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.

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

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.

Elemental Music

17 09 2009

I knew that I would change my teaching strategies after the summer course with Steve Calantropio, but I didn’t really realize how much until teachers asked me today if I could support their math curriculum which is pattern identification and recognition at the moment. Easy! We do that in music all the time, we had just been working out a pattern using a piece from the Schulwerk and the kids names, broken it into parts and identified the form with a color pattern. The grade 7 teacher wants to know if I can have the kids write the form as though it were an algebraic equation. So how would that look? Our form was A A’ B B A’, do I use exponents to show the A’? I’ll have to think through that one!

I have certainly seen that taking learning down to the basics and building it from there is the way to go. I had grade 6 students today laughing and working to do a body percussion piece and then commenting “that sounded so cool!” I guess sometimes I do somethings right. Steve said we should use high quality music and the kids would respond, so I chose a piece from the Schulwerk, adapted it for all the different grades, and voile! I only had to learn one piece this week. Brilliant! – Thanks Steve!

The Power of the Pentatonic

1 09 2009

A master class last week with Steve Calantropio got me thinking more about the pentatonic scale that we use so much in Orff Schulwerk. I have been doing some reading about the harmonic series and its relationship to intervals. It also reminded me of the video that has been making the rounds with Bobby McFerrin at the world science festival. I went digging for more information and found that the conference has made video of the whole lecture available online here.