The Dystopian Landscape

I’m working on the most fun project ever!

As a continuation of my years-long commitment to bringing innovative (and did I mention fun?) collaborative multi-disciplinary projects to our local District 65 elementary and middle schools, Evanston/Skokie, Illinois, I’ve created a concept that’s really floating my composition-oriented boat this academic year.

I’m working alongside the language arts and orchestra teachers and their students at Chute Middle School to create a multi-movement Concerto Grosso Based On Dystopian Themes for the school’s Honors Orchestra. This five-movement work will incorporate some elements of composition styles that the orchestra players probably won’t be too familiar with (such as chance, Latino, quartal, minimalistic and fugal elements).

As I work on the musical end of things, Chute students will be exploring the dystopian genre, learning about and working with the elements of structure in good story writing and, finally, crafting an original story. This final story will be interwoven into the body of the concerto grosso, to be read in five sections between movements.

Check out this wonderful presentation which is designed to attract Chute students into the Dystopian Drafters SocietyDystopian Storytelling.

There are many ways to incorporate impactful artistic elements into STEM-oriented curriculum (thereby creating STEAM!). I personally prefer a very hands-on and creative approach, where the students have significant input into the process and the teachers are in many ways steering the project forward. It’s the teachers who know their students best–and understand their own needs, in terms of supplemental projects which can enhance their curriculum. I see my role as being a creative ally who brings a different perspective on the marriage of music and academic disciplines.

More to come, as this project unfolds…

Rick Ferguson