Performing Arts Students Learn to be Magical at Disneyland Paris
More than 60 students from band, strings, choir and - for the first time - musical theater, jumped at the opportunity to experience a different side to the art of performance from the “most magical place on earth”: Disneyland Paris.
This was the 26th year ASH students traveled to Disney as part of a musical collaboration. Together with their teachers at ASH, the students selected a musical piece and have been preparing for months in advance of the Disney trip. As Strings Teacher Mr. Urban shared, a certainly important point of this trip is educational. After performing their musical pieces to a group of professional musicians and conductors at Disney, they share pointers and translate valuable knowledge through workshops that our students can use to enhance their performance. The cherry on top, of course, was the chance to perform in front of hundreds of people inside one of Disney’s restaurants. This was the first time Musical Theater students joined the trip. Instead of workshops, they got front-row seats to the performances of current Disney shows, like The Lion King.
We spoke with Matthew, a percussionist, and Casper, a trumpet player, about their Disney experience. If there was a main takeaway from the workshops, it was “how to be magical”.
“What I mainly learned was how in music, it's more about the message and emotions you’re trying to convey,” said Casper. “The workshop focused a lot on dynamics and articulation.”
The band students selected a piece from the well-known and loved Disney movies Aladdin and Moana, sharing, “As we were playing, the conductors would tell us that it’s more about just playing the notes correctly; we have to play it passionately in order to create magic.”
During the school year, performing arts students are on stage regularly, but the experience of playing at Disney gave them new insights on the art of performance. Casper and Matthew explained: “When we play at ASH events, we know the audience a lot of the time, and we know they’ve specifically come to see us perform,” explained Caspter and Matthew. At Disney, there are lots of people there, but not necessarily to see us. As a performer, I noticed that I would perform [instead of play] the piece a lot more, in order to fill the space. It almost motivates you to work more for the attention of the audience.”
The students shared that the ability to be magical comes from a place of being passionate about what you’re doing. The nostalgia that comes with Disney music certainly helped connect to the piece and give a magical performance - the trick now is to extend the embracing of magic across the many musical pieces and performances that will come in the future.
The workshops and performance at Disney were evidently the highlights of this trip, although it didn't take long to admit that being at the park itself, in the midst of the rides and creating stronger bonds with each other, was part of the magic as well.