Music and Language Arts
Grade levels 2-3
“Gifts of the Griot” – Residency
“Secret of the Heart” – Inspiration
Gifts of the Griot is a seven-week residency designed for 2nd and 3rd grades which follows students who have experienced One World Drum Circles and Secrets of the Heart. This program explores the traditions of West African storytellers called “griots.”
The program begins with a professional development for parents and teachers, in which they learn what will be presented to their children and find the deeper meanings and connections to the heroes in their midst.
In classroom workshops, children create original folklore through poetry and then set it to music as they discover the heroes in their midst and the qualities that make them heroes. They sing songs of Africa, dance, learn about African culture, and understand the deeper meaning of being inspired.
Students identify instruments of Africa, as their poetry is adapted for the creation of an original song. The process involves language skills, reading, spelling, art and music. This residency takes place one day per week, in a 45 minute workshop, for seven weeks and can be customized to fit any number of classes. The residency culminates with an informal classroom performance for family and friends. The song created by each class is recorded by the facilitating artist.
The program is designed for four classes, with up to 30 students per class and can be expanded to include additional classes This program is currently taught by Ashley Maher, a vocalist and songwriter who has extensive experience with West African music and culture.