First Week of a Beginning Instrumental Music Class (Part 1)

Instrumental Music Teacher's First WeekHere are the first few lessons I used to start off the term with a brand new, introductory music class.

I hope that you will find them useful. Teachers helping teachers is what this is all about.

Day 1 Music Lesson Plan

Creation-Time

  • Give the students ten minutes to create something out of Play-Doh. The goal is to make something that “is in some way representative of themselves. They can have complete creative license to make anything they want as long as it is classroom appropriate. Explain that the class will see their creation, you will ask a question or two about it, and then have them tell us their name. They will not have to come to the front of the room and the whole process will take thirty seconds or less. That simple explanation of what to expect helps lower the stress students feel about speaking in the front of the class.”
  • While the students are working on their creations, walk around, have informal conversations, and get to learn a bit about some of the students. You can help them come up with ideas and use all of this info to help design hooks to lesson later on in the year.
  • Next, ask them to sculpt “Music” – think of the effects that sounds have on people and the images that music brings to your mind and then give it a form

Listening Activity

  • Play “Viennese Musical Clock by Zoltan Kodaly and ask students to respond to it on the worksheet from Listening Kit 3
  • Take up the worksheet with the students

Music Play Along

  • Divide class into four sections (rhythm sticks, hand drums, shakers, triangles) and instruct the class how we will be playing along with the recording. (Also from Listening Kit 3)

Teacher Note  Even though these activities are aimed at a primary level, they work for beginning band classes in middle school and high school. My first class was a success for Grade 11 AMU3O.

Day 2 Music Lesson Plan

Beat and Rhythm Boxes

  • Draw 8 boxes on the board with a quarter note in each box. Then say, “All types of music must keep a steady pulse or beat. This is just like the clock that keeps on ticket. The beat does not change throughout the song. It stays constant and steady. It does not speed up or slow down,. Let’s keep a beat by tapping 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4. Beat is often arranged in groups of 4 that is why we are counting to four instead of eight.”
  • Rhythms change as you tap or clap different beats, but you have to make the rhythm fit the beat. Now let’s erase a few of the notes. We will tap the pattern out, when we get to a blank box, we will take a rest. Now we can try a 2 part piece. One half of the class will tap the top pattern. Let’s try it now. The other half of the class will tap the bottom pattern. Let’s try it. Now we will try it together.
  • All of the notes so far have been worth one beat. They are called quarter notes and sometimes referred to as “Ta.” Now we will work with eighth notes. These are worth half a beat. We need two of them to make one beat, referred to as “Ti-Ti”
  • Let’s play a two part pattern.
  • Now I want you to write a perform your own compositions. When you are ready to tap or clap yours for me, please let me know. When you are ready, I want you to work with a partner.

Instrument Families

  • Work through the package together going through percussion, brass, and woodwind instruments. Tell the students that they should start thinking about which one of these they would like to play this term. Write down a list of concert band instruments on the board that we will be playing – flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, trombone, euphonium. (from Listening Kit above)

Listening Activity

  • Introduce STILL time (Silent Time for Individual Listening Logs) and complete a listening log. Play Viennese Musical Clock by Zoltan Kodaly. Ask the students what instruments they hear in the piece – tubular bells, trumpets, celesta, piccolo, triangle and what it makes them think of.

Music Game

  • Staff races – Draw a staff on the board and demonstrate where the musical notes are. Play notes on a keyboard and ask the students to stand on the correct space or line. Have a student play some notes and see if the students can move to the correct positions.

Teacher Note – I adopted this from Music Lessons: Grade 1-3 and it is still a great introduction activity for beginning band classes and a nice refresher for the other students as well.

Continued Next Week

After this brief introduction to music, I like to give the students a chance to try out various mouthpieces before they get to choose which instrument they would like to learn this term. I will share exactly how I do that next week here on Teaching Tip Tuesday.

Teaching Tip Tuesday – weekly inspiration from my classroom to yours

 

Now Reading – Star Trek: The Next Generation

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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Omnibus

Later this year, Star Trek: The Next Generation will celebrate it’s 25th Anniversary. It’s hard to believe that it has been that long since this iconic sequel to Star Trek took over television and changed the shape of what was to come. That’s no small feat for a little science fiction series many people thought wouldn’t work.

It’s nice to be able to jump back into the crew’s adventures without missing a beat. This 400 plus page omnibus lets us do just that with some beautiful artwork and amazing storytelling.

I especially liked the mirror universe saga in this collection and how it bridged the original crew from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, told some more of Worf’s personal story, and involved the Next Generation crew including Tasha Yar and Ensign Ro. And wait till you see who makes a surprise appearance.

The first story in this collection starts off a little slow, but fans who like Picard going on archaeological missions in his spare time will appreciate it.

This collection brings some old foes from the television series back and really captures what we all loved about the series. It was a a good read that I am sure all Trek fans can get behind.

