Rick will be teaching 5 classes of 2nd graders at Whittier Elementary School in Frederick County. He will be spending four days working with the music teacher to help students learn about eight different stringed instruments. His theme is that "we are connected to the rest of the world through the instruments we play."
The instruments are guitar, banjo, harp, nyckleharpa, bass, bowed psaltery, fiddle, and hammered dulcimer. He will talk about where each instrument originated and how it came to the United States. He will also demonstrate how each instrument is played and then allow each student a few minutes to play it.
TAI - Teaching Artist Instutute - is a program that connects artists in a variety of genres with teachers in public schools. The artist receives training in how to put together a quality classroom experience including meeting teaching criteria set by the state. The artist is guided along the way by staff who have been successfully connected artists with schools for many years.
Rick's theme of connectedness comes out of his desire to help human beings live together in peace. One of the ways we can facilitate that is through understanding and appreciating our different cultures. Stringed instruments have a long history beginning in a variety of ancient cultures and journeying through the world before ending up in our own neighborhoods. The music that we make with those instruments has the same multiplicity of influences. Our contemporary music is the result of thousands of years of ethnic influences.