Saturday, November 14, 2009

So busy

There has been so much going, and I have had lots of random little things to comment on.

1) HINI vaccine
Hmmm, I just deleted my thoughts about this. Why start an argument I don't care to finish? I am vaccinating my kids when the public health people come to school next Friday. On to the next...

2) Reasons I love my job
I have had the privilege of listening to some GREAT music lately. I am starting to take more seriously the music listening aspect of music education (partly due to my Nevada and Bruce project) and in this week alone listened to Charlotte Church (13 year old opera, not 20 year old pop), Holst (Bleak Midwinter, and 2nd Suite March), Sousa (Stars and Stripes, Washington Post, and Semper Fidelis, Bleak Midwinter by a variety of singers, and 'Who will Buy' from Oliver. I've listened to Bleak Midwinter about a dozen times, as we are playing a great arrangement of it in Symphonic Band, and I'm really getting into the text. You know, good music stands the test of time. The poem was written in 1872, published in 1904, and then set to music by Holst in 1906. How did one poem out of hundreds of thousands of published poem rise above? How has the music Holst set it to remained a choral standard done by dozens of artists to this day? Because it is AWESOME!!!! Even young children can recognize good music. Pop music is fun, and kids songs are fun, but if you can put a 6 year old down in front of a concert DVD and have them watch spellbound, mouths agape, you know that is good music. (As we did in Kindergarten with Charlotte church singing Panis Angelicus this week.) The kids didn't care that it was opera, or that it was in a language they couldn't understand. They could tell they were witnessing something magical and wonderful and bigger than themselves. Same with my 10 year olds in beginner band, in our week long study of Sousa and other marches. When 2nd suite in F came on, the march movement, they listened. Because somewhere in their brain they know what good music is. Something I learned in college or a conference once was how important music selection is. Band teachers should not just pick pop tunes. Yes, they are fun and catchy and people like them, but those band concerts may be the only classical music that people hear and we have a job to educate people and give them GOOD music. (I think you can still play music for fun, by the way. It's about having a well balanced diet.)

Some resources to help you:

Absolutely the BEST most fun book for teaching classical music to kids I've used. The lyrics are so cute and fun to sing, and they've included music with awesome stories. (It comes with CDs) That's the other part of classical music people don't always realize; the stories are great. If you love stories and music you need these books (volume 1 and 2) (I've had a few email conversations with this author, she is incredibly sweet, too.)

In the Bleak Midwinter (Corrine May; yes, better than Sarah) The text for this is very moving. Spend some time with it.

The Washington Post March, (by Sousa)
Sousa is wonderful clean the house music or marching music (of course!)

2nd suite in F, March (by Holst) And, FYI, when we played this in college I played the baritone solo. :) The good ol days!

Other Holst that is awesome is Mars, from the planets and Jupiter. (I also bought Mars for my band to play, but am saving it for next year when my two tubas are in senior band)

You will be surprised at what your kids will love if you give them the chance.

And, while I am on the topic, youtube has been my favorite teaching tool in the last two years. We have smartboards, and all kinds of other technology, but youtube has been so great a music educator. Instead of listening to a cheesy children's choir sing This land is my land on CD, we've watched Woodie Guthrie sing it. Instead of reading about Milt Hinton, we've watched Milt Hinton. Same with Gershwin. I have no idea what the legalities are of putting things up but I've sure learned a lot and been exposed to some great stuff. Anyway, starting to get into controversy again so I will stop.

Some people say conflict is good. I am still not sold on that. (And don't try and convince me, either! Let's all just play nice and be happy. All the time.)

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