Monthly Archives: January 2013

101 Tips Music Teachers Should Know

There are some great tips in this book that all music teachers can use. I took extensive notes as I read it and want to share some of them with you here.

Smash Gender Stereotypes.

Some people erroneously think certain instruments or professions  are better suited to certain genders. We can help teach students that this simply isn’t the case by showing video clips of women conductors, male flutists, and professional dancers of both genders.

“Be a good role model for students in the way you speak. Use correct grammar. Listen to yourself. Tape record a rehearsal and do a self-critique.”

I like this idea and I live by it. I am very particular of how I present myself to my students. I choose my words carefully and model proper English. For example, I became aware that I said “gonna” a lot and it was something I worked hard to change. I now say “going to” instead. It’s a small thing but small things are important too.

Become Your Own PR Department.

Music teachers need to promote their program, be visual in the community, and work hard to make connections. We can do so by inviting city counsellors, mayors, and the press to concerts and performances. All of this establishes our visibility and the importance of arts programs in the schools.

“Students must learn at an early age that successful musicians need healthy bodies. . . You have influence. They will listen and follow the label of their role model.”

Never thought much about this one,  but I like it. We need to promote healthy living in school as often as we can. Why not tie it into the arts as well?

There is a lot more food for thought in this book.

I enjoyed reading this book and have already implemented a few of the ideas into my music program at school. Some of these ideas would be great for regular classroom teachers as well. In fact, all of the above are things teachers of every grade and subject should embrace.

I think you will get a lot out of this book. It is written with a tip every page or two so you can pick and chose the sections you want to read quickly and easily. That works great for teachers pressed for time.

Enhancing the Professional Practice of Music Teachers: 101 Tips that Principals Want Music Teachers to Know and Do by Paul G. Young

Visit the Teaching Tip Tuesday Archive for hundreds of great tips, tricks, and lessons.

Superman: The Mixtape

Last year, on this very day, I dedicated a mixtape to one of the most iconic superheroes of our time, Batman.

I decided to make this a tradition and to release another superhero-themed mixtape this year.

This one is dedicated to the Man of Steel.

There were so many great songs to choose from, and all dealing with the Superman.

Download Superman: The Mixtape (the album version)

01. Radio Intro
02. The Clique – Superman
03. REM – I am Superman
04. Goldfinger – Superman
05. The Kinks – Wish I could Fly Like Superman
06. Johnny Guitar Watson – Superman Lover
07. Redman – A Day of Sooperman Lover
08. Above the Law – Black Superman
09. Big Head Todd & The Monsters – Resignation Superman
10. Sufjan Stevens – The Man of Metropolis Steals Out Hearts
11. Crash Test Dummies – Superman’s Song
12. Joe Brooks – Superman
13. Aaron Tippon – Honky Tonk Superman
14. Firewater – So Long Superman
15. Newcleus – Jam On It
16. 3 Doors Down – Kryptonite
17. Eric Clapton – Superman Inside
18. Lazlo Bane – I’m No Superman
19. Five for Fighting – Superman
20. Flaming Lips – Waitin’ for Superman
21. Our Lady Peace – Superman’s Dead
22. John Williams – Movie Theme

or stream it with the player below.

Next week, I will release a kids friendly version of this tape. This version does have a few adult moments to it. The stream below is the all-ages approved mix and will be available in album format soon.

I hope you enjoy the tunes!

If you cannot see the audio controls, listen/download the audio file here

Don’t Be So Critical (I Know it’s Hard)

Cover of "Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us&...
Cover of Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

“What people are afraid of isn’t failure. It’s blame. Criticism.”

– Seth Godin from the book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

What an amazing observation.

We’re afraid of people saying things like. . .

“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“What a waste of money”

“Who’s responsible for this?”

or perhaps even worse. And this stops us from trying new things, taking risks, and from putting ourselves out there.

I don’t want to give you extra motivation to stand up in the face of adversity today.

I want to help you let someone else do it. I want you to stop and think about the negative things you might say, that you have said, that people will imagine you saying when they stand up to try something new.

There’s two sides to every story. I know I don’t let fear stop me from doing things. But I also know that I am quick to criticize. I am quick to shoot down ideas I don’t think will fly. Ideas that are not exactly on my wave-length. Stuff I think is stupid.

