Interview with Drew Burns, creator of SongTorch

Drew Burns is a music education specialist from Perth, Australia, known for his innovative teaching tools including Black Belt Recorder Karate. He has recently released a cool new music platform called SongTorch, which he’ll demo at the upcoming Texas Music Educators Convetion in San Antonio on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, 1:45pm – 2:45pm. We interviewed him about … Read more

Tennis Ball Fun! Guest Post by Denise Gagne

Tennis Ball Fun! Tennis Ball Fun and Relative Note Values Create a chart that includes a whole note, two half notes, four quarters and 8 eighth notes.  This activity is from the resource, Rhythm Instrument Fun.  This is a great resource – click to see a demo on Rhythm Instrument Fun. Introduce these note values to … Read more

MUSIC MEMORY CONTEST: A Four-Generation Texas Tradition

FOUR GENERATIONS OF MUSIC MEMORY When Mollie Tower-Gregory got the idea for a Music Memory Contest in Texas elementary schools in 1977, encouraged by her father’s elementary school music experiences, she never dreamed that it would one day involve thousands of students and spread across the country. The Music Memory program now encompasses thousands of … Read more

HOW TO LISTEN TO MUSIC: 6 Teaching Tips

 1. LISTEN BLINDLY. Ask students to listen closely to a musical selection with their eyes open; then listen to the same selection with their eyes closed. Discover and discuss the differences. (See the corollary to this activity in #6 below) 2. LISTENING TEAMS. Divide the class into listening teams. Ask each group to focus on a … Read more

Opera at the Movies: Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD 2012-13 Season

2012–13 Live in HD Schedule Enjoy another spectacular season of the Metropolitan Opera in movie theaters around the world. Find a movie theater near you. Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore–New Production October 13, 2012, 12:55 pm ET U.S. Encore: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 6:30 pm local time Canada Encores: Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm local time Monday, November … Read more

HOW TO LISTEN TO MUSIC: 8 Practical Tips

1. Listen blindly. Listen to a work not knowing who wrote it, or the title of it, or the style and when it was written. Just you and the physical music, with no preconceptions or artificial mental expectations or without knowing anything about it’s origins or classifications. 2. Listen bodily. Listen with your gut, your … Read more

Do we really need the Arts?

To create, one must first imagine; to imagine, one must first learn to see, to listen, to feel, to perceive. Music and the arts are the cornerstone of education in the broadest sense. They open our eyes and ears, develop and transform us personally, connect us emotionally with others, and offer a universal bridge of … Read more

SING ME A STORY: The Musical Approach to Children’s Literature

Jill and Michael Gallina share news of their exciting new musical that highlights the importance of literature and reading: If you are interested in a musical that takes place entirely on risers and integrates music and children’s literature into one easy-to-produce package, we hope you’ll consider our latest “Rise and Shine” musical SING ME A … Read more

George Gershwin – Sept. 26

True music must repeat the thought and inspirations of the people and the time. My people are Americans and my time is today.      – George Gershwin Born Sept. 26, 1898 in Brooklyn, New York Died July 11, 1937 in Hollywood, California George Gershwin, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, is the quintessential American composer. … Read more

Dmitri Shostakovich – Sept. 25

Born Sept. 25, 1906 in St. Petersburg, Russia Died Aug. 9, 1975 in Moscow, Russia A product of the Bolshevik Revolution, Shostakovich was the most famous of all  Soviet composers. He led a politically and personally troubled life, yet produced some of the century’s most celebrated and frequently performed works even today . Born into … Read more

Autumn from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) wrote numerous concertos, many of them for the young ladies who resided in the Venetian orphanage where Vivaldi was employed for most of his working career. (Many of these “orphans” were daughters of affluent  noblemen and their mistresses, and they lived in very comfortable circumstances and were given excellent musical training.)  Some … Read more

