Thursday, March 5, 2015

Opera by Children Art Workshop hosted by Utah Opera!

Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre
in collaboration with Utah Opera:

 Art Training WORKSHOP
Ø For Teachers to learn how to create scenery for Original Opera Projects!
Ø  May also be used for mural sized classroom group projects or any type of production backdrop.

Learn the art of students creating opera scenery using simple techniques that require a minimal amount of time. The projects connect to the Utah core standards, and teach group cooperative learning!

You need not be an artist! Come and learn washes, perspective, shading, highlighting and many more techniques!!

·        Be prepared to create! Wear clothes that wear paint well.
§  Cost: $10 for materials and munchies
§  Date and Time: March 7, 2015; 9 am-Noon
§  Location: Utah Opera Production Studios
336 North 400 West, Salt Lake City
**Parking is on street or on north side of building, but return to 400 West & enter via southernmost doors, by statue. Signs will guide you to the Assembly Bay.

Official Registration through Pamela Gee []

Relicensure points available through Ontrack.

Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre Presents: A Teacher Paint Party!!! An Art Training Worksho

Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre Presents:

   A Teacher Paint Party!!!

       Art Training WORKSHOP
OnTrack logo-jpg
Ø Teachers to learn how to facilitate GINOURMOUS scenery for Original Opera Projects or for murals or any type of production backdrop!
·       Learn simple techniques
·       Minimal amount of time.
·       connect to the Utah core standards, and teach group cooperative learning!

You need not be an artist! Come and learn washes, perspective, shading, highlighting and many more techniques!!

Be prepared to create! Wear clothes that wear paint well.

Cost: $10 for materials and munchies
Date and Time: May 15, 2015; 3:30-7pm
Location: 59 S 100 W, Logan ,UT

*Official Registration through Pamela Gee []
[*Sign up on Ontrack once registered through Pam!]

Relicensure points available through Ontrack

Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre presents: OBC Teacher Training WORKSHOP

 May 16, 2015 we will hold our next Opera by Children Teacher Training!!!

~for Teachers to learn how to facilitate Original Opera Projects!
Come learn the art of students creating opera
using simple techniques that require a minimal amount of time, connects to the Utah core standards, and teaches group writing and cooperative learning!

You need not be an artist, singer, or performer to attend this seminar because your students are the ones that create, produce, and perform!!

·        Be prepared to create!
·        $30 registration includes:
§  OBC manual,
§  highlights DVD,
§  breakfast, munchies, and a nice lunch!

May 16th, 2015
UTAH FESTIVAL OPERA & MUSICAL THEATRE – Office building—The Dansante!
59 S 100 W LOGAN, Utah
8 am - 5 pm
Official Registration through Pamela Gee []

Relicensure points available through Ontrack.
[Sign up on Ontrack once registered through Pam!]

Please continue to check here for updated training dates that will allow new teachers to queue up for 2015-16.

If there is enough interest in a particular school or district that we do not currently serve, we will come to your "house" for the training.  That is a truly fun opportunity for our staff and mentors to become acquainted with you and your school.

We expect to do a fall workshop in Logan, Utah, in 2015.  

So send me an email if you want to know more!!

Pamela Gee, Opera by Children director, Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre

Considering working with Opera by Children?

Here is what a recently retiring teacher from the elementary education system and OBC had to say about the process:

I recently retired from school teaching.  Over the years I have helped my students perform 13 operas.  At the end of each year as we reminisce about our favorite parts of the year, the opera is always at the top of the list.  The children learn that they can create something without being told what or how it should be done.  Some of the things the students learn about are elements of a story, figurative language, writing skills, and how to work together. Not only is it fun and beneficial for the students who create and perform the opera, other teachers and students enjoy watching the opera.  They look forward to the performance each year.  Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater has helped immensely with the operas.  They made up for any deficiencies that I had. Their training workshops, DVDs, and written materials are well done.  Their specialists are willing to give support in any way that is needed.  It is nice to be able to teach core standards using such a fun activity.

Teresa Anderson

Formerly of Buffalo Point Elementary, Davis, UT

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

UFOMT Mission Statement: “Bringing people together to share ennobling artistic experiences.”

