Welcome to Campus International 2016-2017 school year

16 Sep

We are thrilled to be back at school making music and changing lives at Campus International.  The students were so enthusiastic from the first day.  We have learned songs, dances and poems in class, performed for parents and fellow classmates and embarked upon a lifelong journey of music, just in the first few weeks.  To showcase the new school year, we will tell our story in photos.

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Pirates ashore!

20 Sep

In case you were not aware, September the 19th is the official ‘Talk like a Pirate’ day.  We took advantage of this opportunity to sail the high ‘key of C’ with our students.  The Kindergarten classes sang of Jumping aboard a pirate’s ship.  We inquired about Flow and Ebb, creating movements to each turn of the tide.

Even though we may be pirates, we are still caring.

Even though we may be pirates, we are still caring.




Welcome to all our Explorers

26 Aug

Welcome Back!  We hope your summer was sweet and safe. What a delight to hear these comments on the first day of school:

“I am so happy to be back at school!”

“I went to music camp this summer.”

“I thought summer was too long, I missed Campus International.”

“I learned the rest of my belts on the recorder, can I play them for you NOW?”

“I have new shoes and no front teeth!”

We welcome new friends and new teachers at Campus International this year.  Mr. Jason Levy  joined our musical voyage bringing with him a wealth of knowledge and instruments. .  Mr. Jason Levy holds a Master of Music Degree from The University of Akron, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Heidelberg College.  He has been teaching for 12 years and has been at the 4 gender schools the past few years.  Mr. Levy is currently the CMSD All City Elementary/Middle School Choir Coordinator and also one of the directors.  The All City Choir is made up of students from 16 different schools and performs at both the CMSD Winter Concert and also the Rock Your World Festival at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  He will be starting his 13th season as a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and has had the opportunity to perform twice at Carnegie Hall, the Lucern Festival in Switzerland and in London, England at the Proms.  Mr. Levy really enjoys traveling all over the country/world and is always looking forward to his next adventure.  One of his favorite parts of traveling is going into grocery stores and markets in the cities he is visiting as he is an avid cook and admittedly a foodie.  Mr. Levy is excited to be a part of the Campus International family and is looking forward to making music with all of our explorers.

Our new kindergarten explorers are showing great enthusiasm in music class.  We marched, clapped, waved and most importantly giggled as the music led us to explore our new environment.

Up, up and away we go!

Up, up and away we go!

 The kindergarten class donned their binoculars as a 2nd grade class performed Apple Tree.
Ready to explore

Ready to explore

Using a common subject in elementary school, Mr. Levy has taught the 1st and 2nd graders a great rhyme about a ‘wiggly, jiggly, loose tooth’ complete with student created body percussion.  I am hanging on by a thread to see what they will do with this piece.

I have a loose tooth, a wiggly, jiggly loose tooth.

I have a loose tooth, a wiggly, jiggly loose tooth.

We hope the tooth fairy is as ready as the 2nd graders.

We hope the tooth fairy is as ready as the 2nd graders.

This year is an exciting time for 4th and 5th graders as we begin our instrumental program.  We have asked the explorers to think about what instrument they would like to play, writing a persuasive statement as to why they have chosen the instrument.  What instrument speaks to you and why?  Was it because you like the tone, an uncle played it, you feel a certain way when you hear the instrument?  Mr. Levy and I demonstrated the instruments to the 5th grade classes and the reactions were awesome.  Funny how we both kept playing Star Wars as we demonstrated each instrument available to the explorers.

Mr. Levy demonstrates the Coronet to the 5th graders.

Mr. Levy demonstrates the Coronet to the 5th graders.

Our wish list for the moment is small and simple.  We would like to have 26 milk crates.  At the moment, we have 8.  If you have one and it is not hanging in your garage, please drop it off in the music room.

Bootsy Collins and Campus International School make music and headlines!

28 May

Bootsy Collins came to town to perform with CYO and asked if I could come up with a choir of 50 kids to be his back-up choir.  I said it would be hard to choose only 50 but I would try my best.  We performed to a sold out audience on May 16 with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra under the tutelage of Liza Grossman.  This was an experience of a lifetime for our explorers and I am so thrilled to have been a part of ‘Wind Me Up’ and ‘Psychotic Bumpschool’ with Bootsy and CYO.

