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Creativity Matters

In lieu of a workshop in the spring of 2020 (thanks COVID-19...), Kids Compose facilitated a different way for kids to share their original compositions. This is a melody by 2nd grader, Grace, titled “What’s the Answer?” We look forward to when we can meet in person and the kids can experiment further with different ways to arrange their melodies, but meanwhile thank you to the musicians who enabled Grace to hear possibilities. We’d love to hear more!

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Zin! Zin! Pop!

Meet the Musicians

Zin! Zin! Zin!  A Violin!

Written by Lloyd Moss

Iluustrated by Marjorie Price

This video was created in response to a request by music educators who were suddenly facing online teaching due to COVID-19 (Thanks for the suggestion Maggie Olivo!) This fabulous book with incredible illustrations has been a favorite of mine since my own children were young. After discovering it, Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin! became my go-to gift at baby showers (still true today).

I have used this book in my own teaching in various ways throughout the years, and enjoyed writing variations on "Pop Goes the Weasel" to follow along with the book as it counts from solo to a chamber group of ten. (I will admit to twisting my dad's [Harold Popp] arm to write the trio variation, to which he graciously agreed— I always appreciate an opportunity to collaborate with him!) This project was a blast in large part to my family and friends who volunteered to participate from their various locations during quarantine. Thanks to:

Lauren Bernofsky, violin

Erin Hannigan, oboe

Suyeon Ko, flute

Tomer Maschkowski, trombone

Kathleen McLean, bassoon

Jeff Nelsen, French horn

Phil Ponella, clarinet

Victoria Ponella, harp

Marietta Simpson, narrator

Joey Tartell, trumpet

These incredible musicians are also good sports, providing great material to put together a complimentary video to "Meet the Musicians" and instruments of the Zin! Zin! Pop! video. (Huge thanks to my son, Tony Ponella, for all the editing assistance for both videos!)

Thoughts (excerpt from Creativity During Quarantine, 7/18/20):

Creativity during quarantine for me has been hit or miss. As a musician and teacher, I went from gigs, a full studio of students, and other classes, to practically nothing; only a handful of online lessons each week.

I've tried to put aside just worrying about what is happening in the world and look at this period as some found time when I can work on all those projects I never have time for, read the backlog of books I've been meaning to get to, re-connect with. friends and family over Facetime, and take stock of my life— what's working, what's missing, what kind of priority adjustments can improve my trajectory.

But honestly? It's been really hard at times to find the motivation to do anything, let alone be creative. Each day stretches out in front of us as that proverbial blank page that can lead to. writer's block or artist's block. With no deadlines, I can easily justify procrastination; after all, there's definitely time tomorrow to do whatever it was I was going to do.

And then there are those days that I make the mistake of turning on the news or looking at social media first thing in the morning, and before I know it, the day is shot and I'm too depressed to accomplish anything. Everything going on out there is too big, too important— but I'm too removed from life. I can't get in touch with my own creative voice, let alone project my voice beyond these four walls.

Then I feel guilty, because it's so important to be involved, share myself, be that piece of the puzzle of life that only I can fit— and when else in life am I going to have all this time to get stuff done.

Despite the overwhelming global health crisis, civil rights movement, and distressing daily news of what is happening in our country, some people seem to be thriving creatively— from writing songs and poetry or creating stunning art about their experiences to creating digital choirs and orchestras or reading books online. It's said that Shakespeare wrote King Lear while quarantined. You can tune in to Chris Cuomo and see heartening stories of what he calls "AmeriCANs" who are finding creative ways to help others during this crisis. I want to be one of those. I want to help, but who needs a cellist right now? What do you do when what you do doesn't feel like it matters right now? We have to look at other ways to ignite that spark of creativity— and it's not limited to whatever label is on our business cards... we are far more than that one identifying factor.

Yes, some people are able to take advantage of less busyness to tackle projects, but some of us are just trying to get our footing to figure out how to navigate this new normal. No matter how you're feeling, creativity and the need to have a creative outlet is inherent in all of us. So, how can we embrace our creativity during quarantine?

When we are in our homes alone or with the same people day

after day, week after week, month after month, uncertain of

what the future holds as far as health, employment, careers;

it is easy to crawl inside a hole and not feel artistically inspired.

That's when we have to cling to other kinds of creativity. Afterall, not

all creativity is artistic. In fact, cultivating new kinds of creativity

develops our whole selves and expands possibilities across the board.

      **Watch the video presentation of "Creativity in Quarantine"**

So, let's get creative in quarantine. Not in a one-size-fits-all, crank out

specific works of art type of way (though if you are so inspired, go for it!

I look forward to seeing the results.) Be intentional in taking the time to

process what is happening,  get in touch with your own creativity, expand your palette of possibilities through educating yourself and grabbing whatever experiences you can generate,  and cultivate your unique dot-to-dot tapestry with the connections that only you can contribute. What sparks your imagination and creativity might come from an unexpected source,  so be open to new experiences and ideas. It's so vitally important right now to engage in a movement that encourages a positive and open dialogue, a collaboration of thoughts and ideas, art and creativity as a path towards healing.

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