Some of my goals for an Artist
Residency include to:
Create an in-depth experience between the artist, students,
teachers and community
Model integrating the arts into classroom curriculum
Foster the childrens own creativity and a lasting love
of the arts
What are your goals?
The Planning Team
It helps if folks at the school are already used to integrated
arts and working together on larger cross-curricular projects.
Key people to involve might include the music teacher, librarian,
principal or assistant principal, art teacher... obviously the enrichment
coordinator if your school is lucky enough to have one! While the
team will be different at every school, the key is to keep everyone
in the loop. This applies to the Planning stages, the Preparation,
as well as during the actual Residency. Ask for everyones
input and requests. Then communicate all this back to me in a timely
The key to getting the most out of any arts residency is advance
planning. Often the enrichment coordinator, librarian, music teacher,
and art teacher are part of the planning team. In consultation with
me, they plan the overall themes and schedule.
After deciding on core themes and classes to work
with, dont stop there! Consider including an enrichment workshop
for chorus, orchestra, foreign language classes, drama club, art
classes, etc. Likewise a Parent or Educator
workshop. See our full range of Workshops.
In turn, the team coordinator sends me details
about things such as:
Goals for the Residency
Curricular Themes (the more detail about what different grades
are doing, the better)
Special needs or requests I should be aware of
Schedule (make sure teachers will be with their classes for
all workshops... ideally its great to involve the music teacher
and art teacher in the workshops too)
I generally send Prep Materials to the school a month or two in
advance of the residency. As an author and composer, my packet includes
multiple copies of my books and CDs, full Lyric Sheets and
Suggested Activities. It includes suggestions for Whole Language
activities and Integrated Arts projects. To prepare students for
the books, there are background Geography and History materials.
The music teacher should keep one set of CDs to work with;
the extras are for all the teachers and specialists to share. Dont
forget the art teacher and reading specialist! The CD booklets offer
further suggestions on using the music and songs in the classroom.
In addition to working with my books and recordings,
classes often create art murals or hallway exhibits. They might work
on creative writing or journals, or other activities related to the
residency theme and workshops well be doing. Are there people
in town students might want to interview, or a community project that
might tie in with the residency?
Real Life Examples
Ive done lots of different Artist Residencies, from elementary
schools to high schools, from New England to Alaska and even Europe.
Each one has been wonderful in its own way. Some have focused on
a school wide theme, such as Songs &
Tales Around the World, Oceans & Whales, Songs
& Tales of the Earth, Music
& Tales of Ireland, etc. Some schools have identified
a more general goal, such as building a sense of community, increasing
tolerance, or understanding racial/ethnic differences.
A residency might be focused specifically on song
writing, creative writing, or storytelling. Or it might include
all of these. In a middle school or high school setting, I offer
a full range of different workshops appropriate to specific classes.
These can include choral workshops for chorus students, a storytelling
or poetry workshop for English classes, music/art workshops for
art classes, and a bilingual music and slide program for Spanish
and Biology classes on the reforestation work I did with Peace
Corps in South America. If theres a special workshop
youd like included, ask for it!
A Close Up Example - Effingham
Effingham is a small town in northern New Hampshire. The elementary
school teachers and community coordinator sent me all kinds of background
on the town, themes at the school, what other guest artists had
done, and a tape with the story of the town bell. They suggested
one special need was to bolster their town/school image.
In turn, I sent a set of my recordings to the school
about a month ahead of time with suggestions for specific songs
I hoped to include in the residency. This way, the teachers and
children already knew my songs and a part of me before Id
even arrived. It also made it easy for them to join me on several
of the songs for the final evening performance.
Before the residency, I asked if the children at the
school could do some drawings or writing for me. Some of the questions
they were to answer, whether by words or pictures, included:
I was born in a place that....
In Effingham, one of my favorite things to do is....
Ive heard that in earlier times in Effingham....
When Im old someday, I hope Effingham will still....
responses became part of the final group song we wrote. Their drawings
and poems were displayed on the walls of the gym for the final evening
performance and later exhibited over at the town hall. But more
importantly, this was a way for the children to explore their feelings
about their community, about their home. It provided a way to for
them to express those feelings, and a way for all of us to share
them together in an evening of song.
Where the Ossipee runs to the
And Reveres bell still tolls liberty
All around our Green Mountain
Where the air is good to breathe
Effingham is home to me
Effingham is home to me
Suggestions for Further Reading
Reflections on the Arts & the Nature of Education by Steve Schuch
Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson
Kind of Schools We Need by Elliot Eisner
of Mind by Howard Gardner
Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman
Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahlers Ninth Symphony
by Lewis Thomas
Trees of Life Activity Guide
Recordings & Books
Trees of Life & other CDs
by Steve Schuch
A Symphony of Whales by Steve Schuch
Seedstars & Tomato Patches by
About the Author (view
full Artist Biography)
STEVE SCHUCH has delighted audiences of all ages across the U.S.
and Europe. Classically trained on violin, he also is an award-winning
author, singer/songwriter and storyteller. Venues range from schools
and town halls to symphony orchestras and The Kennedy Center.
Haunting violin and whale calls... music and tales
of Ireland... a pizzicato interpretation of a Picasso painting...
these are just part of Steves wide-ranging repertoire. Honors
include composer awards, PBS soundtracks and five fiddling championships.
Steves recordings with The
Night Heron Consort are national best sellers. His musical story,
A Symphony of Whales, has received five
national book awards, and his childrens recording, Trees
of Life, the Parents Choice Gold Award.
For four years Steve taught a graduate course on integrating
music and storytelling into classroom curriculum. A former Audubon
naturalist and Peace Corps volunteer,
he lives on a farm with his wife and various creatures. Personal
interests include white water canoeing, Mexican food and relating
to large reptiles.
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