My List of 2017 Reads – coming soon!

Long Range Plans – AMU3O (Grade 11 Music)

AMU3O Unit Plan

I am back to teaching and loving every minute of it. I have a Grade 11 music class full of eager students wanting to learn how to play an instrument for the first time. As such, if you are a Grade 7 or 8 instrumental music teacher, you may find this long range plan to be perfectly suited to your classroom as well.

We work on a shortened semester at my school but you can easily adapt this semester plan to fit the needs of your school and classroom.

I will be sharing my weekly plans here over the next term as well, so please bookmark this blog and come back often.

AMU3O Semester Plan – Winter 2017 (PDF)

AMU3O Semester Plan – Winter 2017 (Word)

The method book in this unit can be downloaded for free here . . .

Band Fundamentals in Easy Steps – Book One

as can the GPS – Grade Performance Steps books

GPS – The Road to Musical Success

And remember that there are hundred of tips, tricks, lessons, and best practices right here every Tuesday!

Teaching Tip Tuesday Archive

Five Rappers Who Will Breakout in 2017

In the world of hip-hop, we hope 2017 will be just as awesome as 2016 was, with its many surprises from new album releases to the introduction of new musicians in the limelight. Despite the challenges some of the musicians experienced, there were several great releases. The rise of some musicians has created a buzz and generated musical hype, especially 2016’s breakout star Chance The Rapper, who received seven Grammy nominations. This has severed has inspiration and should elevate artists to greater levels in 2017.

Here are five rappers making big waves in the hip-hop industry . . .

YFN Lucci

This rapper has actively contributed to the dominance of Atlanta hip-hop. Appearing alongside artists such as Meek Mill, Yo Gotti, and 2 Chainz, he has received wide recognition as one of the most promising upcoming artists. To top it all, his hit “Key To the Streets” featuring Migos has received national recognition. In music circles, it is believed that a hit begets more hits and that is true with this artiste. The rapper has managed to revamp the sound of his hit releases with his new track “Everyday We Lit” featuring vocalist PnB Rock.

Amine

This rapper came into the limelight some time last year. As the year was coming to an end, his hit “Caroline” was number 12 on the Hot 100 chats. His style is easygoing, laid back, and shows a lot of ambition. He says when he wrote the song he was hoping to create the modern day “Billie Jean”. Once he clinched the spotlight, he did not waste any time using his voice and lyrics in protest including his Tonight Show performance that was widely viewed as a protest against Donald Trump. His hits and performances have piqued the curiosity of his listeners enabling him to gain a huge following in return.

Princess Nokia

Her September mixtape titled 1992 has helped her cover plenty of ground. Her syllable rapping style that has the crowd in love with her “90s New York beats” easily transitions to club tracks such as “Kitana”. Her flexibility enables her to deliver calm couplets and assertive tracks all in one breath. These make her one of the promising rappers of 2017.

Kodie Shane

It is well known that Lil Yachty came into the limelight after his guest verse on Broccoli was nominated for the Grammy. He has garnered more than 60 million streams on his “1Night” single. However, Kodie Shane is seen as the rapper that might further take Yachty’s musical genius to the next level. Her mixtape titled “Zero gravity” is precise and sharp with an infusion of rap, catchy beats, and melody. Her duet with Yachty released towards the end of the year is still making the airwaves.

Dae Dae

The 24-year-old rapper made his first appearance into the hip-hop industry in 2014 and is finally getting the recognition he deserves. His 2015 hit “What U Mean” had over ten million views on YouTube and ended up in the Billboard chart. It has become the anthem for Atlanta and the rapper continues to show that he is in the game to stay. The rapper has range and has gone ahead to use music to address Black Lives Matter and express his views. As long as he can maintain momentum, 2017 is indeed his year.

Big things coming in 2017

These five rappers will be making noise this year. Mark my words.

Guest Contributor: Kevin Kennedy

Winter Trail Hike

I can’t remember the last time I went out for a winter hike through the woods.

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If you are a regular follower of this blog, you will know that I’m always running these kinds of trails in the summer.

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It was a nice change of pace to leisurely walk along the main path in the winter.

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I was surprised to see that the trail had been sufficiently packed down so that we could just walk along it naturally. Of course, that didn’t stop us from going off trail and throwing ourselves down the snowy banks.

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Here we are climbing back up one of the snow hills.

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We threw ourselves down a few more hills too,

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and made out way down to the river. There were large and thick pieces of ice all along the shore.

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It truly was a winter wonderland and I was glad to go on this little adventure.

Lyrical Mind’s Birthday Bash – Oshawa

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Come out and celebrate Lyrical Mind’s birthday with some good friends, good vibes, and a great night of hip hop.

