Paonia Elementary School students filed into the auditorium/gym on January 26 to experience music from The Silk Road performed by Marcin Arendt on violin, Kimberly Patterson cello, Benjamin De Kock Double Bass and David Alderdice on Drums. David introduced the the musicians to the audience of k-6th graders, noting that each string player was a doctor. Not a doctor of medicine rather a doctor of music. This performance was healing and educational for everyone in the audience in so many ways. There was a lively discussion where students were able to share their knowledge of the silk road (only one class knew about it and they shared great facts about bringing silk from India and the Orient to other places and sleeping on the silk road with their wares). The audience was able to travel the Silk Road through this magical musical tour with music from India, Middle Eastern countries, Mediterranean music, Music from the Jewish tradition, and songs from Poland. The music moved students as they felt the tamber and the Forte of the songs. The musicians did a fantastic job explaining these nuances to the crowd.

The students were enthusiastic and observant. They had many questions for the musicians including “what are the best parts of being a professional musician?” which David replied “the verb of music is play, I love to play.” and Kimberly stated “by being a musician, I get to be a citizen of the world. I share a common language of music and with music I am able to travel the world. Last year I was in the Middle East and Europe playing music. Even when I could not speak the language, I had something in common with the people I was working with, music.” The students were delighted to hear the music and had lots to share with the musicians.

I could tell that they were really paying attention when one student asked David “why did you change the sticks that you were playing with?” These musicians were thoughtful and thorough in answering the student’s questions. It is such a joy to share this music with young students and to see the appreciation that the students had for the music and the players. This performance was brought to Paonia Elementary school by Arts for All a collaboration between Mountain Harvest Creative, The Learning Council and Blue Sage.

Silk Road image

Earlier in the day, The Learning Council sponsored the Silk Road musicians as they traveled to Hotchkiss and presented to 7-8th grade band members for 45 minutes. The students had been working on big band music with multiple students on one instrument. The musicians discussed big band vs small ensemble music where you are the only voice with your instrument. These Silk Road musicians are a quartet, however, not a traditional String Quartet of violin, viola, cello, bass. Musicians discussed this configuration of a quartet and how the Silk Road ensemble had to make arrangements for this particular quartet. The conversation and lively music was encouraging students to play in undefined groups. Hotchkiss Band teachers Jeanette Carey Dillon Fixmer were out of school at a conference on Friday. Their substitute teachers were inspired by the kids and impressed by the quality of the outreach. Musicians shared about Gypsy music and the Silk Road, explaining how to pick up what you like from traditional music of regions travelled through and bring these to your music as a way to create your own style.

Other topics covered during the class were the feelings behind the music and how to convey those to an audience, practice strategies and techniques, ways to create music, skills required to be a professional musician and the need to be well rounded and personable.

Of course with David Alderdice in the classroom, the conversation was not complete without polyrhythm. Musicians shared about odd times as ways to get into the music and facilitated group exercises to make the music happen in a funky way.

The Learning Council Loves to reach out to our community with unique and engaging experiences! So much gratitude to David Alderdice and the Silk Road musicians as well as the Paonia Public School and Hotchkiss K-8 for hosting these assemblies.