I’m going to try my best not to do that any more. It’s going to be a difficult thing to do, but I don’t want to hold someone back. We should all be able to follow our dreams without fear.

That’s my thought of the day!

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Chasing Content – January 2008

Chasing Content is a feature on Silent Cacophony that has us looking back at the best posts of the month that was.

Today, we travel back to 2008 to see what was happening here on the blog five years ago.

You can read all of the posts from January 2008 . . . 

or just these highlights

Why Can’t Teaching Be Like Coaching – When you coach, pretty much everyone on the team wants to be there and they will work hard to prove themselves. I sometimes wish teaching could be more like that as well. I am dedicated to what I do, I want my students to succeed, but not all of them put in the effort needed.

Give the Cameraman Some – I respect a good camera operator. It’s a lot tougher job that you might expect. Let’s celebrate the people behind the camera every once in a while.

Bring Work Home – It is impossible to carry out all the duties of a teacher in the course of a school day. Quite often teachers bring work home, work late, or go in early to get all of the day-to-day stuff done. We do this because we care.

Silent Cacophony is Third in Line – I really feel like I own the rights to the title “Silent Cacophony.” I was using it before I ever blogged.

I’ve held the number one search position for some time now and I am glad. But there is a new site that recently started operation under silentcacophony.com. Makes me wish I’d bought that domain, but I always figured people wouldn’t know how to spell it. ChaseMarch.com is a lot easier to remember.

My New Novel – I hope to get this novel polished and published this year. That’s my goal.

Thanks for the memories and thanks for Chasing Content with me.

Report Card Comments

Report card comments should be specific to the child. Each comment should reflect what your student has accomplished in the reporting period, what areas they may have had trouble in, and next steps for improvement.

It can feel like a huge undertaking when first starting to come up with your own personalized comments.

The comments below are basic starting points that will hopefully help you get started on writing your reports.

There are certain students where you will need to add more detail to show what they have done in the class and areas in which they can improve.

The first comment under each heading is my “Level 4” or “A” comment, under that is a “Level 3” or “B” comment, and finally there is a “Level 2” or “C” comment.

*N* indicates student name (i.e. Michael)

*4* stands for “he/she”

*2* stands for “his/her”

This year I am only teaching the arts and a few periods of Physical Education and Health.

If you have any Language Arts or Mathematics comments you’d like to share, please leave a comment below.

Here are my comments . . .

HEALTH

*N* has an excellent understanding of how to make healthy food choices for meals and snacks. *4* was able to create a one day meal plan that included a wide range of healthy foods for every meal and snacks. *N* is encouraged to continue to make healthy food choices at school and at home.

*N* has a good understanding of how to make healthy food choices for meals and snacks. *4* was able to create a one day meal plan that included healthy foods for every meal and snacks. *N* is encouraged to continue to make healthy food choices at school and at home.

*N* has an understanding of how to make healthy food choices for meals and snacks. *4* was able to create a one day meal plan that included some healthy foods for every meal and snacks. *N* is encouraged to continue to make healthy food choices at school and at home.

GYM

*N* enthusiastically participates in cooperative games, sports, and fitness activities. *4* demonstrates a high level of skill and understanding across a range of games and activities. *N* is encouraged to take a leadership role and help build the confidence of *2* teammates.

*N* is an active participant in cooperative games, sports, and fitness activities. *4* demonstrates a good level of skill and understanding across a range of games and activities. *N* is encouraged to cooperatively work with *2* peers and teammates.

*N* sometimes participates actively in cooperative games, sports, and fitness activities. *4* demonstrates some skill and understanding across a range of games and activities. *N* is encouraged to model good sportsmanship in all areas of the program.

DANCE

*N* has learned dance moves and routines this term with success. *4* is an active participant in class and shows initiative when working alone and in small groups. We will continue to build on *N*s performance skills in the next term.

*N* has learned dance moves and routines this term with success. *4* is an active participant in class and works well in small groups. We will continue to build on *N*’s performance skills in the next term.

*N* has learned dance moves and routines this term with some success. *4* is an active participant in class and works in small groups with some assistance. We will continue to build on *N*’s performance skills in the next term.

