The Learning Continues

Posted 2 September 2013 12:00 AM by Elle Gomes, City Spotlights Music Teaching Artist

As an artist, I am always finding myself in new situations. I rehearse new repertoire, perform in new cities, collaborate with new people. But this summer, I was faced with an incomparable new experience - working as a teaching artist for the City Spotlights Summer Program.

To be honest, I didn't know what to expect. The wonderful thing about working with young artists is that they are never the same as the previous group. When I met the extraordinarily gifted youth of City Spotlights 2013, I was impressed by their talent, inspired by their creativity, and most of all, moved by their passion. I saw a group of artists with amazing energy and I was excited to help them convert it into lyrics, melodies and harmonies that would form beautiful songs that would be used to influence the world.

During the first three weeks of the program, we flew through a rigorous curriculum similar to the one I've been using in college. The teens learned about form, phrasing, structure, lines, rhyming, literary devices, figurative language and so much more. They would practice these skills through (what seemed to be meaningless) free writing and phrase writing exercises until they were able to realize, on their own, that they were finally, in fact, writing lyrics. And they all wrote some darn good lyrics, too.

By the last week of the program, I felt like I was working with a completely different group of teens than I had started with. The teens that were once shy were belting out solos, the teens that used to be quiet were rallying up the group and the new teens could not be separated from the teens that were in the program last year. There was a sense of encouragement in every rehearsal and everyone was feeding off of this positive energy that existed there with us. The teens carried this same energy throughout their final showcase, all the way until they walked out of the Wang Theatre doors after they graced the stage so wonderfully.

The most rewarding part of being a teaching artist is that even when it seems as though the teaching has stopped, the learning still continues. I am so grateful to have been able to instill life-long skills in these youth that they may apply wherever necessary.

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