Choice of Weapons: A Lyrical Connection
A Choice of Weapons: A Lyrical Connection is an Arts Partners program developed in 2015 with funding from the Ulrich Museum of Art.
Students will read one of Gordon Park’s books (A CHOICE OF WEAPONS or THE LEARNING TREE) prior to the residency. Students will identify themes from the book that are part of the characters’ lives. Students will then compare these themes with their own life. The Teaching Artist will use these themes as the basis for having students tell their own stories through writing poems or song lyrics. This residency teaches songwriting as both a language arts exercise and a musical expression.
Aaron Fowler teaches his Six-Steps to Song Writing process which includes: 1) Theme/topic; 2) Key words; 3) Rhyming words; 4) Form; 5) Rhythm; and 6) Melody. Each of the six steps is discussed as well as practiced in interactive ways. Students are given “homework” each night to support student-directed examples.
The culmination activity is a performance that includes both students’ songs as well as songs by the artist.
Appropriate for ages: Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12
Aaron Fowler draws from 12 years as a public school teacher working at both the elementary and middle school level and more than a decade as a songwriter and educational consultant.
Aaron also performs for Arts Partners in the duos “Pete and Woody” and “Adventures in Story and Song” and is a Kansas Wolf Trap and Baby Artsplay artist.
Thank you very much for working with our students this year. As a talented and very approachable adult, you made a positive and lasting impression. You adapted lessons quickly to match learning and emotional abilities. Lessons were fun and full of lighthearted, no pressure, laughter and direction. The kids have left this year with a sense of “I CAN.”
D. Miner, Sowers Alternative High School, Wichita
We are repeat customers and hope to always be. Songs are catchy and entertaining. I connect with the artist and want to hang out on the porch and jam all summer long. The program provides a mix of entertainment and learning. The hope is that more information is retained because it is presented in such a terrific way. Again the artist is amazing at spontaneously changing during the performance and interacting closely with a small group audience.
S. Bates, Anderson Elementary, Wichita
Aaron was excellent in connecting with students and staff. He has an incredible way of reaching out to audiences, feeding them pertinent information.
G. Cravens, Chisholm Life Skills Center
Aaron’s professionalism brought out the best in the students. His experience helped the students gain confidence from the residency.
R. Valdez, 11th grade, Heights High School, Wichita
He was great! He had the 2nd graders mesmerized. Everyone was singing along.
N. Squire, Art Instructor, Beech Elementary, Wichita
He totally captivated the kids of all ages within seconds of beginning. He encouraged participation from all students. Awesome JOB!
T. Belcher, Linwood Elementary, Wichita