Headliner: Lyrical Mind

Opening Performances By:

Last Breed
Justn Cr3dibl3
Chezza
Cizzle
Tre Da Kidd
Milestone
Billy Marks
Infamous

Dance Performance By: Heather Mascarin

DJ Chase March on the 1s and 2s all night long.

WHAT: Lyrical Mind’s Birthday Party
WHEN: Saturday January 7, 2017
WHERE: The Atria – 59 King St. E., Oshawa, Ontario
DOORS: 9:00 p.m.
TICKETS: $10 at the door

Visit the Facebook Event Page for more info.

I hope you can come kick it with us if you are anywhere near Oshawa this weekend.

The Martian – Book vs Movie

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The Martian by Andy Weir

During an intense storm on Mars, the crew of Ares 3 are forced to cancel their mission and evacuate. As the astronauts battle wind and the elements, Mark Watney, is struck by debris. His suit is punctured and the life-sign readings fall flat. The escape rocket is starting to tip over and if they don’t act fast, the entire crew will perish. Believing Watney to be dead, they launch and leave him behind.

Watney regains consciousness and makes it back to the base. Apparently, whatever impaled him had allowed his blood to coagulate around it and form a seal in his space suit. The only problem is that he cannot communicate with his crew or with N.A.S.A. He is utterly alone on an alien planet with little hope of rescue.

It doesn’t sound like a comedy, but this book is full of hilarious moments. Watney uses humour to help himself get through the tough times. There is plenty of suspense as well. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

The Movie

The film makers did a good job of adopting the story. They managed to keep the tone of book and include much of the humourous moments. Unfortunately, they did lose a lot of the life and death  moments that had me flipping pages and not wanting to put the book down. The few that were in the movie didn’t have me on the edge of my seat as much as I was in my initial reading. The final rescue scene was brilliantly shot and I was on the edge of my seat for every second of it.

The Verdict

Read it and then watch it. Or if you have already watched it, read it and get even more in-depth with the story and all of the suspense and comedy it holds. You won’t be disappointed.

My List of 2017 Reads – coming soon!

Continuing the Chase in 2017

chasing-contentEvery month, I like to take a glimpse back into the past to see what was happening exactly one year ago.

I highlight some of my favourite posts from that month and share them here in a little feature I call “Chasing Content.”

Read all of the posts from last January

or just these highlights

Exploring Swearing in Hip-Hop

I had a lot of fun producing this radio documentary on swearing in hip-hop music. It’s part of the monthly series I do entitled, Know Your History. 

How to Properly Reboot a Franchise

I hope filmmakers can learn something from the Planet of the Apes movies. The reboot movies are extremely well done and are faithful to the original material in a way that can only please fans both new and old.

Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide

This is a fun read for anyone who truly loves hip-hop. The editor takes us on a journey through 60 classic albums with in-depth articles from noted music journalists.

The Death of Spider-Man

I did a lot of comic book reading last January. If you scroll through all the posts for the month, you’ll see tons of great Spider-Man reviews including Superior Spider-Man, Miles Morales, and this huge event that brought tears to many an eye.

Star Wars: The Force Retread

I still haven’t seen Rogue One yet, although I have heard good things about it. It can’t be worse than The Force Awakens. I was so disappointed with that movie that lacked any originality and I vented about it here.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me! 

We do this at the start of every month. Don’t let great content get lost in the archive. Click the links above, leave comments, and share stuff on your social media accounts.

Thank you!

Looking Back to help Look Forward

launching-a-new-yearIn order to truly accomplish a goal, you need to work at it regularly, keep it in the forefront of your mind, and make small steps to reach the intended destination.

This is something I am not good at. I write a list every year, and then it gets buried in the archive.

I decided not to make resolutions at the start of last year. Instead, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish.

The post still got buried in the archive and I didn’t think much about it till now as we launch a brand new year.

That being said, let’s look back at what I was thinking last year at this time and see how I did and what I really need to work on in 2017.

Here it is

“I want to . . .

  • be more creative
  • DJ all sorts of events (weddings, rap concerts, dances, etc)
  • get my fiction published
  • produce quality radio
  • build a life with the woman I love
  • find a way to support myself financially
  • find a job that not only pays the bills but makes me happy
  • sharpen my DJ skills
  • make a few mixtapes to highlight my DJ skills
  • run more than 300 kilometers
  • write a new work of fiction
  • write a non-fiction book (I have two great ideas for this too)
  • keep this blog regularly updated
  • read for enjoyment, self-improvement, and personal education”

Why?

Why did I write that first one? I have always been creative and don’t think I slowed down in that arena.

Wins

I did DJ a lot this year as you can tell from my #2016bestnine posts on Instagram.

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Six out of these nine pictures are DJ related. It shows me deejaying on the radio, at a night club, at a stag-and-doe party, holding it down for the Rel McCoy and Cquel tour stop in London, and for being an official DJ for Sons of Boombap.

