Strings Attached is at it again …. Producing music that is!
We’re back at Native Sound in January, 2020 starting a new collection of American song recordings featuring project students and combining some of St. Louis’ best roots musicians. In previous recordings we focused on a variety of music genres including cowboy, ragtime, blues, jazz, rockabilly. This time, we’re having fun with traditional folk tunes again like, “Crawdad,” “Blackberry Blossom, “Old Joe Clark” – some gospel, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” “I’ll Fly Away” and the Bing Crosby classic, “I’m An Old Cowhand (from the Rio Grande)”
It’s 2020! From September 23 to 26, 1999, the Housewright Symposium on the Future of Music Education was held and produced the Vision 2020 for Music Education. It was an optimistic plan for music educators and those in music-related fields to join together with an outline of where music education should be by the year 2020.
Now – we’re here! It’s 2020! How is music education doing and are we living up to these lofty goals? I hope others will join me in doing the best we can – musicians, foundations, music teachers, schools, churches, after school programs, recording studios, record companies, music associations, teaching artists, music equipment manufacturers and retailers, film composers and filmmakers – we’re all stakeholders in the next generation (s) of music-makers. ~ Steve Housewright, The Strings Attached project
The Housewright Declaration
“Whenever and wherever humans have existed music has existed also. Since music occurs only when people choose to create and share it, and since they always have done so and no doubt always will, music clearly must have important value for people. Music makes a difference in people’s lives. It exalts the human spirit; it enhances the quality of life. Indeed, meaningful music activity should be experienced throughout one’s life toward the goal of continuing involvement.
Music is a basic way of knowing and doing because of its own nature and because of the relationship of that nature to the human condition, including mind, body, and feeling. It is worth studying because it represents a basic mode of thought and action, and because in itself, it is one of the primary ways human beings create and share meanings. It must be studied fully to access this richness.
We agree on the following:
1. All persons, regardless of age, cultural heritage, ability, venue, or financial circumstance deserve to participate fully in the best music experiences possible.
2. The integrity of music study must be preserved. Music educators must lead the development of meaningful music instruction and experience.
3. Time must be allotted for formal music study at all levels of instruction such that a comprehensive, sequential and standards-based program of music instruction is made available.
4. All music has a place in the curriculum. Not only does the Western art tradition need to be preserved and disseminated, music educators also need to be aware of other music that people experience and be able to integrate it into classroom music instruction.
5. Music educators need to be proficient and knowledgeable concerning technological changes and advancements and be prepared to use all appropriate tools in advancing music study while recognizing the importance of people coming together to make and share music.
6. Music educators should involve the music industry, other agencies, individuals, and music institutions in improving the quality and quantity of music instruction. This should start within each local community by defining the appropriate role of these resources in teaching and learning.
7. The currently defined role of the music educator will expand as settings for music instruction proliferate. Professional music educators must provide a leadership role in coordinating music activities beyond the school setting to insure formal and informal curricular integration.
8. Recruiting prospective music teachers is a responsibility of many, including music educators. Potential teachers need to be drawn from diverse backgrounds, identified early, led to develop both teaching and musical abilities, and sustained through ongoing professional development. Also, alternative licensing should be explored in order to expand the number and variety of teachers available to those seeking music instruction.
9. Continuing research addressing all aspects of music activity needs to be supported including intellectual, emotional, and physical responses to music. Ancillary social results of music study also need exploration as well as specific studies to increase meaningful music listening.
10. Music making is an essential way in which learners come to know and understand music and music traditions. Music making should be broadly interpreted to be performing, composing, improvising, listening, and interpreting music notation.
11. Music educators must join with others in providing opportunities for meaningful music instruction for all people beginning at the earliest possible age and continuing throughout life.
12. Music educators must identify the barriers that impede the full actualization of any of the above and work to overcome them.”
This year is our 10th anniversary!!
