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Artist Q&A

Michael Fitzsimmons Question and Answer

1.    Briefly describe your normal studio practice and work as a teaching artist.

My studio practice includes playing songs from my latest album, Islands in Paradise. This helps me stay in touch with my instruments and my music. I also spend time simply playing the hang instruments. This helps by using my improvisational skills and enjoying the act of playing. I really miss my work as a teaching artist (see below).

2.    How has sharing your work with students, teachers, and other artists shifted?

My work has been dramatically affected by the Covid 19 outbreak. Many performances, summer camps and conferences have been either cancelled or postponed. But I am currently working on requests for virtual performances and workshops. I am very grateful for these but I really miss the audience participation aspect of my work.

3.    If your activities incorporate educational learning standards, whether formal or informal, please discuss them.

Students will compose, arrange, improvise and perform music with technical accuracy and expression. This is implemented through the sound stories that participants will create.

4.    Are there follow-up activities beyond the one you are presenting?

Yes, participants are encouraged to create sound stories using found sounds and share with family and friends (with appropriate social distancing).

5.    What is your favorite non-art activity that inspires you?

I love to walk regularly in the woods and appreciate the birdsongs, new plants springing up this time of year, fresh air and exercise.

6.    List an artist(s) that you look to for inspiration and explain why.
My friend Ron Cooley has been regularly creating video clips of him playing a wide variety of instrumental songs on his guitar and posting them on Facebook. It is a joy and an inspiration to see these.