I did produce lots of quality radio programs including my annual Women in Hip-Hop Spectacular, All Women’s  Voices Day, Christmas Special episode, and tons of great in-depth interviews.

I made two mixtapes this year that were events. I mixed one-third of the collaborative mixtape from the Sons of Boombap collective. I also teamed up with DJ Hullewud to drop The MIX(ed)TAPE. I am very proud of both of these projects.

I didn’t track my running with an app this year but I did get out at least three times a week every week all season. I have to have cleared close to 300 km. I wish I knew for sure though.

I didn’t read as many novels in 2016, but I still did read a lot. I didn’t include the stuff I read for school either as I started working on a masters degree at Western University.

Fail

I didn’t write any new works of fiction or non-fiction this year. I did write and work on projects for the four university classes I took though. I hadn’t planned on going back  to school, but I am glad I did.

Win

Returning to university to pursue a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science.

I am very excited about this new career path and can’t wait to finish.

Set-back

I worked at a fast food spot as a survival job and kind of got stuck there. The good news is that I did get promoted twice.

Launch-forward

I have moved on from that job and will be teaching high school this winter term. That doesn’t start until Tuesday, but it’s a great way to kick off a new year (also featured on my Best 9 picture above)

The Biggest Win

The biggest win of 2016 is my engagement to Diana. She is an amazing woman and I am really looking forward to our wedding this winter and building a life together.

Good bye 2016

2016 wasn’t a terrible year. It felt like it was a transition year and that even better things are on the horizon. That is why I wrote this tweet.

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Hello 2017

I am ready for all the good things that will happen this year. I don’t plan on making any goals or resolutions just yet. Perhaps I will make shorter goals and work hard towards accomplishing some of the things I didn’t get to this year.

Happy New Year!

Top 16 Albums of 2016

A few years back I wrote a post about the best albums of that year. I called it the Top 9 Albums of ’09 and unknowingly started a tradition. Every year now, I have to add one more album to the list.

This year, I had no problem finding 16 albums to rank. It was a good year for hip-hop music.

All of the albums listed below were in heavy rotation for me, were featured on my radio show –  Word is Bond several times, and the tunes bang.

I even got to interview a few of these artists on the show.

If you have a favourite album that I didn’t list here, please leave a comment below. This time of year is always great for discovering music that flew under your radar. I know I discover great new music from other people’s lists. Hopefully mine can do that for you too.

So without further ado, here is the Top 16 Albums of 2016.

16. Sadat X – Aqua

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Sadat X is a veteran in the rap game. He still has the chops on the mic and enlists the production skills of Pete Rock, Diamond D, DJ Scratch, and more. The features on the album are also on point.

15. More or Les – Blow the F&#@ Up But Stay Humble

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More or Les has a very distinct voice and actually talks about things on his record. In the lead single for this project, he admits that he might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think you should at least take a sip. He battles stereotypes, drops knowledge, and makes your head nod.

14. Atmosphere – Fishing Blues

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Atmosphere are always one of my favs.  I might be a little biased here. And this may effort may not be their best work to date, but it is still getting regular rotation in my house and car.

13. Torae – Entitled

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I love how Torae has stopped using the n-word. The track that addresses this on the album is absolutely brilliant. I also like how he tackles the subject of entitlement that many of us struggle with regularly.

12. Apollo Brown & Skyzoo – The Easy Truth

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Apollo Brown is one of the best producers in the game. He can bring out the best in an emcee. And when that emcee is already a gifted lyricist such as Skyzoo, a collaborative project is going to sound amazing. This one is a future classic!

11. Rel McCoy – Gas Money

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Relic officially changed his name to Rel McCoy with this project. He tries some new flows and enlists the talents of a variety of producers including Fresh Kils, Tone Mason, Moka Only, and Elaquent to create another great album. Rel never disappoints.

10. DJ Hullewud / DJ Chase March – The MIX(ed)TAPE

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It might be a little self-serving to include this on my year-end list, but I am very proud of this project. It features world-premiere and exclusive tracks from some of hip-hop’s best underground artists including Exit Only, Sankdafied, Branded Moore, Swamp Thing, Timbuktu, Jon Corbin, Es, Zoetic Minds, Animal Nation, Ultra Magnus and DJ Slam, and more.

9. Masta Ace – The Falling Season

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Masta Ace goes back to high school with this concept album that retells the story of his youth in skits placed between topical songs that will surely have your head nodding and you rapping along.

8. Tiff the Gift – It Gets Greater Later

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I really love the feel, the message, and the boom bap beats on this one. It was worth the two year wait between albums if this is what Tiff the Gift had been cooking up for us. My favourite track is “Painted Pictures.”

7. Common – Black America Again

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Common has taken a few mis-steps when it comes to albums and projects. But his growth and development is something that cannot be denied. His is redefining a genre that often tries to paint older voices as irrelevant. This is Common at his finest.

