Kepner Middle School
I thought to myself, on the way home from Kepner Middle School, that this feeling was the reason I teach. While I sat in the back seat of my friend's car on the way home, a flock of pigeons, that I mistook for golden eagles, flew high across Federal Boulevard. The three of us quickly began assessing the class. Only moments before, we were sitting with the students making music. Each sample, in each song, named for the student who picked it.
Prior to class, I prepared a video using Sony Vegas, a program I had never before used. The intention of the first half of the video was to demonstrate the history of music production from Duke Ellington to Miles Davis, from John Coltrane to Puff Daddy Combs; the second half was dedicated to playing videos of songs the students would know and then playing the original song that it was sampled from. These videos included Lil Jon, Ozzy Osborn, the Isley Brothers, Biggie Smalls, and James Brown among others. We did this to show them that music is fluid, that it is a conversation, and the cool thing about conversation is that it takes many to further the dialogue. I narrated for the students over the video.
Next, we covered the basics of music software and basic sample arrangement and editing using the overhead projector. Then, we compared the similarities between audio and video production software using the video we just watched and the music we just arranged for them in Acid. The students then heard some of the other student's music, featured on the website, and were treated to a live performance by the three of us using a MIDI keyboard, acoustic guitar, and a turntable. We played for the students in order to demonstrate to them the superb quality of music that can be made with little more than a computer.
We then split into two groups, each group responsible for picking samples from the sample bank and arranging those samples. We are with these students for a total of two hours, one this Monday and one next, and we hope to have two songs completed, including lyrics and video, for Kepner's open house next week. If we can do this together in this short of a time frame, then maybe anything is possible. Look for the student's songs on the website a week from Tomorrow!
I heard Aaron had a great class at Deverux and I can't wait to hear about it. Cody and Robbie will be teaching the class I lead today, at Kempner, tomorrow. It is the first time they will be teaching by themselves. It seems we are all growing in neat ways.
Devereux Cleo Wallace
(Youth On Record accepts vehicle donations)
I can't stress enough how impressed I am with the attitudes that the students bring to the classroom. After spending the morning preparing, and half the car ride rehearsing what I would say to the class, stepping into the role of the teacher was effortless, because everyone remains receptive and willing to fully participate in the classroom.
I explained to everyone that we are putting together a class album, and we want the class to demonstrate everything they've learned in one final song. We will dedicate December to this project, and each student will get three copies of the class album to give to their friends and family.
We got a lot of work done today, thanks to Matt who lent us his office, with Kiara, Tamika and Justin, and Dylan and Nina all recording songs in less than an hour and a half. This track was initiated way back when Kiara was in the Flobots.org program, and Cody from Youth On Record created a new track for this song based on the previous work. The song is called "Make You My Boo"; check it out:
Kiara - Make You My Boo
We'll post the other music tomorrow after the students put their finishing touches on their tracks. Stay tuned!
Kepner Middle School
An unexpected twist demanded that Cody and I think quickly and come up with a new lesson plan on the fly. We were excited for our first class teaching together and had the lesson plan and lecture nailed down. When we arrived at Kepner Middle School, we were surprised to see that the same students we had just taught the previous afternoon were sitting in the class room. Cody and I, under the impression that we were going to have a new set of students, were prepared to teach a similar 'intro to production' class. Instead we adapted quickly and had a chance to work personally with the students and produce a new song, putting to use the techniques that the students had learned yesterday. This gave us a chance to further their music production skills and come up with a brand new song. All of the kids were very excited and look forward to recording the lyrics they will be writing through out the week in class on monday. Nice Job Kepner Dolphins!
Devereux Cleo Wallace
We have some very exciting things in the pipeline for the Devereux students, but first, here is a new track produced and performed by Tamika:
Tamika - Listen to the Bass
We're very proud of Tamika, because this was her first recording, and she was fearless and flawless on the microphone. She dreamt up every part of the song, from the voice overs to clicking clock, and it came out wonderfully.
Well well well...what do we have here? Check out the upcoming opportunities that the Devereux students have waiting before them:
- This Sunday, students are invited to be on the radio at 107.1 in Denver, where their music will be played on-air.
- DJ Ripm hosts a show at 107.1, and he is offering to use one lucky student's song during some of his segues on-air.
- Karl Bartholomaei, owner of Dub Media, has invited the students into his professional studio to record a class song together and to experience a professional environment firsthand (more on this in a future post).
Class today was a lot of fun; we welcomed back Jared, and everyone was in good spirits. We worked on some album covers, and you can check those out in the student music section, and everyone worked hard on the December project.
Raechel B. Noel Middle School
Rachel B. Noel hosted an evening assembly this Tuesday, and we set up a table and represented the Art to Action program of Flobots.org and demonstrated our own programs as well. We had a lot of interest and made some new friends, because it was a good opportunity to connect with the parents of some of our past and future students.
Sylvia Bookhardt - Principal