Creativity is Education

As the founder and artistic director of Second Stage Studio, I taught Voice, Theater, and Performance. My teaching technique is based on my vocal education of seven years, involvement in the Arts Literacy Project, a five-year partnership between Brown University and the City of Central Falls, and from the writings of John Maeda. Maeda was the former President of RI School of Design, who headed the STEM to STEAM campaign to gain federal support for incorporating A for "Art" into STEM, with creativity and design being integral to education and innovative thinking."

Second Stage Studio housed a Vocal Studio, Black Box Theatre, Art Gallery, Recording Studio, and the Angell Café.

Enrichment? Yes. Education in the Core Subjects? How?

Let us look at Voice Lesson Class for grades K-12:

A typical private voice lesson would teach a student how to breathe, extend vocal range, find their own sound instead of imitating others, and properly care for their "instrument."

Add basic music theory by including what I call a musical road map to each piece of music taught.

Add the core academic subjects of English, reading, writing, foreign languages, and history to the lesson by choosing repertoire geared to the age group and the curriculum. For example, a classical piece, a folk song, a song related to history, a Broadway song, a jazz piece, and a song chosen by the student. Singing is technique, emotion, drama, and performance. Unless the student understands what they are singing by studying the origin, timeframe, author, and meaning of the song, it is impossible to relate to the lyrics and personally reflect upon their purpose and then translate all of that plus technique into a performance.

Example: When teaching the song "All My Trials" to an eleven-year-old, he asked, " Why would anyone be happier dead?" The answer was an age-appropriate video on The North Atlantic Slave Trade, which we watched and discussed at great length. After learning the song's history, he approached the music with more empathetic emotion because of a better understanding of the reason it was written.

The class would end in student performances. Each student would choose from their repertoire and plan their musical story.

The class then would reflect on each student's performance.

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand."

All music has meaning, has a history, and a story to tell, and each person performing it adds another perspective, another purpose, in a new time, in a new place.

Plato was right when he said that music gives “wings to the mind.”

Joanne Vecchio

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