Saturday, March 18, 2017

[Prezi] Online Music Presentations on Chuck Berry and His Music

Chuck Berry, one of the fathers of our art form of Rock & Roll, passed away on March 18th, 2017, during Music In Our Schools Month. Forever going forward, let's remember this pioneer by honoring him in music education. Here are 9 free interactive Smartboard Presentations made by music teachers and music students on the Life of Chuck Berry and his impact on music. They can be viewed online or use them as a free download and present them in class, offline. Three of the music presentations are in different languages: French, Spanish and Norwegian. I've also included some memorable quotes and lyrics from the man himself to share with your students. Thank you, Chuck Berry. Rock-in-Peace.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Our Four Favorite Music Technology Website Resources for Music Teachers

Here are four non-profit and public school-created websites that are full of resources, lesson plans and teaching strategies for music teachers to incorporate music technology, right now.
The Technology for Music Education (TI:ME) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to assist music educators in applying technology to improve teaching and learning in music.

Resources created by music teachers to help other music teachers integrating music technology.


This site is an extension of the music technology and band classroom at Green Acres Middle School in Birmingham, AL. There is some really incredible custom resources they put together!


This page shows lessons and resources from the Torrington High School Music Technology course. Tons of resources for music teachers.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Benefits of Music Technology in Schools with Eli Hall

1. Music technology helps to improve the understanding of musical theory
"You can use it [Logic Pro] to teach students pretty much any topic especially the use of dynamics, in a hands on practical way". J Clarke BDA, Head of Music.

The plug-in and automation features in Logic Pro and most music software, enable students to understand classical terms such as crescendo and diminuendo on an interactive platform. Automation tools also give a level of interaction during the process, as they are able to control the dynamics according to each section and instrument. Plug - in controls such as attack, release, sustain and decay help students to visually interact with terms such as staccato, legato and accent; all essential tools when creating a highly expressive composition.

2. Develops performing, composing and arranging skills through an integrated approach
"It can enable them [students] to access compositional and arrangement techniques in a creative way from a young age". M Barbe, MBP Head of Music.

When composing a song using an acoustic instrument, it can be challenging to write parts of the composition, plus arrange different sections - without an understanding of compositional structure and the ability to play a musical instrument. Using software solutions such as GarageBand, students are able to substitute these requirements through access to a world of instrumental loops and samples, whereby students may listen, cut and paste various samples to begin to build their own composition. The software allows students to use the interface as a canvas for their creations; to visually manipulate melody, harmony, rhythm, form and timbre.

3. Discovers hidden talents within the classroom
"I think the main benefit of using music technology in a classroom is the fact that students get exposure to unlimited resources and possibilities to use as a platform for their creativity". L Neckles SHHS, Head of Music.

You never know how good you are until you are tested. Music technology is a medium whereby students may uncover skills they did not know they had. The use of music software such as Soundation4Education, allows a student to think critically, independent choices and cognitive judgments in the music production process. Presenting a range of musical opportunities provides the prospect of raising self-esteem, increasing motivational levels of a student and enabling them to use their creative skills for a career in the industry.
4. Music technology can further the boundaries of music and enrich music lessons for pupils and teachers, alike
"... The opportunity to learn a music is a basic human right which should be available equally to children attending schools". John Brockhouse, Author, Getting better all the time: using music technology for learners with special needs. Australian Journal of Music Education

Children from early years through to the musically inept, gifted and disabled are able to have access to music through technology. Musical performance on a traditional instrument is often solely dependent on the users skill. Yet with technology equipment such as drum pads, synthesizers and electro acoustic instruments, illustrious samples and mind-blowing sounds can be played by the tap of a finger or click of a button. Assistive Music technology devices such as Band in a Box or Soundbeam, can be utilised in ways to engage physically challenged students to experience music performance as part of a group; but they also help to retain the students interest in music education. Without the access technology offers, higher education in music can remain closed to physically and mentally disabled pupils.

5. Music Technology enables students to extend their learning and creativity outside the classroom
"The use of music technology software aids to remove certain barriers to learning for students. It doesn't matter if you are able to play an instrument or not, nor does it depend on your musical ability". S Wagstaff, SBI Head of Music

Music technology is a fairly new skill, especially for primary school students. With the likes of Soundation4Education, students are able to access music production software outside of the classroom without having to afford the costly price of music production software. Today, online music software is significantly cheaper compared to the cost of purchasing musical instruments and music lessons in the long term. Through access to the Internet, students may develop music production skills by watching the vast array of tutorials from music producers from the comfort of their bedroom.
To conclude, music technology is the way to go. Music tech is a great way to teach composition, arranging and basic music theory to a whole class. Many schools have begun to adopt the benefits of technology as can be seen through programs such as Proclassic and level of IT capital invested in schools across London (£450m in 2013 according to Gov Today). 

