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Music is Not for Insects

Monday, January 28, 2008

This blog is moving- please update your feed

This is my last post for this blog in blogger. And while I love the simplicity of posting text, pics, and vids to blogger, I've settled on as my new home.

If you are following this in an RSS reader, please update your feed/subscription to

Thanks for keeping up with my posts.

Photo: kenliu

Private Video music lessons from the stars

Pay Graham Nash to teach you guitar | Webware : Cool Web apps for everyone: "Pay Graham Nash to teach you guitar"

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Record and Album in 29 Days

Here is a great opportunity for your students:

Take the RPM Challenge and record an album in 29 days.

Here is a summary of the challenge and last year's contest reported at Slashdot:

"The 2008 RPM Challenge — to write and record an original album in February, just because you can — is about to begin. Hundreds of musicians from around the world have already signed up. Last year, more than 850 albums were recorded as part of the challenge, a testament to what can be done by independent musicians without a label, without the RIAA, and often without a professional studio. The efforts ranged from an album made entirely on a Nintendo Game Boy to a Speed Racer rock opera, produced by both experienced bands and novice musicians, often in continent-spanning online collaborations. Last year's challenge generated one of the largest free jukeboxes of original music available online, built to stream on-demand all 8500-plus original, artist-owned songs. Imagine if grassroots, independent systems like this foretold the future of recorded music and its distribution."

Friday, January 25, 2008

Musicians in Google Earth

Thanks to Jim Gate's TipLine blog for this one:

The gearthblog is fantastic for learning about the great work being done in Google Earth. This article talks about a project that is working to plot the birthplaces of the world's most famous musicians. It's well under way and this should be one that music teachers around the world will want to watch.

Check out the article at Google Earth Blog.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

State Mandated Music Assessments- HELP!

Here in the state of Washington, we are supposed to be implementing Classroom Based Performance Assessments in the Arts, including music.
I won't bore you with all the details, but the process involves video taping students performing various "sets" and then scoring each child's video according to a rubric that is supposed to be aligned to specific state Essential Academic Learning Requirements, or EALRS. (Click here for an overview of the music CBPA's by grade level).

Since I am leading a training on this for teachers, I could use your insight on this touchy subject...

Initial reactions to this state mandated testing from teachers in my district have ranged from indifference to hostility-

"How can we test for music? Are they nuts?"

"We barely have time to teach our students as it is...and now they want us to test?"

"No one is going to care about these scores; what difference will it make?"

"I'm not doing it!"

"I think testing is a bad way to justify the arts...."

"What difference will this make?"

This really surprised me. My initial reaction to all this was, "Finally the legislature sees enough value in the arts to have them assessed for all students."

I often joke with my colleagues that after the first round of dismal arts scores are made available I envision a press conference where the Governor says: "Look at these test scores for the Arts; it's obvious our students need more resources for arts education...I am proposing we pass a bill for increased spending in the arts for all WA State students." End dream sequence.

I think testing for the arts fundamentally says that all the arts are essential for every student's education. It says we no longer need to justify arts education based on how it supports other disciplines...Art for Arts Sake!

I am wrong about this?
What's your take on assessment for music?
Does your state have a mandated arts assessment program?

I'd be grateful for your input. Please add to this conversation by commenting below.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

From My Google Reader This Morning

Guitar Games Push Digital Music Sales

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Free tools for music educators

Check out the great free tools for music educators at PracticeSpot
(the Manuscript Genie is worth the price of admission alone....FREE!)

Here is a sample list and description of what you'll find

Music Crosswords
PracticeSpot's crossword collection - all dedicated to the subject musicians know best

Chord Wizard
Decode any chord, any time, anywhere in any key. Gb Minor Major 7th with added 13th? No problem.

Practice Spot's Manuscript Genie
Infinite supply of free manuscript paper, in a variety of sizes.

Sight Reading Chef
Randomly generated sightreading sheets, so you never know what you'll get

Scales Chef
How scales manuals should be - filled only with the scales you ask for

Rhythm Gym
Randomly generated sightreading sheets, so you never know what you'll get

PracticeSpot's Theory Sheet Center

The web's largest collection of free printable theory sheets.