David Lloyd George: Our Lives through Music and Art
Arts Education, Health and Career Education, Language Arts
School: David Lloyd George Elementary
Teacher: Candace Fong
Artist Collaborators: Gordon Cobb
Class: Grade 6 and 7
This song-writing based project brings students together as a class using music and art to communicate the personal stories and challenges they face. The teacher and the artist collaborator facilitate the creative process, encouraging the students to express themselves throughout the music preparation and creation. iPads are used to create the backtrack for the students to present their songs through a music video.
Connection to the Vancouver Biennale Exhibition
Why did the artist choose to have the sculptures installed in a busy intersection between traffic and beach? What feelings or thoughts are provoked by looking at these faces? The irony of their laughing expressions but the silence given sparks conversation and discussion between the students.
Why is the installation was placed where it is? Why are the legs hollow? Where are they going? Why would the artist make them without a body? These conversations lead towards how individuals, or even certain culture groups, maintain identity in large crowds – or in the larger sense, how do different groups of people maintain their identity in a different country?
Experiencing art challenges our point of view and expands our understanding of others
Engaging in the arts develops people’s ability to understand and express complex ideas
How can we use music and art to communicate our stories, our challenges, and our experiences to express who we are?
• Recognize how language constructs personal, social, and cultural identity (our sense of individuality and belonging is a product of the language we use: oral tradition, story, recorded history, and social media; voice, cultural aspect, and register. Students should recognize the impact of language in their lives)
• Exchange ideas and viewpoints to build shared understanding and extend thinking
• Question self and others about how their personal public identity (digital presence and footprint, diction, body language, representing self and communities) can have both positive and negative consequences
• Appreciate the importance and respect, inclusivity, and other positive behaviours in diverse, collaborative learning, and work environments
• Question self and others about the reciprocal relationship between self and community
Inquiry Challenges and Learning Process
The new BC curriculum is based on three core competencies, regardless the subject or grade level: communication, thinking, and personal & social. These three competencies (with their subcategories) are “intellectual, personal, and social proficiencies in which all students need to develop in order to engage in deep learning and life-long learning.” These three proficiencies, although not directly academic, impact the way students engage in deeper learning and life-long learning. Open dialogue and communication in classes provides a safe environment where students are comfortable to share their ideas. Creative thinking is encouraged as students continue to work on creating their own musical works, whether it be through the iPads (back tracks) or song writing. Engaging in constant critical discourse around topics initiated by students ensures that the project is student-centred. By working together, students are given opportunities to teach and learn how to use specific apps from the iPads and other related technology. Using these technologies ensure a strong sense of collaboration between the students as they explore their creativity and issues that matter to them.
- Dialogue and collaborative inquiry
- Creating the backtrack as a class using various sources (recorded sounds, pre-existing sounds, new loops)
- Workshopping ideas for the topics of the songs
- Considering the affordances of various mediums for each song to write (photography, live performance, video, creative writing, etc.).
Throughout the music video production process, students had numerous collaborative learning opportunities. The students worked in small groups to work on free writes about identity which were to be presented in the form of a music video presentation. Students shared their ideas regarding the issues of identity they wished to address which needed to be compiled and transformed into the lyrics of their song. Students also learned about writing and creating the backtrack to their song on GarageBand. The students chose to perform a specific segment of the song in small groups. After rehearsal sessions in both small groups and as a class, the students completed their music video performance.
Read here about the lyrics written by the students.
Artist – Gordon Cobb
I had a wonderful time working with Candace and her students in this Biennale project. Candace and I have worked together before on musical theatre productions with the Sarah McLachlan School of Music so we were able to build on that relationship and create some incredible hip hop music with her two classes.
Using topics of interest to the students that were inspired by Biennale exhibits, we wrote lyrics together and even created the backing tracks collaboratively in Garageband. I created a practice vocal track for each of the songs for the students to work and practice with and Candace did an excellent job using the practice tracks to rehearse with the students in between my sessions. The students were very well prepared once we began the recording process, which made for an efficient work flow.
Once the songs were mixed down and delivered, each of the classes produced a lyric video or music video to accompany their song. The visuals were well thought out and executed brilliantly and I’m incredibly proud of the final result.