Folk Arts • Music
Erin Fitzgerald is a storyteller at heart. She believes everyone has a story to tell, and all stories are important. She is passionate about the power that can be found by exploring one’s own voice. Her first book for children was published by MotesBooks in 2014. “Smart Butt: Scenes from a Bold-Faced Life (starring Earlene)” is a short novel for all ages, though written especially with middle grade readers (grades 3-6) in mind. It has been used in group work with children to explore the process of “creative reading and writing,” which incorporates creative arts into reading and writing initiatives. As a musician and songwriter, Erin is proficient on guitar, dulcimer, vocals and washboard. She facilitates community workshops and small group sessions, in which participants are encouraged to explore their own strengths and learn through creative expression. Erin lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her brilliant children, who inspire her every day.
Erin Fitzgerald’s residency work is multi disciplinary, just as is her own creative work. When working with groups, Erin uses creative arts activities such as drama games, music, and storytelling to explore curriculum in a different way. With a focus on traditional arts and storytelling, Erin will guide children through various ways of retelling a story or body of information to make it interesting and memorable, and then create opportunity for students to create and share their own stories.
Potential Residency Project
- Recreating History - This residency is collaboration with a history or social studies teacher to focus on a particular lesson or lessons of study. The group will explore the chosen content or lesson through creative arts activities such as drama and music, and create original chants or songs that retell the (hi)story in a fun way that is easy to remember and understand. The finished products will be recorded (audio or video, as appropriate) to be used for study guides for that content. This could work as a five-day or 10-day residency and could be adapted to any grade level.
- Traditional Music meets Modern Day - Explore some traditional instruments (dulcimer, washboard, other percussion) and styles of music (call-and-response, old-time, folk), then apply that information to more current styles of music and spoken word. Children will explore different ways in which music is used to tell a story or make a point. By the end of the five-day residency, children will create original songs or spoken word pieces, and will make an audio recording of their work. This residency could be adapted to any grade level.
- Creative Reading and Writing - This collaboration with a Language Arts class explores stories through music, drama, and movement. By participating in stories in a hands-on and engaged way, students may increase their levels of interest and enjoyment in reading and writing. Children will then write and share their own stories using these creative processes. This works particularly well with 4th and 5th grade classes, who are beginning to delve into creative writing curriculum.