Posted by: Inner~Creative~Voice | January 28, 2008

Working with Artists in the Schools

meetjudypic1.jpg Judy Piazza

I am going to take some time in my posts to honor the artists and the schools that I have worked with over the years in my job at the Ottawa Area ISD.  Bringing artists into the schools has been a huge part of my work, but at this time I am re-thinking this focus.  While it is very fulfilling, the time involved for me as an individual is demanding and it is time for me to move on.

That said, I would like to have a series over the next few months honoring the artist and the process which brought them to the schools over the past 7 years.  I would like to share with others the possibilities of bringing artists in to work with young people and educators.

Judy Piazza was one of the first artists I had the pleasure bringing to the schools.  She has been exploring sound since a young age. A percussionist, singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, music therapist, and educator, Judy performs, facilitates workshops, and teaches nationally/internationally.

In collaboration with West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics Spring Lake Public Schools, Judy created drumming workshops for the teachers and students.  She also worked with a small group of students from both schools bringing them together for a culminating performance at the end of her residency.

What I learned in the process: 

  •  Take the time to meet with the artist, teachers, and principals at least 6 months to a year in advance for a residency.
  • Plan the schedule with the artist, go over funding, secure funding sources from the start and create contracts with all parties.
  • Judy brought many instruments in with her.  She played them and allowed the students to play them creating wonderous sounds. 
  • The students were very fascinated by the didgeridoo from Austrailia. 
  • The students were all very excited to play all of the instruments. 
  • They also enjoyed the final performance whether performing or as part of the audience (based on final evaluations sent in by the students). 
  • During the drumming circle for the teachers, some of them were thrilled to be part of a drum circle, while others did not feel it worked into their lives. 
  • During the performance, I saw delight and focus on the faces of the students. 
  • The students responded with such enthusiasm to have an artist in their midst, working with them and they raised hopes that it would happen again. 
  • The teachers and principals were very willing to support this project through funding and scheduling. 

I was able to participate in all of the workshops.  The drumming circle with teachers was especially exciting to me.  It was a beautiful experience.  To have the time to work with peers and create such wonder through drumming has remained a part of my soul.

Please visit Judy’s site at the following address:



  1. Hi all. Cool site neayqy Google

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