My work as a teaching artist.
My strength as a teacher artist lies in my clarity and my creativity. I have the ability to break things down into achievable steps and manageable goals. I have a strong sense of knowing when to review and when to move forward. I joyfully acknowledge that I am as much the student as the teacher. When I lead songwriting workshops, I often begin the work by admitting, “I have no idea how to write a song…” and then we dive into to the creative process together. I thrive artistically in the process of collaboration. Having written 100’s of songs, I’m familiar with the work of songwriting, but I have no formulas. I believe that the process or the practice is as important as the final product.
On the other hand, often my role as a teaching artist is to teach a specific musical skill. When I approach 120 fourth graders in a gymnasium with the goal of providing each of them with a foundation for a lifetime of playing the harmonica, I’m highly organized and very specific. I’ve given 100’s of beginning lessons and I know exactly how to structure the lessons to be most effective. My harmonica method is ready to be handed over to any teacher who sees the value of bringing the harmonica into the classroom.
In a teaching performance setting, my goal is to be a musical role model and to connect with the participants. I learned the “ancient hand whistle” in the summer between 3rd and 4th grade. Who would have thought that some 35 years later I’d be “making my living as a professional ancient hand whistler?” But it’s true. I have found that my most effective assemblies are when I am relaxed enough to be myself and to present the musician that I am.
How my educational programs benefit arts education.
A musical experience with “Hal Walker” provides participants with inspiration to live a life filled with music. My purpose in any musical program is to “awaken creative potential within the participants.” I often say, “…there’s lots of music inside of you and you have your whole life to explore different ways of letting that music out.” If we allow it, if we cultivate it, this “music” can express our humanity in vital and abundant forms. My programs offer participants fresh possibilities for releasing the music that is within us all.
I demonstrate and teach good singing technique. I perform music that did not come from a radio or an ipod or a written page. I lead workshops in improvisation. I offer a hands-on approach to making music in unusual ways. I emphasize the importance of good breathing in all daily activities. (including playing the harmonica) I lead a cooperative stick dance that emphasize working creatively as a team. And I enjoy leading groups of all ages in singing songs that everybody knows.
Email or call today to book a musical experience for your school or community organization.
I am available to work in schools through several Ohio Arts organizations or contact me directly. Click below for details…