A Free Resource For Teaching With And Through The Arts

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A Free Resource For Teaching With The Arts

From a press release from The Music Center in Los Angeles:

In a move designed to support arts education in schools, The Music Center today announced the launch of a free online arts curriculum, Artsource®: The Music Center’s Study Guide to the Performing Arts, an easily accessible rich library of content designed to support teaching and learning in and through the arts.

This uniquely designed educational reference guide features 69 distinct units of study in three performing arts disciplines – dance, music and theatre. Each unit focuses on important artists and one of their signature performance pieces and demonstrates through specific examples how art is created and influenced by different cultures. In addition, the library identifies universal themes to reflect the essence of a selected work, including Transformation, Enduring Values, Freedom and Oppression, Power of Nature and The Human Family.

First introduced by The Music Center in 1989, Artsource was originally developed to support excellence for The Music Center’s Institute for Educators and The Music Center’s professional development programs.  The curriculum was later packaged and made available to educators, artists, schools and school districts to support California’s initiative to incorporate the visual and performing arts into the school curriculum within guidelines in the California Visual & Performing Arts Curriculum Framework and Standards, K-12.  In the mid-90s,

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The Music Center’s Artsource units were adopted by North Carolina’s Department of Education, and, in 1995, The Music Center partnered with McGraw-Hill to integrate elements of Artsource into the publisher’s elementary, middle and high school visual arts textbooks. This collaboration produced textbooks adopted in California that were used in classrooms nationwide. In its most recent iteration, Artsource, including all units, is now available as a digital resource on The Music Center’s web site.

“Early on in our history, The Music Center realized the need to provide hands-on support and resources about the arts to the classroom,” said Stephen D. Rountree, president and CEO of The Music Center. “Taking Artsource to the Internet provides us with a platform to broaden the reach of arts education by offering educators and students 24/7, 365 access to a rich arts resource, and aligns with the move toward the digital classroom,” he added.

According to Gai Jones, past president of California Educational Theatre Association (CETA) and Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) international governing board member, Artsource gives teachers the ability to bring the world of the arts into classrooms in a way that is engaging to students. “The Music Center’s Artsource materials are wonderful in the way they help educators open the eyes of students to the arts and encourage discovery,” she said.  “In fact, the activities address many of the many of the soon-to-be released national educational theatre standards.”

Each Artsource unit is enriched with audio-visual materials, examples of discussion questions and sample lessons. There are participation activities for three different levels of experience – beginning, intermediate and advanced. Units are grounded in the voice of the artists and provide a window into the artistic process. Examples span a broad range of dance, music and theatrical styles, including units on Arthur Mitchell & Dance Theatre of Harlem, Merce Cunningham, American Ballet Theatre, The Alley Cats, George Gershwin, the Children’s Theatre Company and Faustwork Mask Theater, among many others.  References are provided for those interested in additional information.

“In developing Artsource, our goal was to empower teachers to provide powerful learning experiences for their students, said Mark Slavkin, vice president of education for The Music Center. “Our years of experience in arts education, coupled with our close working relationships with teaching artists and educators, helped us determine what comprises effective teaching and led to this rich, comprehensive resource.”

Image attribution flickr user clintonsteed; A Free Resource For Teaching With The Arts