1. patrickh

    Thank you for all the tools! This has been so much fun and while I have felt challenged, I feel I’ve expanded my flexibility, my duration, and my comfort with movement. I can’t wait to see how this performance comes together and enjoy performing with this amazing group of people. Beyond that, I can’t wait to see how this affects my teaching.

    To that end, the next three weeks will be used reviewing all the material just to find things to use in the first month of school. I saw a couple students from this past year before class this morning. I get their reaction to me. It wasn’t unfriendly or angry, but it wasn’t with the excitement I had in seeing them. My excitement, I felt, stems from what I’ve learned these past weeks and wanting to have the second chance and use some of it with them. Alas, they are moving on to a grade I don’t teach at that school. The chance comes with last year’s kinders and the new kinders this year. Wish me luck!

  2. Molly2018

    I am so disappointed that I wasn’t in class today. But I am excited for tomorrow. I can’t wait for the school year to begin. I hope to bring the excitement that I have experienced in class to my students. I can’t thank you enough.

  3. Kathleen

    Aaaahhhh…I so enjoyed the depth of today! Thank you for sharing your personal journey. It made your pointing out my own movements even more special. Thank you.

    I am very grateful for the mini- analysis of the two method books for teaching creative dance. That was one more place in my training here that demonstrates to me how stuck I can get on a single path. I love AGG and I have grown tremendously as someone who moves her body through space attempting to communicate art or something as a result of having worked wth her for so long. But I can be open. I must admit, Phyllis W’s bok is hard to translate into movement.

    Which makes me remember your citing a book. Was is called Powerful Words? Or something? I’d like to know the author, please.
    A funny thought that occurred to me after you made that reference. They say women speak something like 50% more Weds per day than men. Here you are teaching us these non-verbal communication techniques, Rod Eichenberger’s thing is to conduct using powerful body language and as few words as possible AND yet the two textbooks we did the mini-analysis on were written by women who used many words. 😉

    I want more movement, more movement resources, more movement training. I can’t wait to see what levels 2&3 movement would entail. I hope I get to do it!

    Thank you to everyone in the class for providing a safe place to help figure out how to be more musical and clear while moving. Thank you, Matthew for your guidance and direction.

  4. Andrea

    Today was really special in so many ways! It was nice to see all of our tools put together today. The aspect of putting the recorder, singing, instrument playing, and movement all together was fun to see. I think that our groups worked well today when creating new movements for the sections and took direction well. It’s easy to do when we’ve been working with the same group and feel safe in our own space around our own people! Thank you so much for the amazing opportunities and chance to grow with my movement abilities!

  5. Kedra Davis

    Thank you for your commitment to further our skills as teachers. I have to say of the three sections of the Level I Orff course I was the most skeptical of the movement section and you proved me wrong day in and day out. You are a great teacher and I love the way you approach teaching. I have learned so much from you and for that I am grateful. You even managed to break through my skepticism many times. I look forward to incorporating ideas and lessons you have taught us in my classroom. Thank you!

  6. Stacy Figuracion

    Thank you for another fun and thought provoking movement lesson. I still love starting with the Israeli folk dance and I appreciate you reminding us to breath together during that. Such a cool focusing dance to me for some reason!

    It was interesting to begin to see what it really looks like to put together a performance using the Orff approach. There are moments of “wow,” moments of frustration, moments of uncertainty, and then moments that go beyond words and just seem magical. But we know it’s not just magic. It’s hard work and process from dedicated teachers combined with creativity, vulnerability, and skills from the students. It’s so cool to see everyone thriving not only in what they are comfortable in but in areas that they started out being unsure about two weeks ago. I really hope Level 2 works out for everyone. We are all capable of so much and this is only the very beginning.

    I can’t wait to take home the tools you have provided us to help my students explore movement in a more meaningful way. I am also looking forward to seeing how much more success they find when I trust the process and SLOW DOWN. And breathe. And use my fantastic new resources. And start lots of sentences with “and.”

    Can’t wait for tomorrow!

