Music & Dance at the East Bay Center for Performing Arts

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This summer, KQED Education held a music and dance workshop for educators in partnership with the East Bay Center for Performing Arts in Richmond, a state-of-the-art space with multiple rehearsal rooms, a theater, and a rich history of dedication to youth performers and teaching artists. Focusing on KQED media about musicians such as Walter Kitundu and Stephen Kent, a band called Toychestra and dance company Diamano Coura, we explored Spark's performing arts resources, and built media collections for use in the classroom. We also discovered new arts videos for teachers in PBS Learning Media.

Stepping away from our screens, we spent three inspiring days working directly with teaching artists in residence at the East Bay Center for Performing Arts. On our first day, we studied improvisational music with Karl Evangelista, Phillip Greenlief, and Randall Wong, and practiced creating our own scores to vintage cartoons from Disney's 1929 Silly Symphony series. The second day was centered around percussion led by master steel drummer and tuner, Joe Kelly, who had us jamming in no time.

Our last day was celebratory and lively as we studied Ghanian dance, songs, and drumming with Kwesi Anku, who taught us about Ghanian culture, history, and traditions. Did you know that in Ghana, everyone is named after the day of the week they were born? Kwesi means Sunday.

Teachers developed lesson plans incorporating music, media and dance during the workshop, and we asked them to write reflections on the experience. Here are two glowing reviews from teacher participants, Gretchen and Melissa:

"Over the course of the three days we participated in music and dance activities that explored cultures from around the world. While I learned a great deal, the biggest take away for me was the introduction to the amazing resources KQED and PBS post online and the support and guidance given to us to use the video as an effective and empowering teaching tool."


"When I signed up for the KQED Music and Dance Workshop, I was expecting it would be similar to the slew of other professional development activities offered to teachers – one short hands-on activity forcing uncomfortable interaction with strangers followed by a long day of lectures. The workshop (thankfully) was nothing like I expected, and I got far more out of it than any other institute I have attended. Instead of lectures, the majority of the time was spent creating art, music and dance. To a kinesthetic learner such as me, this was heaven. I learned the to play West African drums, picked up an instrument I haven’t touched in years, experimented with lyrical poetry and sounds, and most importantly I rediscovered my love of both music and learning."

Thank you to all the teachers and EBCPA staff and artists involved in this workshop for their enthusiasm and hard work. Stay tuned to EdSpace to learn about future professional development opportunities with KQED and local artists.

There are a few spaces left in our next three-day summer arts workshop for educators starting August 6th: Digital Portraits and Cindy Sherman.