This week’s entries will be a series on effectively utilizing artists-in-residence for your schools.  We’ve had the good, the bad and the ugly and this week’s posts are going to give you some valuable insight on getting the most bang for your buck.

Let’s face it – these residencies can be expensive.  But when you get a really great one in, it’s all worth it.  The take-home is that the lessons and experiences learned in the residency allow for richer, deeper lessons throughout the year that your students will connect with and to.

We had the pleasure to have an artist-in-residency last week with Nada Brahma founder Tim Gregory.  Tim calls himself a “music ethnocologist” and travels all around the world studying music, art, dance and culture of various people.  He then brings that back to local schools and teaches us all what lies beyond our walls.

So, for today, here are some pictures from our recent visitor to get a glimpse inside what a great collaboration can look like:

Here’s the rundown of what our program contained and our objectives for the two-day residency:

* Social Studies: World regions, world trade/commerce and using resources.

* Science: qualities of sound, recycling and environmental impact of reusing items for instruments.

* Math: shapes of instruments, measurement of instruments.

* Language Arts: call/response, poetry, speaking in rhythm, use of voice.

* Music: rhythm (steady beat, paired rhythms), texture, rounds, call/response, AB form, instrument families.

See?  What an effective way to teach naturally aligning objectives that create a big impression in the minds of our students!

And the schedule for our residency looked like this:

Monday: Tim worked with 3rd, 4th, 1st grades and kindergarten for an hour each during their specials times.  Classroom teachers came and observed the lessons and noted how Tim taught both classroom and music objectives at the same time.  In addition, Tim worked with an individual 2nd grade class on a “mini-lesson” focusing on using a stick game from New Zealand (so cool!).

Tuesday: Tim worked with our remaining grades (5th and 2nd) during their specials times for an hour.  Then, he prepared and presented an assembly at the end of the day that included each grade and showcased the 2-3 songs they learned from regions all over the world.  The whole school met in the gym and sat on the perimeter of the room.  Then, as Tim highlighted each region of the world, he would call grades into the center of the room to share the songs, dances and games they learned in their sessions from the past two days.  It was such a successful event and the students loved learning from each other!

Tomorrow, we’re going to cover how to find and collaborate with artists to create a meaningful residency for both parties.  In the meantime, have YOU had a great artist-in-residence?  If so, please share who it was and what made it so special.  Gotta love those resources!