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Top 10 Podcasts

This American Life

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I haven’t listened to traditional radio in months and I’m not looking back for two reasons. Podcasts and Pandora.

If you have a smart phone you can stream music and podcasts practically commercial free and more importantly tailored specifically to your likes. For me personally pod-casts are what I listen to most of the time. 

If you are not familiar with the term pod-cast it is basically an audio file that can be downloaded to a portable audio player or computer, usually speech.

Top 10 Podcasts (listed in order of my personal preference)

1. This American Life – Hands down my favorite podcast of all. It comes out sometime Sunday and it the first thing I listen to Monday morning as I jump in my truck to go to work. It covers all different types of topics from economics to random interviews and everything in between.

This American Life is a weekly public radio show broadcast on more than 500 stations to about 1.7 million listeners. It is produced by Chicago Public Media, distributed by Public Radio International, and has won all of the major broadcasting awards. It is also often the most popular podcast in the country, with more than a half million people downloading each week. We’re also the co-producers, with NPR News, of the economics podcast and blog Planet Money. And a half dozen stories from the radio show are being developed into films.

2. ESPN: The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons – As far as sports go this is my go to place. Bill Simmons has a way of mixing sports knowledge and analysis, clever prose, pop culture references, his non-sports-related personal life, and for being from the viewpoint of a passionate sports fan.

Bill Simmons

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William J. “Bill” Simmons III  is a sports columnist, author, and podcaster. He currently writes a column forPage 2 on ESPN.com and is a former writer for ESPN The Magazine. Nicknamed The Sports Guy. Since joining ESPN in 2001, in addition to writing for ESPN.com, he has also hosted his own podcast on ESPN.com titled The B.S. Report, appeared as a special contributor on the television series E:60, and serves as an executive producer of ESPN’s documentary project, 30 for 30. He also has written two best-selling books and worked as a writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Simmons also has created numerous internet memes, most notably the Ewing Theory and the Manning Face.
In 2007, he was named the 12th-most influential person in online sports by the Sports Business Journal, the highest position on the list for a non-executive.

3. General Conference Audio – I try and listen to at least one general conference talk a day and since a talk usually last about 10-15 minutes it is a perfect length for either my drive to or from work.

General Conference is a semiannual world conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held in April and October, where members gather in a series of two-hour sessions to listen to instruction from Church leaders.

4. The Moth Podcast – This is a pod-cast of stories told live without notes. I love hearing people stories. I used to just watch cars go by on the freeway and think of all the stories that each person in each car had to tell. Though disclaimer they don’t edit for curse words so you have to be careful.

The Moth is a non-profit group based in New York City dedicated to the art of storytelling. It was founded in 1997 by poet and novelist George Dawes Green, who wanted to recreate the feeling of sultry summer evenings in his native Georgia, when moths were attracted to the light on the porch where he and his friends would gather to spin spellbinding tales. George and his original group of storytellers called themselves “The Moths”, and George took the name with him to New York. The organization now runs a number of different storytelling events in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, and other American cities, often featuring prominent literary and cultural personalities.

5. this WEEK in TECH – I have to have my tech fix. This is a great panel style show where about 4 tech leaders get together every Sunday and discuss what is going on in tech. I like this show because they talk about many different areas of tech and you can learn a little about a lot in about an hour podcast. Between TWiT and Mashable I stay pretty up to date on all things tech related.

This Week in Tech–casually referred to as TWiT, and formerly known as Revenge of the Screen Savers–is the weekly flagship podcast of the TWiT.tv network. Hosted by Leo Laporte and many of the
former TechTV employees, it features roundtable discussions and debates surrounding current technology news and reviews, with a particular focus on consumer electronics and the Internet. TWiT headquarters, called TWiT Cottage, is located in Petaluma, California, USA.

the logo of TWiT Network
6. Freakonomics Radio – If you liked the book Freakonomics or Superfreakonomics you will like this pod-cast. It is produced by the writers of said books and they follow basically the same model of the books.

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything is a 2005 non-fiction book by University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner. The book has been described as melding pop culture with economics[1], but has also been decried as “amateur sociology”.[2] By late 2009, it had sold over 4 million copies worldwide.

7. ESPN: PTI – This simply the audio feed of Pardon the Interuption the daily ESPN sports show. Since we cut cable some times I catch the podcast to stay up on sports. I usually only listen to this if the BS Report cue is empty.

Pardon the Interruption (abbreviated PTI) is a sports television show that airs weekdays on various ESPN TV channels and as a downloadable podcast. It is hosted by Tony Kornheiser and 

ESPN in the United Kingdom

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Michael Wilbon, who discuss, and frequently argue over, the top stories of the day in “sports… and other stuff” (as Kornheiser put it in the show’s original promo). They had previously done this off-air in The Washington Post newsroom. Either Tony Reali (host of ESPN’s Around the Horn) or the uncredited “producer over the loudspeaker” serves as moderator for parts of the show, which is filmed in Washington, D.C.;

8. Stuff You Missed in History Class – This is a new podcast that I have recently found and really like. It has potential to climb my top 10 but for now suffice it to say it has very detailed/interesting information on things in history I know little to nothing about.

