Spotted in Manila, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Trade Winds Featured Members-of-the-Week

Other the past several weeks, we have been featuring the members of Trade Winds on our Facebook page to show our "likers" more about us and why we do Trade Winds. The words of my friends and fellow members remind me how lucky I am to work with all of them, and they inspire me to keep doing this work. I've copied the posts from our Facebook page below. If you haven't liked our page already, HERE's the link! 

We will kick it all off with our amazing oboist, Ellen Hindson. Ellen lives in New York and works at a tech company that aids arts organizations. She also teaches oboe at the Long Island Conservatory. Here are some of her thoughts on being in the quintet:

What did you learn in Kenya?I'll never forget the responses we got from our students when we asked them questions like "How do you feel when you hear a sad song?" or "How about an angry song, does that make you feel mad?" and expected them to say their feelings matched the mood of the music. But the constant response they gave was "music makes us happy. Never angry or sad." I learned so much in Kenya, but what I think about most of all after our exchange is the joy -- I feel like we as musicians often get so fixated on improving our technique and become so weighed down by the pressure of auditions that we sometimes lose sight of that joy. Remembering our students in Kenya helps me remember to let that feeling in.


What is your favorite Trade Winds memory?Oof, that's such a hard question! One of my (many!) favorite memories is the day we gave masterclasses at the Nairobi School, because being there the whole day and ONLY for one day made it really special. The kids were so shy when we first arrived, but as we danced, conducted, played games, and made music together, everyone -- Trade Winds members and students alike -- began to open up to one another and I loved that feeling; we were all learning so much. Then, at the end of the day, Trade Winds clarinetist Brian and I joined a spontaneous jam session with some students, which was pretty awesome.


Why Trade Winds?To perform music, teach, learn, and constantly grow. To play music with my friends, to challenge myself as a teacher and a performer. To go more places (both literally and figuratively) with music, and to connect to communities in a meaningful way through music





This week, we're talking about our favorite clarinetist, Brian Gnojek! Outside of Trade Winds, Brian has volunteered with outreach projects in Chicago and The Philippines. Now, he teaches clarinet and freelances in Austin, Texas. 

What did you learn in Kenya?
I learned that some of the people who have the very least in the world
have the best attitudes. I'm not sure I've ever taught such an enthusiastic, eager, smiley, and silly group of students. Working with
them it was easy to forget that they came from such poor conditions,
but at the same time, they made me forget the conditions that were
right next door even existed.

What is your favorite memory of working with Trade Winds?
My favorite memory was probably the first day at Rise and Shine, when they performed for us. In just a half-hour, we were shown just how excited they were to work with us, but also how talented they were. It was a little disconcerting, because I started to doubt if we had
anything to teach them! It was such an amazing experience hearing
their poems, songs, and plays in both English and Kiswahili.

Besides that, my second favorite memory was probably Nick and I trying to get the recorders to make funny noises by wedging them against our bellies.

Why Trade Winds?
I have gravitated toward projects that exist in countries that seem
remote from the U.S. Latin and South America seem very close (though not out of the question for a future trip), and Europe is culturally similar to the U.S. in many ways. I have done a project in southeast Asia, and Africa seemed like a logical next step. Kenya has the worst poverty I have ever seen, but they also have a lot of music in their lives. We wanted to work with that musical background and use it to teach them a way out of the poverty in which they lived, even if it was just learning how to express their pain, or to share their happiness.

Trade Winds is an amazing group of people. The other members were so much fun to spend time with, and each brought a huge variety of talents to the table as both teachers and performers. I am excited to work with them in the future!



Today, it's all about our flutist, Christina Hughes! As a 2nd year masters student at the Yale School of Music, she is a theory teaching assistant and private flute instructor. She is also freelancing and pursuing an orchestral career. We love you!

What did you learn teaching in Kenya? 
I think the biggest thing that I learned from teaching in Kenya is that it is possible to have a truly happy life even when you live in impoverished conditions. It may seem impossible to us to be able to lead a life and find happiness if we have to survive on a dollar a day and struggle to feed ourselves and our families, but it is possible to be deprived of what we may view as necessities to life and still have joy and content in one's life. This was most striking to me when we would read the journals of the students at Rise and Shine and across the board they would express that they like what they have in their life.

What is your favorite Trade Winds memory? 
It is so difficult to try to pick just ONE memory! I really loved sitting around with the group while reading the Rise and Shine journals and just unwinding (with a Tusker!) after a day of teaching. It was really special to be able to connect with the students on an individual level while during the day at times it was hard to feel like you could reach each student, maybe because they were hungry and distracted, or just because of the mere number of students we were teaching at once.

