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Folk Music in Public Schools

Mudjack 17 May 99 - 02:55 PM
Graham Pirt 17 May 99 - 03:04 PM
The Shambles 17 May 99 - 04:44 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 17 May 99 - 07:27 PM
Jon W. 18 May 99 - 10:30 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 18 May 99 - 12:31 PM
annamill 18 May 99 - 12:59 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 18 May 99 - 06:04 PM
Mudjack 18 May 99 - 07:11 PM
Graham Pirt 18 May 99 - 07:25 PM
bet 18 May 99 - 09:44 PM
Margo 19 May 99 - 12:59 AM
Jon W. 19 May 99 - 12:46 PM
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Subject: Folk Music in Public Schools
From: Mudjack
Date: 17 May 99 - 02:55 PM

What can we at MUDCAT do ?
I remember in grade school singing folk songs from, "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" to "This Land is Your Land".It seems like it was required and took all of one hour a week. Teachers would crank on those autoharps and singing we did. Since the music programs in our country have been so far cut back, would'nt the old method of singing songs in the classrooms be an affordable and valuable subject in the grade school classroom? The question is,
How can we influence the educators? Maybe our youth would slay one another with bad singing instead of guns. Just a thought and perhaps a kick off program project if anyone has the know how.
Mudjack


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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Public Schools
From: Graham Pirt
Date: 17 May 99 - 03:04 PM

I presume you're talking about the US public school system which is not what we in the UK mean by "public school"! However, there is a superb organisation in Newcastle with Alistair Anderson as co-director, called Folkworks, that does tremendous work with schools (as well as people from early childhood to the twilight years). More importantly it works with teachers to give them the skills to work with students in all aspects of traditional dance, music, song, story etc. Perhaps someone could start a US branch - although I'm sure someone, somewhere will be able to tell us that it's already being done!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Public Schools
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 May 99 - 04:44 PM

Well the first thing that came to my mind was the 'Eton Boat Song'.

What was that about "being separated by a common language"?


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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Public Schools
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 17 May 99 - 07:27 PM

Some of us are trying, truly we are! Unfortunately the trend in American music education seems to be what Caroline Paton calls the "Disneyfication" of music education: cute, bubbly music about riding bikes, my pet cat, and how we should all be friends. Pertinent stuff, but music with no substance. Those of us who follow systems like Orff and Kodaly (there's another thread floating around addressed to Art that talks about this) are keeping folk music alive- but the kids and parents are always requesting the bubble gum pop stuff. I ignore them, but not everyone can or does. I'm lucky to have a principal who lets me do what I want!
Favorite song at school this week so far: John Kanaka!
Allison (signing my name!)


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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Public Schools
From: Jon W.
Date: 18 May 99 - 10:30 AM

My wife graduated with a batchelor's in music and is asked regularly to volunteer in the local grade school. This year she went once a month (rotating with three other volunteers) to fourth grade, even though our fourth grader is being home schooled. Anyway, they use the Silver-Burdett text and CD set. It seems to focus quite a bit on folk music. She will sometimes look for different versions of the songs and bring them also - for instance, she took in a recording of "Cindy, Cindy" by Pete Wernick to let them hear some good bluegrass banjo and the kids really liked it.

So volunteer - the teachers will love you, you won't cost the taxpayers anything, and you can expand the horizons of kids and expand the curriculum to include something you feel is important.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Public Schools
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 18 May 99 - 12:31 PM

Yay, Jon, and yay to your wife! Volunteers are great!! Still, we all need to convince our schools and taxpayers that music is worth paying for!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Public Schools
From: annamill
Date: 18 May 99 - 12:59 PM

I think the lack of good music in schools may come from the sometime dehabilitating need to be socially correct. An example, I don't think "bluetail fly" is correct anymore. Or any song that refers to any ethnic group. Sad, isn't it. I think this kind of puts a lot of folk music out. "Massa's gone away" just won't make it.

Anna


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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Public Schools
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 18 May 99 - 06:04 PM

You're probably right, anna, but I don't hesitate to teach a classic like "Jimmy Crack corn" and teach a little history at the same time; if the song fits with what I want the kids to learn I'll find a way to explain it- most of the time!


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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Public Schools
From: Mudjack
Date: 18 May 99 - 07:11 PM

Good grief ,your'e right on, I still crank up with an old favorite "Pick a Bale a' Cotton" never giving thought to being ovensive to any minorities. But as a young child in the mid to late forties, my family was picking bales of cotton in the San Joaquin Valley to earn enough money to eat and keep a roof over our heads. Just never thought that a great Leadbelly song could be offensive to anyone, even us Okie desendends.
I like the idea of volunteering to our local schools and the national level of education should look at the possibility for the sake of having a music program at little or no cost. Our UK friends can verify this. I think the Penny whistle is taught to every school child in the British Isles. Very effective and they learn do re mi.
Mudjack


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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Public Schools
From: Graham Pirt
Date: 18 May 99 - 07:25 PM

Sorry Mudjack, you've been misinformed about every child in UK schools being taught penny whistle - great idea but not happening. There are quite a number of enlightened schools where good things are happening such as performance and ceilidh bands - and I do know of one where all pupils DO learn the penny whistle! However, much still relies on the enthusiasm of individual teachers. That's where Folkworks fits in and does such a great job - as mentioned earlier in the thread.


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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Public Schools
From: bet
Date: 18 May 99 - 09:44 PM

Thanks for reminding me what a great school district I teach in. As long as I teach the required objectives I can teach it how ever I want to. I spend the majority of the time using folk songs one way or another. It's so easy to tie them in with classroom activities etc. I am so fortunate to have all my students 5 days a week.I teaach kdg thru 4th. Moffat County really supports the arts. My students are my best promoters of folk music. We invite parents to classes, give performances and have sing alongs. Parents love to hear their kids and will join in. Senior citizens and nursing homes also enjoy these. Many parents have offered their time (volunteered) in helping promote these sessions. Music teachers in rural areas are always looking for ways to get real live people in to the buildings to perform. I would suggest that we bombard the classrooms with quality folk songs. Again, volunteer your time, present you program. It's always nice to teach a songs to them, also tie it into social studies, etc. Just a few ideas that hae worked for me. bet


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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Public Schools
From: Margo
Date: 19 May 99 - 12:59 AM

Mudjack, I bet the local schools would love you to teach a little history through music. Especially since you lead sing alongs so well.

Margarita


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Subject: RE: Folk Music in Public Schools
From: Jon W.
Date: 19 May 99 - 12:46 PM

Animaterra, your'e right. One of my pet peeves is when cuts are made in the "humanities" to save money. I happen to believe that the humanities is what makes us "human" or perhaps "humane". I have a hard time imagining that a person, who having been taught to both create art and appreciate what others have created, would then go out and defile someone else's creations with a spray can for instance. Schools cutting the so-called non-essential parts out of education is, IMHO, another factor in the breakdowns in society that have been discussed on so many other threads recently.


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