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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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Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

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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Apple_iPad_keynote
Image by cattias.photos via Flickr

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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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 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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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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