I finished up my five week session at Marvine ES by getting the kids to take different lines in the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo song and it worked somewhat as they took some ownership of the song. Still, other than the active musical experience, I didn’t have much to show for it. We’ll see if I do an assembly but there’s little that would work on a stage in front of the whole school. I do have some thoughts though on how to make it work.

Here’s my report to the school district:

To my friends on the BASD School Board;

I returned to Marvine School for another songwriting residency (I’ve have a long relationship with this school) this fall for five afterschool sessions with second and third graders. My task was to tackle Arts  and the Workplace for this session, trying to introduce my students to the idea of becoming a working person in this community after they’ve left school. We talked about what their parents did for a living. We brainstormed ideas: nurse, teacher, animal doctor, horse-trainer, and others. We then started to write songs about several of these ideas. The process was enlightening on several levels.

We had fun imagining what these professionals do, but the students had very superficial knowledge of the terminology and skills of these jobs. (They didn’t know that a veterinarian is an animal doctor) But, through our conversations, work on rhymes and story development, we began to understand quite a bit more about that person’s life. It would be great to follow up the song with a classroom visit from such a professional.

There was some initial talk with the school about presenting the songs at a school assembly but, for several reasons (especially at this grade level) we didn’t. But I thought that peer-group presentations would work well, if not better. Doing a tour of their classrooms would be really productive: less pressure, with multiple performances and more familiar spaces. This was a new concept for me.

These sessions were a mix of this songwriting play/work and creative movement, songs, dance, storytelling, use of rhythm instruments and just having fun after school. As was expected, I did have issues with retaining focus with this age group but, all in all, we had a rich, learning experience. Gabriella said last Wednesday, “I wish every day was Dave Fry day.”

Thank you for your support of this project.

Dave Fry