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February 27, 2014

Host: José Cárdenas

Mind Over Music

  |   Video
  • Mind Over Music is a model in which teachers are trained to integrate music into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) concepts. Phoenix Symphony President and CEO Jim Ward and Mark Dix, Phoenix Symphony musician talk about the model.
  • Jim Ward - President and CEO, Phoenix Symphony
  • Mark Dix - Musician, Phoenix Symphony
Category: Education   |   Keywords: education, phoenix, stem, arizona, music, model, mind,

View Transcript
José Cárdenas: Mind over music is a model in which teachers are trained to integrate music into STEM, science, technology, engineering, and math, concepts. We will talk to two guests about the model, but first here is a little about what the mind over music program is all about.

Woman: To give you one example of mind over music, it was with the second graders and they were learning the scientific inquiry process and how to form a hypothesis. They were able to examine the cello through the lens of a scientist and how it operates. What was really great about that lesson was that students were given the time and the space to develop that critical thinking. And that's one thing that's missing from k-12 education today is that there is so much emphasis placed on learning the right answer because we're so geared towards testing and students are given very little time to just explore their way to the right answer. Or in some cases the wrong answer which eventually gets them to the right answer. But with mind over music, they're given that space within the classroom to do that.

Teacher: Jacob, was that a high pitch or a low pitch?

José Cárdenas: Joining me now is Jim Ward, Phoenix Symphony president and CEO. And Mark Dix, a musician involved with the mind over music program. Gentlemen, thanks for joining us on "Horizonte." Jim, before we get into the details of the mind over music program, major announcement this week about your new conductor. Tell us about that.

Jim Ward: It's fantastic news. We have just announced our new Virginia G. piper music correct is Tito Munoz. He comes to us out of France, but Tito actually grew up in Flushing, Queens, and went to the same schools and broke on the national scene with the national symphony orchestra and has conducted with Cleveland and great orchestras around the world and we're very, very lucky to have him with us.

José Cárdenas: And you can tell from the pictures on the screen he's a young man but quite accomplished at a very early stage in his career.

Jim Ward: Absolutely. He's a young gun. We would like to say he's an up and comer and a lot of competition around the country to land him and we're very, very lucky that we chose him and he chose us.

José Cárdenas: The program we're going to talk about in a moment in more detail is just one of a number of outreach programs that the Phoenix symphony has. How will he play into that? Is this an area of interest for him?

Jim Ward: Absolutely. He is very committed to both education and community outreach in a number of ways. He's very committed to the next generation of artists and children and through education but also in our other programs and I just might add we'll talk about mind over music but we have a great program in health and wellness called the B Sharp Health and Wellness, funded by the Walton family foundation that allows, not only to go into classrooms but to go into hospitals, to go into homeless shelters, to go into Alzheimer's treatment facility that we're expanding into and thanks to the Walton Family Foundation we're able to do that and Tito is committed to doing all of those activities as a part of an engagement with our Phoenix community.

José Cárdenas: And Mark, number of innovative programs going on at the Phoenix Symphony in terms of outreach. Nobody else has done this in the country?

Mark Dix: That's right. I think the historical model for symphony orchestras, our education, big concerts where kids and community are bussed in to see us perform in our hall or to go to the schools with the smaller groups. This program we're really directly, Mind Over Music we're in the classroom working directly with the teachers, not so much with the model to go in and teach about Mozart’s birthday and specifically the orchestral field but to find out what the teachers are trying to teach in their classroom.

José Cárdenas: It's not like you show up and show people what the music is. There's a lot of planning that goes into this.

Mark Dix: Tremendous. And that's the real learning curve for both the musician like for myself who have, I'm trained in viola, I'm not trained in writing poetry and other science concepts so I need the teachers' wisdom and how they're teaching a fourth grade class and the teachers need my wisdom, how to creatively bring my art form into the classroom to heighten their electricity and interest into what they're trying to teach.

