Group teaches students music, movement
Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 12:55 pm
By: By The Associated Press
The Messenger 11.09.11
By VICTORIA GRABNER
HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) — The alphabet probably wasn’t expecting such enthusiasm.
After all, this was the second grade. The novelty of simply knowing the proper order of the letters A through Z has worn off. Hardly anyone at that age gets excited about singing the alphabet anymore.
That is, unless they are students in a Tales and Scales workshop, which is all about encouraging children to use their imagination.
So when Ashley Frary showed a class at Cairo Elementary School how to turn the letters of a perfectly ordinary alphabet into an active, full-body theatrical expression, it wasn’t long before the fundamentals of the English language were suddenly fun again.
Take the little girl, all dressed in red, who hopped her way through most of the letters.
Each time she stomped her feet on the floor of teacher Staci Risley’s classroom, her fellow students yelled out the letter that had brought her feet down. Likewise, when she tiptoed, they murmured softly.
The change in the volume of sound was an expression of dynamics, Frary explained.
Meanwhile, when the little girl crept slowly across the floor, and then suddenly rushed forward as fast as she could, her peers mimicked her interpretation of the alphabet in such a way that Frary was able to talk about tempo.
These were just two concepts she was tasked with teaching in the workshop after she and three others had performed an hour-long song and dance program called “The Enchanted Horn” in the Cairo gym.
Also performing were Andre “Monte” Skelton (saxophone), Patrick Ritsch (piano and trombone) and Brandon Hagen (percussion).
The producing artistic director is Liz Mumford, and the booking associate/ensemble manager is Craig Schutz.
The quartet made the rounds at other Henderson County school district elementary schools. It went to Holy Name School last Friday.
“Our mission is to ignite the imaginations of young people through music and movement,” Frary said.
She is the primary vocalist for the quartet, though the Millikin University graduate also plays the ukulele.
“We try to go into as many schools and places as we can, especially nowadays when the arts budgets are cut and” students don’t receive as much exposure to the arts.
Frary said the program also helps give students more self-confidence.
Hilary Abigana, a flutist who was with Tales and Scales in 2009, said the program reaches students who learn in all sorts of different ways.
Kinesthetic learners, for instance, learn through movement and dance. Visual learners learn through acting and watching.
And auditory learners respond well to the music and sounds used in the Tales and Scales program.
One Cairo student who has seen the Tales and Scales troupe every year since kindergarten said he likes that the musictelling program changes every year.
“I learned that singing is a good activity,” said Nolan Carrier, 7. “It was very good. The story that they did was really exciting and cool.”
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