The Wyoming People Dream song is performed and written by the Sagewood Elementary 4th grade (Class of 2021) and Inda Eaton. The project is the result of a year long songwriting-recording exploration made possible by the NCSD Discover program.
Project Planning and Integration with Education StandardsAll of our programming and activities begin with intensive planning and review of curriculum standards with teachers and stakeholders. The tools we use help students create, write, perform and record a song based on their individual and collective inspiration.
Click to read this PDF overview and to learn more about how our programming, activities and tools were integrated with the Common Core State Education Standards for a specific elementary school project.
OCT 2012 - Meet the studentsIn October, we met with the SW 4th grade for the first time. In this phase, we started a rapport with the students and had our first production meeting where we discussed the overall elements of making a song. We formed smaller groups, started project notebooks and began to discuss inspiration. Our bass player, Curt Mychael was with us so we put a large emphasis on the rhythm section.4th graders don’t officially play instruments in school yet, but they can make beats and can conjure up melody. This was a perfect way to represent emigrant settlers with their melody and native culture with their rhythm and drumming. +IMAGE GALLERY
DEC 2012 - InspirationIn December, we continued working with the concept of inspiration through discussion and journaling. By this point, Paul Taylor had worked with the students and finished the mural. The mural project had such a huge impact on the students – we decided to write a song inspired by the meaning and experience of their project.As a melody starting point – we used ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and studied the European origins of the waltz and melody scale. For the rhythm and drumming – we studied modern drums and their native origins. Students recorded traditional drums and made beats using their bodies, found objects and at one point – chair smashing.We coordinated with educators and it was agreed that the students would study the story behind Waltzing Matilda, review the similarities between Wyoming and Australian culture and visit the trails center.+IMAGE GALLERY
FEB 2013 - RecordingIn February, we recorded xylophone parts and additional drum beats. The writers group kicked it up a notch and started flushing out words and themes for the lyrics. The basic melody and time signature for the song were developed.+IMAGE GALLERY
MAR 2013 - FinalizingExit interviews, combined writers groups and finalized the lyrics
APR 2013 - PerformingRecorded the final vocals, shared our stories at i2i at the Trails Center with Park and Mills elementary schools and reunited with Paul Taylor to perform Wyoming People Dream to include full percussion and didgeridoo. +IMAGE GALLERY
Ideas 2 Inspire OVERVIEW VIDEOI2I Coverage on K2TV
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MAY 2013 PROJECT COMPLETEDWyoming People Dream Video
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Wyoming People Dream - Song
Thoughts about the project
The Sagewood project tells a story that only art and sound can express.
The study of manifest destiny and emigration mixed with an understanding of native culture is a difficult topic for adults to wrap their heads around. Teaching it to 4th graders is daunting.
I can’t tell you how many times we had to look up the current politically correct word to describe the characters in the westward migration construct. Even at the National Trails Historical Interpretive Center with the curators, guides and docents, we were kicking around the best language to tell a complicated story.
The Australian storyteller, Paul Taylor did an excellent job with the Sagewood 4th grade to get the story of Sagewood, Casper and Wyoming down on canvas as it relates to Wyoming history. He used the metaphor of the Australian aboriginal dreamtime to convey the narrative. The simply elegant mural is packed with metaphor, allegory and analogy. Very heady and advanced concepts for 4th grade, yet they jumped in with their paint brushes to absorb the past as they told new stories.
The mural was a fine project and the result when mounted on the wall was stunning. What more could be said? When kicking around inspiration topics for a 4th grade music project – it was suggested that we use the mural as inspiration. The idea sounded o.k. – but I thought that the whole thing could be accomplished in a day or so because the mural was the mural. End of story. What more could you add? Anything that you could possibly add to the discussion would sound like a typical kids ballad with it’s roots in a typical country ballad that literally described the mural as it hung on the wall. “This is a song about the mural…” Think ‘farmer in the dell’ meets ‘George Strait’.
I was wrong. Through our group and individual writing sessions, the students came up with words, concepts that just bubbled up when discussing the idea of home, leaving home to go to a better place, travel to distant lands, limited resources, uncertainty, co-existing with the locals, dreams and hope for a better future.
Thank you for sharing in this inspirational experience.