Fine Arts Discovery Series Inspires Future Teachers

Future educators are attending art events at BYU while learning how to connect the arts to their future classroom. As part of the Arts Partnership, the Fine Arts Discovery Series is held to inspire BYU elementary education majors to include the arts in their own lives as well as in the lives of their students. Pre-event lectures encourage teachers to bring their future students to live performances and professional exhibits and also provide ideas on integrating the arts into the classroom. Each discussion is led by a BYU professor or specialist with expertise in a specific art form. This semester, we sponsored three events, each described below.

In addition to the Fine Arts Discovery Series events, the BYU Museum of Art provides tours for school groups, and the BYU Performing Arts Series has selected several performances for school groups to attend. BYU student performing groups Kinnect and Young Company also provide school outreach performances and residencies in schools. Grants are available for busing students to campus. For more information on how to participate, contact

Here is a recap of the Fine Arts Discovery Series for Fall 2014:

September 17, 2014

Over 50 students attended the tour of the Museum of Art’s exhibit “Cut! Costume and the Cinema” with Lynda Palma as our guide. The exhibit consisted of incredible costumes from well-known films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, The Duchess, and The Phantom of the Opera. Details about the craftsmanship of the clothing, history of the time, and the purpose of costuming in a production inspired and informed participants. After the tour, education majors participated in a discussion about the art they were viewing and how a museum tour can be made relevant for children. Many shared their gratitude for the experience.

Lynda Palma, museum educator, began the tour by talking about Johnny Depp’s costume in Pirates of The Caribbean for his role as Captain Jack Sparrow.
A goal of the Fine Arts Discovery program is to bring students together to discuss arts in education.

October 8, 2014

Next, we attended the performance of The Fisherman and His Wife performed by BYU’s Young Company. The play was an adaptation of the tale from the Brothers Grimm. We were privileged to hear from Teresa Love and learned many great ways to improve learning with drama in the classroom. Included in this presentation was a description of the type of theater appropriate for elementary students, websites about theater in education, and local performance venues geared towards children. After the discussion we enjoyed the performance of The Fisherman and His Wife and, as the audience, were able to participate with sounds and movement. Arms became the waves of the ocean, and our breath became the wind on the sea. The audience, especially the children, were captivated and education majors enjoyed seeing how accessible theatre can be, even to young children.

Cast of The Fisherman and His Wife.
The Fisherman decides to save the fish, but doesn’t know what he is getting himself into.
The Fisherman consults with the Flounder and his trusty assistant about the three wishes he is granted.

October 25, 2014

Our last event of this fall featured a discussion with Susan Kenney, a former professor of music education at BYU, and then a performance from the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Concert Series titled “Let’s Make Opera: Selections from The Marriage of Figaro.” Susan Kenney taught the different elements in an opera production: the orchestra, singers, set, story, and audience. We created our own instruments and performed our own rendition of a scene from The Marriage of Figaro with Susan as our director. After Susan’s wonderful presentation, we headed to the de Jong Concert Hall to experience the opera and symphony specially arranged for children. The performance featured a few songs such as “The Overture,” where a child volunteer was asked to conduct the orchestra. During “Porgi, amor, qualche ristoro,” “Voi che sapete che cosa è amor,” and “Venite, ingicocchiatevi,” three children from the audience were invited to re-enact the scene. The parents in attendance laughed as the cast provided the opportunities for their children to be involved in the performance.

Susan Kenney gave the account of the story of The Marriage of Figaro before we acted out one of the scenes.
One of the characters telling secrets to the Count that could change the future of all the characters’ lives.
Susan is demonstrating how accessible it is to make your own instruments with just a few items. A straw can become a double reed instrument in this demonstration.
The audience invited three volunteers to recreate a scene the cast had just performed. The boy did not find it quite as funny as the audience did when he put on a dress and marched around the stage.
We had a great semester of learning many new ways to integrate the arts into our future classrooms. We look forward to hosting our winter 2015 events and hope teachers will provide opportunities for students to experience exceptional arts events.
If you participated in any of these events this semester, please share with us something you learned by commenting below!

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