6. A-F-R-O and Marco Polo – A-F-R-O Polo

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All Flows Reach Out is one of the freshest new voices we have in hip-hop. Team him up with one of the best producers to ever come out of Canada, and we end up with A-F-R-O Polo, a great underground hip-hop project.

5. Elevator Emcees – Elevator MCs

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These guys captured my attention right away with this project. They remind me of Dilated Peoples with their sound. I hope to see big things from them in the future.

4. Homeboy Sandman – Kindness for Weakness

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I love this album. “Eyes” is quite possibly my favourite song of the whole year. Homeboy Sandman is quite unconventional and definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. He can probably relate to More or Les is that way.

3. A Tribe Called Quest – We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service

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This album is incredible for a few different reasons. First off, it is the last album we will see from the group as founding member Phife Dawg passed away. Secondly, the group came back together to record it. You can tell that they were in the same room at the same time. Third, they push the envelope while maintaing the Tribe sound. I’m so glad we have this final chapter in the ATCQ catalogue.

2. Tempomental – Loaded with Pain

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Tempomental is one of London, Ontario’s finest. His live performances are absolutely incredible. He has a soulful flow, sings, and produces. This album is sonically beautiful with some depressing and thought provoking lyrics. It’s what Tempomental does best.

1. Nilla – Valkyrie

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We haven’t heard from Nilla in years, but it was well worth the wait. This album was produced entirely by Ghettosocks and we even get to hear him vocally on the project as well. Nilla takes aim at misogyny in hip-hop and sexism in every day life. She spits hard hitting rhymes over top of great boom-bap beats. She will definitely make you say, “Woah, man!” (a highlight track everyone should hear)

Support the artists

Go find these albums and support the artists by purchasing their music, playing to see them perform live, and copping some merchandise.

Your turn

Do you agree or disagree with my list? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

End of the Year Hip Hop Anonymous Bash

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We are closing off the year with one more edition of Hip Hop Anonymous featuring performances by Tempomental, Sankdafied, Typewriters, Laura Leger, Traffimatics, KRouge, Revelated Me, and T Will. There will also be a beat showcase by AdD.

DJ Chase March on the 1s and 2s all night long.

WHAT: Hip Hop Anonymous – End of Year Bash
WHEN: Friday December 30, 2016
WHERE: Gordy’s Brewhouse. 1631 Oxford St. E. London, ON.
DOORS: 9:00 p.m.
TICKETS: Free (DWG wants to give back to all the fans and supporters)

Visit the Facebook Event Page for more info.

I hope to you can come out and kick it with us in a small, intimate setting. Help support the local hip-hop scene by attending shows, letting people know that you are going via social media, buying some merch at the gig, and enjoying the tunes. It’s going to be a good night!

Star Trek Dropped the Ball in 2016

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2016 marked the 50th Anniversary of the biggest science fiction franchise of all-time. I was really looking forward to a year-long celebration of all things Trek. Unfortunately, those in charge of Star Trek dropped the ball, the anniversary passed with very little fanfare, and an opportunity was missed.

I have been championing Star Trek my entire life. I have watched all of the television series, read the novels, collected the comic books, cosplayed as characters from the Enterprise, bought and displayed collectibles, constructed models, played board games and trivia, and had a blast doing it.

I was hoping to share my passion for the show with some like-minded people this year, both in person and online. I was looking forward to a new television series premiering this fall. I think a lot of us were. It is a crime that the series has been pushed back and that we won’t see it till next year. A lot had been lost by not having it shown during the 50th anniversary of the franchise.

I made some noise on the day we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the very first broadcast of the original television series that aired September 8th, 1966.

I celebrated by rereading some of my old comic books and rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation from its very first episode. I’m not sure I will have the series done in this calendar year, but I will write a review of it once I get through all 177 episodes.

At least we did see a new Star Trek film this year, and it was actually good. Star Trek Beyond has its problems but it feels like the creators are starting to get their act together with the new universe. I even got to see William Shatner, the original Captain Kirk this year at Fan Expo.

When I have talked with people about this monumental anniversary, many of them didn’t even realize it happened. That is a shame. Star Trek dropped the ball. They should have hyped it up and capitalized on the event. I am not sure why they didn’t.

I just want to say that I love and appreciate all that Star Trek has given to me and to popular culture. Without it, we wouldn’t have Star Wars and countless other series and fandoms. It paved the way for science fiction to be a legitimate artform. It has also inspired me in countless ways.

Star Trek, live long and prosper.

And here’s to another 50!

Star Trek Revisited and Reinterpreted

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Star Trek: The New Adventures – Volume 2

The first volume of this graphic novel series didn’t sit right with me. I was pretty harsh in my review of it. In fact, I recommended skipping the title altogether. It was advice that even I didn’t take. I saw the second volume at the library and decided to give it a try. I am glad that I did.

