Think that the concept of stereophonic music began with the invention of modern recording technology? In past years scientists have travelled to places like the Rosslyn Chapel to discover that stone carvings in the walls actually represent the visual representation of the tones in an ancient motet. A team led by music technology student at New York University named Braxton Boren has converged in Venice and believe that the churches and the Basillica of San Marco display architecture that was contructed specifically to make the wealthy dignitaries be able to hear the music of the choir in stereo.
I just came from listening to a keynote at the Iowa Music Educators Conf. By NAfME President Scott Shuler and in many ways was blown away by what I heard... And a little scared too. It brought up something that I have noticed more and more in doing my research for the tech articles in Teaching Music. The reality is that traditional music education is changing, and perhaps now more than ever it needs to. At the same time it seems as though we music teachers are doing the profession a disservice by resisting that change. In any given school you have a choir, a band, and/or an orchestra. The problem is that society and students have changed so much that these ensembles no longer attract students the way they once did. You want to play guitar? OK, here's a trumpet!
I read about and talk to teachers all over the United States that tell me of their district's guitar programs or mariachi ensembles that complement their own bands or other music technology classes and it seems so foreign to me, yet also so very logical. The thing is that as a band director I am personally scared a little about the idea of guitar classes or mariachi bands becoming a curricular subject. Thanks to budget cuts band directors and music teachers no longer feel the strong sense of job security that we had grown to take for granted. Now, all that many band directors can think of is that if their band enrollment drops as a result of these alternative ensembles pulling away their students then there are even fewer reasons to keep the band guy around.
I thought I would point out to all of you band directors and music teachers out there that I have tons of free Christmas and holiday oriented sheet music (as well as hundreds of other free songs) available for download in the free sheet music area of MusicEdMagic. All of the music is arranged as melody only and is intended to be used as material for first or second year instrumentalists to practice with. There are no harmony parts but they make a great handout for kids who want to go home and play some Christmas Carols for their parents. Most of the files are also released with the Sibelius documents so that you can make your own arrangements if needed.
Take a closer look at the Free Sheet Music Directory here at MusicEdMagic and get started today!
If you don't find what you are looking for in our local archives you may want to take a quick look over at the huge Hymns and Carols of Christmas site which provides sheet music for dozens of other well known and not so well known Christmas carols.
I thought it might be cool to find a video this week that focused on marching band technique and instruction, but in the process I happened across this video of Jason Paguio, a world champion drum major and bona fide expert at the use of the mace in marching bands. The way he throws and twirls the mace is very impressive and totally fluid. It doesn't even look like his is trying hard yet I know if I did anything similar I would spear myself with the thing. I also found another video of a former U of Iowa grad assistant doing a similar show together with some of the Iowa marching band members. I know the use of the mace seems to be a dying art in marching bands these days but it is still fun to watch these guys perform even if you think that the mace is outdated for modern marching band routines.
Read on to see the videos!
There is never a bad time to think about music advocacy, especially in today's financial and political climate here in the United States. Today's featured music education video comes from Australia and a presentation at TEDxSydney by Richard Gill:
Music educator Richard Gill argues the case for igniting the imagination through music and for making our own music. In this talk, he leads the TEDxSydney audience through some surprising illustrations of the relationship between music and our imagination.
Here is another useful music theory online resource for music teachers to use this fall. Named SonicFit and the brainchild of music educator Dr. Jeff Morton, SonicFit is a music theory site that provides instruction in topics that go beyond what many other sites are currently providing. Things like melodic dictation, scale identification, beat division, bassline solfege and many more are all included on the site in an easy to use graphical interface. For a low annual subscription cost (sometimes as low as $1 per student) teachers can set up classes, and then assign their students specific work to do on the site, see their scores when they are done, and even export their grades to be included in other gradebook programs.
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