Here’s the culmination of weeks of work by some 5th grade kids at Delaware Ridge Elementary in Kansas City, KS. They presented a “community circle” (an interactive presentation where classes and parents are invited) at school last week that centered on the design principles of success and failure.

 US Air Guitar

Air guitar was the method for students to explore the idea of risk-taking and perseverance. This video was edited by 5th graders. It includes air guitar routines that were designed, performed, filmed and edited by 3rd 4th and 5th graders using iPads and iMovie.

It also features a video by U.S. Champion Lt. Facemelter (Jason Farnan) and a surprise live appearance by World Air Guitar Champion Mean Melin (Eric Melin) at the end, which was pretty amazing. The kids were so jazzed after it was all over, Melin had to sign autographs and they lined up and all high-fived me on their way back to class. Needless to say, the kids were pumped.

KU Alumni mag: It’s tough to pinpoint the strangest part of Eric “Mean” Melin’s long strange trip to becoming the world champion of air guitarists: Was it selling T-shirts to help fund his last-chance-for-glory flight in late August to Oulu, Finland? Or perhaps it was wrapping up un-Finnished business by winning the “Dark Horse” round at a pub to qualify for the championship competition?
Surely it was toppling the world’s best a day later, then returning home with a custom “Flying Finn” guitar to a mob of his Lawrence and KC pals, who swarmed the KCI luggage carousel to cheer Melin, c’07, a film critic and real-life rock ’n’ roll drummer who won a guitar for not playing one better than anyone in the world.

KU Alumni mag: It’s tough to pinpoint the strangest part of Eric “Mean” Melin’s long strange trip to becoming the world champion of air guitarists: Was it selling T-shirts to help fund his last-chance-for-glory flight in late August to Oulu, Finland? Or perhaps it was wrapping up un-Finnished business by winning the “Dark Horse” round at a pub to qualify for the championship competition?

Surely it was toppling the world’s best a day later, then returning home with a custom “Flying Finn” guitar to a mob of his Lawrence and KC pals, who swarmed the KCI luggage carousel to cheer Melin, c’07, a film critic and real-life rock ’n’ roll drummer who won a guitar for not playing one better than anyone in the world.

Many people, of course, poo-poo the air guitar. They say it’s nothing but a load of overgrown schoolboys jumping around a stage, thrusting their groins at the audience and wiggling their fingers in an orgy of faux-frottage that puts even Miley Cyrus’s twerkish masturbations in the shade. But they are wrong.

For researchers from Cambridge, Oxford, King’s College London and Royal Holloway have studied student musicians at the Guildhall School of Music and the Royal College of Music and concluded that leaping and gyrating around the place, playing the air guitar could be a genuinely inspirational activity. It’s the fact that they’re not actually working at their real instruments that frees musicians’ imaginations. And, the boffins added, singing in the shower gets their creative juices flowing, too.

Mean Melin and Cambridge scholar on BBC World News

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SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN: AIR GUITAR IMPROVES CREATIVITY

Scientists at Cambridge University have concluded that playing an air instrument unlocks the creative process. Our World Champion Mean Melin discusses the matter on BBC News with a Cambridge scholar  - Watch and learn!