Thanks for coming out to our Christmas “Winter Sing.” Students performed holiday songs and standards on guitars, ukuleles, banjo and mandolin.
If you couldn’t make it, we hope you can next year!
Strings Attached continued serving youth through individual weekly classes. We also toured 9 branches of the St. Louis County Library system from March through July providing ukulele lessons to teens.
The library system now loans out ukuleles, guitars, banjo’s , electric guitars, keyboards, beat boxes and bongos to patrons, making libraries very musical places to be! You can also check out songbooks and books on the history of music. We’re happy to be a part of the musical library movement that’s shaping up across the country.
Fall 2019, we had a new group of young ukulele players, ages 5 to 8, who started with us. We’re had a cool time learning some chords, strumming and singing songs. A couple of our new players are already writing their own songs to sing for the class. What talent and happiness!
Our 2019 summer ensemble worked hard putting together instrumental songs that include harmonized parts on banjitar, ukulele, guitar and mandolin. We culminated the sessions with some recordings of their work before they headed back to school.
Listen to some of the Summer String Ensemble!:
Thanks for joining us on June 21st for Make Music Day Open House at the parish hall, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Ferguson. Youth musicians ages 5 to 17 played some songs or jammed with us on 12 bar blues and Wes Montgomery’s “Bumpin”. Moms and dads also participated in playing and singing music with youth as well!
We included an instrument discovery area, where kids could get hands-on tryouts of dulcimers, hammer dulcimer, bells, keyboards, congas and others.
We also had a partnership with Walnut Grove elementary school in Ferguson to help get their music teacher set up with 30 ukuleles to be used in music classes at the school.
Strings Attached hopes to continue this effort in expanding the use of ukuleles with kids in nearby elementary schools and supporting their music teachers however we can!
Looking to create a new collection of student/adult recordings in 2020. We’ve produced 4 CD’s of material to date and if you haven’t heard any of our recordings, check them out at http://www.reverbnation.com/stringsattachedproject or at http://www.soundcloud.com/guitarkestra
Check out a featured article about Strings Attached on Reverb at The Strings Attached Project: Instruments and Music Education for Kids of All Backgrounds | Reverb Gives . At Reverb Gives a portion of every sale of instruments sold on Reverb provides students, teachers, and leaders of music programs across the world with instruments they need.
2019 began with a field trip with our students & parents to the St. Louis Science Center for a special exhibit: “Guitar, the Instrument that Rocked the World.” The exhibit tied together the history, engineering and science behind the guitar & ukulele with examples of instruments, how they are constructed, hands-on exhibits about electromagnetism, waveforms/sound waves, vibration, structural engineering, acoustics and a variety of guitars, banjos, ukuleles forming the history of guitars.
Students were treated to a new storybook on the childhood of guitarist/inventor Les Paul entitled, “Guitar Genius” by Kim Tomsic in exchange for their drawings of the Les Paul persona, “Rhubarb Red” “Rhubarb Red” is the stage name Les Paul used when he began his career as a professional musician here in St. Louis on KMOX radio. We collected interesting artifacts from Rhubarb Red’s career this spring and will celebrate Les Paul’s birthday with slices of rhubarb pie!
Listen to this interview on the “Music History Project” with Les Paul about his early childhood that led to many of his inventions in guitar, recordings and how he overcame the many setbacks in his life: LES PAUL on the MUSIC HISTORY PROJECT
We love to see our current students using their skills acquired at Strings Attached by getting involved with church band or school bands. Recently, one of our guitars students- David – traveled to Memphis with his school jazz band to perform at the Blues City Cafe. He was invited to play with local musicians at the Memphis Riverboat Cruise during his stay! Watch a clip of his performance! This is the kind of experience that is the best teacher and will never be forgotten by a young musician
The Strings Attached project connects youth, ages 5 to 17, with music education using American roots music. We learn to play instruments such as guitar, ukulele, dobro, banjitar and mandolin. If you would like to learn more about the project, please click on the file symbol above and to the left.
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