Web 2.0 Tools for Engaging Music Classes
Sarah Mayer, Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School
Classics for Kids
Carnegie Listening Adventures
Theta Music Trainer
Music Tech Teacher
Practice Sight Reading
The Music Interactive
I’ve seen lots of people talking about recruitment and retention as the end of the year approaches. It was the topic of last week’s music education chat on Twitter as well. Understandably, we music teachers are already looking ahead to next year. What will be the dynamics of our ensembles? Will instrumentation be balanced? What music can we start the year with? We are planners by nature, even if we don’t all keep a strict system of lesson plans like other teachers.
I find myself not thinking about next year yet. How about you? It’s really an unusual place to be. And I think the reason for it lies in two facts: 1. I’m finishing my master’s degree the summer, and I really need to focus on that in the short term. 2. I really enjoyed working with my older band this year, and the fact of the matter is that I don’t want to let them go. Having a band with that kind of chemistry and work ethic is a rare treat, and I am not ready to give them up.
I think you know the kind of group that I am passing on to my colleague next year. Kids who work hard. Kids who are creative. Parents who support music education and really want their kids to love it and do well. A group who plays well together, even if music isn’t involved. A group that is more than the sum of its parts. Good players? Yes, for the most part. Good people? For sure.
So the summer will be busy, and the fall will bring the same questions as every other year. Chemistry, ability, and the like. I think Dr. Seuss had it right. “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” Maverick Band of 2012-2013, you’ve given me lots to smile about. Bravo!
Young Composers & Improvisors Workshop at LREI.
This looks like an amazing resource! Their course is also available in the iTunes U format. I have wanted to teach composition to my young students for a long time. This might be what gets me going forward!
I have always lived in the upper Midwest. Wisconsin, with a 4-year stopover in south central Minnesota for undergrad. I think it’s fair to say that I detest this time of year. It’s cold, dark, and snowy/icy. The grind of the school year is getting to students and teachers alike. Spring seems like a distant light at the end of the tunnel. Is this just a frozen tundra thing? Does it happen to you and/or your students? I feel myself wanting to check out like senioritis all over again. Obviously I can’t and I won’t. I had always wondered if a midwinter trip to some warm destination would be the cure. After coming back from eastern Texas last week, I can say no. I think it has actually contributed to this blah. How do you get through the 3rd quarter grind?
Coffee is always a good place to start. For the record.
Thursday started with getting the chance to sleep in a little. No kids. No dogs. It was wonderful, though I apparently had my head completely underneath my pillow shortly before I woke up. Odd. I love the sound of running water outside my room. The patio faces the pool, and the sound of the fountains are just the right amount of soothing white noise for me. But I digress…
Oh yeah, I also forgot my favorite (and only) pair of heels for this trip on my bedroom floor in WI. I took a few moments to find the nearest mall and did what any girl worth her salt would do in this situation. Mamma got some new shoes!
I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon perusing the exhibit halls. Yes, folks, there are two. And they are HUGE!!! I sat and talked with the Quaver folks, felt at home talking to Cam at the VanderCook exhibit, and bought a new book.
The afternoon included a performance by a middle school treble choir and a session on iPads in Secondary Music Education. Yes, you read that right. I voluntarily went to hear a choir One of the supporting directors is a dear friend, and I’m so glad I went. The face way music education is delivered may be changing, but there is still something awe-inspiring about hearing a really talented group of live musicians give a diverse, emotional, and musical performance. I’ve never enjoyed listening to a female choir as much as this one today. Well done, ladies! Your performance and poise was outstanding.
After a little conversation, it was time to grab some supper and head out for the TI:ME tweetup. I have been on Twitter for about 2 years now, and I think it is the single best thing I have done for myself professionally. I have “met” and picked the brains of some of the best and brightest in music education and music technology. Tonight was the first time I met most of them in person, and I ended up feeling like I was sitting at the feet of the masters. People who have written books and created apps that I use or will use. One of them even told me she was looking forward to my presentation and picking my brain. Seriously, little old me? How cool is that! Maybe there will be more than 5 people in my session on Saturday after all
So day 2 is in the books, and tomorrow is Friday already. Time to rest the failing voice and take a few moments to be still and soak it all in.
I flew into Houston yesterday to meet up with a dear friend, so today has been a travel day of sorts. We rode a coach bus with directors and students who are involved in the Texas All-State programs this week. I experiences Bucee’s. I’m not sure how to describe it other than it is part convenience store, part Walmart, part country store. Their mascot is a beaver. I now own a stuffed beaver keychain, and I think it might be the mascot for the rest of my trip down here.
After we got settled in at our hotel, we went over to the conference and I dipped in for the tail end of the TI:ME pre-conference sessions. This is really the stuff I came to experience. I caught the last few minutes of Catie Dwinal and Amy Burns’ session on using technology to enrich the elementary music classroom. I wish I could have seen the whole thing, because it sounded absolutely amazing. The upside was that I finally got to meet Catie in person after knowing her for 2 years only through social media. I think we both had a surreal moment, and I can’t wait to talk to her more and meet some other Tweeps!
Next up was a fabulous session by Barbara Freedman, the GarageBand guru. Music technology meets stand-up comedy. I got so much good advice in little tidbits, and I can’t wait to get home and start playing with GB on my MacBook. I feel much more confident about the new music tech class.
Last on the agenda was a session that really wasn’t on my agenda originally. Anne Fennell presented a session about her composition classes as the first contact with music for her high school students. It was incredibly impressive and inspiring. I don’t think that my music tech class will initially take the direction of her music comp. classes, but I was in awe of the creativity of her students and the depth of knowledge they gained in music without learning to play a traditional instrument. That kind of creativity in the “non-traditional” music student, or the other 80% as some call them, is what I hope to pull out of my students next year. I will have to get in contact with her for ideas.
So tonight I could be at a reception with people I would like to meet and brain-pick, but I’m doing a little something for myself. I’m sitting on the patio of my hotel room, enjoying the weather, blogging, taking in the quiet hum of the city, and having a glass or two of wine. Alone. Susan Cain would be proud.
See you back here tomorrow!
Yesterday I started my journey to the state of Texas to go to a double conference and a new part of the country for me. A few observations from the day of travels from Wisconsin to Texas:
1. People shouldn’t judge others by the number of teeth one does or does not have, but they do. First impressions are important.
2. Repeating a question does not make the question clearer. It confuses the person trying to answer.
3. Drinks at an airport bar are not cheap, but sometimes they are worth the cost.
4. Appreciate the kindness of strangers. Never take it for granted.
5. Respect the elderly and be willing to make a personal sacrifice for their ease, happiness, and/or comfort. They may not move or think as fast as you, but they’ve experienced a lot more life than you.
6. I hate flying. Period.
7. “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss
Silk — Interactive generative art.
This may be one of the most interesting websites I’ve come across. Though there is an iPad app related to the website, using the website on the iPad provides the best experience with the most options for art creation. Enjoy!