In the schools

Musical Experiences for Elementary to High Schools,
with Jim Scott

Jim Scott has inspired thousands of young people with the magic of music. His jazz /world folk influenced songs challenge kids to listen and participate in something out of the ordinary, while the lyrics speak directly to them of peace, ecology, diversity, and just plain feeling good about themselves.

Perhaps best known as a member of the Paul Winter Consort, Jim wrote many pieces for the group, most notably their “Missa Gaia – Earth Mass. He’s gone on to create several albums of his songs and instrumental music, and done soundtrack music for PBS and others. Jim’s “Earth and Spirit Songbook,” an anthology of over 100 songs of earth and peace by many contemporary composers provides diverse material for participatory concert/workshop presentations.

Jim has also held a great interest in arts education and worked with young people all over the country. He has written many songs for and with children as well as leading workshops in Improvisation and Self-expression in colleges and High Schools.

The heart of Jim’s work, though, is his songs that engage and educate about real values. Entertaining while not talking down to his audience, Jim creates an intimate atmosphere to captivate younger listeners. In a style that’s hip enough and yet warm and open enough, he sings of values that connect with older age groups. Jim’s skill on a solo guitar, using no electronic gimmickry, wins over even tough critics. He often leaves young audiences marveling that they didn’t know it was possible to play so much on one guitar. His book on guitar technique was published by Hal Leonard in 2000, and Jim offers an energizing guitar workshop for older students.

Concert examples:

Big and Little Stuff
(pre- school to elementary)
Diversity, respect and problem solving. Possible songs: Big and Little Stuff, Everybody Needs a Hug Sometimes, I Want to Do it by Myself, Good Things.

Friends – How the Whole World Works in Harmony
Social and ecological connections; cooperation. Possible songs: Hands, A Great Big Breath, To Be Your Friend, Lullaby (I’m Thankful), The Rainforest Song, Common Ground.

The Tree and Me
(older elementary to all ages)
Story and songs from Jim’s musical about the Northwest, Native American wisdom, and the saving the ancient forests. Possible songs: Tree of Life, Rocked by the Loving Wind, The Oneness of Everything, I Will Shelter You.

Where Do Songs Come From?
(all ages)
Creativity, and the artist’s urge to communicate experience; with reflections on Jim’s own process. Possible songs: The Fires of Creation, Let All Our Hearts, The Braided Rug, Love is On Your Side, Clearing.

Songs for the Earth
(middle school and High School)
Poetry and songs of ecology – natural cycles vs. pollution, consumption, exploitation, etc. Possible songs: A Song for the Earth, Common Ground, An Enchanted Isle, Still the Sun Will Shine, The Oneness of Everything.

What is Peace-making? And Can it Work?
(High school)
Peace, justice and non-violence. Possible songs: Harmony, Nothing but Peace is Enough, There’s a Way, Season of Change. Common Ground, May Your Life be as a Song.

From his classical training, jazz experience, and world music interest to his work with the Paul Winter Consort on the celebrated Missa Gaia/Earth Mass, Jim has collected a wealth of experience and influences in his music. Collaborating with choirs of all ages, he energizes any group with the joy of communicating.

Many of Jim’s choral works are published and available through Hal Leonard, and many more are available from Jim’s arrangements range from simple one and two part treble voice pieces for elementary grades, to challenging SATB compositions that can feature him with a high school or college choral group. Jim has performed with youth choruses such as the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, Chrysalis Youth Choir, Portland OR, and the Kansas City Academy for the Arts.

A concert for more accomplished chorus might include formal (classical) pieces by Jim along with Latin/Caribbean and rock styles in his song arrangements, selections from the Missa Gaia – Earth Mass or his new oratorio Vessels of the Sun. Some of his collaborations include the Univ. of OR Singers, The Pacific Lutheran Univ. Chorale, WA; The Pomona College Choir, CA; The Choir of Cal State Los Angeles, CA: The Du Page Chorale, Il; The Eugene Vocal Arts Ensemble, OR and the Dedham MA Chorale.

The Tree and Me, Jim’s stage musical, tells the story of a boy who fights to save the forest and his favorite tree from being cut down. The play has had full cast productions by Jamestown Comm. College (NY), and the Albion Community Players (MI). An abridged version for elementary ages has been done in workshop form by several schools.

Well known for his ecological activism, Jim is frequently invited to be a featured speaker. His presentations, mixing talk and music, can be particularly appropriate for special school-wide events celebrating the environment, peace, etc. Jim is continually creating presentations on environmental and peace themes. Some examples:

Gaia, Mother Earth and the Oneness of Everything
Art, Music and Creativity in Peacemaking/Nonviolence Practices
Putting Science into Song

Jim has lead workshops in self-expression, focusing on music making and poetry in several different ways. These can be combined for an experience tailored to the students needs and interests.

Music-for All Improvisation
– An experience in sound and movement for interested students at any level of experience. This might be offered to the band or chorus as a great ensemble builder, but the premise is we are all artistic and creative. All instruments, voice and body.

– A fun and games process to gather poetry ideas and let the words sing their melodies to us. This can be a collaboration by the whole class, or an individual endeavor. Jim has spent full weeks at schools and on several occasions written and recorded complete songs with various classes.  To hear some examples from the Floral Street Elementary School, click here.

– From his book on guitar technique published by Hal Leonard, Jim, presents an off-beat approach to learning a lot about the guitar, and remembering it. With games visualizing “where the notes are,” Jim also encourages players find their own style,
being expressive and playing together.
(This is best for middle school and older.)

Poetry / Creative Writing
– Jim draws on his own stories and song lyrics for examples, motivating students through games and interactions to get prolific and write for fun.

Talking with a Musician
– Jim can also just meet with students informally. Typical subjects: Career – “How I Make a Living other than TV Stardom;” Education; Travels, etc.

Further information
More extensive descriptions of these workshops are available. Jim will be happy to discuss details with interest-ed teachers and administrators.

For Teachers
Jim can provide a lively and inspiring In-service workshop for teachers as well on his methods for teaching improvisation and creativity.
Possible subject that can be covered in a participatory experience:

Improvisation and Self-expression Skills
Finding Your Voice – Music and Empowerment
Music and Struggle – Songs of Peace
Making Songs About Science (or another subject)