Music brings people together. It’s how to we learn, communicate and connect. For kids music can open up new opportunities, help them discover hidden talents and improve skills. Having always loved music and knowing it’s power when I got the amazing opportunity to work in Capri I was inspired. I wrote a song about my new opportunity and the children I would have the privilege to work with. Although not my intention the song became a platform that brought not only the school but the community together. A simple idea set to some pretty cool music became a multimedia “group” project. Now let’s talk about how.
When discussing what lead to this project I am always confronted with two questions, what is it and how did you get so many students involved? It all began with a poem. I started writing about the community, school and the ideals of the district. In my enthusiasm I had taken my poem and turned it into a song. The next step was to record me singing it. Finished I played it for a small focus group (my daughters) and after some gentle teasing over the quality of the singing they really enjoyed it. Armed with the song and mild approval I decided to get together with some talented people I had worked with before to rerecord. I brought it to the principal, and we decided the song should be more than something attached the newsletter or played quickly at the beginning of an assembly. To truly get people to interact it needed to be multimedia and shareable. We had no real clue how it would take off.
As any teacher will tell you to get participation from children and their parents can be difficult especially if the project does not have a direct grade as its result. After working with the song and creating some dance moves (more on that below!) I was ready to introduce it to some students. I started with my own classes and seeing their willingness to learn and excitement over the music I immediately began recording. That raw footage was so full of fun a music video seemed to be the perfect fit. We wanted to cast a wider net, really get the whole school involved so we posted bilingual flyers. Anyone who showed up to participate would get filmed and find a job to do. Once the kids started to come in during lunch and breaks it was clear we would have our “crew”. The kids got involved in all aspects of the production process, multiple takes, green screen work and even editing (more on that below). To do this we needed to get the parents too if only for their consent. So, we created permission slips and received over 100 back!
Let’s go back just a bit. As with my other projects on RockingTeacher my goal is always to create music that can do more than help with a certain academic standard I want music that the students play because they like the song. With the Capri Song it was clear that they did! As they listened to lyrics that had details about their community and school you could see their eyes light up and their interest spark. Getting them to add some dance moves to the mix was even more fun to watch. Again, I took a cue from pass successes and decided to create some choreography to go along with the song. I had the good fortune to have worked with a very talented dancer. By collaborating we were able to create some cool easy to learn dance moves. I met with the choreographer in Los Angeles and we recorded the moves against a green screen creating visually appealing learning aids. So fast forward to getting the kids involved not only do we have them singing along they are also getting up out of their seats and dancing with the music! With almost no campaigning I had volunteers to learn the steps and the song. Even the older kids got in on the action. What’s really cool about watching children in the arts is seeing them discover what they like to do and more so what they are good at. With the students influence the song and dance became much more it became a way of project based learning that allowed different types of students to shine for their innate talents, to develop confidence and get moving together.