This year’s Experimentory theme is E=MC²: “The Experimentory is Maximizing your Creativity and Character.” Program Proctor Marisa Ferrari reflects on how she has seen this aspiration while visiting Music + Film and her dancing co-curricular.
Wrapping up week one in classes, the students in Music + Film had the opportunity to present songs they’ve spent the last week diligently working on with Mr. Westin. The task was to individually collect any five sounds and create a song using an iPad application called Garage Band. Students could incorporate pre-recorded sounds, such as drums or piano, but were encouraged to mainly use their own sounds in order to explore creatively, express their individuality, and make their song one of a kind.
The students’ sounds included coughing, running water, crumpling paper, whistles, laughs, pens dropping, and even the sound of book pages turning. I have to say I was amazed at how the kids put their imagination to the test – as was Mr. Westin. “[They were] creative with the use of sound and used the program techniques very well,” he explained. While some students admitted it was a difficult project, they felt proud and accomplished when they played their final product.
|Student Natasha plays her song in music and film class. Some of the sounds she used to create her song were crumpling paper, dropping a book, and pre-recorded sounds such as the piano and drums.|
This project not only challenged students’ creativity, but was undoubtedly an opportunity to build character as well. Knowing some the students would be shy and uncomfortable with playing their song for all to hear, Mr. Peisch began class with a discussion on how to effectively give and receive constructive criticism. I was extremely impressed with how the students took this to heart, complimenting their peers while simultaneously offering feedback. They were supportive of each other and I absolutely felt a sense of community within the classroom. It made me realize how the Experimentory instills the motto E=MC2. These relational skills go far beyond the classroom setting. Through the process of making their songs, the students also learned that it is okay to make mistakes and even that mistakes have a value. Mr. Westin stressed that the point was not to make a masterpiece, but to learn concepts and ideas to become better film makers, listeners and viewers.
Later in the day, I watched many of these same skills transfer over to the dance studio where I watched proctor Valentina lead one last dance co-curricular. It was amazing to see the improvement of the five students in this co-curricular just from the beginning of the week. Of course we could only cover so much technique in so short a time, but the students made great strides in confidence and free expression. Monday began with improv, which naturally made many of the students feel shy and uncomfortable. Today, I watched them warm up, perform some ballet techniques, hip hop techniques and even improv dance on their own with no trace of fear or self-consciousness. Throughout the week, they all stepped outside their comfort zone to express originality and creativity through dance. As student Rachel put it, “Dance is something you have to find inside you.” Inside and out of the classroom, students at the Experimentory are challenged to discover and express themselves.
|Students Sami, Rachel, and Aerin lead the class in a dance warm up activity they have mastered throughout the week. Proctor, Valentina, demonstrated and taught a variety of dance warms up ranging from ballet to hip hop. By the end of the week, each student had added a unique variation to the moves showing their personalities and creativity.|