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Luminous Idea
Image by Tiago Daniel via Flickr

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
Image by Neil Crosby via Flickr

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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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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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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