However, there needs to be greater access for teacher CPD training in music tech, in order for schools to understand how to use the software not as an addition to the music curriculum, but to incorporate it as a tool to enable greater learning and understanding - and as a tool to facilitate greater access to music theory and performance capabilities.
ProMusic LDN is an official Champion for the BBC's Ten Pieces program. We are currently accepting bookings from schools and are offering free CPD training with every purchase. End date December 2014.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Cooperative Learning and the Music Technology Teacher

(From: www.MusicTeaching.Guru) The average music curriculum doesn’t address cooperative learning despite the fact music education is almost entirely based on working together to learn and perform as a group. With the rise of music technology classrooms, we are seeing a lower number of peer-to-peer activities. Students are locking into their monitors and primarily working alone. So how do engage students in cooperative learning when trying to use music technology? Turn to piano lessons! In piano lessons, students must learn and practice alone, right? And they have to have the goal of performing alone, on stage, to show just how good their piano lessons were, right? Wrong!
Piano lessons are incredibly beneficial, that is undeniable, but in a school setting it is impractical. So music tech teachers hooked up keyboard labs that evolved into ensemble groups. These groups of students fashioned their own music curriculum and worked cooperatively to create a new type of school performance. You can check some of them out at VH1’s ‘Save the Music, here:
Now what if a music technology lab uses the monitors to the computers as portals to a larger group effort of students all working together on the same recordings, the same compositions, creating the same albums and helping each other get the most out of the software they are using? Then a music curriculum can easily be tweaked to say that by the way, our learning environment encourages cooperative learning and our students have fostered their own peer-to-peer learning solutions that developed organically, during regular class time.
This is great if you are a Music Tech Teacher, but what if you are a general music teacher making use of a shared computer lab to meet your technology requirements? If you are unable to purchase a subscription to a site where students can meet and compose with each other, then consider having a cooperative learning goal.
If the goal of the students is to produce an album that represents all of the styles of music that every student in the class listens to, you can have cooperative learning groups form around the genres. Then each group can focus on how many songs they want to write in that genre. And by bringing your students into a computer lab, they can use free composition apps and software that span everything from ‘click here to add music’ to ‘here’s a blank sheet of music paper, drag your notes where you want them.’ 
And while we're on the topic, let's talk about The Importance of Leveraging Music and Culture Throughout the Curriculum.

Friday, January 27, 2017

[Directory] Collection of Online Louis Armstrong Teaching Resources

Louis Armstrong is one of those great musicians who are not only brilliant musical but also serve as a great role model. In music education, we don't often have the opportunity to focus on performers but when we do, Louis is someone to consider. I enjoy teaching my private students about him and his work through audio, video and printable worksheets. When I work with teachers, sometimes we just need a little reminder about who he is an how readily available these resources are through any device. Here are some great music education resources (free downloads and ideal products) about Louis Armstrong:
Louis Armstrong Foundation: Full of information about Louis, his wife and his home
Video from the Louis Armstrong House: Plus other tidbits about the man
Resource for Teaching Beginner Bands: Classroom Pack for Beginner Band instructors and also 1:1 Beginner Trumpet students
Free Audio Collection: Streaming at LastFM
My FAVORITE CD that I use to Teach Louis Armstrong in Class: There are tons available, this one just happens to be the best ;-)
Satchmo in Pictures: Posted free, online by The Telegraph of London
Lesson Ideas on Louis: Free by BrainPOP Education
Biographical Facts for Louis: Free by Scholastic

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

[Smartboard] Beethoven: His Life and Music, Interactive Lesson with Audio

An interactive biography of Ludwig Van Beethoven with a collection of performances and notes for music teachers to use as a free resource or guided music lesson plan for teaching students about his life and music. Works beautifully on a Smart Board and can be downloaded to present offline. www.MusicTeaching.Guru 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Increased My Productivity By Listening to the Bach Cello Suites

About two years ago, I started an experiment. Every morning, I would listen to the Bach Cello Suites while I began my work day (planning, scheduling, emailing). And almost instantaneously, I noticed an increase in my productivity.
Not sure if it was just the adrenaline rush of performing an experiment on myself or if it was some sort of placebo effect, I decided to keep doing it while taking some notes to mark measurements in productivity. Not only did I see a consistent increase, but I also observed a new added benefit... The music became a habit and would 'zero-out' my mind from anything that might otherwise conflict with my work.
The first year (that's right, 365 days worth), saw no decrease in productivity. In the second year, I attempted to have a few control weeks where no Bach Cello Suites were listened to at all. Believe it or not there was a decrease in efficiency. A noticeable decrease was easily seen in levels of productivity. Granted, this was not a scientific study, but the results weren't fleeting or insignificant. The results were huge.