José Cárdenas: Now, I want to come back to this to discuss more of the details, what was the thinking behind this particular program? Because as Mark indicated, it's not just to show them this is what a viola looks like and this is the sound it makes. It's something different, tied directly to education.

Jim Ward: Exactly. This is really a response to the needs of the community.

José Cárdenas: And while we're talking, we've got pictures on the screen of what's going on.

Jim Ward: As we went out into the community and discussed opportunities and ideas, we got a clear idea back from the community that we needed to find new ways to teach STEM and we could leverage music in that unique way but we also needed to prove the efficacy of what we were doing. This is an entirely ground-up program. We're the only American orchestra in the country doing this, where our musicians go in with the teachers and create these brand-new curriculum, leveraging music to teach STEM. But we've created a longitudinal, quantitative study where we're testing test groups and control groups, we're testing children and teachers, and even in the first year of our testing, we're in the second year right now, we saw demonstrable improvements in the test group, 18 percent increases in improvement in test scores, leveraging music to teach STEM. And because of that, we've proved the efficacy of the program and have it funded through this pilot program, time frame and we're very, very excited about that.

José Cárdenas: Let's talk about your partner, ASU Prep.

Mark Dix: Wonderful school on Seventh Street and Fillmore.

José Cárdenas: An inner city school so to many people that would be a particular challenge.

Mark Dix: Absolutely. I think some of it has to do with just breaking down the barriers between an inner city school and an arts organization, that we are there not just to give concerts but we are to come in and work directly to serve their needs. But the kids, teachers have been tremendously receptive and for sitting down at the table and figuring out how to do this in the classroom, the teachers have been very welcoming. To have new faces, professionals coming into their classroom with our instruments to perform but it's the learning curve of seeing how the kids can grasp onto -- one class I did was about the planets for fourth grade and so I had a piece of music that had depictions of the planets and played some of those excerpts, so you could see that this concept of what are the attributes of Mars and what does that make you feel like? Along with the physics they have on the planet Mars, and then you really have a child who has a much more profound memory of learning about Mars through the arts in this type of environment.

José Cárdenas: And how many musicians are involved in the program?

Mark Dix: I think about 25. In the high 60s, almost 70 musicians in the Phoenix symphony and a large number of participation from the players. For all of us, this is really a new field where we come in and are doing something we've never done before, which is exciting for us, for all of us in our careers to do something we haven't done before but we have a passion for.

José Cárdenas: Now, Jim, you indicated this is year two now. Lessons learned from the first year and are there things that are being done differently this time around?

José Cárdenas: Absolutely. I think our musicians going into this had to be trained to be in a classroom environment and learn how to development curriculum to meet standards in all of those types of things and sit down with the teachers and their counterparts and develop this curriculum. I think this year, it's much more efficient. They've been through that once and now are -- have learned from that and have made that leap into the classroom in a much more efficient way and, you know, we'll improve upon it in the third year. This thing hopefully will be able to scale beyond that.

José Cárdenas: And hopefully, we'll see even more spectacular results than you already have. Thank you both for joining us on "Horizonte" to talk about this program.

That’s our show for tonight. From all of us here at eight and "Horizonte," I’m José Cárdenas. Have a good evening.

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

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  • The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) was started in Los Angeles in 1974. The objective was to form a national organization of professional engineers to serve as role models in the Hispanic community. Mariela Resendez,president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers of ASU and Carrie Robinson, SHPE's chapter advisor talk about the organization and its efforts to get people interested in engineering.
  • Mariela Resendez - President, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers of ASU
  • Carrie Robinson - Chapter Advisor, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers of ASU
Category: Education   |   Keywords: education, engineering, asu, hispanic, professional, efforts,

View Transcript
José Cárdenas: Thank you for joining us. The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers known as SHPE was founded in Los Angeles in 1974. The objective was to form a national organization of professional engineers to serve as role models in the Hispanic community. Here now to talk about this group and their efforts to attract Hispanics to the engineering profession are Mariela Resendez, President of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers of ASU, and Carrie Robinson, SHPE’s chapter advisor. Thank you both for joining us on "Horizonte." It's good to have you here. Carrie, let's start with you since you're the chapter advisor. Give us a little bit of history. We noted that the organization was founded in 1974. Trace that and how it got started.

