New Music in the Schools

Marvelous Movie Music 2011-2012

Voices of Change presents a new music program introducing the importance of music in movies. The program is the length of a regular class period, or can be extended, if desired.

Students are introduced to the functions of music in the movies by watching and analyzing age appropriate film excerpts from cartoons, adventure and suspense genres. They will learn about such concepts as:

  • Building intensity of a movie scene with music
  • Telling unspoken thoughts and feelings of characters with music
  • Mickey-Mousing – music directly synchronizing with film action for humor
  • Grades 4 -8. Attendance: 15-30 students. Cost $75.

    Dr. Francis Osentowski presents a humorous and entertaining interactive session on “Music of the Movies.” Students will view clips from famous movies and discuss why music is important in making us laugh, cry or even scream. How does music tell us the location of the action and the time frame? Film clips include: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Casablanca, Batman, and the classic King Kong. The class begins with an informal quiz featuring music clips from Jaws, Star Wars, Twilight and Kung Foo Panda. Requirements: audio/visual equipment to play audio CD’s and view film clips.

    Dr. Osentowski is a published composer who received music degrees from University of North Texas and completed a film music composition course at Berklee in Boston. He composes music in a wide variety of styles including orchestral, choral, jazz, electronic, commercials and films. He is currently Professor of Music at North Lake Community College, and has taught in the DCCCD since 1970.

    My Neighborhood Celebration 2010-2011

    As a vehicle for drawing the community together through new music composition, during the past school year (2010-2011) Voices of Change new music ensemble of Dallas has engaged students from seven DallasISD schools (selected with the assistance of the DallasISD Fine Arts Department) in the My Neighborhood Celebration project.

    Students first wrote poems about their personal experiences in their neighborhoods as part of a poetry contest. Then selected classrooms composed musical materials to accompany the winning poems.

    The results are the basis for the creation of a song-cycle by VOC project director and composer,
    Mary Alice Rich. Rich visited classrooms once in the fall 2010, and once in the spring 2011. In these workshops, students read the selected poems out loud, discussed the stories and emotions found in the poems, talked about creating music to reflect the stories, and wrote rhythmic and melodic material in teams of 5 or 6 students. Then the composer or the classes themselves created a composition using the musical themes that the students wrote. The length of the entire composition will be about 30 minutes.

    The final performance, bringing students from all schools together, will be at El Centro College on May 7, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. A grant from Target is assisting this project, and Voices of Change is accepting additional donations to cover remaining costs.

    My Neighborhood KidsThe My Neighborhood Celebration engages students from seven recognized and exemplary schools (although considered underserved), representing all parts of Dallas, that have been selected with the assistance of the DallasISD Fine Arts Department. Students from these schools have been encouraged to write poems about their personal experiences in their neighborhoods as part of a poetry contest, and the winning poems will be set to music in a collaboration between students, teachers, and VOC composers. Funded by grant from Target, the program came full circle when the completed song cycle was performed by the students Saturday, May 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm at El Centro College.

    Mary Alice Rich, local composer and music teacher, also previously a professional violinist with the Dallas Opera Orchestra, is the project director for Voices of Change. Rich says, “We at Voices of Change are very excited about this project and view it as a way to reach out to the community and its children. We want to add something positive to Dallas schools and to express pride in our city through the theme of “My Neighborhood.” The student poems are heartfelt and honest, and for the final concert we have selected some that are funny, insightful and poignant.”

    Rich continues, “One of the participating music teachers called to report that a student, who had been having trouble in school, entered the contest and suddenly began to write prolifically. When her poem was selected as a winner, it meant a great deal to this young girl. The teachers in the Language Arts Department believe she is a born writer whose gift has been uncovered through this project.”

    In addition to the poetry, the project will encourage students to discover basic composition techniques, participate in the creation of music, and perform in the concert. Approximately 400 elementary students will be involved in the project, from these schools: John H. Reagan, T.G. Terry, Stephen Foster, L.L. Hotchkiss, Highland Meadows, Julius Dorsey, and J.J. Rhoads Learning Center.

    The culmination of the project will be the creation of a series of songs coordinated by Ms. Rich, accompanied by Dr. Osentowsky, piano. Winning poems have been selected, and Rich has been visiting classrooms throughout the school year presenting small workshops. Students formed teams for writing short compositions which are then woven into the song settings. In some of the schools, the music teachers have opted to have the students and teachers create every aspect of the music. The completed composition will be about 30 minutes in length.

    The final performance, bringing students from all schools together, took place at El Centro College on May 7, 2011, at 2:00 p.m.

    The My Neighborhood Celebration Project is sponsored by a community grant from Target that covers most of the costs; however, Voices of Change is seeking donations to cover the costs of transportation to the final concert at El Centro utilizing Dallas County Bus Services. Please contact Voices of Change at 214-378-8670 with any offers of assistance, or for further information.

    — Related Programs —

    Audience Education

    Voices of Change is dedicated to educating Dallas audiences about new
    music by fostering and cultivating the creation of new music by
    commissioning and performing works by contemporary composers. An
    educational forum prior to each performance is taught and facilitated
    by the program annotator and usually includes one or more of the
    visiting composers. The presentation illuminates themes and styles of
    the music to be performed which prepares listeners for greater
    understanding and enjoyment of the concert and modern chamber music
    in general.

    Education for Children

    For the children of Dallas, Voices of Change collaborates with the
    Dallas ISD ArtsPartners program to bring performances and discussions
    of modern music into the public schools.

    The Voices of Change teachers offer schools a choice of programming
    that connects social studies, science, literature, creative thinking
    and problem solving skills to music and the imagination. Our
    professional musicians lead students in the study and composition of
    new music based on poetry, sounds, game, stories and real-life
    scenarios. In addition, students explore traditional versus non-
    traditional uses of instruments and learn how to create their own
    musical instruments and compositions.

    All programs are interactive, informal and typically the length of a
    class period. Study guides provide a review of music history and include
    fun activities and games to reinforce new vocabulary. In addition, the
    guides contain ideas for further exploration involving writing projects
    and other creative activities.

    Composing Music – Then And Now

    Although we often think of classical music as something that was
    written by men in powdered wigs three hundred years ago, new
    classical music is being composed all the time. Students learn about
    the lives of composers, the history of music and distinguishing
    characteristics of both classical and contemporary compositions.
    After comparing works by a variety of composers from different styles
    and time periods, they put their skills to the test by creating and
    performing their own composition.

    Grades 3-5. Attendance: 10-100 students. Cost $200.
    Karen Moyer, soprano and member of the Voices of Change Board of
    Directors.

    Building A Bridge To New Music

    Using stories, musical games and class participation, this program
    demonstrates traditional versus non-traditional uses of musical
    instruments. Students learn how new music is created, discover ways
    to construct their own musical instruments from common household
    items and participate in the creation of a musical composition.
    Grades 3-12. Attendance: 15-50 students. Cost $50.
    Mary Alice Rich, violin/composer and member of the voices of Change
    Advisory Board.

    Opera Comes To Life

    Our musicians help students discover the amazing stories behind those
    operatic sounds on the stage. Believe it or not, our daily lives are
    filled with the kinds of experiences which can create an opera.
    Students learn how even a simple phone call or a children’s nursery
    rhyme can turn into a theatrical, musical performance. In this class,
    they have the opportunity to imagine, design and perform in their own
    opera improvisation.

    Grades 3-5. Attendance: 10-100 students. Cost $400.
    Karen Moyer, soprano and member of the Voices of Change Board of
    Directors.