Teachers on Tour: Christopher Celiz

When the children of PS 65, Queens, are suddenly energetic and cheerful, you know Christopher Celiz has just entered the building on his sleek skateboard. Celiz, an integral part of the Scarsdale Strings faculty, is far from your conventional music teacher. He is a four-time American Beatbox Championship Finalist and one of the founders of the Beatbox House, a weekly showcase of amateur and experienced beatbox talent. Working with Scarsdale Strings he is motivated and empowered to maintain a balanced schedule and develop what he loves. In May 2015, Celiz will be travelling to Berlin as a mentor to inner city youth who are participating in the Hip Hop Re:Education Project. The Hip Hop Re:Education Project is an exchange program that gives inner city youth between 18-24 from New York and Berlin a chance to experience each other’s city and culture by sharing their work in hip hop. The project was conceptualized to foster creative understanding and cross-cultural mentorship to youth who often do not have the opportunity to travel nor have a safe space to incubate their ideas. At Scarsdale Strings, we work in conjunction with our community partners to engage different stakeholders in K-12 education. With this, we aim to create a safe space for students even beyond their classroom. We laud the efforts of The Hip Hop Re:Education Project to do the same for young adults. Chris Celiz is passionate about mentoring these youth. He works hard to pursue what he loves- beatboxing- and strives to make sure that other young artists and students are exposed to similar opportunities. He aims to create a sense of community...

My arts teacher changed my life…

At Scarsdale Strings we love to tell our teachers just how much they mean to us. As a part of the Arts in Schools month, we gave students from our different partner schools the following prompt- My arts teacher changed my life. Here are five answers that we found interesting/funny/compelling.          ...

Teachers on Tour: Elizabeth Derham

To motivate and empower a classroom, teachers must be motivated and empowered as well. This is only possible with a balanced schedule and most of our instructors, at their core, are both teachers and performers. Scarsdale Strings believes in nurturing our teachers’ skills as artists and performers, encouraging them to bring these skills into their classrooms to foster a dynamic community. It is remarkable to see the kind of connections our instructors make when they are on tour.  Elizabeth Derham, a Scarsdale Strings music teacher at Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School, toured with A Far Cry this April.  A Far Cry is an eighteen piece democratically run chamber orchestra based in Boston.  The three day tour took the artists to Castleton College in Vermont and Dumbarton Oaks in Washington D.C. What made this a unique experience for Derham is the way the group is run. “Each artistic voice is treasured and we are encouraged to try out new ideas,” she says. For example, a part of Mozart’s Divertimento could be interpreted in different ways. The artists were encouraged to investigate their interpretation and each suggestion was attempted by the entire group before coming to a consensus. “When you work together on music, there is so much going on in your mind and heart that you have to consciously work together to chisel the excess,” says Derham. She explains that to do this, artists must be good listeners and forward thinkers. They must work on presenting their own ideas while listening closely to the ideas of others to find a way to collaborate. They must also plan ahead to...