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August 14th, 2009

08:52 am - R.I.P. Les Paul
Les Paul died yesterday at age 94 in White Plains, New York. May he rest in dear, beloved peace.

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June 3rd, 2009

07:04 pm
hi fellow teachers, i'm new here so i guess i should introduce myself-
my name is mel, and i just finished my 4th year studying music education at the university of kansas. 1 more year to go! my main instrument is the violin, and i play in orchestra, a string quartet, and a western-pop band. i've been teaching private violin and viola lessons for about 5 years now, and i also conduct a beginning orchestra that is based out of a church in a small town near where i live.

i have a violin repertoire question:

I just took on a new student, an 8th grader who has been playing violin in her school orchestra for 2 years. she hasn't had a lot of individual attention, so we have a lot of ground to cover position-wise... but she has a remarkable ear and is constantly figuring out movie and video game themes. i'm trying not to overwhelm her with technique right off the bat, and i'd like to find her a piece to play that would be enjoyable for her, but not too difficult so that we can focus on position for a while. does anyone have any suggestions? something familiar would be perfect, but i don't really know where to look for arrangements of movie or video game music. i think she's had some experience with shifting in school, but i would prefer to start from the beginning with that, so something that stays mostly in first position would be ideal. if you know of any fun, easy, contemporary-sounding pieces, that would be great too, whether or not they're from something familiar.

x-posted to violinplayers

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March 22nd, 2009

05:17 pm - being creative after work
I've found that ever since I started teaching, I have lost so much energy to create my own music anymore. I used to have a solo project, which abruptly ended as soon as I started student teaching, I continued to write music, but it was tired, weak and heartless. I now play in a band, but can't do much more than simply play along, I've tried getting back into writing, but after working, creating music, listening to music, singing, playing guitar and other instruments all day, by the time I get home, I am musiced out. sometimes I leave work and have no desire to even listen to music. Its such a shame. In college I was the type of person to listen to music 24 hours a day, I had playlists for sleeping, I left my music on while I was gone so that when I got back i could hear music. But often times now, I cant handle anymore noise. : (

How do you keep music in both your professional and personal life without getting overwhelmed?

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February 7th, 2009

11:34 pm - Musical Form Lesson Plan Help!
Hello everyone!

I'm in the process of acquiring a B.ed degree and am currently enrolled in a Music Education course.  In this course we are supposed to give a short 30-40 minute presentation on musical form.  Our textbook spends a considerable time talking about phrase form, but I know there are also larger forms such as binary, ternary, song (AABA) and rondo forms that I'd like to cover.  My question to everyone here is, do you have any advice or lesson plans that I could look at in order to get an idea of how I could present/teach this to my university class?  Do you know of any interactive websites that I could use during the presentation, or that could help me formulate a lesson?  The
class has a very limited background, so it is important to provide them with activities (any suggestions??) so that they can learn some things thoroughly rather than everything superficially...if you know what I'm saying.

Please help!  :)

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October 29th, 2008

05:54 pm
hello, i am a music student looking for some advice.
my voice teacher says that i need to work on my projection, which is not my strong point, by far.

i was wondering if anyone could give me any tips on how to do this;

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September 29th, 2008

02:52 pm - violin or viola exercises in A-flat minor?
Hi - I'm working with a pianist/composer who has just told me that the key in which she wants to write her new piece (for piano with strings) is A-flat minor! I explained to her that it was not a common key to inflict on string players, but that I'd do my best.

So wanting to get a leg up, I'm scanning through my collection of various study/exercise books looking for exercises (besides straight scale/arpeggio) in that key (or G# minor). As of yet I've not turned up any, so figured I'd ask if anyone here can think of a source?

If I don't find any pre-written, I suppose I could transpose some...

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September 22nd, 2008

11:26 pm
Hey folks...I've been gifted with a free/used MIDI-capable keyboard and would like to learn how to use it with my computer.

Believe it or not, while I'm good at music and fairly computer literate, I really haven't done much with MIDI and consider myself an absolute beginner with it. I'd like to be able to input music with the keyboard...ideally, one voice at a time, then combine things. I want to be able to re-create piano pieces that I can't play both-handed that well, as well as make rehearsal tapes for choir.

I have the keyboard...a Yamaha PSR140. I have a Dell computer running Windows XP. Not sure about my sound card, or how to check. :/

I KNOW I need MIDI cables, and some sort of software. Possibly a MIDI interface?? Last time I fooled around with MIDI stuff was about 12 years ago, so I know the tech has got to be better now.

Any advice for a MIDI neophyte?? Thanks in advance!!!

x-posted a bit

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September 14th, 2008

10:36 pm - the website you NEED!
Music Teachers!!  Did you know about this recordings website?  It is a listening library for the music you can buy for elementary, middle school, and high school band music, jazz music, choral music, marching band, orchestra.  I just created a "listening lab" on my teacher website so my kids can go listen to the pieces we are playing (which I don't have recordings of personally) whenever they want.  Check it out!!

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September 6th, 2008

11:48 pm
hi, i'm actually not a teacher.
i'm a student who happens to be looking for a trained voice teacher.
i live in olympia, WA.
if anyone is interested, please let me know, or if anyone can refer me to a voice teacher that would be great.

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August 24th, 2008

10:33 am - Ideas? Suggestions?
I am a K-5 music teacher, but this year was asked if I would take on a 7/8 music class at the attached middle school.

I was asked to take the class less than one week before the start of the school year. It's a class of 27 students, 20 of which are boys and as of this year is the only music class in the school. Last year the school had a band, so about a third of them signed up for music thinking it was going to be band, but the teacher left last minute and the course was scrapped. Another third signed up for a music technology class, and the final third just didn't want to take art as their elective.

I just do not know what to do with them. The school has tons of amazing music resources including state of the art recording equipment, a digital music studio, and computers with midi keyboards for composition. We also have a classroom set of african drums. Unfortunately all of these resources are now locked up in a closet due to lack of space. The school formerly had a gorgeous, very large, soundproofed band room but due to extreme overcrowding was split into two smaller classrooms which are currently being utilized for math and science classes.

The classroom I am teaching in is on the other end of the school and is usually a math classroom for the other 6 periods of the day. On each side of the classroom there are math classes going on as I am teaching, and directly underneath me is a science classroom.

I took a survey at the beginning of the year to get an idea of what the kids were interested in and what class they had originally signed up for. The overwhelming response was that they wanted to learn to play an instrument, unfortunately this has been ruled out as the only instruments I have at my disposal are the african drums (and some very large band instruments such as euphoniums, bass clarinets, etc.) and I am teaching in the math wing where making excessive noise is not an option.

So what do I do with these kids? We have no general music curriculum to work with. The first week I did a sort of "history of rock and roll" type thing, but the kids just aren't the interested in it and are totally frustrated that this class is not what they had signed up for.

This is their elective so I am really trying to make this course something that they will enjoy, but I am at a loss for ideas. Help?

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