvious musical benefits of this project, it also allowed the kids to explore organizational strategies, writing, composing, performing, and mathematical standards through predicting and discovering the sequence of sounds and patterns within the music form.

The project culminated last night in a performance for the parents in the community's performing arts center, accompanied by the jazz musicians. The first graders composed a cute song about missing the bus and riding their bike to school instead. Incrediboy's class composed a jazzy little number called "Blues for a Cruise". The lyrics are as follows:

Seas, trees, and the Florida Keys.
Seas, trees, and the Florida Keys.
Seas, trees, and the Florida Keys.
Seas, trees, and the Florida Keys.

Ready to go, wanna leave the snow.
Wanna have fun in the sun!
We've got the blues for a cruise!
There's no time to lose
Let's kick off our shoes
And cruise away the blues!

We're all packed up
And our shades are on
Gonna make a run
For the sun!

Let's go someplace
With seas and trees.
How 'bout the Florida Keys!

Lookin' for waves
Dolphins play games,
Can't wait to swim with the fish
Can't wait to swim with the fish!

The individual class songs were followed by group performances of all the classes of Ella Fitzgerald's A-Tisket, A-Tasket and Duke Ellington's C Jam Blues.

Grammy-worthy? Far from it. But man, what a fantastic opportunity - to learn about music composition from the ground up with real live jazz musicians. I never had the chance to do anything remotely as amazing as that, even in high school. I wonder if in good time these kids will ever realize how cool that was.


Coffeypot said...

I think the kids take things like that in stride. They don't have enough experiences in life yet to appreciate it. But it is so cool that they did have the opportunity. My school would have had more of a 'Scared Straight' program...but the prisoners were afraid to come to the school. Maybe next time they can learn to do some C&W - keeping it real.

Stacie said...


Stacy said...

First graders came up with that song? I am impressed! I'm also on the same page....I'd have been singing the blues right along with them. Did you record it so we can hear it?

Cassie said...

Wow! Amazing lyrics. Such a cool experience.

You're right. That there is the doings of a great school system.