Why Trade Winds? 
I wanted to join Trade Winds because I felt that it was a really special group of people. Everyone is so passionate and brings something unique and spirited to the group, and I couldn't imagine a better set of individuals to go across the world with to teach, learn, share, and grow.
 



Here is our bassoonist, Midori Samson! Outside of Trade Winds, Midori is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, runs the UT chapter of Artists Striving to End Poverty, and volunteers with Project Philippines.

What did you learn teaching in Kenya?
I learned how truly lucky I am to play music; that very few people are lucky enough to pursue a career in self-growth, expression, and fulfillment; that every note I play is important because getting to play music is everything I could ever want.

What is your favorite Trade Winds memory? 

My favorite memory is the day we arrived for our first day of teaching at the Rise and Shine Academy and the students presented a welcome concert for us. They sang the most beautiful Swahili song that captured me from the beginning even though I had no idea what the lyrics meant. I realized then that it would be our job to show them that this kind of singing--this art that they casually make every day--matters and has value.

Why Trade Winds? 

Volunteering and traveling 100% feeds my music making, and my bassoon playing is so much more meaningful when I tell the stories of my students through music--stories that otherwise may never be shared with an audience. Being a member of Trade Winds satisfies my cravings for seeing the world, sharing my love for the arts, and making unforgettable musical connections with all kinds of people. It makes my heart and artistry full.


Introducing the newest member of our mission, Prema Digrazia! She is a film student at California State University--Northridge and will be creating a documentary about Trade Winds after our next trip to Kenya. Welcome, Prema!

What inspires you to do your art? 
My inspiration to make art is to enhance the way people see the world. It is a chance to understand perspectives and interpret new cultures and people, all while applying the artistic talents given to each person.

Why Trade Winds? 
Trade Winds has a meaningful mission to help the less fortunate. I'd like to help communicate the group's goals to people interested and those unaware of this amazing project.

Can you send a few pictures of yourself in action? 
My work is behind the scenes! There for, I have no pictures!

Monday, September 29, 2014

First ASTEP Meeting

We had a great inaugural meeting for Artists Striving to End Poverty in Austin this weekend! Visual art, theater, creative writing, and music were represented, and so many ideas for projects were shared. I can't wait to continue working with this group of people!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Getting started in Austin

I moved to Austin, Texas 3 months ago and since then, have constantly been discovering the beauty and fun the city has to offer. Food carts! Tex Mex! Bat bridge! Farmers markets! BBQ! I am loving it.


But just moments after I entered the Austin city limits on the drive to my new apartment, I stopped at a light and as soon as I came to a stop, a girl around my age began to wash my windshield. It was unwanted, since I had no cash to give her as a tip. So frustrated, I tried to shoo her away, inched my car forward, and zoomed through the light as soon as it turned green. I was so uncomfortable with this event, but even more uncomfortable with my rudeness and lack of compassion.

This was the beginning of very regular confrontations with the poverty that is present in Austin. Even in the "privileged" areas of town, like near the University of Texas, one only needs to walk a few blocks to be face to face with homelessness and poverty. To me, this (as well as the guilt of how I treated the girl at the stop light) has been inspiring me to get started with sharing art in the community since it can be such a beautiful and necessary thing.

So since moving here, I have been working on meeting potential collaborators at UT, and friends who share my interest in arts service work. There is so much energy around this kind of work in Austin, and I would love to see all of these ideas turned into action. Today, my proposal to become the Austin Chapter of Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP) was accepted and I am so excited to begin working with them and all of my new friends who have responded to my request for team mates. My goal for our chapter is that it will be a place where artists can bring their ideas, get support and help from colleagues, and spearhead their own sustainable and meaningful projects. I can't wait to see what happens from this. I am so inspired!

I look forward to continue to update the work of ASTEP in Austin and our chapter here under the label "2014-2015 Austin"!


Monday, August 25, 2014

Until next time...

As I lay here back in my Texas apartment, eating the last pandan cake that I brought back from Manila, I struggle to find the words that accurately express what a truly unforgettable experience the last 4 weeks have been for me. I've struggled for the last 5 nights of being back in the US, every night, with the last 5 pandan cakes I brought back from Manila.


