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Moments & Memories (8 of 8): Pre-Twinkle class

As graduates this month of CMW's Fellowship Program, Rachel
and Arlyn were asked to provide several memorable
moments or anecdotes that would shed light on their favorite experiences over
the past two years spent at Community MusicWorks. Their responses are
posted as a series on this blog throughout the month of June.

—-

How do you take the violin out of its case? What are the parts and strings on the violin? How do you hold the violin, and where do your arms and fingers go? How can you make a beautiful sound with the bow?

This semester, three of our program’s “little sibs” had the chance to learn about these important first steps towards being a violinist in CMW’s first Pre-Twinkle class. Amy, Beny, and Shakiru were the first participants in Pre-Twinkle and made their performance debut in the May 30 Performance Party.

Pre-twinkle

There was so much to learn and explore, even without instruments! I had so much fun teaching our Pre-Twinklers how to read basic rhythms, shadow bow, and sing the “Treble Clef Song,” a handy rhyme that helps us remember the lines and spaces. In the fourth class, I handed them instruments for the first time. I was so excited by the enthusiastic spirit and focus demonstrated by the students and their parents on this day! Since then, Amy, Beny, and Shakiru have practiced and mastered many Pre-Twinkle goals, such as:

rest position/playing position
pizzicato on the open strings
bow hold
playing “Mississippi Hot Dog” on the open E
preliminary left hand motion

Each Tuesday, well before our scheduled time, I would spot the Pre-Twinklers peeking into my teaching room, eagerly waiting for our class to begin. They were passing time in the big space at the Met School, waiting with their families as their older siblings were in lessons, Music Lab, or Fiddle Lab. Later in the semester, I was pleased to find they were no longer waiting, but practicing on their own and experimenting with sounds!

-Arlyn Valencia, Fellow (07-09)

Moments & Memories (7 of 8): Fiddle Lab

As graduates this month of CMW's Fellowship Program, Rachel
and Arlyn were asked to provide several memorable
moments or anecdotes that would shed light on their favorite experiences over
the past two years spent at Community MusicWorks. Their responses are
posted as a series on this blog throughout the month of June.

—-

Without realizing it at first, Fiddle Lab has been a testing ground for my next project. The trust and expectations we’ve built have been strong enough to get everyone not just playing, but singing and dancing regularly.

Here’s how I know the tunes are taking hold as a blossoming part of students’ musicianship:

• I hear snippets of them being played in the hallways before lessons and workshops.
• I challenged students to “prank fiddle call” me over April vacation and one day was greeted by the sound of two celli and a viola playing Roddy McCorley together on my voice mail.
• The tunes we’ve learned this year have been from Old-time, Celtic, French-Canadian and Cajun styles, and everyone has a different favorite tune.
• After the success of the Dancing Concert Trip, I went out on a limb and taught two introductory dances to the types of music we’re learning. Each week since, I’ve been asked “are we dancing today?”

Rachel4

-Rachel Panitch, Fellow (07-09)

Anthem text

Lyrics by Kirby Vasquez (Phase III)

ANTHEM

Of the people, By the people, For the people,
We are the future of the United States!
Power, freedom, understanding and now change,
Join hands to turn a new page.

Work together, build together, stand together,
We live the dream of our forefathers today.
As we walk, we make a pledge to march ahead
We prove what Doctor King once said.

For we now have a sense of pride above all,
We stand tall,
We stand tall…

Anthem: A Community MusicWorks Story

Anthem tells the story of an original composition, a "new piece of music for the nation," commissioned by Community MusicWorks in November 2008 to commemorate the election of the first African-American president of the United States.

Part I

Part 2

Thanks for watching! Please share this film with family, friends, and colleagues. An uninterrupted version of the film is available online at Vimeo.

Moments & Memories (6 of 8): Meeting Street School

As graduates this month of CMW's Fellowship Program, Rachel and Arlyn were asked to provide several memorable
moments or anecdotes that would shed light on their favorite experiences over
the past two years spent at Community MusicWorks. Their responses are
posted as a series on this blog throughout the month of June.