Spoiler Free Review

The first story in the collection revolves around a minor character from the first rebooted movie, Hendorff. It sounds like a weird start to the collection, but it works. I like how much he takes pride in wearing the red shirt uniform for the Enterprise. A lot of us in the fandom know what that might mean, but to see it taken so seriously in this story and have it not be a joke is a really nice touch.

One-off Stories

We also get a one-off story from Scott’s associate, Keenser. We see the challenges he has serving on the starship due to his diminished stature. It’s the only time in the Star Trek universe that I am aware of where this issue has been tackled.

Scotty, Bones, and Uhura each get their own one-issue story in this collection, but for some reason Sulu and Chekov have to share one.

Mirror Universe

We get a Mirror Mirror story in this volume that isn’t simply a retelling of the original television series episode. In this one, Kirk is the bad guy and Spock is the reasonable one. We even get old Spock in the story, which was pretty cool.

Pon Farr Troubles

I also really like the reinterpretation of the classic episode “Amok Time.” This is the one where Spock goes through a mating cycle that requires him to return to Vulcan. Of course, in the first movie, his home planet had been destroyed, making this impossible. The Enterprise diverts to New Vulcan only to find that the Pon Farr ritual is not effective for many of the Vulcans. It seems that the ritual was tied to the solar system and planet of the original Vulcan. It looks as though Spock might be lost to insanity, along with many others.

The Verdict

I can’t believe how effective this second volume of the comic series was. It seems that writers and artists have grown into knowing exactly what this universe is about. They are respecting the source material while bringing something new to it. It feels like Star Trek and I will be happy to read more.

My List of 2016 Reads  – nearly done now

A Chase March Hip-Hop Christmas Mix

I did this mix of underground Christmas-themed hip-hop live on the radio Monday night.

I get tired of the same-old, same-old Christmas music every year. That’s why I did some digging and found some new and new-to-me tunes to spin.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you have a safe and happy holiday and enjoy the mix!

FavorMusik – Snowed In
Saigon – It’s Cold
Kev Brown – We’re a Car-roll-ing
Bob Rivers – If Eminem did Jingle Bells
Fat Lip (of Pharcyde) – All I Want
Foreknown ft Phil Harmonic – Ghost of Christmas Past
Torae – Egg Nod
MC Lars – Frost the Flow Man
Cross Movement – Different Kind of Christmas
Scribbling Idiots – Jingle Bell Knock
Page One x Theory Hazit x MG the Visionary x DJ Because – We Three Kings
Atmosphere – If I Was Santa Claus
LA Symphony – Christmas Song
Word Salad and Mad Hattr – Your Present’s Here
Sweet Tee – Let the Jingle Bells Rock
Juice Crew All Stars – Cold Chillin’ Christmas
Onyx – Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells
Easy-E – Merry M-F Christmas
People Under the Stairs – Holiday Party
Run-DMC – Christmas in Hollis
Dynamix II – Merry Ride
Supastition – Sounds of Xmas
Muneshine ft D-sisive – Starter Jacket
Bop Alloy – Hottest Christmas on Record
Audio Two – A Christmas Rhyme
Rev Run and Friends – Santa Baby
Kardinal Offishall and Friends – Christmas Rappin’
Ice Cube – Put it in ya Egg Nog
ScienZe ft Blu – Charlie Brown
Casual – Santa Claus
Dana Dane – Dana Dane is Coming to Town

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The King of Rock-Bottom

dmc-memoir

Ten Ways to Not Commit Suicide by Darryl McDaniels (DMC)

I am a huge Run-DMC fan. They are my all-time favourite group. So when I saw this book at the public library, I knew I had to pick it up.

I had heard DMC talking about this book on the radio, and to tell you the truth, I wasn’t that interested in reading it. Maybe it was the awkward title. Maybe it was the fact that Run-DMC disbanded when Jam Master Jay died over 10 years ago and I haven’t paid much attention to the solo carreers of Run or DMC since then.

When I saw that this book was available for me to read for free, I knew I had to check it out. I found out a few things I didn’t know about Run-DMC. I thought they were cool with each other and made music together in a creative partnership. DMC doesn’t paint that picture in this memoir. He writes of his unhappiness with the group often. He also has nothing positive to say about Run. He doesn’t blame Run for anything and he doesn’t air any of his dirty laundry. This isn’t a tell-all book. It isn’t a self-help book either. It’s simply a memoir from an artist who almost fell victim to the music industry.

DMC writes how he drank to relieve the anxiety he felt when performing live. It quickly became a problem for him as he slid down to alcoholism. It’s almost hard to believe that any one person could drink as much as he did. And it almost killed him.

He tells us of his childhood passions and how they took a backseat to his rapping career. He is working hard to fulfill some of the dreams he put on hold when he became the King of Rock.

