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

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

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

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

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

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

World Cup Music: Shostakovich’s Soccer Match

Don’t underestimate the power of either sports or music when it comes to exciting a crowd. Even as a tormented composer writing under the harsh restrictions and demands of Communism, in his 1929 ballet  The Golden Age big-time soccer fan and sometime soccer referee Shostakovich recreated a soccer match. In this ballet, a communist soccer team … 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

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

See Live European Operas in Local Movie Theaters

Enjoy front row seats at the latest operatic productions from Milan’s La Scala and Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, as well as from other European venues, all in the comfort of your local movie theater.  Join opening night audiences throughout the world to experience these outstanding operas in digital HD.  Oh brave new world that … Read more

Kids Interactive Music Link: Xploring Xtremes

ArtsEdge, Kennedy Center’s interactive website for music and arts education, is a free online resource  every teacher, librarian, parent, and caregiver should know about, but probably doesn’t.  One of my favorite features was Xploring Xtremes. Kids can explore and analyze musical extremes in dynamics, tempo, and other elements of music, through a variety of listening, … Read more

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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