I too often say that something was life-changing; it's very easy for me to let my heart get touched. So I won't. Instead, as my final reflection on Project Philippines, I have created a list. These are the incredible scenes, snacks, people, and things in nature that symbolize my special trip--the reminders that connect me to my ancestors, and keep my music making full.

Things that stole my heart in the Philippines:

1. Pandan cakes
2. Pastel skies
3. Bumpy pedicab rides
4. Pancit
5. Lesson planning by candlelight
6. Catarman National High School
7. Chickenjoy
8. Billions of stars
9. Ocean phosphorescence. Like Earth's reflection of the billions of stars.
10. Cold bucket showers
11. Coconuts
12. Philippine High School for the Arts
13. Tide pools
14. Croaking lizards
15. Our driver, Raul
16. Street snacks
17. Open markets
18. Filipino pride
19. Filipino hospitality
20. Filipino smiles

Until next time, Philippines. Mahal ko kayo and Mabuhay!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

up the mountain!!

I'm so so so excited that I have returned to one of my favorite places, the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA). It is tucked away at the top of Mt. Makiling in Los Banos, Laguna just a few hours outside of Metro Manila. Even though I only spent a few days here, the rest of the team will be here for two weeks and will spend weekends at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila.


The campus was hit hard by the most recent typhoon, Glenda. The storm impacted PHSA so much that the school evacuated all the boarding students and shut down for 3 weeks, losing precious class time, and only letting students return a couple of weeks ago. Now, the campus runs on a powerful generator during limited hours of the day, allowing classes to continue. We are also seeing the effects of the storm, as our living quarters (on campus) have limited water and no electricity. It has tested our patience, since the heat is uncomfortable, and the sun sets around 6pm, shortening our work days by several hours. But it is truly serene and therapeutic to live completely by candlelight.

(What would usually be completely masked by jungle, this view has been cleared by Glenda. The positive is that it is an insanely beautiful look over Los Banos)

The students at PHSA come from all backgrounds from across the Philippines to study their artistic specialization. Brian and I worked with the 22 very gifted music students who study violin, viola, piano, voice, flute, and guitar. It is a challenge for me to work with students who don't play my instrument. But I have found that some of the best musical advice I have received was from teachers of other instruments, and since the students already study privately with professionals from Manila, I thought Brian and I could still offer something new.

Their private lessons happen every weekend when the whole student body is transported to Manila to stay with host families and continue their studies in the city. During the week, the students take academic classes from 8am to 12pm and have arts classes in their discipline 2pm to 6pm, with occasional rehearsals 8pm-10pm. For the musicians, the afternoon hours are spent doing supervised practicing, and once-a-week theory classes. So Brian and I had the luxury of borrowing them for 4-6 hours every day! We split our days like this:

2:00-3:00 Lecture or group activity
3:00-3:45 Chamber music masterclass
3:45-4:00 Journal reflection
4:00-6:00 Thirty-minute private lessons. Students sign up for a time and others on that instrument were to observe.

Since these musicians are already so strong on their instruments, we wanted to do work that we knew they weren't getting already. This included studio classes, masterclasses with comments from their peers, written self-reflection, and time to ask us questions. Brian and I also chose our lectures and activities with this in mind:

Monday: Introduction to aleatoric music, group reading of Terry Riley's In C. 
*Assignment: compose a short piece the uses aleatoric elements and can be played by all the musicians at PHSA.

Tuesday: Mock audition, each student had 4 minutes to perform a solo and receive written comments.

Wednesday: Group readings of aleatoric compositions, and introduction to minimalism.
*Assignment: compose a short piece for yourself that only uses the pitch A. Use dynamics, octaves, tempo changes, and articulations to be expressive and evoke a mood.

Brian will continue this kind of exploratory work after I leave tomorrow with soundpainting, improvisation, and more composition. I also hope he will send me quotes from the students' journals while I am back in the US, because these students are so inspiringly in touch with their musicianship! Here are some of my favorite journal quotes so far:

"Music will be my tool of communication, a bridge to the unspoken ideas just waiting to be heard or shared. I would like to perform until the day I die. Music will stay with me for it is not just a tool which I use for expressing myself, but also a portal for me to a completely different world." -Lyon

"When I was introduced to the guitar, a whole different world opened up to me. I knew there was nothing else I wanted than to be able to share music with the world the way it has made me a better individual. When teaching and performing, money, or not a single penny, I will play. I'd also like to save Mother Earth with music. Is that possible?" -Marlee


"Imagining my life in 10 years without music would be like imagining myself without an arm or something!" -Micah

"Music will be the one I run to at any time. But I don't want to be selfish with my music. I want to share with everyone and let them express their feelings just by listening. I want to help and heal them." -Janna



"I love to play music because it's been with me my whole life. It's like my girlfriend, hehehe!" -Adrian

"Music is a home for me because when I am outside, honestly I am not able to express my emotions abstractly. But when I hear sounds that make music, I could almost feel that I'm home because I could express my thoughts all throughout." -Ian


These articulate, gifted young musicians have been the best way I can think of to end my 4 weeks in the Philippines. It's time for me to head to the airport to catch my flight back to Texas tonight! It's sad, but I'm ok, because thanks to them, I have enough artistic inspiration to last a very long time. 


