Music Critics' Roundtable for the Elementary Set

By Adam F. RSS Wed, April 17, 2013

Librarians at the Parkway Central Music Department are rolling out a new media literacy program for teens.  Music Critics' Roundtable offers young people a chance to share music with each other at the library, learn to listen critically, and ultimately to produce new digital art and commentary inspired by the experience.

Like most learning opportunities at the library, this is a flexible program.  As experts and educators, librarians will guide discussion and teach the necessary tools.  Learners will take these prompts and deploy them for their own ends.

We recently discovered how wonderful this relationship of discovery between librarian and library patron can be when we had our pilot experiment on Friday, April 5th, 2013.  The Parkway Central's Children's Department reached out to the Music Department to see if we had any ideas for collaborative programs with their elementary and middle school patrons.  Even though we developed Music Critics' Roundtable as a teen program, we thought "why not see what would happen when we discuss music with young children?"  It gave us an opportunity to test our equipment and our methods prior to the program's debut.

To see what the younger kids got up to on April 5th, check out this brief video of the experience:



This program doesn't require expensive or flashy equipment to produce.  It mostly takes a place to talk and music to discuss.  With smart phones, the technology to capture photo, sound and video lives in the pockets of more and more people - especially young people.

There are many free tools you can use to edit digital content.  For an example see the Youtube Video Editor. However, we've found it easiest and most within the spirit of the Free Library to use an open source operating system for artists' called Ubuntu Studio to run an older library laptop.

In fact for many patrons struggling to keep up with the digital divide, Linux-based operating systems can be a wonderful way to unlock the potential of aging equipment.  We have excellent books on the topic if you'd like to get started on your own.

For a real behind the scenes look at the process of designing this piece of library curriculum, be a fly on the wall of one of our early staff planning sessions:



As young music fans at the library step into the public arena of music criticism, we’ll be sure to make the products of their conversations available online.  We’ll host Music Critics' Roundtable for teens each Wednesday in May from 3:30-5:00 in the Teen Center in Philbrick Hall.  Stay tuned for more in the coming months!

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