    • Kris Curtis

      Stacy, I had the same train of thinking. I need to slow down more in my teaching and allow for a piece of music or movement to breath and develop. It has been an honor and an amazing privilege to work with everyone. Totally looking forward to putting all the pieces of our composition together, and sharing it with amongst ourselves and the community. 🙂

  7. Brandon Day

    It’s unbelievable how fast two weeks can go. After the 9th day of movement I came away with a closeness to the rest of the group and feeling like we’re more connected than we were even just a few days ago. This stems from the work that we’ve all been doing together in groups and partner activities. At some point, I’ve worked in pairs with everyone in our “green” movement/recorder team. Just by getting “up close and personal” I feel like I’ve grown closer and connected to my partner through these activities. I also appreciate Matthew’s story about his struggles with his Orff teacher. I could totally relate to this as I’ve had a teacher belittle me in front of the entire class when I was in college. I was crushed at the time but used it as inspiration to rise above, persevere and succeed just to prove my professor wrong, which I did. It’s great to know that we’re not alone in our trials and tribulations which have all led us to this point.

    I definitely had an “aha” moment the as we used the hand drums when it became clearer to me of how to actually play these well and how to teach the kids to use them properly. Last week was a blur when we first used them so it was great to be re-taught the proper technique and the clear differences made between downstrokes (with thumb) and upstrokes (with fingers). I really enjoyed played the rhythm battle between both sides and I’m going to use this later this school year with my 4th graders. The kids will love it!

  8. stalsberg87

    I felt so validated just as a person after today’s lesson. It was nice to hear that we all come to the table with insecurities. I really enjoyed walking towards my partner while playing the hand drum. It was hard to come up with the Pear movements at first, but once Mathew guided us we were using all the elements we have been discussing. I can’t wait to see how everything comes together tomorrow.

  9. apeterkort

    I learned about hand drum technique specifically with the upward finger stroke. I didn’t realize that smaller hands and fingers would have difficulty grasping the larger brown rims of the remo drums. The drum cannon was particularly challenging for me especially once we added negative space and moving toward each other in two lines.

    Thank you very much Matthew for all you have taught me in this Orff Level 1 course. I feel truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from such a talented, caring person. Come back to Portland soon to teach more Orff Levels!

  10. rehmkecj

    I really appreciated you sharing about your journey with us today, it created a sense of community and I really thank you for that.

    Hand drums! I loved this activity! I am pulling this out for the 6th graders this year because I was so engaged. I also loved the way you described the hand drum technique.

    It is crazy how fast two weeks go but it was really cool creating a piece of our final performance. While it had its challenges, I think it will be a great representation of our time here these last two weeks. I can’t wait to use all of my new skills in my classroom!

  11. krismosch

    The highlight of today’s movement lesson was certainly playing the “fierce” drum rhythm while interacting with a partner! There is still time to include this in tomorrows performance 😉 ! And thank you for teaching us the proper technique!! I was not sure how to play all the rhythms we used last week during small groups.

    I made a mental note of the different hand position (palm up) we used today for the folk dance, it was new to me and I think it would work so well!

    Thanks for being such an inspiring teacher, Matthew! Your lessons have opened up a new world of possibilities on how dance and movements can be used and be of benefit in the classroom. Patrick’s words in his post above spoke to me. I feel that I will come to school with a new or expanded mindset, full of excitement and ready to go. While my students will certainly follow, I wonder how I will be able to have my colleagues “move along” with me, who might have had a very different summer than I did …

    Thanks to a fantastic and fun group!!

  12. griebeew

    Man, what a whirlwind of stuff today!

    The specific guidance for our “dragon dance” really helped our group start narrowing down ideas (which was great, considering the time constraints and the number of cool ideas we all have by the end of this course!).

    The more in-depth hand drum techniques were appreciated today, and I am definitely stealing the “table, wall, slide”, because that was a great way for students to learn to hold the instrument and make circles with their hands – amazing pre-teaching!

    I also hope to remember about guiding breathing during dances and movement activities, as I feel I forget myself! (Like in the Israeli dance today). I need to make a note to myself about that.

