Friday, May 10, 2019

Motivating Students to Achieve Musically



 Reaching top charts in 1983, "Africa" by Toto found resurgence in the last couple of years, refueled in part, by an internet fire. The song has been used in TV shows, movies, games, countless memes, and YouTube covers.

Mr. Clifford Hall, an elementary music teacher at North Coventry and East Vincent Elementary schools, understood that young musicians could relate to the joyful melody and popularity of the song in ways that may motivate them to new levels of mastery with their instruments. “The students are actually jazzed to learn and play it even though it is difficult. The piece is more of a middle school arrangement in terms of complexity,” said Hall.
Mr. Cliff Hall with some of his students
Mr. Hall, who composes and arranges music for his students in addition to teaching, has an interest in music publishing. “There is plenty of pirating that goes on with music. I wanted to find a way to legally have the rights to use the song,” added Hall.

The first quote he received from Tresona Multimedia was too expensive, but after he negotiated with them, he was able to purchase the rights to have his arrangement  legally commissioned for one year.
 

The first quote he received from Tresona Multimedia was too expensive, but after he negotiated with them, he was able to purchase the rights to have his arrangement  legally commissioned for one year.

He applied for funding through Owen J. Roberts Friends of the Arts, and the organization backed Hall’s project. Students in advanced orchestra from East Vincent and North Coventry Elementary Schools performed the song at the spring concert on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. "We had a lot of fun learning this song with its tricky rhythms and strong backbeat," said student Erin Bolger.

Hall, who also freelances as a journalist for The Philadelphia Inquirer and Guitar World, is chronicling this story in the October issue of the national education magazine Teaching Music.

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