Carrie Robinson: SHPE started at ASU in 1982 and the mission is looking to create a community and a society that supports Hispanics and Latinos and encourages them to pursue careers and education in engineering and the other STEM fields, so in science, technology, engineering and math.

José Cárdenas: And Mariela, you would be one of the success stories because you were first introduced to SHPE and engineering while you were in high school.

Mariela Resendez: I got involved as a sophomore in high school. I actually got introduced by an ex-national president, Melissa Drake, she's still involved in SHPE.

José Cárdenas: Were you even thinking of a career in engineering?

Mariela Resendez: I had no idea what engineering was. I started getting involved in robotics and I started learning about mechanisms, electrical systems, anything that was engineering related but no one ever told me was engineering until I got introduced into engineering.

José Cárdenas: And that made you want -- you ended up at ASU, you've been there for a number of years now and now you are president of the local chapter.

Mariela Resendez: Yep.

José Cárdenas: How did that come about?

Mariela Resendez: Well, I was president of the chapter at my local high school, and then it just carried on. As a freshman, sophomore and college I decided to get more involved and get into outreach itself within SHPE. So it just grew from there.

José Cárdenas: And Carrie, what are the kinds of things that the organization does as part of its outreach? We already know that they go to the high schools but what kinds of programs do you offer there?

Carrie Robinson: So we go out into a lot of the local k-12 schools and do a variety of different outreaches. We have some junior chapters throughout the Phoenix metro area.

José Cárdenas: Kind of like the one that Mariela was talking about.

Carrie Robinson: That is one of the junior chapters which we have. And so we have current college students that are engineering majors going out into the schools and working with these students.

José Cárdenas: We've got a picture on the screen right now. Would that be an example of working in the high school?

Carrie Robinson: Absolutely. So that's one of our activities where we have the students build a ramp on a beg board to understand a lot of those principles of velocity and trying to get them excited in doing hands-on activities with engineering and science.

José Cárdenas: Do the kids really get excited and think I want to be an engineer?

Carrie Robinson: Absolutely. The students become super competitive, they become really into what they're doing. Any time you give students something to play with that they get to manipulate, they get very excited about it.

José Cárdenas: And this picture, I'm not sure it looks like it's at the state capitol?

Mariela Resendez: This picture was in Indiana at a national conference, just some of our members attending.

José Cárdenas: And so the national conference, every year there's a national conference for the organization?

Mariela Resendez: Yes. They bring a lot of students from all over the country to the conference.

José Cárdenas: What kinds of things do you talk about?

Mariela Resendez: So there's different things. There's undergraduate tracks, graduate tracks, there's also competitions where we can compete in such as extreme engineering, technical poster competition, and academic Olympiad.

José Cárdenas: These are for people that are already in college?

Mariela Resendez: Yes.

José Cárdenas: So as president, what is your role?

Mariela Resendez: Just to inspire and to motivate our students to keep pursuing engineering. Although it may be hard, they can still succeed and be engineers.

José Cárdenas: And how many people are in your chapter?

Mariela Resendez: We have over 80 members and 50 active members.

José Cárdenas: And to be active, what does that mean? You attend meetings but are they also expected to participate in the outreach activities?

Mariela Resendez: Yes. So there's outreach, there's also leadership development, chapter development, different activities for them. Going to conferences, going to barbecues, creating mixers for other students and stuff like that.

