Monday, December 3, 2007

Poetry and music

On Friday, the 4-5's performed a "poetry slam" at assembly. It was wonderful in many ways. They looked so cool, that's one! And their main piece was very funny. But the best part was the level of their preparation - and their obvious delight that they pulled it off so well.

They spoke in unison, with inflection that highlighted the humor of the poem - and of course dressing like beat poets set it all off to perfection. Individuals and small groups recited poems with spirit, humor, and drama. Mindy, their teacher, also recited a poem about the difference that teachers make. It was very moving!

On Special Friends Day all the classes performed. There were songs, dances, and an aleatory composition by one of the middle school music classes. I have watched over the years as our performance culture has matured. It is gratifying to see the enthusiasm and pride our students bring to the stage. Sandy, our music teacher, introduces a diverse selection of music from world cultures and history. The new piano also makes a huge difference!

Here are reflections from middle school music journals about Schubert's Erlking:

I love the drama at the beginning of the lied. The intense sound of the piano captures the emotion in the piece. The way the characters' voices are separated by pitch gives you the effect of different people speaking. The child's rising voice also beautifully portrays the scene. The sheer intensity causes you to hold your breath throughout the entire piece, and not even know it.

Schubert wrote the song in triplets. The strands sound like the little boy's heart, beating fast...The child is terrified. Every time he screams it makes me feel his fear. The sound is very dramatic, even though you know what's going to happen, it still surprises you at the end.

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