First of all, I am so excited with this project. I have stumbled onto some people and places and possibilities that I truly do hope to incorporate this school year.
- My intended audience will be 6th grade music students in Juneau. These kids have been playing violin (or another string instrument) since Kindergarten. They have performed a lot throughout the community. This is their first year outside of the program, so they are trailblazers about to spark something new!
- I would like to spend a few days covering Ruth’s study on the history of Athabaskan music and a few days studying more recent Athabaskan music. Following the historical context, I have two projects. The first would probably take a week, depending on the tools available. My second project could take a trimester in the spring, leading to the Alaska Folk Festival; this project could also draw from math, problem solving, art, etc.
- After studying the history and current practices of Athabaskan Fiddle Music, I would like the students to consider the following:
- How is the Athabaskan community working to preserve their music traditions and educate youth?
- Consider the evolution and immigration of folk music? Is music an organic, living art? When does a piece of music deserve the ownership of a composer or artist, versus public domain?
- I would like to incorporate video from past fiddle festivals, photos of the Young Native Fiddlers, Interviews (if people respond to my calls/ emails), Newspaper articles online, Texts from the Alaska State Library and UAS Library.
- Projects: My subject is large is flexible enough to offer a variety of exercises dependent on age and time that I am given to teach. Here are my main two ideas:
- Music Evolution and Ownership: Give one student a piece of music. The student must add an element to the music that reflects that student’s cultural identity. Nothing may be removed from the music, only added. After hearing the final product, each student must state what their inspiration was for their addition.
- As a larger, broader project. My students would study the Athabaskan Fiddle Festival in greater detail: what are the values and rules at the festival? How can the festival keep on going if it is free? Then the students will compare that festival with the local Alaska Folk Festival. If possible, I would have some board members come into the classroom and talk about some of the behind the scenes challenges, basic system for running the festival, and why the festival is an important part of the Juneau community. Long term, I would like the kids to problem solve using all their academic skill to put together a concert: should it be free, how many volunteers are needed, how will they get the word out, what kind of music will be showcased, what are the values they want to express, etc…During the annual Folk Festival, in April, each student should volunteer for 2 hours at the festival. Afterwards we can debrief.