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  • After spending some intense time researching Colonial America's music and dance, I am please to have spent this time.  Dance and music, as is true even today, was a source of expression and release.  With the hard work of either managing a household (women) or providing for a house hold (men), dances provide release and entertainment in a life of great routine.  No shortcuts for these women, they had to muck the garden to grow the vegetables and grains to sustain them through the winter; they had to card the wool to spin the yarn in order to weave the clothe to make the clothing for their family; and, after harvest they had to mill the wheat to make the bread to feed them all. This is hard work. The dancing and the music was something to look forward to for it broke the monotony.  I felt disheartened for the Puritans that they took such a hard view of what they thought of as "pagan foolishness" in celebrating Christmas or any other holiday, by singing and dancing and making merry. 

  • As a postscript to this period - I've been wanting to teach the Yakama Welcome dance to my students, but I'm having trouble finding a song. Is this the song that we used in class: "Dance Song of the Night Chant" -- Navajo People Group -- Listen to Learn by Teri Tibbets (Listening Example). Was it from Teri Tibbets? I would appreciate it if someone could straighten me out. Thanks!

  • I'm primarily taking this class with hopes of finding more ways to incorporate music and dance into my American Literature class (and then getting ideas for next year, when I anticipate teaching Alaska Studies). So that's the framework I'm operating from as I reflect and consider what we're learning this weekend.

    I was excited to learn the Yakima Welcome Dance because my cousin is Yakima (Yakama) Indian! I'm about to start the 1800s in American Lit, though, and we already looked at some Native myths and legends, so I don't think the welcome dance is a great fit for my American Lit class. I do, however, want to try and use it for our school's weekly "Grizzembly" (we're the Grizzlies) - which is meant as a community building/game-playing time for our entire K-12 school. We've had one or two Grizzemblies in the past in which kids shook hands with each other, and they seemed to think it was very powerful, so I LOVE this as a regular way for students to make contact with so many others in the school. So maybe I'll teach it to my junior high FIRST (10 kids) and then I can bring it to our entire school the next time I run a Grizzembly.

    Also, one question I find myself asking is: in what form did this music or dance take as it came to the US/early colonies? What were Puritans listening to in the 1600s? Maybe that will be answered after lunch. ; )

    Finally, I am preparing to teach The Scarlett Letter, which was written in 1850, but is set in the Colonial Period, so I am now considering teaching a little music/dance from both eras, and then using that to help kids analyze Nathaniel Hawthorne's view of the world, versus the paradigms of the actual people he was writing about. It sounds a little daunting, but I love the idea of getting them to think more critically about literature through analyzing music and dance.

  • I am in charge of creating a theme and organizing monthly Family Night activities, and am interested in incorporating music and dance to teach about a particular subject.

  • I will never listen to Vivaldi in the same way!  It is enjoyable to know what was happening politically and socially during the era and how it connects to the dance style.  I liked the Native American greeting dance and can see how this would be a non-threatening way to begin a class with students, especially when I am at a site working with students I have only interacted over the VTC with. 
    Learning the Minuet was fun.  It is always nice to do collaborative work that is simple, but looks so impressive when danced together. Good team-building experience.

    The mention of Monteverdi and his opera experience made me think immediately to an art project made with simple materials in the style of an opera mask.  I am also interested in connecting DaVinci and Kandinski art projects with the era.  I think this will be an interesting way to introduce students to art in a different way rather than just highlighting the artist--using some historical events may help them connect to certain art.

  • I really enjoyed all of the activities and eras we have studied so far.

    For the Native American era, I loved the idea of the welcome dance, and even though my study skills class does not really have a lot to do with history, I think that it would be a great activity to do the first week of school.  It is a great ice breaker that does not have to involve talking, but will help all kids feel a part of the class family, which is what I strive to create in my study skills classes.

    For the Renaissance Era, I really liked looking at, listening, and trying to understand the lyrics of "O Magnum Mysterium".  I think it will be a great way to expose my students to a language and culture that they have never seen before, but at the same time, it speaks in the language of music, which all my kids listen to all the time.  I feel that teaching history through music will be a great way to add to my teaching because so much of my students' culture and generation are overflowing with the musical influence of today.

    For the Baroque Era, I think the students will LOVE the Minuet because it involves a type of gracefulness and also skill that many of my athletic students have.  Again, it is showing history in a way that speaks to their strengths and not their weaknesses.

  • I really enjoyed *trying* to follow along with learning the minuet!  I have been trying to teach my 3rd and 4th graders social skills.  I think that teaching my students different dances, would help improve social skills, manners, appropriate touch, etc.  

    I also appreciated the suggestion of using O MAGNUM MYSTERIUM, or music like it, as a transition between activities or subjects.  

    One hiccup in my implementation of this is I only have one girl in my class.  So, I wonder how I would handle that for dances that require partners.  I was also wondering, what is the specific minuet that we learned (I'm sure there are many)?

    Needless to say, my mind is wondering how/where integrate more dancing!

  • The music and dance of this period is so closely related to the technological advances that rushed through the world in this period. For those sticklers who aren't into arts in the classroom, this could be a key tie-in. For example- Renaissance Europe. Everything from construction techniques to importation of cloth due to trade relates. Taking just these two ideas together, one could make a lesson in which wealthy traders bring in silk and materials for clothes that the rich people wear to a ball in a noble's statehouse some distance away, where they dance in a literal "dance hall." This could be linked to primary source documents besides just the music (paintings, diary accounts or books, etc). Then students could reflect on the interconnection in either a Venn diagram or perhaps a magic book foldable. Taken in the pre-Columbian era, one could use the dances to talk about travel and trade in villages, and the importance of sharing these songs and dances with visitors and sharing local tales... perhaps even competing versions of the same event!

  • I love the idea of using the welcome dance from the Yakima Indians at the opening of class after we come into our classroom.  I can see how this might reduce their need to chatter but rather connect and recognize each other.  I think it will work.

    Dance is great for givign students a chance to move. I use brain gym already and they love it.  Period dances would provide more directed movement with a connection.  I know they respond to music so giving a bit of background as we listen to various musical styles and introducing them to period dances would work, I think.

  • The welcome dance would be a good morning routine/tradition.  I have done the dance that we learned at the Art Institute in Juneau as a morning activity and the kids seem to like it.  This would be another song to do and "change it up".   Anna had a good idea of using it as a class activity (inside/outside)

    The Minuete  I can't think of a class application for this right this minute but it would be a fun activity for PE.  We have done some of the New England Dancing Masters dances.  This would broaden the time period we could talk to the kids about.  So a question I still have is: Is this a dance that couples would dance one at a time.  It wouldn't be a dance floor full of couples?

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