OBC Mission Statement: “Enabling young people to grow by encouraging and affirming the natural creativity that exists within each one.”

OBC Purpose: “To provide an excellent process for educators to use that will enable them to teach and utilize creative arts in the instruction of essential core, life skills, college and career readiness curricula.” 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Story and Libretto Creation for Kindergarten and other Lower Grades

K-2 Story and Libretto Creation Tips

Kindergarten Note: There is flexibility in the story sentence structure for the Kindergarten class to create a 3 sentence story structure if the class needs it to be VERY simple!!

All younger grades:

Setting, Character, Plot:
·         Always begin with setting!!!!!!!
·         Characters may associate with the setting, or not, depending on if this is a historic based opera
o    (Then, usually they must coincide with the topic unless there is flexibility regarding the use of nonfiction character mingled with fictional characters. If the later route is taken then care must be taken to ensure the audience as well as the students know what things are realistic and which are not.)
o    For Kindergarten or lower performing 1st graders state the categories you see and have the students place the characters that they have listed under those categories.
o    Older students should discover the categories themselves.
·         Plot/Problem: characters in OBC operas should work toward a common goal and in doing so should make discoveries about themselves along the way!
·         Solution: the resolve should take the characters to a new way of thinking…a Moral is learned.
·         Refer to the “S” guidelines of Story creation (another post):
o    Simplicity
o    Striving together
o    Sandwich

[Kindergarten NOTE: Once Kinders have an idea…set it in stone!]

Be excited about this part of the opera creation process!!!!  It is the greatest moment of discovery when the characters come to life and it is discovered what they “say” and what they do!!!
·         This is the meat of the opera and everything that develops here decides action music, melody and movement…we really see the opera for the first time!
o    What do the characters think….how do they feel…what they do…., ETC.

·         Using the story as the guide, ask for the students to think of a specific elements that should happen next…
Repeats are great and essential for success!!!
·         Don’t force a repeat. That can come as they work on the music.
·         If students suggest sentences that are very similar on the same topic, have them decide which one they would like to use and repeat.
·         Repeat whole songs
o    Kinders should keep repeated songs exactly same!
o    Older grades may change the words to match a new attempt!!
o    Repeat the beginning song in the end…a great ‘end of bread’ for the sandwich if they have returned to what they knew and did before while learning their lesson!
·         Repeats are desirable because:
o    It is easier to memorize
o    Easier to understand
o    Easier to stage
·         What is important is that the song is simple and follows the libretto “S” guidelines:
o    Is it singable?  Meaning: Is it simple enough to put a tune to it?
o    Is it showing instead of singing about it? Meaning: Is there lots of action? And we don’t need to sing about what can be shown.
o    Did we use short simple sentences? Meaning: Are these sentences singable?

KISS: Keep it Simple Sweeties!!!!
·         You may have heard this before… and we will share that tip again and again!
o    A libretto for Kindergarten is best at 500 words or less (this includes action sentences)
o    A libretto for 1-2 grades is best at 500-700 words or less (this includes action sentences)
o    We do not allow a libretto to be over 1,000 words (this includes action sentences)
·         Action sentences should be concise. Keep it simple enough that the sentence may be included in the score.
·         Simple scores translate into easy operas to learn!!!!

Use shorter sessions to create libretto:
·         Be creative in how you do this! You can accomplish a lot in one day and use small increments of time.  See OBC micro-bites on!

Use groups!!
·         Again be creative in how you do groups in young classes:
·         Have a parent helper cover stations doing other core activities and rotate while you man the opera station and have students create the libretto in sections rotating the groups through
·         Train an aide, parent or another teacher in your school in the facilitation techniques and do several groups.
·         Older grades students may rotate three leadership roles: 1-Facilitator: asks questions of the group, 2- Scribe: writes a written record of the groups decisions, 3- Moderator: ensures everyone is participating.

