Miamiflute's Blog

Shameless Self-Promotion….and we all deserve one

Posted on: February 1, 2011

For some of us, we actually don’t always like the spotlight. We like to play 2nd flute or rhythm guitar – because it is about the sum total of the experience – together – that makes music. If someone else really wanted the attention to make their musical product, by all means, have at it.  I’m about the process, the group, the experiential learning. But sometimes you gotta say: “Hey, look at what I’ve done. This is SO cool. I want to share it with you.”

So, here it is. Look at what I’ve done — with help. It is SO cool, and I want to share the experience with you.

In the early months of 2010, I was teaching at FIU in Miami and one of my students from the Cayman Islands came to my office after returning from the semester break. “Dr. K”, she said, “sometimes when I go home I get depressed about the music education in my country. Here we talk about music for all, and moving beyond a talented-only performance based system. But I think that is where the Cayman Islands are right now. I want to go and do a workshop there with students and teachers that show some of the cool stuff we do here……Oh, and I submitted your name with a proposal to the Ministry of Education to do this sometime this summer. I thought it would be a good service project for CMENC.”

At this point, I think I had to pick my jaw off the ground and wipe the gynormous grin off of my face. I smile when I’m happy and nervous — you decide which one this was.

Not only did this student ‘get it’ – she acted on it. And — very long story short — we did it. We put on a 1 week free music workshop in the Cayman Islands for elementary students and music teachers. We begged, borrowed, and stole (ideas mostly) everything we could, and ran this this project essentially on instinct. I can quite honestly say that this experience changed every member of the team for the better. While we were sitting in the airport getting ready to depart, we wanted to do it again. All the hard work, hours of planning, fundraising, sweating, crying, and of course making music. We wanted to do it again – and again – and again. Since the university had given us very little [read: financially zero] support in this project, and several of the students were graduating we decided to create non-profit organization dedicated to continuing this project – first in the Cayman Islands, and then to spread where ever we can be effective. We got a new name, a new logo, and continue to are ready to go!

Our overarching goal of this project is to support non-traditional music students. As Rick Dammers and David A. Williams call them — the NTMs. You know, the other 80% of students not engaged in performance based music classes. We wanted to show students other ways of knowing music than singing or playing, and we wanted to show teachers how to do it. If you are reading this blog, I doubt this is the first time you have heard about the other 80%.

We are all ready to go for 2011. So far we have in-kind donations to provide airfare and lodging, and we are currently working on the all the IRS paperwork. All we need is you. Would you like to be part of this project? If you want to know more about this — and join us, you can apply on our website. We will be expanding to support 2 sites for 2011. We will continue to work with the primary school, and we will expand to the secondary school level as well. We will be sponsoring 12 teachers (to teach the workshop) and 3 administrators (to teach professional development to current Cayman music teachers) this year. On our website you can also find out more about our successes last year, and watch some of the group in action.

Creative Music Project, Inc.

Our board members

We have three board members – including myself – to oversee the execution of this Creative Music Project. If you have not met my fine young colleagues yet, you will. They will be powerful positive forces in music education.

Janelle and Priscilla

Janelle Tibbetts is a native of the Cayman Islands and received a scholarship from the Department of Education to study abroad in the United States. She has been employed by the  Cayman Islands Government to help organize the National Children’s Festival of the Arts including the Musician of the Year competition. Her love for inspiring others has grown tremendously over the years and motivates her every day in her current path to becoming a music educator. If Janelle says she is going to do it – step out of the way. She is an absolutely fierce recorder player and sets an early music ensemble on fire. Janelle is currently student teaching and anticipating a May 2011 graduation.

Priscilla Blanco is one of the hardest working undergraduates you will ever meet. She was identified as a freshman as a talented and mature young lady. She served as the Treasurer and Presiden of the FIU CMENC chapter and was selected to be flown to Tallahassee and speak to the Florida governor on Arts Day as the FIU representative in 2010. A talented piano player, she has served as director of the Miami Children’s Theatre and is currently student teaching.

Both of these young ladies were outstanding students – and I am very excited to now call them colleagues and friends.

MiamiFlute President, Creative Music Project, Inc.


1 Response to "Shameless Self-Promotion….and we all deserve one"

This sounds like the start of something wonderful! Good luck.

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