  13. Kris Curtis

    Yesterday was a wonderful day of getting to use all the elements we have worked on to create our own piece of music and dance (with some guidance of course). I appreciated the time for us to expand the Israeli folk dance add some additional parts to it with some improvisation. I feel by adding that component to several aspects of my teaching this school year, it will allow for more students to make music and dance personally significant for themselves. I feel like I was doing doing this to an extent already, but I want to expand it to a greater scale. I want to allow for more time for students to develop a piece of music and see exactly where it goes. Working on the sharing composition yesterday was so fulfilling. I was able to explore some artistic elements of my own and then interpersonally see how they worked with others (in small groups or large groups). The connection of music making was deeper, and I feel like we all had something to contribute as we composed our piece one step at a time.

  14. Adrienne

    It was wonderful to feel the excitement of preparing for a performance all around yesterday and getting to watch you, Dena, and Fauna guide us through the process was insightful as well as inspirational. The continuing themes of what if, peeling back the layers, all voices are important, shared wonder, accountability, supported risk and growth are messages I will leave with from these 2 weeks. Thank you.

  15. Paul Swardstrom

    I’m so grateful for this experience. Thank you Matthew for what you’ve brought to us.

    I ordered the Mary Joyce book later in the day. ($13.70 on Amazon. There was another for the same price) I really like the idea of using the lessons in both books as movement exploration in my classes. It feels like I just gained a major piece of curriculum.

    I’m in the dragon and while the creative juices were definitely flowing, we weren’t getting there very fast. Thank you Matthew for helping to distill the ideas and guide us forward.

  16. Brianna Valencia

    I love that we are taking every thing that we’ve learned in movement and applying it to our pieces for the showcase. It felt so good to hear Matthew’s suggestions yesterday and actually be like, “Oh yeah, I can do that!” rather than “Whaaa…?”. I feel like I’ve come so far as a mover and it is an empowering feeling. I’m so determined to facilitate meaningful movement experiences for my students so that hopefully they can feel that same empowerment.

  17. ggoodson

    I loved the rapid fire of lesson ideas today! We did so much and got the chance to practice so many different skills and think about how to implement in the classroom. I’m so thankful for all the tools and resources we have gotten over the last two weeks!

  18. BrianEJanssen

    Still digging the Israeli dance and liked the pizza addition. i also liked the Portuguese dance. It’s all good!

    Loved doing the drum stuff, too. I am sure my kids would love to do some interesting stuff with the hand drums, and I’m glad I learned a little technique with those this week!

    Our dragon might be awesome. We’ll see…

  19. Barb English

    Is anyone else exhausted? What a work out these past few weeks but so worth it. I loved seeing everyone dance to receive their certificates. Everyone was feeling comfortable in their bodies and showing pure joy.
    Stepping into my music room this year will be different. I have three weeks to process all that I have learned and insert it into the right timing of my lessons. I really appreciate the breakdown of activities for classes that we got today. That will be a huge help.

    Thank you Matthew for sharing your self with us yesterday. I can’t believe that there are people out there that are just plain mean. It was such a joy to be surrounded these two weeks with caring, supportive, kind, hard working, professionals, and now who I consider my friends.
    Let’s all work to bring kindness into our world along with music.
    Blessings to all of you and have an awesome school year 2018-19.

  20. BrianEJanssen

    Okay, it’s 9:30 p.m. on Friday night, so probably no one will ever see this, but as I was reading through this page of reflections I saw a couple people mention how comfortable they felt about working with partners, and I agree. But that also made me think about something that we did several times over the class that didn’t occur to me until now. We usually started by doing shapes/actions/etc. individually and then got a “what if?” that moved us into partners. I think the opportunity to be creative or process by myself first always made it easier to transfer to a partner, kinda taking away a bit of the awkwardness since I didn’t have to combine the pressure of partnering up with the pressure of coming up with something new. At least it helped me…maybe it’s an introvert thing!

    Anyway, thanks again Matthew! Good luck with your school year in VA!

  21. jcompto2

    The hand with palm up like you are holding a pizza was a brilliant idea. I love the “little things” that make lessons so accessible for kids.

    The integration between movement, speech, singing, and music is much more evident in our day 9 compared to day 1. This has been an amazing journey that nows feels is just beginning. I can’t wait to continue together in Level 2!

    Thank you, Matthew, for your guidance, your expertise, and your gentle approach. You are a true inspiration!

    James Compton

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