José Cárdenas: And what about the mix between Latinas and Latinos in the organization? I know recently last week at -- it was an ASU function I think in Tucson and a few weeks before that, something similar put on by the U of A focused on Latinas. Is that a particular focus of your group as well?

Mariela Resendez: We target overall Hispanics in engineering. There's no specific target for Latinas but we try to attract them into our organization, as well.

José Cárdenas: But it's similar to what it is in the population at large in the sense that women are not as likely to think of engineering as a career until somebody says you know anybody can do this and it's really something to be interested in?

Mariela Resendez: Definitely. Well, we try to get involved with the conference, a function held by Intel at a community college where they try to attract as many women or girls in high school and middle schools into this program for them to get involved in engineering, to introduce them to engineering and get motivated to go into engineering itself.

José Cárdenas: And to give it a shot.

Mariela Resendez: Yes.

José Cárdenas: Carrie, is it working? In terms of the numbers of people who are involved? Is this kind of outreach working?

Carrie Robinson: Absolutely. So you're talking about women in engineering and nationally we're looking at about 20 percent of engineering students being female.

José Cárdenas: Is that a number that's decreased over time?

Carrie Robinson: Not necessarily. That's something that we're definitely pushing towards trying to get more and more females to feed into the pipeline, to come into engineering, to see that as a viable career option and that's where these outreach efforts really come into play. Same thing with, especially the Hispanic population. Because we know that there are so many family influences on their decisions, whether it's to go to college or whether to persist, that these events really do a good job of not only getting the students excited about pursuing engineering but also educating the family members to understand the benefits of a career in engineering so that these students are able to give back to their family and really kind of persist in engineering.

José Cárdenas: Mariela, last question. What is that a factor in your situation? The involvement of your family and convincing them that this was something that was good for you?

Mariela Resendez: Oh, yes. Well, kind of. When I first mentioned it to my parents they were like what, what are you doing in engineering? What is that? They were confused because I told them I was doing mechanical. They thought I was going to be a mechanic and I was like it has nothing to do with that. Once I explained what engineering was with them, they were really supportive, still very supportive to this day.

José Cárdenas: Well, before I switch to political science, I was an engineering major and all my relatives thought it meant I would be driving a train. Thank you so much for joining us on "Horizonte" to talk about this wonderful program.

Both: Thank you.

Sounds of Cultura (SOC): El Puente Theatre Festival & Mask Procession

  |   Video
  • Childsplay is hosting a free event for families called, "El Puente Theatre Festival & Mask Procession." Artist Zarco Guerrero discusses details of the event.
  • Zarco Guerrero - Artist
Category: Sounds of Cultura   |   Keywords: the arts, art, event, theatre, festival, families,

View Transcript
José Cárdenas: Childsplay will be hosting a free event for families in March called "El Puente, Childsplay’s First Theatre Festival and Mask Procession. Joining me to talk about this is Childsplay and local artist Zarco Guerrero. Welcome back to "Horizonte." You've been on the show many times, multitalented artist but typically, we're talking about your masks. Let's talk about how this came about as we noted in the introduction. It's a first time experience for Childsplay. How did it happen?

Zarco Guerrero: Well, it's one of those things where a lot of the institutions in our organizations are trying to broaden their audience, bring more people into the theater, to do new innovative works of art and to reinvigorate the art of theater and theater going. So my mission as artistic director of El Puente is to get community involved in theater workshops, in mask making, in performance to bring them into the Tempe Center for the Arts where we're going to have the festival so we can straight the art of theater and the art of mask making through a procession and get people exposed to the fine work that Childsplay does in creating theater.

José Cárdenas: And El Puente itself was the proposal to the Doris Dix Foundation and it was intended to be outreach to the Hispanic community?

