Recorder Fingering Charts

18 08 2013

In an effort to make the plain vanilla music room I am inheriting a little more colorful and inviting, this was my morning project.  Download all of them RECORDER-FINGERS11-17 if you wish. Screen shot 2013-08-18 at 12.06.44 PMBorder Graphics by Ashley Hughes


I’m on a roll…also made # and b Pencil cup signs.  sharp-flat


Video and Blogging

5 04 2010

I finally gave up and posted the video’s I promised the kids unedited. Editing video can be a full time job! Clearly the sound could be better, and as a music educator I know that, but I also have a life of my own.  Video is linked under Music K-7. Enjoy.

I’m also getting ready to help one of our French Immersion classes get ready to learn about blogging so they can share with a class in France.  My initial thought was that I should set the blog up in French, but then I realized I wouldn’t be much help to the teacher. For now it’s in English, I imagine we can switch the language as we get used to the interface.

Too Late I guess

21 01 2010

It seems that the school board passed the motion for our librarians to “deliver an increased proportion of non-instructional time.” at a savings of $410,000 at the expense of every student in the district who will now receive less or no music from a specialist teacher.

Its sad.

Maybe not, I just got this response from one of our Trustees:

I am very supportive of the Arts and Music for all the reasons you mention. I was not aware that these cuts may impact music programs in the way you are stating. I have forwarded your letter to John Lewis and our Board Chair and Vice Chair for comments.”

I wonder how the notes from the public meetings missed this important aspect of transferring time to librarians.

Save Music in our Schools!

13 01 2010

The district has proposed that teacher librarians be given 50% of the NIT time at each school as a cost cutting measure. What has been left un-stated is that these NIT hours are currently used to provide Music programs in the elementary schools. The effect of the change to the teacher librarian’s covering NIT time will mean some large portion of our children will not get Music instruction, and our schools will not have a dedicated Music teacher.

Visit to see how you can help.

Do it soon, the board is announcing their plan on January 19th, 2010.

Music Education Improves Reading skills-who cares?

6 12 2009

A study completed in two elementary schools in New York, found that children exposed to a multi-year music program, had better cognitive performance in reading skills compared to peers at an elementary school which offered no music program, according to a study published in the journal Psychology of Music.

What will it take for our school boards to see that music education is not a luxury but a necessity for making well rounded students, for teaching cooperation and performance skills? Even if we didn’t find correlations to “real” subjects like reading, do we really want to have a whole generation who gets their only music exposure from YouTube, TV and programmed pop radio?

Who will see that kids learn the rich historical and cultural stories that music can tell? Who will teach them jump rope songs and hand jives, or to play the guitar, or the trumpet instead of their iPhone? Or how to sing in tune, in the octave that their young bodies were designed for? How will kids learn to stand in front of people and speak, or sing, or play? These are the things that my elementary school music students learn with me. They tell me their most vivid memories are of being in “Stone Soup” or of the talent show, or of the sea of Santa hats in the gym when we did holiday sing-alongs.

What do you remember about Elementary school? My most vivid memories are of events. (concerts mostly)

I remember singing Jingle Bell Rock in Chorus, and that my mom said the only reason my dad went to concerts was because the teacher was cute and big chested. I remember the balance beam and the parallel bars in the gym and not much else. The few classroom memories I have were due to trauma, not learning- Mrs. Brady bringing a cow brain in a bucket and me almost passing out, and the same teacher accusing me of cheating on an SRA test, when actually I was noticing that the girl sitting next to me had the same birthday as me.

If you care to read the study it is cited below. Or there is a nice summary here:


SAGE Publications/Psychology of Music (2009, March 16). Music Education Can Help Children Improve Reading Skills. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 6, 2009, from­ /releases/2009/03/090316075843.htm

More budget cuts

28 11 2009

Well it seems that our school district is still feeling the effects of the recession. At a meeting on November 18th it was suggested that they cut the time of teacher librarians to 50%, which effectively cuts the time to music programs district wide as well. If you don’t understand how this works essentially teachers are given 100 minutes a week to prepare lessons and do marking etc., while each teacher is having this non-instructional time, someone has to be with their class. Traditionally this role fell to music teachers, who provided a music program in this time. This year  teacher librarians were told to fill 25% of this time, and next year it will be more.  In my case this year it meant that there are 3+ classes who don’t get music from me, and I am teaching math learning assistance instead of music for part of my day.

I wonder if parents realize what is happening? Will music programs become like band and strings programs in our district, and be funded by parents directly? Could they?

It is very sad.

Please come to the meeting on December 1st at the Lucas Center to voice your opinion. Budget Challenge 2010 is a meeting about funding for our schools that will directly impact music programs across the district. Please come and make your voice heard to support our music program.

Places to Learn About music Online

28 09 2009

I ran into a blog post which had a good list going here and thought I’d add a few ideas to the list which were more suited to elementary aged students.

  • Learn by doing – Noteflight lets you create, view and print professional quality music online.

One of the most interesting projects I have found is called the eamir project, which was originally designed to help special needs students create music, but uses input devices like the guitar hero guitar, or the DDR mat, which students typically already know and understand to create music.  Just goes to prove with the internet, seek and you shall find.