Central NY Arts, Teaching Artist Training

As I come up on twenty years in the teaching artist field, I can’t help but feel as though my professional, personal and creative work as a teaching artist has reached a crossroads. Perhaps the “in between” is the space I’ve inhabited all along, It’s just that I’ve been too busy hustling all these years in an effort to build a meaningful and sustaining career in arts education to notice. As a musician, most of my time playing is spent with other musicians collaborating in the making music in rehearsals as well as on the bandstand with the added company of an audience. The experience is both social and communal. Fortunately for me, I find as much satisfaction inducing a sense of community, curiosity and inspiration off the bandstand as I do on. No surprise there that the path of the teaching artist is the one I continue to walk.

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David Freeman
Four on the Floor, Overview Effect Album Review, June 2018

New York-based drummer and percussionist David Freeman recently released his new album "Overview Effect" and was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his most recent musical offering. I was first introduced to David through his playing with the Outer Bridge Ensemble and, as you will read below, his words and answers to my questions are every bit as captivating and insightful as is his drumming and compositions.

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David Freeman
Let’s Make Sure the Teaching Artist isn’t an Endangered Species, Allegro, May 2018

Throughout my career as a teaching artist, I’ve had the privilege of working with the most dedicated and inspiring teachers, administrators and staff, whose commitment is unmatched. When arts budgets are cut and resources reallocated, they fight to keep arts education in our schools, libraries, shelters and prisons. They are committed to the value the arts bring to our communities.

My 10-year tenure conducting hand drum workshops at the juvenile detention center at the Middlesex County Division of Youth Services began in 2001 and continues to serve as a reminder to myself that art education works. And I’ve come to realize the value of teaching artists lies in our ability to transform alternative spaces into safe, inclusive and creative learning environments.

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David Freeman
The Lulav, Asylum Arts Magazine, November 2017

The Jewish holiday of Sukkot is a weeklong celebration of the harvest season and commemorates the protection God provided for the Jewish people once they left Egypt. It’s a big one.

Growing up in a modern orthodox community in the suburbs of New Jersey, I spent my early days in yeshiva (Jewish day school) and synagogue often experiencing a degree of disconnect between Jewish ritual and spirituality.

The efforts I make reconciling this disconnect continue to play out in my work. Music for me not only serves as a source of creativity and self-expression but empowers me with the ability to both reclaim and redefine Jewish ritual and Jewish Identity.

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David Freeman