I am glad to see that DMC made it through the dark times and that he is still here in this world. Run-DMC are an historic group that deserve all the praise and recognition that they get. I wish things could have ended better for them. I wish Jay hadn’t died. I wish that they had released the 20th Anniversary album and launched the tour that was speculated just before Jam Master Jay’s untimely passing.

We won’t likely see a Run-DMC reunion, but we can continue to play their music and sing their praises. And we can read this book.

My List of 2016 Reads – just about complete now

12th Annual Xmas Wrap (Biggest Rap Show of the Year)

xmas-wrap-2016

One of the first hip-hop concerts I ever went to in London, Ontario was The 4th Annual Xmas Wrap. I was strictly a fan back then and just starting my career in radio. I wasn’t really known yet, especially outside of Hamilton. A lot has happened in the past eight years. DJ Hullewud distinctly remembers meeting me at that event. It’s hard to believe that was eight years ago.

I’m glad that the event has remained a Christmas tradition for all of us. It’s almost hard to believe that I am actually on the bill this year. I am so excited. This is always the biggest show of the year. It’s nice to see Swamp Thing come back to town every year to connect with their roots and throw an amazing concert full of talented artists to a packed house of energetic fans.

This years event is special because it features a Soundminds reunion, and marks the return of Sum-1 to the stage. It’s also hosted by London legend, Fritz tha Cat.

DJ Hullewud and DJ Chase March will be holding it down on the turntables all night long too.

The 12th annual Xmas Wrap Spectacular

The Annual Xmas Wrap Spectacular returns on December 22nd at Call The Office. This years event features Swamp Thing (Timbuktu, Chokeules & Savilion), Thesis Sahib, Soundminds, and Sum-01, along with DJ Hullewud & DJ Chase March. Hosted by Fritz Tha Cat.

Bios

Swamp Thing – For the past five years Toronto’s three-headed rap monster, Swamp Thing (Timbuktu, Chokeules & Savilion), have delivered a special sonic treat every Halloween. This year is no different. Back again with perhaps their greatest achievement yet, “Pray To Science” dropped October 28th via Urbnet. Produced entirely by Savilion and Timbuktu, “Pray To Science” delivers uptempo grooves and deep pocket space-aged boom bap, born of and created for the musically creative. Digging into the pantheon of underground hip hop, the records features collaboration from Ghettosocks, Birdpares, Ambition, Wordburglar, and Nilla.

Thesis Sahib – Thesis Sahib has been contributing to the underground hip hop movement for the past 19+ years, both as an innovative rapper and a well known visual artist. His articulate, rapid-fire delivery, harmonic vocals, and imaginative lyrics have graced an impressive catalogue of sought after releases on CD and vinyl. Often combining both 2D aesthetic with circuit-bent electronic toys, compositions written on modified Gameboys, a face mask costume fitted with a heavily effected microphone, and circuit-bent sounds have become part of his music and on-stage performances.

Soundminds – The last time the legendary London crew Soundsminds graced a stage together was at the 10th Xmas Wrap event back in 2014. Fingerslim, Mr. Megaphone, and Lionize Prime will once again reunite on stage, at the same time, with a very special set of their classic tracks, along with a possible surprise or two.

Sum-01 – Fresh off her latest hiatus, it’s the offical Sum-01 comeback. The queen of London hip hop returns to the stage for the first time since the summer of 2010 to take us back in time and perform tracks off her 2008 mixtape and 2010 EP.

Fritz Tha Cat – Claiming to have retired from the rap game 10 years ago Fritz returns to the stage this year to host the Xmas Wrap event for the very first time. Fritz has been quiet musically since dropping the last OK Cobra record back in 2009, but can be heard on the new Hand Solo “Bassment Of Badmen 3” compilation over DJ Moves production….with rumours of more new “old” material dropping in the near future.

DJs

Music provided by DJ Hullewud (Sausage Gut Radio, Crate Crusaders, Sons Of Boombap) and DJ Chase March (Word Is Bond Rap Radio, Sons Of Boombap).

Info

WHAT: The 12th annual Xmas Wrap Spectacular
WHEN: Thursday December 22, 2016
WHERE: Call The Office. 216 York Street, London, Ontario
DOORS: 9:00 p.m.
TICKETS: $10 at the door

I hope to see you there!

Failure Breeds? Doesn’t it?

life-lessons-mj-dougherty

Life Lessons from a Total Failure by M.J. Dougherty

M.J. Dougherty has certainly had his share of ups and downs. He’s not afraid to open up and tell us about them in his new memoir, Life Lessons from a Total Failure.

I can relate to feeling like a failure. I think we all can. We might not have had experiences similar to Dougherty but we can still learn from him nonetheless. Each chapter starts with subtitles such as “It’s OK to keep things simple” , “Embrace change” , and “It can happen to anyone.”