Pay attention to what the students say:
·         They may say “The wolf is going”….when they actually mean “The wolf is coming!”  Kinders especially will do this as they are young and learning, but they know what they want to say.  It is like a baby waving. They wave backwards, but we know they are waving at us! Just repeat it in a neutral tone in proper context to ensure that is what they wish to say.

Be Flexible:
·         Try different methods to help the students discover their libretto:
·         Act it out!
·         Take a break and sing a song and then get back to the action!
·         Can’t agree….pull ideas from a hat!
·         Break into groups!

Use “mind’s eye” to paint a picture:
·         If we say “When this happens (state situation) imagine what the reaction will be!” then ask: “What happens next?”
               [Kindergarten NOTE: Once Kinders have an idea…*set it in stone!] 
  (*However,) Emphasize editing and improving their work!! Our best ideas don’t reveal themselves the first time….it takes discovery and work!!
·         Do not edit and revise the same session as brain storming.
·         They may identify places that need attention, but leave that to another day.
·         Their brains need to remain in the creative mode not the analytical mode during the initial writing session.
·         Never create, edit or revise at the same time. These are three separate activities:
1.       The class creates the libretto: brain storm and get ideas on paper for character’s words they sing and the action the do!
2.       The class revises the libretto: by shaping the ideas in a clearer more concise way by deleting unnecessary information/action or adding needed action/information.
3.       The class edits the libretto: ensure that the libretto is in the correct format and that the spelling and grammar is correct.

Using the USOE Song book, which is downloadable on the USOE website, with specific activities to prepare them to be ready for creating story and libretto:
·         Down by the Bay: Use activity for brain storming.
·         My Aunt Came Back: Activity for brain storming action and emotion!
·         Old Brass Wagon: Different ways to create repeats!
·         Pizza, Pizza: A replace words activity.
·         Rocky Mountain: Libretto rhythm activity and repeat activity

Staging For Kindergarten and Other Lower Grades

 K-2 Staging

Integrate movement as soon as they begin to learn the music:  

·         Allow the students to explore movement with their hands while singing at their desks
·         Do their daily activities as they learn the music
·         Move as they sing like the characters

Introduce the Areas of the Stage:
  • Draw the areas of the stage on the board as found in the staging chapter of the manual. 
  • Play the areas of the stage game as found int eh chapter
  • Then divide the class into two groups: First group are the players on the stage, the second group are the directors.
    • Premise: The players, who have all been asked to stand center stage as close to center without hurting or touching other players, must go to the area of the stage the directors call out when their name is called.
      • Facilitator, you the teacher, calls on a director to choose an area of the stage.
      • Facilitator calls on another director to have three players move to that area of the stage.
      • Continue until the directors have moved all players to other areas of the stage.
      • Then, continue by having the directors use levels or shapes and balance to move the players or have them use their bodies to make inserting and balanced pictures where everyone is visible to the audience. 

Work on staging with groups of characters:

·         Start with the group not involved in the action first!
·         Then work with the group that is the focus and is singing
·         Can do this while the other students work on a project with a parent volunteer or they can help them make good choices while being “directors” observing and asking questions.

Be flexible with what you are doing. Try many methods:

·         Use the “mind’s eye”, their imaginations, to picture what they are doing before they do it!
·         Talk it out a bit before the students move to their beginning spot.
·         Draw pictures of their plans as they describe them to you!

Do not need as much movement:

·         Use hands             
·         Use levels
·         Use unified movements
·         Use “beginning spot” and “back on the dot!”

[Kindergarten NOTE: Once Kinders have an idea…set it in stone! Use plastic floor dots used in PE sold at Scholastic Discount or Mansion Athletics.]

Give it a KISS!!!
·         Keep It Simple Sweeties =
·         Keep Imagined Staging Simple!!

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat:
·         Repeated songs are best so are repeated actions!

…Students getting distracted?
·         Stop and work on it again later!!!
·       Have them go and work it out on their own and come back and share after recess.

Using the USOE Song book downloadable on the USOE website: Use these activities to prepare them to be ready for staging:
·         Johnny Get Your Haircut: Use activity for finding different ways of showing the same action (scissors).
·         Don Gato: stage the song!

·         Pizza, Pizza: Different ways to move!