Anyone who works at a school — teacher, artist in residence, principal — has the sacred duty of serving children or young adults. Their intellects must be stimulated, their thinking skills enhanced, and they must be inspired to create or adapt. As a member of the SC Arts Commission Approved Artist Roster, Don has two residency plans, the first for middle school math students, the next for elementary school music students.

I.Listening to Math:

Math, Music, and Pythagoras

Math and music are made of the same fabric—Pythagoras said this 2500 years ago. Students will weave together ratios, fractions, ear training, and rhythmic games to discover whether or not Pythagoras was correct. Don will lead this experience with his Celtic harp as students grapple with rhytmic and mathematical problems.


Recent Residencies

In March, 2016 Don served as artist-in-residence at Beaufort Middle School, which is an arts-integrated school. This school is a prime example of the educational success that comes as a result of inserting arts education into the general curriculum. Follow this link to see a video the school prepared. go to video

In December 2015, Don worked with the 5th graders at LW Conder Elementary School in Columbia. This is another arts-integrated school, with a similar commitment to arts education that one finds at Beaufort Middle School. The results, in both cases are extremely effective.

In Greenville, Don has shared his residency with the 4th graders at Pelham Rd. Elementary four different times over the last eight years. His work with children's music education has taken him to many schools around the state, including Bonner Elementary School in Moncks Corner, and Easterling Primary School in Marion. He has also worked two times with Blythe Elementary in Greenville.

During the last week of November, 2007, Don traveled to Hand Middle School in Columbia to teach the Math, Music, and Pythagoras program. This residency was initiated by the South Carolina Alliance for Art Education, and funded by the Kennedy Center. Don joined forces with Patricia Kassel, math teacher at Hand Middle School, and the two planned and organized the application of the teaching material.

As the students racked their brains to find the mathematical ratios that Pythagoras used to construct the beginning forms of our diatonic scales, they learned to listen to intervals on the Celtic harp, and develop their abilities to discern when certain intervals are in tune.

In the second half of the class, the students learned they had to adhere to certain mathematical relationships in order for their music to have a pleasing and exciting rhythm. They learned to solve cross-rhythms by using least-common denominators. What does math have to do with music? The two cannot be separated—these students would all agree.

On October 1-4, 2007 Don was the Artist in Residence at Buena Vista Elementary. He worked with Ms. Heather Lowery, one of the music teachers at Buena Vista, as Don taught the 4th grade classes. This is what Ms. Lowery had to say about Don's work:

"This fall Buena Vista Elementary hosted Don Shabkie as our yearly Artist in Residence. Don worked exclusively with our fourth grade students completing an in-depth study of the African and Celtic roots of American music. Don's enthusiasm on the subject immediately captivated my students. Within the first hour, he had my students improvising with the blues and identifying music from different backgrounds. The hands-on experience he provided the students left a lasting impression on them. Don also hosted an in-service for the faculty at Buena Vista. He once again incorporated hands-on experiences that allowed the teachers to experience music and understand the importance of music education in the classroom. He gave them ideas of how to relate music to math, science, and history. Don provided a positive experience for all involved in his residency. I would highly recommend him to any of my colleagues!"

The pictures show the Buena Vista 4th graders working with meter recognition, improvising on drums, and listening to Celtic melodies that influenced Appalachian and bluegrass music in the United States.

Don ended the 2006-2007 school year working with 3rd and 4th grade students at Stone Elementary in Greenville, SC with well-known children's choral conductor Jeanie Reed. (In fact, Ms. Reed was recently named Greenville County Teacher of the year.) Don used elements of the second residency plan listed above, and gave lessons in using music-writing software to Ms. Reed and Ms. Clarke, the school strings teacher.

Here is what Ms. Reed, Director of Chicora Voices, and Greenville County Teacher of the Year, had to say about Don's work with the Stone Elementary students:

"The students at Stone Academy had the marvelous opportunity of working with Don Shabkie this spring. Don taught my fourth grade students about Jazz through energetic, informative and inspiring activities and demonstrations. His abundant knowledge and kind demeanor captured all of my students' attention, heightened their curiosity and encouraged their participation. In tandem with his residency in Jazz he also worked with my third graders teaching them about Celtic music while performing for them on his harp as well as the piano. The students were fascinated and engaged throughout his performance. And to round out Don's experience at Stone Academy using his numerous talents, he trained me on the Sibelius music writing software. His copious knowledge and patience were the perfect combination for teaching a novice composer and technologically challenged person such as myself.
My students and I look forward to having the opportunity to hire Don Shabkie again."

During Don's February 2007 residency at Marrington Middle School in Goosecreek, SC, he used music to teach five math classes one day, five science classes another, and five social studies classes on the third day. For a reference, please feel free to contact John Collier, Marrington's 6th grade science teacher.

This is what Mr. Collier had to say about the collaboration:

"I thoroughly enjoyed your highly informative lessons and professionalism. I would be happy to offer a glowing recommendation to anyone wishing your service.
Respectfully, Jack Collier"

During Mr. Collier's math classes, the Don and the students retraced the steps of Pythagoras 2500 years ago, as he set up the musical scale using mathematical ratios.

At another workshop at Camden Elementary of the Creative Arts, Don discussed and performed music during a series of classes throughout two days. This was part of the school's spring arts fair. For a reference, contact Marti Wallace at Camden Elementary of the Creative Arts on Lyttleton Street in Camden, SC.

Recent Training

On May 31, 2007 he participated in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' Seminar, 'Planning Effective Arts-Integrated Residencies for Students.'"

During August of 2006, Don completed a week-long Smart Arts training session sponsored by the Greenville County School District and the Metropolitan Arts Council.

Residency Fees

Here are fees for residencies. These fees are flexible if you should need these services in a way that diverges from the list below.

Travel Fees—$150 to Columbia area, $250 to Charleston area
Lodging fees are $50 extra per night—if lodging is necessary.

For more information you can read some articles that Don has written, articles that discuss music teaching, concentration, and brain hemisphere development.