Classroom Concert Series with Aztec Two-Step or Rex Fowler solo
The arts have been put on the back burner in many school curriculums for various reasons and because of this students are truly fortunate if they are inspired by or develop an appreciation for the arts. With regard to music outside of school curriculums, children are mostly exposed to the insipid pop genres heard on commercial radio, in movies and TV. We believe our lifetime of performing, songwriting and singing can serve as a unique and relevant teaching tool.
Aztec Two-Step Objectives
We share aspects of our career with the historical interconnections of American popular music beginning with Stephen Foster, the father of Americana Roots music. We also demonstrate basic songwriting and performing techniques, intermingled with extensive Q & A sessions and live, in classroom performances.
- We point out the short and long-term benefits of playing a musical instrument.
- Discuss songwriting techniques that are appropriate for kids of all ages.
- Point out the origins of our songs to inspire kids to write their own songs or poetry.
- Provide a synopsis of legendary American songwriters and poets, including Stephen Foster, Irving Berlin, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg and others.
- Encourage children to realize that personal experiences are rich resources for expressing their own creativity in words, music, fine art, dance, etc.
- Note that creative inspirations are also drawn from many sources, not just personal experience.
- Reference performing and recording techniques along with website promotions for older students with career aspirations in music.
- Present the ways our partnership enabled us to evolve and grow both individually and as a band.
Emphasize the rewards of teamwork, collaboration and cooperation in and out of the arts.
Mention how “effort” applied to “ambition” has brought us rewarding moments, such as performing with among others, Bruce Springsteen, The Beach Boys and The Band!
Rex’s Classroom Concert Series
Rex offers attention-grabbing “edu-tainment” programs for all school-age children. As the lead singer and principal songwriter for the renowned folk/rock duo Aztec Two-Step, he offers a variety of workshops created to inspire kids’ interest in the arts. Rex’s innovative topics serve as fun educational forays into enchanted lands of learning, and by intermingling elements of folklore, poetry and song, he inspires kids to express and explore their own unique creativity.
Fractured Fairytales & Folk Songs (Grades K-6)
Fractured Fairytales & Folk Songs is designed to introduce children to the playful side of words through storytelling and song. Though thoroughly entertaining, the greater intention here is to open up and expand the whimsical side of each child’s unique imagination. Rex juxtaposes
a cappella style camp songs and original songs with masterful songwriters such as Stephen Foster (Oh! Susanna), Woody Guthrie (The Car Song), Donovan (Skip Along Sam), John Lennon & Paul McCartney (All Together Now), Paul Simon (Punky’s Dilemma), Neil Young (I Am A Child), Kenny Loggins (House At Pooh Corner) and many others. This highly energetic and interactive performance, peppered throughout with visual props, hand clapping and sing-a-longs, is sure to sound a positive chord with young school-age children.
A History of American Songsmiths (Grades 7-12)
Rex Fowler is spiritually descended from a long line of American songsmiths. Stephen Foster, considered the “trunk of the tree” of American music, became our nation’s first great songwriter by drawing upon, then stitching together the music of European settlers with African slave traditions. Rex takes students on an historical journey by demonstrating how Stephen Foster’s songs influenced other great American songsmiths and how this music has evolved from our country’s early beginnings. Also featured are sing-a-longs and a synopsis of the legendary songsmiths who influenced Rex’s songwriting and who continue to influence and shape the fabric of today’s music.
“Your school program was entertaining, informative, accessible and fun for all. Your musicianship and professionalism paired flawlessly with your easy rapport with the children. I think you have much to offer in this field. Again, bravo, and thanks!”
“In this age of instant and fleeting stardom, you showed my students what it means to be truly talented artists who have stood the test of time. I know that they were not only entertained by your discussions and performances, but “enlightened” (which is the buzz word flying through my classroom) and forever changed – especially those students who had preconceived notions about “getting it all” without giving it all. To them you are “real” and I know the impressions you made in my classroom will last a lifetime. Thank you for touching their creative side. We truly enjoyed your time here and can’t wait for the next full moon to appear – we will be looking for that rabbit!”
Vocal Music Director
Durgee Junior High School
“Aztec Two-Step’s performance at the Elizabeth Shelton School was both inspirational and entertaining to the children. Between songs, they spoke candidly about creativity and self-expression through songwriting and music. Neal and Rex encouraged the children to ask questions which they answered with honesty, patience and humor. It was a testament to their music when the children spontaneously clapped along to their songs and gathered around at the end of their performance to ask additional questions.”
Nicki Kirk & Helen Smith
Cultural Arts Committee
Elizabeth Shelton School