Sunday, August 17, 2014

A week in Manila!

We have just completed our week in Manila. This week, rather than working together and focusing on 1 school, our team spent most of our time divided by discipline, finding connections with programs and local professionals in our fields, as well as beginning pilot programs with potential partner schools. Before we head to the Philippine High School for the Arts, here is a day-by-day of how we spent our week in this busy city.

Monday August 11
The dancers spent the day teaming up with the Philippine Ballet Theater, taking as well as teaching class. Brian and I spent the day catching up on much needed practicing and rehearsing together!

Tuesday August 12
While the dancers and actors worked with the resident companies at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Brian and I met up with members of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) for dinner on the Manila Bay!

Wednesday August 13
All 8 of us teachers were reunited to begin a 2-day workshop at a Mariano Marcos Memorial High School in Santa Ana. This is one of the only high schools in Manila with arts classes and we worked with students enrolled in their Special Program for the Arts. The students who specialize in music take classes in choir and Filipino instruments. We had our first experiences in soundpainting, ostinato, and minimalism using these instruments and vocal sounds of Manila. Here is a video of a student performance from class.

Brian and I headed straight for the University of Santo Tomas where I gave my first university masterclass for the 9 bassoonists who study there. The students were excellent! It was such an amazing reminder of how much I love teaching specifically bassoon, since I had forgotten in all the work we were doing in Catarman in beginning music. To close the class, 5 local bassoonists and I read bassoon ensemble music. What a party!! I was so thankful for Pong Mendoza, the principal bassoonist of the PPO who set up the day.



Thursday August 14
We concluded the 2-day workshop at MMMHS with one final class. In music, we did a large group reading of Terry Riley's In C on Filipino traditional instruments as an introduction to aleatoric music and performers' choice. Then all the arts students gathered for a performance exchange where we performed pieces for them, then they did the same for us. Kyle also finished a large mural project with the visual art students that he has been planning for several months with MMMHS. It is titled "happyness" everybody needs love. It was a great pilot workshop with this school that has such a deep love for the arts.






Friday August 15
This morning, we were so lucky to be invited to observe the PPO in rehearsal preparing for their performance of Rigoletto opening next week at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. I so badly wanted to jump in and play with such a great orchestra!!

All the disciplines spent the afternoon together teaching a workshop at Manila's beautiful Ayala Museum. The workshop was for local young performing artists, art lovers, and anyone interested; they all signed up for the all-day workshop to take a class in each discipline. Since the classes were held one-after-another rather than rotating, I was able to see my fellow volunteers in action and even took their classes in theater in dance. It was so beautiful to see how connected all the disciplines really are. To celebrate these connections, Brian and I taught vocal soundpainting during our music portion of the workshop and then had the participants make decisions on how our gestures would be interpreted in theater and dance. The workshop concluded with one large group piece where each participant chose a group (dance, theater, or music) to interpret the signs in their own discipline. The result was a stunning piece of improvisatory cross-disciplinary collaboration. 

(Me participating with a partner in a mirror activity in theater class. I was so nervous!)


Saturday August 16
Our final day in Manila was a very challenging one. We spent the day with Mano Amiga, a private school and organization that offers high quality education to families who do not have the means to enroll their child in school at all. Because we had gotten so used to working with students age 11-18, suddenly being thrown into a room with 30 six-year-olds was very trying. But once we were adjusted, we had so much fun playing and exploring our art forms together. 








Sunday, August 10, 2014

A sweet send off

This morning we arrived at the Catarman Airport for our 5am flight to Manila. We were surprised by a handful of students there to send us off. It was so sweet of them to show up and I will miss them! But I'm so excited to get started in the city!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Show time!

