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An ICE 3 high speed train on the Frankfurt-Col...
Image via Wikipedia

It may not at first sight look to have anything to do with music ed. But in my opinion this could be a pretty big deal. In my district the biggest cuts I have seen for me have been travel cuts.

I lived in Europe for 2 years where I did not own a car or bike or any other form of transportation besides my feet and guess what? I was able to get all over the cities  and even country I lived in whenever I wanted for very cheap compared to owning a car.

I am not a huge “we all need to go green” fan but I do think we should take care of our environment and if we can save a buck or two along the way then sign me up.

I know embarking on the unknown is always a tricky thing but when it comes to public transportation we only need to look across the ocean. They don’t have it perfect but they have already done the testing for us. No we can take what they have learned and build an even better system that will help us cut costs here.

So in 20 years when I take my music tour I hope we are loading into a high-speed train to carry us to our destination.

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Facebook profile circa 2006.
Image via Wikipedia

I have heard from more than a few people that we have to be careful what technology we allow into the classroom so they do not get distracted by youtube or Facebook or other distractions that can be readily found on computers.

Wow what an absurd thought that we try to shelter kids from ever being susceptible to a distraction. Why don’t we change this way of thinking to teach are kids that some distractions are ok if used properly and at the right time. In fact some of these so-called distractions could actually be great learning tools if used correctly.

So I for one say lets start teaching students and not shelter them. If we don’t teach them how to harness the internet then who will?

Besides I can have a kid turn off his monitor but I can’t make his home life better with the flip of a switch, which is more distracting than Facebook will ever be.  The student needs to be engaged to do that.

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Cover of "My Fair Lady"
Cover of My Fair Lady

I think I must be crazy. I have decided to pull off a musical for all 3 of the choirs that I teach this year. We are doing “Pirates! The musical” in my Jr. High Choir, “S’cool” the musical in my HS Honor Choir and “My Fair Lady”  for my audition choir is the only full-blown production of the three.

The jury is still out on whether this is a good idea or not.  Early on I actually think I like it. If nothing else my frame of mind gets to stay along the same line of thinking for all three groups.

Also, since 2 of the musicals are basically one-act plays and very simple costumes and sets it is actually a lot of fun. The students all want to be in the big musical but this is not possible so this gives everyone a shot to be a part of a musical.

Wish me luck 🙂

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HELP! Band Teachers

HELP! Band Directors I need your best Easy Jr. High/Advanced Elementary Band Piece.

It’s no secret that I am first a choir director by choice and a band teacher by necessity. Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy band it’s just not my strong suit so I am coming to you for help. I have a band of 7th and 8th graders who have played for between 2 and 3 years.

They are definitely beginners but eager to learn and will work hard for me but here comes the hard part.

There are only 10 of them. I have 4 trumpets, 1 Sax, 2 Clarinets, 1 Flute and 2 Drummers.

Help I need good literature that will keep them learning and yet still feeling successful.

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Baseball game, Manzanar Relocation Center, Cal...
Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

I know it is way over used but what a great movie. Anyway, its true I tried a little experiment where I decided to just post a lot of my thoughts. I generally start a lot of blog posts but never post them because I was nervous to put myself out there unless I was sure what I had written was good and relevant. I decided to just post anyway and not worry what other people think. guess what I have more blog hits than ever before but even more importantly I have gotten more comments than ever before as well. This is why I originally wanted to blog anyway, networking/sharing ideas.

This is why technology is important in education. Broadening our networks to allow us to learn more. So get out there and let yourself be vulnerable its kinda fun. 🙂

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Online Garage Band

Aviary Mina
Image by louisvolant via Flickr

If you love Garage Band but you work at a school where budget cuts are much more likely than buying your class a mac lab full of the latest greatest software.

Then Myna is for you and me both! 🙂

http://aviary.com/tools/myna

I have just started using it with my students this last week so I do not know all the ins and ours yet but so far I like it. It is a lot like Garageband on a Mac but not as advanced in many ways.  Though it does have a lot better choice of loops and is even linked with sound.com to get loops from. Or you can go to ccmixter.org and find loops that you can import in.

Right now with my class we are just learning how to work with and manipulate loops but soon we want to start learning to create our own content/loops.

We go to the school computer lab and access it there. And the kids that really take off with it are even accessing the same site and all their work from home. Got to love cloud computing. The one issue we ran into at first was not all the school computers had Flash 10 installed on them. So once that was taken care of we were off.

Oh and remind the students to bring headphones if your lab does not offer them, you do not want all those sounds going off at once.

Have fun and let me know how it goes for you.

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Morten Lauridsen/Pandora

Composer Morten Lauridsen receiving the Nation...
Image via Wikipedia

I love that I can hear the music of Morten Lauridsen and other great choral masters on Pandora Radio.

When I was in college my professor Dr. Glenn Bennett always told me that to really get how to direct a great choir you have to listen to great choirs.

The problem with this was CD‘s are not cheap and to tack that on top of college books it just didn’t happen as much as it should have. But now with Pandora Radio I can type in a composer or choir and listen to great choir music all day if I want.

Then I can even share what it is I am listening to, if it really strikes me, with others like this .

https://twitter.com/kgard/status/8328690517

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