TEACHING TIP #2: Active Listening

listen_silentSILENCE IS GOLDEN. Give kids the gift of silence. From infants to teens, all kids need some periods of silence in their day. Constant background music (even if it’s classical) and nonstop television are lethal to listening skills. Without framing active listening experiences with periods of silence, children are less likely to be stimulated and engaged.

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TEACHING TIP #1: The Shy Singer

Music class is a time for fun, for participation, for socialization, as well as for learning music. But what do we do about students who are too shy and reluctant to sing? A couple of inexpensive tools can help the “shy singer.” After these confidence-building activities, your shy little musicians will soon become comfortable and eager singers.

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LIVE OPERA FROM THE MET: At your local theater

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The Met has come to the hinterlands! So if you missed the first 3 seasons of Live in HD simulcast performances of the Metropolitan Opera productions then tarry no more. At a fraction of the cost of a normal opera ticket, you can experience  complete live performances  of the entire Metropolitan Opera season, shown in high definition simulcasts in movie theaters around the country (and internationally too) at the same time they are being performed at the Met.

This is a stroke of genius on the part of the Met to attract and build a new audience for opera throughout the world, and it is a huge opportunity for opera aficionados and first-timers alike to see opera at its best, from the best seats in the house. The HD performances show close-ups that bring the opera alive, with a feeling you are being swept up into the drama and music. You can leave the opera glasses at home, because every seat in the house is front orchestra.

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THE BACH PROJECT: Documentary Film by Michael Lawrence

Though it is now in post-production, you can preview some of the unedited film clips of musicians, scholars, writers and others involved in the project, including a research scientist involved in MRI  scans of  the active musical brain. Even Glenn Gould and Rosalyn Tureck take part in the project posthumously, thanks to their estates. Film should be available in Summer 2009.

Click to watch clips of the following:

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Why Music and Musicians Matter

This post is one of several to come about how music transforms us, and why music is indispensable to the human spirit. It is a source of inspiration, communication and transcendence, crossing boundaries of time, space, language, and political differences. Yet how universal it is for music and the arts to receive lip service, while musicians and artists themselves  feel marginalized and on the fringe of usefulness to society. Likewise, music and the arts are sometimes considered “frills” in schools, either because schools and/or parents undervalue them or as an excuse to lower the budget ax when funds are short.  Karl Paulnack’s welcome address to incoming freshman at Boston Conservatory is a message that musicians need but almost never hear. He speaks eloquently on why music and musicians matter.

Welcome address to freshman at Boston Conservatory, given by Karl Paulnack, pianist and director of music division at Boston Conservatory:

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The Search for Music (and jobs) in a Downturned Economy

Musicians, take heart even in a downturned economy. Music has always been about social connections, and all musicians who have ever performed know about that intimate connection between themselves, their music, and their audience. Music creates a human bond of listening and connecting in a wordless conversation of the soul.

We fret and worry that support for music in the schools may diminish. We know in our gut that short-term illusory fixes like “bailouts” are all about political theatrics in a dance between power-hungry  politicians and Wall Street. The arts usually receive patronizing praise and the short stick at best, and are totally left out of the conversation at worst.

But music will never disappear from the scene. The ebb and flow of a Beethoven symphony has a spiritual meaning, a permanence and a reality that will always outperform the jagged lines of a Dow Jones stock chart that fluctuates daily with “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

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SANTA FE CHOIR FESTIVAL: Sing for Pres. Obama

Don’t miss the opportunity to attend or to register your local choir to participate (if your choir is within 50 miles of Santa Fe) in the September choir festival celebrating Santa Fe’s 400th anniversary, with guests to include Pres. Barack Obama, Pres. Felipe Calderon of Spain, and King Carlos I of Spain. The festival takes … Read more

6 STOMP-inspired ideas for music classes

stomp live STOMP Live! DVD is now available. If you loved STOMP’s incredibly popular first DVD, STOMP Out Loud,  then you must see the exciting sequel to the internationally acclaimed  Broadway, London, and Las Vegas show.. It is a live theatrical production from London’s Brighton Dome,  and has immense appeal for all ages. Enjoy bonus features, including an interview with Stomp creators, Stomp tour previews, behind-the-scenes footage, history of Stomp, and performer bios.

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