- Objets trouvés ou matériel artistique
- Petite enfance
- 5 à 12 ans
One rehearsal to a full school year
- Associations communautaires
VIVA Singers Toronto : A Community Choir Program Connects Virtually
In this project, music educator Edmee Nataprawira and her students in the Prep Choir of VIVA Singers Toronto build community virtually through creative singing and music making :
Hi, my name is Edmee Nataprawira. I use she/her pronouns. I live and teach in Toronto, Ontario.
My students are in the Prep Choir, the youngest division of singers at VIVA Singers Toronto. Though a small group this year, we come from many different backgrounds, with diverse gender identities, cultural heritages, needs, and strengths. For the past two years, we had a fully online season due to the ongoing pandemic. We are looking forward to making music in-person again, starting next season. For most of the students in the Prep Choir, VIVA is their first experience making music with others in an ensemble setting.
Our program includes the integration of creative music-making and composition with the development of choral performance skills. We sing a variety of repertoire, often working closely with guest artists – like Suba Sankaran and Autorickshaw in our most recent season. New to the VIVA program is our Creation Stream, which builds composition skills through a variety of mediums. The following are two activities we use in the Creation Stream :
- Starting well with pre-school virtual choir : This is an activity that highlights how we often begin our rehearsals. The goal is to set the tone for student creation and to encourage students to hold expansive definitions of music, so that they see that music is everywhere. Using found objects from their home environment, students explore and share percussive sounds. They then integrate their sounds into the B Section of our welcome song. View video below or see this link.
- A creative approach to teaching choral repertoire : This is another exercise that demonstrates a creative approach to teaching choral repertoire. We had been working on the tune “Don’t Worry Be Happy” in preparation for the spring concert ; in this video, we are creating a coda for the song. The video shows the kids making connections to things that make them happy in their own lives. We then draw out key words from these personal connections and use repetition to create rhythmic patterns, speaking the words before applying them to our found instruments. The students then use rhythm syllables to notate their creations and later explored composing short melodies as well.
Click here to view video or read on for transcription.
Transcription : “What is a successful music education ? I asked my students at Viva Singers Toronto in the preparatory choirs, the youngest singers, what they really love about choir or what they really love about music. Three major themes came out : singing, instruments and happiness.
- Singing : The first came as no surprise that the student said that they loved to sing in choir. Singing is the main medium through which we make music and so it’s really what we’re doing most of the time when we’re rehearsing.
- Instruments : The second is a little more layered and a number of students brought up that they really like playing instruments. The instrument that came up a lot was piano, specifically private piano lessons taken outside of choir time and outside of school time. I do want to note that during choir practice, we often incorporate found instruments such as tin cans, soap boxes, paper towel rolls, Kleenex boxes, all sorts of found unpitched percussion. I also wanted to note that those found objects were also part of this category.
- Happiness : Third, although simple, I think this is the heart of music education. The kids said that choir makes them feel happy, that they feel happy when they are singing. I think that is the core of what successful music education is.
For me, in reflecting on that question on that prompt, three major themes came up as well. community and connection, process oriented practice and a lifetime practice.
- Community and connection : The first, community and connection, for me is all about how music making, especially music making in an ensemble, so in choir or in class, you’re with other people, and you have to be able to work with other people, create with other people, compose, rehearse, share one’s music. It’s not something that you can do by yourself. And I think that is at the core of successful music education. This reminded me of a study that I heard about a number of years ago and I looked at the the people behind the study, Kirschner and Tomasello, on joint music making promoting pro-social behavior in kids. The premise of it is that being together in time and having shared musical experiences helps people want to be more helpful, altruistic, empathetic. Aren’t those all things that we want in our community ? Pretty outstanding, I think that music can play a role in that.
- Process-oriented music education : The second element of music education being process-oriented, has to do with the steps that are taken in the lead up towards a product. So I think often we think about music education as being all about the performances. While I do think performance is valuable, and can be really quite magical, I think that the way you get there is more important than the concert itself. So for me, process-oriented music education involves students making decisions that impact the experience itself. So students making decisions either in terms of composing and creating the music, or in terms of the rehearsal process, or direction that the rehearsal takes, the pacing. All of those different decisions are empowering students to be part of that process. I think that’s really key to successful music education.
- A lifetime practice : The third idea of a lifetime practice goes to something that Dr. John Feierabend calls the 30 year plan. Here the idea is that as a music teacher, you aren’t only teaching the children in front of you, you’re teaching them such that they might become adults who feel comfortable singing happy birthday with their friends, who feel comfortable dancing at the weddings they attend, and should they choose to have children of their own someday, that they would feel comfortable singing a lullaby to the kids in their life as adults when they grow up. So that is another important part of successful music education.
I want to pull up the core values of Viva Singers Toronto. So there is that element of performance artistry, highlighting a singing vocal music education, the idea that music education needs to be for everybody. Leadership and mentoring can be a key aspect of music education, and community. Again, it’s all about relationship. In order to have a successful music education program, it has to be about community.”
See here to view video, or read on for transcription.
Transcription : “What drew me towards creative music making in my own teaching practice was, to be honest, the pandemic. I think that when music education as I had known it no longer was possible, I was really challenged to reflect on what the purpose of music education was. Why was I doing what I was doing before the pandemic ? And is that something that I want to be doing after, if there ever really is an after ?
In reflecting on the purpose of music education and finding myself with more questions than answers, what I found was that I had more room to experiment. I had more room to try different things out, to let my students try different things out and I’d discover that that’s actually a lot of fun, and really, really valuable. So what drew me to creative music making practice was an inability to do music as it always has been, and space, time, energy and creativity from my students to experiment with something new.
How might creative music making help access the center of music, listening and sounding practices that my students bring to the classroom ? Well, I think as teachers, one of our biggest jobs is to get out of the way of students’ learning. That is not a concept that I’ve come up with myself, but that a very respected colleague of mine has shared with me in the past, and I just think it’s such a great phrase : get out of the way of students’ learning. Creative music making helps us make room for the students and it helps us step back as their teachers.
What are my hopes for music education for my students as of broader practice ? Well, I would really love for more people to experience the joys of music making. My hope is that all students feel able to engage fully and stretch themselves in music at a high level, and not just those who have been traditionally successful, often with the support of private lessons or special programs. I feel like everybody should be able to experience music in its most wonderful form.
And my hope is that we move away from the misconception that creative music education compromises the quality of the children’s musical experiences. I don’t think that’s true. I think in actuality, creative music education enhances it. And so that’s something that I want to explore more and that I hope as teaching practice as a broader practice, we’re able to explore and experiment with together as well. »
For more information, contact Edmee at edmee.nataprawira(at)gmail.com.lire la suite +