Saturday, August 23, 2014

Children and Art

Getting ready to see kids on Monday. We had a back to school picnic today and while these things can be daunting I got really excited. I have some amazing kids I'm gonna teach and all I can do is hope that they stay as excited as they are now and ride my epic enthusiasm, which I think is my greatest asset as a teacher.
I have one girl in particular that I'm so happy to have again as a student. I had her two years ago and this year I will have her for two classes (including my musical theatre class) and as apprentice on the show I'm directing. She was the student who when times were rough in that class I would remind myself that I was teaching for her, I was doing it for her. And she's still that amazingly enthusiastic positive student today and I'm so jazzed. And there are new kids I'm jazzed about. And kids that I loved last year that are going on to the next thing and I'm excited for them too! I guess I'm actually having one of those I love teaching moments. And granted my tune my change a little by the end of next week, it's nice to know that I have these moments and that they can fill me with such hope. Maybe I won't write the next great musical, but maybe one of my students will, and in some ways isn't that even better?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This is ridiculous. What am I doing here? I'm in the wrong story!

In order to protect the innocent I won't go into details but let's just say there have been at least 5 different shows on the table in as many days and in attempt to not stress myself out about it let's play the "what should we write a musical about?" game!
I think there's the obvious, a childhood growing up in the theatre. But hasn't that been done to death? Or is it ok to still do because nobody has told our story? (By the way I'm not just using the royal "we" I'm sort of figuring that the only people reading this blog are working on this as well... Annie, Alex, Lena...and if you are just reading this for fun bully for you!) A life in the theatre is certainly fodder for some of the classics. But could our angle  be we writing about youth in the theatre specifically? That way schools can do it. It's female heavy. I'm already sold. Or does that make it too 13? 
Anyway, just thoughts for a Wednesday morning.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

There's not a tune you can hum...

Sooooooooo apparently I blog only yearly now.....
What's really amusing about that is that I felt compelled to write a very similar thing to what I wrote last year. I'm in a similar situation at school (trying to pick the musical for the year) and it is by necessity a messy process. So many people have opinions about what we should do, what kind of show it should be, what's good for the kids, personal taste etc. that it just becomes exhausting. And on a completely egotistical note, no one in the room knows more about musicals than I do so why don't they all just listen to me. ;)
But beside that painstaking process I think I'm dealing with a larger artistic issue that I need to attempt to articulate (and I've missed writing). Being in the midst of 2 weeks of professional development makes examining my purpose as a teacher unavoidable. Today we heard this amazing teacher speak about bringing the dreaming back to teaching, and finding your philosophy. When I think about what I bring to the table as a teacher I feel like I really only have my enthusiasm and my vast knowledge of musical theatre (it's possible I have other skills but I also think I have imposter syndrome so I'll never admit to it). So I really want to figure out how to make my love of musical theatre a stronger teaching tool. I know that I'll never get high schoolers to love my history of musical theatre lectures the way I wish they would but there is more to musical theatre. I think it's a deeper question of the genre and how it can effect change.
Which brings me to the next thing that's been on my mind. I want to write a musical. For a few reasons. 1) I don't necessarily think I'd be good at it but I'd like to try it once to say I did and to see how hard it actually is 2) While I don't think I'd be good at it I think I would be better than some by a purely academic standpoint, in that some people write musicals without knowing as much about them as I do 3) I want there to be more good musicals. Musicals that high schools can do. Musicals that do more than just bring films to the stage. Musicals that change the world. I'm not saying I can do it, but it seems silly think want something and not try to make it happen.
So I want to write a musical. For mostly academic purposes, not practical. But if it ends up being practical, great. And if the first week of school doesn't completely overwhelm me, maybe I'll write again before next August. And maybe it will be about this.