John Cage – Sept. 5

Born Sept. 5, 1912 in Los Angeles, California Died Aug. 11, 1992 in Manhattan, New York “There are two things that don’t have to mean anything; one is music, and the other is laughter.” – John Cage, paraphrasing Immanuel Kant. (Cage agreed with Kant that music and laughter don’t have to mean anything in order … Read more

Darius Milhaud – Sept. 4

Born Sept. 4, 1892 in Aix-en-Provence, France Died June 22, 1974 in Geneva, Switzerland   “Don’t be afraid of writing something people can remember and whistle. Don’t ever feel discomfited by a melody".  Milhaud to his student Burt Bacharach Milhaud was a student of Charles Widor, Vincent d’Indy, and Paul Dukas.  A member of Les … Read more

Opera for Kids: Free Resources from the Met

 Educator Guides to the Operas Plan an opera study unit for your students based on one of the operas in the 2010-11 Metropolitan Opera season, climaxing with a Night at the Opera in a local movie theater or at your school. The Met Live in HD series offers free opera-specific educational guides you can use … Read more

Catch the Met’s 2010-11 Operas in Movie Theaters

The fifth season of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series is coming to a movie theater near you! Enjoy front row seats at these live opening night productions. It is so easy to feel more engaged with opera on a large screen, where you can see everything “up close and personal.”  Feel the pre-performance … Read more

Hidden Musical Code in Plato’s Writings

A scholar in England just announced his discovery of a secret music code in the writings of Plato.  As a closeted follower of Pythagoras, whose heretical beliefs threatened traditional religion, Plato believed that music and mathematics were closely related, and that music was a reflection of the mathematical principles that governed the universe. Pythagoras codified … Read more

Copyright Laws vs. Teens: The Battle Rages

When famed Broadway songwriter Jason Bert Brown discovered his songs were being “traded” freely online by those who had never purchased a legal copy, he thoughtfully requested that the traders stop the illegal trading. Read this fascinating exchange with a recalcitrant yet extremely bright and articulate teenager. Eleanor’s teenage sense of entitlement is absolutely breathtaking. … Read more

The Met Brings Opera into the Classroom

Bring full-scale Metropolitan Opera productions into your classroom! The free Live in HD school program from the Met is now available in some school districts around the country, and online educational guides put the icing on the cake.  Teaching guides for each Metropolitan opera production include classroom activities, musical highlights, story synopses, accompanying audio clips, … Read more

The Fine Art of Listening: for Musicians & Audiences

Listening skills should be stock in trade for musicians, but experienced musicians face the same challenges of concentration and active listening that audiences do.  Timothy Walker’s keynote speech at Great Britain’s ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians) hopefully didn’t fall on tin ears. Walker, Chief Executive of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, realistically addresses the difficulties musicians … Read more

Enjoy Operas from the Met: At the Movies or Online!

Can’t go to the opera? Does your busy schedule or a pinched pocketbook or an illness make you miss the magic of the live performance? While there is nothing like the excitement of being in the theater for the real event, there are now 2 wonderful and affordable alternatives: Option 1. Opera Night at the … Read more

Boomwhackers on Steroids: Plastik Musik

If you thought boomwhackers were just for kids, think again. Better still, listen to the percussion group Plastik Musik in their astounding Boomwhacker performance: The first time I met Craig Ramsell, creator of the Boomwhackers, was  in Phoenix, Arizona, about 15 years ago at a music education conference.  At the time, I knew his newly … Read more

King Henry VIII: Better Musician Than Husband

King Henry VIII, famous for his marriages on the rocks (and the blocks), is lesser known for his talent as a musician and composer. Tall, handsome, and charming in his youth, he played several musical instruments, and was a skilled singer and dancer. Some of his musical compositions are still performed today.

Opera/Ballet Live in Cinema series: Dallas metroplex

This took a little research to find, but thought that opera and ballet fans in the  Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex would find this theater schedule handy for upcoming productions from major opera/ballet companies around the world. How exciting is this! Gather up your friends or your music class and plan a night at the opera, Texas … Read more