Today the students of Catarman National High School gathered with their families and friends to share everything they've worked on during this 2-week workshop with Project Philippines. The beautiful performance space was generously donated by Governor Ong of Northern Samar, and I think his support inspired everyone in the room. I was so proud that they courageously shared their art with their community. Here was the view of Catarman from the performance hall.


The show began with the students singing Lupang Hinirang, The Philippine National Anthem, with Brian and I providing instrumental accompaniment. To have 75 beautiful Filipino students performing their national anthem with me made it one of my favorite performances I've ever give. Next,  as our welcome gift to the families and students, us 8 teachers performed pieces in our disciplines. The dance teachers performed a brand new trio, the actors did combined monologues, and Kyle shared a piece he had been working on during his stay in Catarman.


Brian and I performed a jazzy duet, Rhythm Changes by Rob Hutchinson, and then all 8 of us (dancers and non-dancers together) performed a Filipino folk dance which we spent the last 2 weeks learning. I did my best to keep up with the rest of the team...

Music class opened the concert with Class 1 singing their song I am, then Class 2 sang Confidence, and Class 3 sang This Act of Love. To close our section, all of the students gathered for a soundpainting symphony lead by Brian and myself. We titled it A Day in the Life of a CNHS Student together illustrated through sound 6 movements:

I. Morning
II. Walk to School
III. Project Philippines 
IV. Evening at Home
V. Fiesta
VI. Sleep

By using elements from all of our music lessons, we were able to create a long list of possible sounds and colors, and in combining them, the students created an exciting masterpiece! (See my previous posts Week 1: Complete! and Week 2 at CNHS to see what we worked on and put into the piece). Before going on stage, almost every student expressed feelings of nerves and fear to me. But they performed the best work I've seen them do and with so much confidence and pride. Too bad I couldn't film it because I was on stage with them!

After music was the drama portion of the performance where the students presented small-group devised pieces where everyone presented a solo sentence about "I believe...", "I dream...), or "I fear....". In these piece they truly opened up and revealed very personal thoughts. It meant so much to be in the same room as this work.




The show finished with dance class, and all the students doing one large piece together, titled I Feel. Here is a video excerpt of the performance. Brian and I used body percussion that they perform here in our soundpainting piece!  

After awarding certificates to all the students and giving them new journals to continue journaling after we leave, we spent 2 more hours taking pictures and saying our goodbyes to them. They are the hardest working and most excited students I have ever worked with. I feel that their commitment to the arts and art education is something specifically Filipino, which has me addicted to this country. I will miss their dedication and smiles so much. 

Their unquenchable thirst for art has me inspired for life. 









Week 2 at CNHS

Our 2nd and final week at National High School has finished, and what an inspiring and productive week it was. Brian and I continued our work in teaching more musical vocabulary which allowed us to use these terms when creating the pieces for our final performance. Here is a day-by-day look at what we did!

Monday August 4: Word of the day--Intention
We began today's lesson with a sharing time where the students demonstrated their homemade instruments for their peers. They were incredible!! From bottle cap tambourines to coffee can drum sets to clothespin castanets, each one had a unique sound and design. The resourcefulness was astounding, and the quality of the instruments' sounds were quite great. I was very moved by their creativity. We asked the students to explain the intention of their instrument in performance. What is its role? How should it be played? What is necessary for it to be played convincingly?



We moved on in the lesson to study melody and accompaniment. Using their new instruments, and new knowledge of ostinato, the students were to create rhythmic accompaniment figures to be paired with a folk/pop/childhood song which they selected. This composing experience focused their listening to Stravinsky's Suite for Petit Orchestra, Mvt. 1, which uses repeated accompaniment figures to assist a folk song melody.

Tuesday August 5: Word of the day--Collaborate
Since a question came up from a student about the person standing at the front of the orchestra, we discussed conducting today. By warming up with identifying the pulse and learning the beat patterns of pieces in 2, 3, and 4, the students were then ready to collaborate in small groups to create their own conducting systems to show changes in tempo, pitch, and dynamics. Each group demonstrated by singing a simple song they learned in theater class, "Dum Dum Da Da". I was impressed with their team work in developing these complex communication systems, and when finding new ways to problem solve together.

Wednesday August 6: Word of the day--Trust
A big theme in today's word of the day was specifically focused on trusting yourself and this was very important in music class. We asked the students to use their knowledge of pulse, structure, and expression in music to compose songs using quotes form their personal Project Philippines journals. By filling in blanks and prompts, each of the 3 classes composed a song that had a refrain and 3 episodes in rondo form that used themes from our arts workshop so far.

