Last month, Urban Gateways joined several arts organizations from across the country for the Musical Connections Conference, hosted by the Weill Music Institute of Carnegie Hall in New York City. Carnegie’s Musical Connections Program takes musicians to settings as diverse as correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and hospitals to design and perform programs ranging from large-scale concerts to in-depth workshops.
As part of this program, Carnegie also invited key organizations, including Urban Gateways, to be part of a National Network to share in dialogue and resources around similar work. At the conference in October, each National Network partner presented on their work as it related to the Musical Connections Program.
Represented by Director of Community Programs Jordan LaSalle, Artist-in-Residence Maia Morgan, and Teaching Artist John Knecht, Urban Gateways focused on professional development and support for its music teaching artists. Below is a summary of their presentation:
Urban Gateways artists work in school and community settings, both independently and in collaboration with classroom teachers. The organization wants to encourage and nurture them to go beyond the teaching of a skill set in their discipline to investigate broader thematic content and engage participants as visionaries and creators of musical works.
Our first step was to design a survey to assess what our music artists see as their role in the learning environment and what their current teaching practice and methodology look like. Their responses will inform the next step, a professional development session in collaboration with the Lyric Opera of Chicago in November 2011.
UG and Lyric teaching artists will watch a dress rehearsal of Ariadne auf Naxos followed by a professional development session that uses the opera as an anchor work to develop music curricula that not only teach relevant concepts and skills but also investigate big ideas and essential questions the opera provokes.
We will observe and document each of our music teaching artists in their school and community settings and evaluate the depth of ideas within their project designs. The observations will inform planning of future resources and professional development opportunities.
The other National Network partners are: Arts Corps (Seattle, WA), Artists Corps New Orleans (New Orleans, LA), California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, CA), Cal Performances (Berkeley, CA), New England Conservatory (Boston, MA), and U of Texas Performing Arts (Austin, TX). Additional attendees at the conference included representatives from San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (San Diego, CA) and Bay Chamber (Rockport, ME).