Stuff You Missed in History Class is a podcast about important historical events originally hosted by editor Candace Keener. She is joined by co-hosts Josh Clark (older episodes), Jane McGrath (newer episodes), and Katie Lambert (newest episodes). In August 2009, Candace left the show and Katie was joined by editor Sarah Dowdey. The original title of the podcast was Fact or Fiction? History Stuff for the History Buff.

9. 60 Minutes – This simply the audio feed of 60 Minutes the weekly news televeision show. I usually only listen to this one if This American Life and the The Moth cues are empty.

60 Minutes (Australian TV program)
60 Minutes is an American television news magazine, which has run on CBS since 1968. The program was created by long-time producer Don Hewitt who set it apart by using a unique style of reporter-
centered investigation. It has been among the top-rated TV programs for much of its life, and has garnered numerous awards over the years, including 78 Emmys(as of 2007). It is considered by many to be the preeminent investigative television program in the United States.

10. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me! – Last but not least is a pod cast i thoroughly enjoy almost every time I listen to it yet still find myself listening to the above podcasts first when given the chance.

Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! is an hour-long weekly radio news quiz game show produced by Chicago Public Radio and National Public Radio. It is distributed by NPR in the United States, internationally on NPR Worldwide and on the Internet via podcast, and typically broadcast on weekends by member stations.
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Daily Disney - Disneyland (Explored)
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Like every other music teacher in the world I am always looking for a great fundraiser idea. My idea of a great fundraiser is anything that makes me 100% profit. Well here are some links to amusement parks that offer tickets to schools that they can auction off for fundraisers.
I have currently only done the Disneyland one but it worked like a charm I have been told to expect them in the mail any day now.
Let me know if you have any luck with these as well.
Universal Studios:
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Luminous Idea
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Someone recently asked me how do I effectively assess my students’ ability to sight sing?

Well I must confess I don’t do any formal assessments but I definitely try to do in class assessments of my students abilities regularly. We have a sight singing book and some single line exercises from past regional auditions. Everyday we try to do a few examples before we get to the “meat” of the rehearsal.

The problem with the tests in my opinion is it takes too much time. After we have done an example as a class I try to have different students do the examples either by themselves in front of the class or if they are really struggling then with another student. So all the while I am assessing my students but not in any official way.

So I am asking for suggestions on a better way to do this and yet still not spend a ton of time on it either. All ideas are welcome 🙂

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Support the new twitter tag #stuffstudentssay

We all know that there are many times everyday that your students say something that you just want to share. So next time that happens jump on twitter, add the #stuffstudentssay tag and share it with all of us. Don’t use names of course but anonymous is good. 🙂

Here  are a few twitter users/supporters

@dougbutchy @Zweibz7 @kgard @KFreesen

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Singstar Microphones - Wired vs Wireless
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According to the FCC there is a good chance you are going to be using illegal wireless microphones unless you have purchased them recently.

The  FCC has banned the use of certain wireless microphones as the government clears the way for more mobile devices.

These mics use the 700 megahertz (MHz) frequency band and have until June 12 to change the radio frequency or buy new equipment, according to a Jan. 15 ruling by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Go to the following article for more details: Wireless mic frequency change could affect schools

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When I use Twitter I love it. (@kgard Follow me 🙂
Recently I asked for help on finding good beginning level music and a couple people came to my aid.

@musicwms Sent me some great concert program she had done with some great options and also this link  http://pdfbandmusic.com/ Check it out its got some great music on here and the song on the front page is FREE 🙂 Got to love that.

kylew pointed out a series called flex-band by Hal Leonard that is great for my small band that doesn’t always have the best instrumentation available.

Thanks for the great suggestions.

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So what does the new ipad mean for music educators. Right now nothing. But the possibilities are pretty cool and it is fun to speculate about. I can see the day where every student is assigned an ipad like device, whether it is an “ipad” who knows but for the sake of argument well say it is. We could basically do away with text books and most of our paper products in general, including sheet music.

This could be good and bad I guess but since were just having fun lets stick to the good.

– Prices of music could come down cutting out material/delivery costs.

– You could have instant delivery of purchased music.

– Publishers could update their material wirelessly, preventing errors.

-You could have music attached to some sort of software that could play aurally the notes for students.

– Kids would have this resource with them at all time

– Could send sight-reading examples directly to each students ipad.

Music theory worksheets with instant feed back and tutorials.

These are just a few of the ideas I had right off. What benefit could you see?

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