P.O. Box 5585
Evanston, IL 60204
Soul Experience Program
Building the Body, Developing the Mind, Nurturing the Heart, Feeding the Soul
Portfolio development
Team building
Culminating performance
Soul Experience is an arts-in-education enrichment program. The program promotes and develops Life Skills, Creative Expression and Cultural Fluency through history, music, dance, composition, narration, and performance. It provides 3rd–12th grade students a unique and exciting opportunity to have a multicultural, practical, and fun learning experience. Throughout the program participants create a portfolio of their experience, which is greatly based on their personal reflections and introspection. The portfolios showcase participants interests and abilities, as well as demonstrate the depth and breath of their work and capabilities. The program culminates in a Ceremony of Completion where the students perform and showcase their talents and newly-acquired skills in front of their school and community.

The aim is to help students realize, develop, and reach their personal potential. Processes are facilitated to assist students to get in touch with their own thoughts, feelings, talents, interest, and self-expression, thus improving their self-identity. This is vital towards students being motivated to achieve academically.

The Soul Experience curriculum is interdisciplinary, utilizing a thematic approach to instruction. Through the study of drum, dance, composition, narration, and performance students explore topics in Critical Thinking, Character Education, and Interpersonal Communications. Currently, the Soul Experience Program meets 27 Illinois Learning Standards in five Learning Areas:

English Language Arts (6)
Social Science (4)
Physical Development and Health (12)
Fine Arts (2)
Foreign Languages (3)

The Soul Experience model addresses issues that underlie anti-social behavior, violence, teenage pregnancy, suicide, gangs, substance abuse, and a host of other factors that negatively-impact upon the lives of today’s youth. The program utilizes drumming, dancing, composition, narration, and performance to improve student’s self-discipline, self-concept, self-esteem, and self-awareness.

The program expounds upon the concept of culture and recognizes that attitudes, beliefs, and values shape one’s behavior, perspective, interaction, and experiences with the world. Youth of all races and ethnicities can benefit from the Soul Experience Program. Bringing different races together to accomplish a common goal is significant for many children.

The foundation of the program is based on the 11 Life Skills. A life skill is defined as an intra-personal, as well as an inter-personal skill, which will enable a child to better reach their academic, social, and cultural potential in life. These are skills that children can use throughout their lives regardless of their chosen field of endeavor. These practical skills (developed and nurtured in the children throughout the program) include:

Commitment, Communication, Concentration, Listening, Perseverance, Respect, Responsibility, Sacrifice, Self-discipline, Teamwork, Work Ethic

The Soul Experience introduces students to the fundamentals of music, dance, composition, narration, and performance with an emphasis on musical and dance concepts from the cultures of West Africa. Working with space, syncopation, call & response, musical counting, graces, windows, stage eye,tempo, transition, rhythm, cues, and improvisation are covered throughout the program. The Djembe, DjounDjoun, Kinkine, and Songba drums (in addition to various other percussion instruments) are used throughout the course of the program.

Students learn these fundamentals within the context of the geographical, social, historical and cultural setting of the various countries and ethnic groups being studied. This is accomplished through various readings, journaling, lecture, poetry, essay writing, videos, slides, discussion, and a PowerPoint presentation. The process is based on over nine years of travel that the directors of the program have taken to four continents and more that 20 different countries. The emphasis is on providing students experiences upon which they can learn new concepts, build their vocabulary and enter into in higher levels of thinking.

In addition to building vocabulary, every session, students are engaged in fitness/nutrition, concentration exercises, peer and self critique, team building activities, playing instruments and making music, dancing, and journaling. Students will gain an awareness of the practicality and functionality of music, dance, and storytelling in different cultures. Students will learn specific rhythms, dance movements and songs from the South Pacific Ocean and West Africa, with aspects of other cultures being infused.

The program culminates in a Ceremony of Completion with a student performance. This is where participants can showcase their talents and newlyacquired skills in ront of their school and community. As keepsakes, each child receives their porfolio, a journal, writing utensils, a Soul Experience t-shirt, a certificate of completion, a life skills ribbon, a videotaped copy of their performance (optional) and select trophies are awarded. In addition, a program ending pizza party is given.

Program Goals
Through participating in the Soul Experience program, students will:

1. Realize, develop and further reach their personal potential through building their self-discipline, self-concept, self-esteem and self-awareness.
2. Learn the importance of life skills and exercise these skills in both, structured and unstructured environments.
3. Develop a sense of culture, creativity and constructive expression.
4. Utilize writing as an educational, as well as a creative expression tool.
5. Improve their vocabulary.
6. Learn history, geography and mathematic concepts in a relevant, practical and fun way.
7. Learn fundamentals of music, dance, composition, narration, and performance.
8. Develop critical thinking and cooperative problem-solving skills.
9. Develop fitness and positive health habits through engaging in structured physical activity.
10. Plan and perform in a cultural event for their commnity.
11. Be motivated to achieve academically.


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