Saturday, August 20, 2011

Why I teach music

Because there is more than one way to be smart.

Because real life isn't about test scores.

Because music has existed in all cultures since the dawn of humankind, and it is hardwired into our souls (or brains, if you don't believe in that sort of thing).

Because children can learn countless ways to appropriately and effectively express their feelings through the arts.

Because he may end up a gun-toting conservative and she a tree-hugging liberal, but they both smile while harmonizing on "You are my Sunshine."

Because, among other things, music is entertainment. Quality, thought-provoking entertainment makes people happy. Happy people make the world better.

Because the world would be a better place if everyone learned to truly, deeply listen.

Because some children will be inspired to take up a musical instrument, which teaches persistence, discipline, humility, and the rewards of hard work.

Because making music creates millions of new pathways in the brain.

Because making music brings families, friends, and communities closer together, helping us see each other as vulnerable, creative beings instead of roadblocks.

Because in a world of such frightening conflicts and lightning-fast change, we all need as many reminders as we can get that life is beautiful.

written on Emerald Isle, NC, to the sounds of the Atlantic Ocean

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tech Institute Workshops at CFS

I promise I'll be talking about something other than iPads soon... but this week is the CFS Tech Institute, and I am leading two workshops for teachers. One is on using interactive whiteboards, and the other is–what else–iPads in the Classroom! I wanted to share two resources we used today.

Apps for Children with Special Needs is an amazing resource for anyone who works with children. It is full of app reviews, lists of apps for different needs, etc. Wow!

My Prezi, iPads in the Music Classroom. This is my very first Prezi, but definitely not my last. I had a great time making it, and it is still incomplete–I haven't finished uploading all those hundreds of little app icons.

Tomorrow, interactive whiteboards! Soon I'll also be posting about the week-long facilitator training in Theatre of the Oppressed  I completed last week along with several other CFS teachers. School year, bring it on!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

iPad update: ForScore 3.0

ForScore is one of my very favorite iPad apps. It's a pdf reader with dozens of features aimed at performing musicians. I keep over a thousand scores–piano, flute, ukulele, teaching materials, etc.–in my ForScore library right on my iPad.

The ForScore 3.0 update adds many new features, but there are two that I'm most excited about because of their potential for classroom application.

Versions: A problem inherent in many iPad apps is that they are really intended for a single user. If one student annotates a score in ForScore, the annotation is permanent until another student changes or erases it. Sometimes this is cool, other times it's downright annoying. With the new Versions feature, you can save up to 24 versions of the same file. These are still linked to the one iPad, but with Bluetooth sharing and Dropbox support, you can send them to other devices as a 4SC file with annotations intact. I'm hoping for invisible cloud syncing at some point, but this is a great start!

Darkroom: I often take pictures of scores or teaching materials to keep in Evernote for quick reference (and to avoid carrying around that gargantuan songbook collection). Now I can use my iPad's built-in camera to take a photo directly into ForScore. These won't look as good as the ones I uploaded from my actual scanner, but they are usable and the process couldn't be quicker.

I'll let you know how it all works out in the classroom...