Class 1: "I am."
(Refrain)
I want to be an artist. I want to share my talent. 
I was to be an explorer. I want to know it all. 
I want to be an engineer and teacher.
I was to be a police and soldier.
I believe I can do anything I want. 

I believe in myself to be happy always. 

(Episode 1)
I hope that I'll have wings, I hope that I can fly. 
I hope to finish my studies, I hope to be a scholar. 
I hope I will explore, I hope I will travel around the world. 

(Episode 2)
Oh, my goal is to succeed in my dreams. Oh, my goal is to help people. 
My goal is to finish my studies, my goal is to do my best. 
My wish is to enhance myself, my wish is to have a beautiful life. 

(Episode 3)
I am a god's soldier. I am a good person, but I am not perfect. 
I am honest, I am happy. 
I am proud to be a Filipino, a Filipino. 

Class 2: "Confidence"
(Refrain)
Confidence is the thing non one can take from you. 
It means to believe any time, any where, 'I can do it.'
Confidence is important to me. It is about being proud of yourself. 
Don't be shy, express!

(Episode 1)
Confidence is believing in yourself and being brave in front of the audience.
I'm most confident when I perform my talent. 
I believe I can anything I want. I am confident in everything I did today!

(Episode 2)
To me confidence means to express your feelings and to believe what you can do. 
I am most confident when I'm showing myself. 
I am confident in everything I did today, I can do anything I want. 

(Episode 3)
To me confidence means showing and expressing yourself. 
I am confident when I know what to do. 
I believe I can do anything I want. I am confident in everything I did today. 

Class 3: "This Act of Love"
(Refrain)
I can give a present but presents can break.
I would rather give a song to keep forever. 
I would rather give love because love is unity. 

(Episode 1)
I felt love when all my classmates gave me a gift, 
and that gift was their smile, 
hug, and care for me when I was sick. 
Then I felt better and happy. 
This act of love was a gift to me, and I will share the love. 

(Episode 2)
I felt love when I was alone in my dark room. 
Then my friends and family were at my back to support me. 
My dark room was lit up with love and care. 
This act of love was a gift to me, I will share the love. 
I will share the love. 

(Episode 3)
I felt love every time I saw your smile. 
I wish that I had one more hug and kiss. 
I'll wait for you I promise you again. 
This act of love was a gift to me.
I will share the love. 


I was so proud of the students for really opening up and doing a brave thing in writing lyrics and melodies together, and wow, how beautiful these words turned out!

Thursday August 7: Word of the day--Focus
To test their focus today in preparation for our final performance, we studied a kind of music that is very special to Brian and I. Recently invented in America, Soundpainting explores real time composing with a conductor showing simple gestures which provide cues for musicians. With our students, we used gestures to sign long tones, hits, ostinati, selected songs, all with manipulations in tempo, level, and dynamics. The students had to quickly react to our gestures and used their voices, body percussion, and their homemade instruments to respond to do so.

Here is a video of Brian conducting a soundpainting warm up with the students!

Not only is soundpainting exhilarating and beautiful as art, but it is also so important to me that we introduce our students to a new definition of music. Based on our evaluation of the students at CNHS, their definition of music is the pop songs they hear on the radio. But for me, being very passionate about minimalism and new music, the definition of music is simply any organized sound. In studying soundpainting, the students were able to better grasp this new definition and see that music is all around them every day.

Friday August 8: Word of the day--Community
Today was our last day of classes before the students' big community performance tomorrow! We spent the whole day reviewing and rehearsing our pieces for tomorrow's show. Each class will perform their group song, and we will all perform a giant soundpainting symphony called "A Day in the Life of a CNHS Student". I can't wait for them to show everything they've worked hard to learn!

Since today's word was community, the students all worked together within their new Project Philippines community to create a banner for tomorrow's performance with visual art teacher, Kyle. They used vegetables and fruits to print and fill in the banner! Love it.



Then as another exercise around the word community, we asked the students to list the communities they are a part of in their workshop journals. I loved Angelica's response:

The community that I belong to is care all around me. Like my friends, family, classmates, relatives, and Project Philippines. And that love is my community. 

Then to wrap up the workshop, the students were given small slips of paper to send anonymous affirmations to each other. An affirmation could be anything from "I really loved your dance move in class today" to "You always have a beautiful smile!" This is such a fun activity so the students really feel love among their peers. These affirmation pockets hung next to the list of words of the week. For me, these 2 images really represent the love in the room, and the learning that happened with how these words relate to all the art forms.