When teaching, I often feel caught between my love of the creative process and the desire for a polished end product. Both are important, but limited time frames to work with students is always challenging. I generally only have 45 minutes to an hour once or twice a week to work with a group of students.
On the one hand, my proclivity is to invest more heavily in the creative process by allowing plenty of time for students to explore their art form unencumbered. On the other hand, I personally feel there is a need for an end-product, which requires focus on performance technique, polishing, and other important tasks. Particularly with the performing arts, I believe if students are not getting a chance to actually “perform” in front of an audience (big or small) they are not really learning the art form fully. Is it fair to cut out the “performance” element in favor of process? I lean towards no. Recently, I was fortunate enough to experience a fantastic solution to the product vs. process problem.
The collaborative performing arts activity I experienced was developed by Christy Robinson, Director of Enrichment at The Children’s School in Atlanta, GA. I am currently working as a choreographer at The Children’s School and we were in the midst of working on the musical There’s a Monster in My Closet.
Production paused over winter break and, when we returned„ instead of rehearsing for the musical in the typical fashion, Christy devised a refresher/warm-up had the students work collaboratively and write a musical scene about what they did during their time away from school.