Exploring the value of arts education with Nuyorican Poets Cafe

What does education mean to you? We asked this question to our talented students at P.S. 65 and they came up with the most innovative answers. After some discussion and brainstorming they reached a consensus- Education means to learn and to learn we must make mistakes. They are now working on a composition based on the theme of “Making mistakes” which will go viral during the ‘Arts In Schools’ month, in May 2015. Poets from the Nuyorican Poets Café will be responding to our video with original spoken word poetry. The students in our PS 65 after school program are a mixed group of 25 selected students from kindergarten to grade five. Kindergarten students practice the violin and first graders work on percussion instruments. Grades two and three work on chorus, while grades four and five practice the guitar or keyboard or work on computer music. These students have worked as an ensemble, using their diverse skill sets to craft this composition with guidance from their Scarsdale Strings instructor Christopher Celiz. Arts education is alluring for students because while technique needs to be taught and honed, the arts can be used as a base to foster creativity. With the arts, making mistakes isn’t seen as a failure but a pathway to innovation. By nurturing this mindset, Scarsdale Strings prepares its students to conquer any field they choose. Our students agree with this and we let them speak for themselves- this campaign is a...

Arts In Schools Month

Scarsdale Strings is launching the ‘Arts in Schools’ month in May 2015. This is our way of celebrating and appreciating arts education with our partner schools. Scarsdale Strings not only integrates the Arts into STEM, but consolidates the Arts with the wider community. During this month we will be running viral campaigns with Nuyorican Poets Cafe and Bideawee Animal Shelter. The ‘Arts in Schools’ month is one of involvement, engagement and advocacy. We intend to use this month to immerse students, parents, teachers, educators and advocates in the world of arts education. We will have interactive badges that are designed to spark conversation about the value of arts education programs. We will be featuring sound bites from celebrities about the impact of arts education. Our partners and prospective teachers will get a glimpse into the world of our highly qualified instructors. Student opinions will find space on our website. Parents can also look to us for tips on how to be our at home motivating partner. Our education blog will run beyond May; during the ‘Arts In Schools’ month we will feature innovative ways we work with our partner schools to strengthen the arts and contribute towards whole school...

What do the arts mean to you?

We are all aware of the reasons why the arts are so important. Research has come at the issue from different angles- academic, social, socio-emotional, neurobiological. Arts in schools help scaffold students into concepts beyond the arts classroom. The beauty of the arts is that while it is skill based it is also observational and interpretative. It cultivates a confident voice within students. It gives them a goal to work towards and teaches them to collaborate while developing their own style. Arts in the public space help the audience experience another perspective, a different culture, and another’s vision. It increases the livability of a city and simultaneously increases our standard of living. It changes the way we socialize. The challenge is in the way the arts are linked in education and in the public sphere. The education sphere is expected to generate students who seek performance or art making careers for the public sphere to thrive. Thus, arts education programs are perceived to be geared towards developing only these performance talents. This compels arts education organizations to focus on developing career oriented skills which becomes a challenge since the arts aren’t seen as a conventional career choice. Scarsdale Strings has been able to rise above the challenge of changing attitudes, national standards and budget constraints. While we hone the performance talents of our students we emphasize on integrating the arts to teach concepts in science, math and literacy. The arts build a holistic community and in that vein we teach the arts as a community rooted discipline. Our model is inclusive and curricula are STEAM based- we assimilate special...