Young Composer Michael Taylor Visits Texas Elementary School
From the Top encouraged 17-year-old composer and Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award recipient Michael Taylor to plan an arts outreach program after his December appearance on the radio program in Indianapolis, IN. He recently sent us this update following his visit to his local elementary school in Arlington, TX:
Today I went over to Short Elementary for my cultural leadership initiative. I knew the music director there, and he got together his fourth graders and his sixth graders to come and listen – this actually served as an inspirational performance to recruit fourth graders into his strings class. My friend, Caleb Simmons, came along and played the guitar. We really had some fun! The idea was to delve into all different kinds of styles and perk up the kids’ interest. We led off with a jazzy improvisation on violin and guitar, and I broke my E string at the end playing the violin too hard! I then gave the kids a taste of the djembe, Caleb played a solo on guitar, and I played them some Rachmaninov on the piano! At this point my E string had finally been replaced, so after some Pirates of the Caribbean theme music – very familiar to the kids – I gave them some classical violin, playing the catchy Bach Gavotte and Rondeau and the third movement of Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole. We ended with another improvisation. All this time I was talking about the music, the composers, and the instruments, and I answered a lot of questions from the students. They enjoyed it a whole lot, and I think I showed them just how fun/awesome/cool the violin can be!
We encourage everyone to become more involved with arts in their communities. Have a project like Michael’s that you are proud of? Leave a comment and let us know what you’re up to!