Dougherty doesn’t hit us over the head with lessons. Instead, he simply tells his story and hopes that we get the message through the shared experience. In the final pages of the book, he sums everything up with “M.J.’s Top Ten Lessons from a Total Failure.” Each lesson is one paragraph long and gets straight to the point.

I like to write spoiler-free reviews, so if you don’t want to read this book without knowing any particulars stop reading now.

Spoiler Alert

It feels strange giving a spoiler alert for a memoir, but here we are.

I wanted to talk about my surprise of people’s expectations and how they can they can do a lot of harm. This happened to Dougherty shortly after he decided to get married. People had known that he was gay prior to this, but after his wedding, the public began to perceive his bar as being a “gay bar” even though it wasn’t. Ultimately, people stopped going there because of this perception and the business failed. I almost couldn’t believe that something like that could actually happen. Perception is powerful.

It’s interesting to see how some opportunities just presented themselves to the author as well. He was in the right place at the right time and was able to capitalize on them. Perhaps he needed to experience those failures and go through some low periods in life to ultimately find himself. Maybe we all do.

My List of 2016 Reads – just about done my reading log for the year.

Truth Found in an Ancient Manuscript

manuscript-found-in-accra

Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho

Words have power. They have the power to inspire, to educate, to entertain, and they even have a calming quality that can make a anxious time more bearable.

Perhaps that is why a group of people gathered around an elder back in the year 1099 as their city was being invaded and attacked. Fortunately for us, someone wrote down his words and they happened to survive all this time.

Here is some knowledge from the Manuscript Found in Accra.

Focus on Your Goal

“He focuses not just on the goal to be reached, but on everything happening around him. He often has to stop because his strength fails him. At such moments, Love appears and says: “You think you’re heading toward a specific point, but the whole justification for the goal’s existence lies in your love for it. Rest a little, but as soon as you can, get up and carry on. Because ever since your goal found out that you were traveling toward it, it has been running to meet you.”

Pour in the Love

“This second type of work we call the Offering. For example, two people might be cooking the same meal and using exactly the same ingredients, but one is pouring Love into what he does and the other is merely trying to fill his belly. The result will be completely different, even though Love is not something that can be seen or weighed. The person making the Offering is always rewarded. The more he shares out his affection, the more his affection grows.”

Be Yourself

“Don’t try to be useful. Try to be yourself; that is enough, and that makes all the difference. Walk neither faster nor slower than your own soul, because it is your soul that will teach you the usefulness of each step you take.”

Simplicity is Beautiful

“And what is simplicity? It is the coming together of the true values of life. Snow is pretty because it has only one color. The sea is pretty because it appears to be a flat plane. The desert is beautiful because it seems to consist only of sand and rocks. However, when we look more closely at each of these things, we discover how profound and complete they are, and recognize their qualities. The simplest things in life are the most extraordinary. Let them reveal themselves.”

True Fiction

This book is a work of fiction but it reads like a self-help book or even a religious text. It get into some topics that Holy books usually don’t, but the openness and honesty of the elder’s words ring just as true.

Recommended

I have enjoyed every Paulo Coelho book that I have ever read and highly recommend The Alchemist by him as well.

Keep Reading

My List of 2016 Reads – my annual reading is almost complete for this year

Medical Ngajuana: The Prescription Tour (Brantford – Dec 16)

nga-brantford

Ngajuana is one of the most talented artists I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He is prolific in his output, having written over 500 songs and now he is launching his very first headlining tour.  If you haven’t seen this man live yet, do yourself a favour and come to the show this Friday in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.

Bio: Born and raised in London, Ontario, Ngajuana has garnered a reputation as one of the best independent rappers ever to call Canada home. With 5 albums, more than 530 tracks and counting, over 200 shows played, and a growing fan base, the future is perpetually bright for Ngajuana. He has built a solid reputation for being reliable, consistent and focused. Ngajuana won the 2013 Jack Richardson Music Award for Hip-Hop, as well as the 2013 CHRW Fan-Favourite Album of the Year Award. Most recently, Ngajuana is currently a student in Fanshawe College’s Music Industry Arts program. He is getting ready to drop his biggest project to date, “Sonic Therapy 2: Paintings In Braille”.

Medical Ngajuana: The Prescription Tour – Brantford Stop

Featuring live performances by

Mad Hattr
Tempomental
Jennings
MLNY
OB1
Makzwell Skot
Multiverse Poets
Nos Killah
Woodlawn Warriors
The Renegade Master

Shorty

Music by DJ Chase March all night long!

WHEN: November 4th, 2016
WHERE: 310 Sports Bar – 310 Colborne St, Brantford, ON N3S 3M9
DOORS: Open at 9:00
TICKETS: $10 at the door.

I’m looking forward to rocking this show and I hope to see you there.

Facebook Event Page