—-

On a school visit, there isn’t often the chance to get to know the school environment on more than a very basic level. Before the CMW Fellows’ two-day residency at the Meeting Street School began last year however, we had the chance to tour the school, meet some of the teachers, and sit in on music classes with students of differing ages and abilities. It was a great window into the many ways students, many of whom face severe disabilities, engage with music. We bounced ideas for our Animal Program off of the music teacher and librarian, and they collaborated with us to involve puppets and scarves into our interactive presentations.

Meeting street 1

Meeting street 2

This year, Arlyn and I returned with Adrienne and Jason and once again, we were able to work closely with Wendy, the school’s librarian. In one part of the program, we played a section of a string quartet by Borodin, and she began by asking students whether that sounded more like the Dragon puppet or the Little Girl puppet. With more music and puppets, we soon had an elaborate story about the dragon who scared the girl, who ran away, but then realized he wanted to be friends, so they danced away together on a boat! All thanks to Alexander Borodin, Wendy, and the students at the Meeting Street School.

-Rachel Panitch, Fellow (07-09)

Minna medley

Last week, in recognition of her 10 years at CMW, the PSQ and Fred Jodry surprised Minna with a medley of five Suzuki favorites, skillfully arranged by Jeff Louie, with original lyrics contributed by members of the CMW family (past and present).

Event6

Event3

Here are two samples to enjoy in pdf format:

Twinkle (lyrics by Jessie and Minna's violin students)

Bouree (lyrics by Chloe and Liz)

-Heath Marlow, CMW staff

Moments & Memories (5 of 8): Over the Rainbow

As graduates this month of CMW's Fellowship Program, Rachel and Arlyn were asked to provide several memorable
moments or anecdotes that would shed light on their favorite experiences over
the past two years spent at Community MusicWorks. Their responses are
posted as a series on this blog throughout the month of June.

—-

Teaching my students at CMW for the past two years has given me so much joy! I can recall lugging my first few loads of violins to the West End Community Center with Minna, ready to distribute instruments for my students’ very first lessons two years ago. They have all come such a long way since that day, when I showed them how to take their instruments out of their cases, stand in rest position, and form “cupcake fingers.”

Earlier this year, I reflected on my teaching priorities, and what I want to leave with my students as I depart CMW.

10 goals for my violin and viola students as they move forward next year:

1. Love to play
2. Love to learn
3. Healthy and efficient playing mechanics
4. Be an intonation detective!
5. Always searching for a “yummy” sound
6. Reading D and A string notes, with rhythms up to 16th notes
7. Comfortable with improvisation
8. Working together, leading together, playing together
9. Know that it’s OK to make mistakes
10. Unfettered and unafraid to be musical/expressive

With these goals in mind, I arranged the beautiful tune, Over The Rainbow, for the final Performance Party to give my students a chance to enjoy their yummy sound and express themselves musically through improvised solos. I’m so proud of every one of them!

Arlyn2

Audio:

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-Arlyn Valencia, Fellow (07-09)

Moments & Memories (4 of 8): Taking the time

As graduates this month of CMW's Fellowship Program, Rachel and Arlyn were asked to provide several memorable
moments or anecdotes that would shed light on their favorite experiences over
the past two years spent at Community MusicWorks. Their responses are
posted as a series on this blog throughout the month of June.

—-

"Seminar" refers to the three hours each month when the entire CMW staff, along with board members, and community members gather together to discuss a topic of interest to the field of the arts and social change. It’s three hours more than most organizations take to reflect on why we do what we do and how we can make it even better.

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I’ve valued this time even more after speaking with artists at other similarly-minded organizations and realizing how incredibly rare it is for the whole staff to gather together to talk about Excellence in our Students’ Work or about what it means to align values with collaborators in the community. These are topics that are so central to our work that it now seems unthinkable not to talk about them. I hope to bring this mindset into the future; continuing to take the time to reflect on and renew my understanding of my work on a regular basis.

-Rachel Panitch, Fellow (07-09)