New Contributing Blogger for the Huffington Post!

Hey everyone,

So honored and grateful to all of you who read my blogs. I truly appreciate it. I’m happy to say that I’m now a Contributing Blogger for the Huffington Post! I’ll be editing old blog posts and writing new ones. I hope you’ll follow me there as well!

Peace.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carla-moreno/

“Angels Walk Among Us” Farewell, Andy Mackie

I am consumed with tears and sadness. I’ve just been informed of the passing of my friend, Andy Mackie: September 19, 1938 – November 5, 2011.

I cannot begin to explain Andy’s amazing personality. This man was my personal hero. A true and compassionate musician with a heart for service.

I am so humbled and honored to have worked with Andy. His legacy continues and his work is the reason why my MUST KEEP MUSIC IN SCHOOLS!

I have a short blog about him here: The Harmonica Man and I hope you’ll enjoy my short documentary on Andy Mackie. Be inspired.

I’ll miss you Andy…

Check out his foundation here: http://www.andymackiemusic.org/

Twisit Jordan Adventure PT. 4 – “Madrasati”

The BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW Twisit Jordan video! This is by far my most personal and most important work in this video series. We were invited by Her Majesty Queen Rania to visit her education initiative–Madrasati. I hope you will watch this short video and  share it with your friends, family, and students! Let’s get the cross-cultural dialogue going!

The Meadowbrook Crew performs at the Arts Corps Showcase

Well, as we come to the close of another year, I’m posting a few photos from our recent performance at the Arts Corps Showcase. We are so honored to have participated in this event. It’s a lot of work teaching new music to a wide age range (4-14) in kids, but it’s also hard work keeping their attention and focus during the start of summer fever! It’s been a long arduous journey over these past two years and the kids have come and gone; nevertheless, it’s been fun watching them learn and grow. It’s going to be hard bidding my final farewell to these kids, a.k.a. “The Meadowbrook Crew” at the end of June; but life goes on and this experience has taught me a lot about myself.

I know I’ll never be the same.

The Art of Silly

I’m so excited to announce my first official video project for Arts Corps! While I’ve been doing some personal video documentaries on community minded musicians and world travel, this is my first mini documentary showcasing other Arts Corps teaching artists. This is an ongoing project that I hope will continue nurturing a deeper understanding and appreciation for the importance of arts education. It’s also a testament to the plethora of opportunities presented when a student’s creative power is unleashed! For more information please visit: www.artscorps.org

Our first featured teaching artist is actor and visual artist, Geoffrey Garza. Enjoy!

~Carla

Rise UP!

It’s always great to observe fellow Arts Corps colleagues. There’s so much to learn about their artistry, pedagogical practices, and personal relationship with their students. Just a few weeks ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to do just that–observe fellow teaching artist, Stephany Hazelrigg at Aki Kurose.

What an awesome experience for me!

Besides the usual teaching of concepts, in this case, hip-hop vocabulary and dance moves, I found that Stephany was teaching an old and familiar concept in a whole new way.

Community.

I know I’ve written on this subject before and while I thought I had “community” well defined in my head, I now enjoy a much deeper understanding of this word than ever before.

You see, what caught my attention was her use of words and phrases that nurtured the idea of community and therefore were reflected in her actions.

For example, when two younger students began arguing, an older student jumped in and defended her friend. Instead of allowing the older student to take control of the situation, Stephany said- “will you be the older sister and mentor and step back?” This provided an opportunity for the two younger students to problem solve on their own and learn to communicate. As for the older girl, it allowed her to reflect and respond appropriately and maturely rather than to react defensively.

In another instance, as a young boy struggled teaching several dance moves to the class, Stephany reminded him, “remember, the goal as a leader is to not trick your community. Show them moves they can all follow.” As a result, the young boy chose simpler steps and taught them slowly so that all the students felt successful.

“Reset, Rewind, Recommit!”

“Rise up!”

“Celebrate and Elevate!”

Words and actions embracing and nurturing the true meaning of community.

It may seem basic and remedial, but in today’s world and with today’s generation, community is a hard concept to grasp. It’s not just about neighbors and neighborhoods. It’s about interacting with the people around us each and every day. Much of our youth today doesn’t know how to get along and communicate positively and effectively. We as teachers  have to tackle this problem and so much more in our classes. We’re not just teaching our artistry anymore, we’re teaching life long skills necessary to co-exist in our world. The fact is that we can’t really make an impact in our work until we’ve built a safe environment around us. We must all feel loved, accepted, and a significant part of a functioning community.

I left the class renewed, reinvigorated and eager to apply these ideas to my own students. I’ve always felt that even as a seasoned educator there is always room to learn new and old things.

After all, the key to perfecting our craft is to always remain life long students!

Thanks Stephany!