Introducing the Rhythmic Oakland Dweller, Teaching Artist Aaron Kierbel

1) Where do you live?
I needed a little tranquility in life so I moved away from San Francisco to North Oakland. I lived in the Mission for eight years and had an exciting time there. Recently a lot of artists have been making the move over to the East Bay because of cheaper rent.

Now there is a whole burgeoning and vibrant arts scene in the East Bay. I’ve been able to meet some new artists and get inspired in different ways.
2) What experiences brought you to the Workshop?
Being a musician in a touring band, playing on big and small stages around the world groomed me for being on stage and seeing how music and art affect people. I joined the Workshop staff because I wanted another component of what I do as an artist. I wanted to give back to pass on my love of music to kids.

I’ve worked for a lot of other organizations in the area. I’ve tried lots of different ways –  the tutoring route, teaching in the classroom – but now I’ve found my niche. I feel that I can add the most value through an artistic medium. I am my best self when I’m doing music.
3) Two albums you cannot live without:
Stevie Wonder “Talking Book”

Bill Withers “Just As I Am”
4) How is the workshop different than other organizations you have worked for:
The Workshop is really dedicated to giving teachers all the support and tools they need to help them in the classroom. Having such a supportive cohort of other teaching artists helps both as a way to bounce ideas off each other, and to get inspired by what others are all doing as artists in the community. The Workshop encourages community–I really like this!

The Cycle of Artistic Inquiry has been extremely helpful as a model to work from. It is pretty unique to have a framework of how to teach. Performing Arts Workshop encourages artists to challenge ourselves, and go beyond what is easy or familiar. The whole point of it is to get the the students to critically think. This practice is different than other arts organizations.
5) Favorite Coffee Shop:
Philz Coffee on 24th St.
6) Favorite Book:
Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet. This book always speaks to me in different phases in my life and offers some kind of wisdom in a poetic way.
7) Do you have a personal mantra?
Be hungry. Be foolish.
8) Do you have a favorite restaurant?
Burma Superstar

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