Lesson in democracy is music to students’ ears

Maia Quartet

Maia Quartet members give the presentation "Democracy in Action" to elementary school children in Iowa City. "Democracy in Action" is an interactive presentation with mock rehearsals featuring arguments about tempo, volume, and who gets the melody. This provides a practical lesson on how a group of strong-willed and talented individuals can compromise to make beautiful music. Photo by Tom Jorgensen.

Any fifth grader can look up “democracy” in a dictionary, but how do you bring a simple definition to life?

Simple. Set it to music.

That’s what the Maia Quartet, the faculty quartet-in-residence in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ School of Music, is doing this year with fifth- and sixth-grade students in the Iowa City Community School District with a project called “Democracy in Action.”

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