Zarco Guerrero: Exactly, exactly. They were eligible for this grant by the foundation and they had to come up with an idea for this grant. So they asked me if I would write the narrative for them or come up with an idea of what I thought would be appropriate ways to reach a wider audience. And it was simple for me because they're the resident theater company at Tempe Center for the Arts, a wonderful facility for the arts and they also have this beautiful elegant bridge that crosses the Tempe town lake. What a magnificent metaphor for theater, for the arts, for crossing over, for reaching out, for transcending and transforming and that's exactly what we want to do.

José Cárdenas: And a metaphor that really fits Arizona in particular, it can also mean crossing the border and particularly this time when we're once again in the midst of some legislation that may signify to outsiders that we are intolerant towards diversity. This sends a different message.

Zarco Guerrero: It does send a different message and for me as an artist, a community activist, that's exactly my goal. I want to create something through this festival that's going to project us nationally in a positive light as being a diverse community, a community that comes together to celebrate the arts and a community that accepts people from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, and that we're a community and we're a state that is much more than what's being perceived right now in the national scope because of the legislation coming out of Arizona.

José Cárdenas: And this event, too, is a pretty sizable grant. It's for more than one presentation.

Zarco Guerrero: Yes, we're going to have two puente festivals for the next two years. Every fall and spring. And then once the grant runs out, we want to continue this as an annual event. We want to make a big impact in the next two years. Get as many our community members involved, artists, families and people who want to experience the art in a new way and want to participate. That's really our goal to get people who haven't been exposed to theater to come to the theater and to feel like it's part of their lives and part of their culture. That's what we're striving to do is to re-create, reinvent the culture here in Arizona and make it something that really impacts people's lives and make it significant in what's going on here throughout our state.

José Cárdenas: So the first event is March 9th; is that right?

Zarco Guerrero: March 9th.

José Cárdenas: So the people that go, what will they experience?

Zarco Guerrero: First of all, they'll experience community artists from the area, including community theater groups -- A lot of different organizations, schools and community groups who have been making masks and creating theater and art for the community, they're all going to come together at Tempe Center for the Arts under umbrella of this magnificent celebration.

José Cárdenas: And you I talked a little bit off camera, masks is a particular emphasis of this event and unique in Arizona.

Zarco Guerrero: Yes, it's been my goal for the last 30 years to reinvent the use of masks in our society, in our culture in particular and to give it a new life in a contemporary, urban situation and for me, it's an excellent way to get people involved. Once you make a mask and you put it on, you're part of the show.

José Cárdenas: And we've had some pictures on the screen while we're talking about the kinds of things that the kids will be able to wear. Tell us about the procession itself, how that's going to work.

Zarco Guerrero: Well, the procession will be a procession in the traditional sense. We're going to meet at one side of the bridge, we're going to gather there. There will be music and there will be people performing and then at a certain time we're going to congregate and cross the bridge to the other side.

José Cárdenas: Like the people we had on the camera a moment ago with the animal masks which you've created over time.

Zarco Guerrero: We're going to have a lot of the masks that have been used in community celebrations in the past and a lot of new masks that have been created by the community itself.

José Cárdenas: And I understand one of the special features about the procession is it will be led by the Cat in the Hat because there's theater performances that will be going on while you're there.

Zarco Guerrero: Well, Childsplay does -- everything they do is fantastic. And so this year, they're presenting Cat in the Hat and the Cat in the Hat will be the person or the thing that's going to be leading the procession into the theater where the audience will be presented with this performance of Cat in the Hat by Childsplay.

José Cárdenas: And as I understand it, the first 200 kids or audience members who want to be there get in free. And then at the end of that performance, the Cat in the Hat's going to lead the procession?

Zarco Guerrero: Exactly. How there's only room -- there's only room for 200 people in the theater but everybody will have a theater experience. As I mentioned before, there will be many artists performing right there in the atrium of the theater and activities inside, out, food, everything is free.

José Cárdenas: That sounds like a wonderful event coming up soon. Hope you get a good crowd because it sounds like a fantastic event.

Zarco Guerrero: Thank you, it will be.

José Cárdenas: And thanks for joining us to talk about it.