Saturday, September 22, 2007


I like to joke that as a teacher I make it up as I go along. All that preparation- who needs it? If I wanted to do homework I would be a student not a teacher. I am mostly joking, but as in any joke there is a little truth to it. I prefer to think of it as being in the moment and open to the flow of the class. Like jazz musicians playing live, there is a general plan and I work within it, yet still go off on solos and come back for the big finish. It works for me, I think.

Currently I am team-teaching (a first for me) with Perry Harovas, the head of the Visual FX department, and it has been a blast. Co-teaching allows me to be both leader and observer- and I have Perry teach all the hard stuff while I sit back and watch. The class is a micro-class of four sessions geared towards opening students up to the building blocks of storytelling. Informally, I call it the attention to details class.

On Thursday I started the class and these were my only notes:

Recap- Why are we doing this?
Hustle and Flow
Sendak- Shape of Music- process

I didn't even get to Hustle and Flow- that will be saved for a later day- but those brief notes lead us into a really great 90-minute session. Briefly, for those without a syllabus, our students had read an essay by Maurice Sendak about seeing colors in music. This lead me to ask students about their own creative process. Surprise! they seemed to discover they do in fact have a process, they just hadn't called it that yet. From there we went to a brief essay by Frank Zappa about framing (placing in context) one's art.

Earlier in the day I asked Perry what he thought about me bringing my guitar to class and seeing what the students "saw" as I played. I played a minor chord- students saw generally dark, moody images- followed by a major chord- and suddenly everyone was happy. I then passed the guitar to a student who played a nice little riff using both major and minor chords. It was great- we are about to create the Flashpoint school song. All of this lead us into screening the Sorcerer's Apprentice section of Fantasia and a lively discussion about the interplay of sound and image.

We think it worked well, but only time will tell.


1 comment:

denise said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.