The commitment of each choir member was evident as well as their enthusiasm.  We practiced every day for 2 weeks at noon.  They chose to forego recess and stay in a crazy crowded room to sing yet one more time.  The hard work really paid off as they were the true rock stars of the evening.

Bootsy  came to our school to spread his words of enthusiasm and creativity to ALL our explorers.  Check out the press from the events:

Bootsy also agreed to do a benefit for his foundation and also for the benefit of Campus International explorers.  One could purchase a ticket to the benefit or bring an instrument to donate.  All instruments donated came straight to our school and some are already in the hands of our explorers, creating beautiful sounds and rhythms in our music classroom.  We were so fortunate to receive 4 cellos, 10 violins, 3 trombones, 3 trumpets, 2 clarinets, 1 flute, hand drums, djembe drum, 1 coronet, and 4 guitars.  For a music class that started with sixty red rhythm sticks and not an instrument more, we have come a long way.  Thanks to everyone for helping us enrich lives through music.


The choir and the first rehearsal at CSU.



Hannah asked Bootsy if he could dance. He asked her the same question and down she ran to the stage and showed him a move or two. AWESOME Hannah!


Bella and Ryan ask Bootsy to come to our school.  Ask and you shall receive!

Bella and Ryan ask Bootsy to come to our school. Ask and you shall receive!



Patty presented Campus International with 30 instruments that were donated to our school.



Interview in the music room





Rock Stars Alanis and Kiara

Taken from Bootsy Collins Foundation website: http://www.bootsycollinsfoundation.org/vision

The Bootsy Collins Foundation  will create opportunities to play whatever instrument you choose to play from piano, oboe, banjo, guitar to turntables, it is their choice but it is up to us to help provide them with the tools to help minimize the obstacles that they will face in this unforgiving life we all have to endure. We at BCF are determined to grow with the times while bringing the good old times back into our future.  Our youth need more reliable and respectable platforms to demonstrate their creative energies as the musical process continues to unfold so that they can look forward to their future and have fun while in the process.

Vision | Bootsy Collins Foundation

“Say it Loud-An-Instrument-4-Every-Child.”  This program is designed for the preservation and education of past, present and future programs to keep the youth motivated and educated on music and how they too can become major players in this on going music arena. While building a circle of trust, people will learn the secrets of keeping music alive while re-introducing themselves and their music to future generations to come.

The Creative Cycle

24 Apr

We have been exploring The Creative Cycle in 3rd and 4th grades. Thanks to Amy Keus, I have a much better understanding of how we can use this cycle at Campus International.  Basically, you just take any idea, assignment, task or project and split it up into four parts: planning, working, fixing, and showing.

For starters, I asked our 3rd graders how do they earn a belt in Karate?  This began an entire class discussion of what is involved in the process.  In the end, each student realized they indeed use this cycle but in many different ways and using different terms.

Let’s take the practice section for example.  How each student worked on the belt varied the most, but the action was practicing, so it all fit.  Some explorers practiced by playing it for their parents, some practiced on the bus by running through the fingering without actually blowing into the recorder (good thing because the bus drivers would have a new recorder if they played it on the bus!)  some only practiced in class, others practiced alone at home.  The process was there, but now it can be identified in our creative cycle.  The 3rd graders created a piece using the G pentatonic scale and performed it for the class.   At the completion of the assignment, each student was able to identify the 4 P’s: Plan, Practice, Polish and Perform.

This photo speaks a 1,000 words, one of my all time favorites.  Siomha and Cahlee created one of the most peaceful compositions using a simple ostinato and 3 note melody.  I can still hum it today, it was so incredible!  Way to go you two!

This photo speaks a 1,000 words, one of my all time favorites. Siomha and Cahlee created one of the most peaceful compositions using a simple ostinato and 3 note melody. I can still hum it today, it was so incredible! Way to go you two!


The students chose a variety of ways to ‘polish’ the pieces.  These three chose to add some

fancy footwork to their piece, complete with high kicks and harmony.

Elijah, Eric and Joy in their polished performance.

Elijah, Eric and Joy in their polished performance.

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