DRAMA

*N* is able to perform short dramatic works in front of an audience. *4* uses action and tone of voice proficiently in *2* presentations. Next term we will focus on using a variety of drama techniques to communicate the meaning of work effectively.

*N* is able to perform short dramatic works in front of an audience. *4* uses appropriate actions and a good tone of voice in *2* presentations. Next term we will focus on using a variety of drama techniques to communicate the meaning of work effectively.

*N* is able to perform short dramatic works in front of an audience. With some assistance, *4* uses action and tone of voice in *2* presentations. Next term we will focus on using a variety of drama techniques to communicate the meaning of work effectively.

GRADE 5 MUSIC

In Music, *N* is able to perform unison and two-part music on the Alto Recorder with proficiency. *4* demonstrates an excellent understanding of musical notation. Continue to challenge yourself, *N*, with a focus on dynamics and phrasing.
In Music, *N* is able to perform unison and two-part music on the Alto Recorder with accuracy. *4* demonstrates a good understanding of musical notation. Next term, we will work on memorizing the fingering positions for the notes of the Concert Bb scale.

In Music, *N* is beginning to be able to perform unison and two-part on the Alto Recorder with some guidance. *4* demonstrates a basic understanding of music but will benefit from asking questions and getting extra help when needed.

GRADE 6 MUSIC

In Music, *N* is able to perform unison and two-part music on *2* instrument with proficiency. *4* demonstrates an excellent understanding of musical notation. Continue to challenge yourself, *N*, with a focus on dynamics and phrasing.

In Music, *N* is able to perform unison and two-part music on *2* instrument with accuracy. *4* demonstrates a good understanding of musical notation. *4* is encouraged to memorize the fingering positions for the notes of the Concert Bb scale.

In Music, *N* is beginning to be able to perform unison and two-part music on *2* instrument. *4* demonstrates an understanding of musical notation. *4* is encouraged to set aside time for additional practise to improve pitching, rhythm, and tone.

GRADE 7 MUSIC

In Music, *N* plays confidently and consistently in tune. *4* demonstrates an excellent understanding of musical notation. Continue to challenge yourself, *N* by adding dynamics and articulation in your performances.

In Music, *N* plays accurately and in tune. *4* demonstrates a good understanding of musical notation. *N* would benefit from memorizing the fingering positions for the notes of the Concert Bb scale.

In Music, *N* performs in tune with some guidance. *4* demonstrates an understanding of musical notation. *N* is encouraged to practise regularly to improve pitching, rhythm, and tone.

GRADE 8 MUSIC

In Music, *N* plays confidently and consistently in tune. *4* demonstrates an excellent understanding of musical notation. Continue to challenge yourself, *N* by adding dynamics and phrasing in your performances.

In Music, *N* plays accurately and in tune. *4* demonstrates a good understanding of musical notation. *N* would benefit from memorizing the fingering positions for the notes of the Concert Bb scale.

In Music, *N* performs in tune with some guidance. *4* demonstrates an understanding of musical notation. *N* is encouraged to practise regularly to improve pitching, rhythm, and tone.

GENERAL MUSIC COMMENT

*N* has learned to play *4* instrument this term with success. *N* is an active participant in class and shows initiative when working alone and with *4* section. We will continue to build on N阵 performance skills in the next term.

ANY COMMENTS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?

Please leave a comment below to share.

Some Music Really is Garbage

I was better off when I thought this was merely fiction.

It’s hard to imagine that poverty exists to this extent.

The timing of this is also something because just today I blogged about that book and then I come across this video.

Cateura, Paraguay is a town essentially built on top of a landfill. Garbage collectors browse the trash for sellable goods, and children are often at risk of getting involved with drugs and gangs. When orchestra director Szaran and music teacher Favio set up a music program for the kids of Cateura, they soon have more students than they have instruments.

That changed when Szaran and Favio were brought something they had never seen before: a violin made out of garbage. Today, there’s an entire orchestra of assembled instruments, now called The Recycled Orchestra.

Our film shows how trash and recycled materials can be transformed into beautiful sounding musical instruments, but more importantly, it brings witness to the transformation of precious human beings.

This film looks incredible. It just goes to show you the power of music.

Chasing Content – January 2009

The one bad thing about blogs is how quickly the posts get buried in the archives. It’s sometimes hard to stroll through the olds posts and relive the great articles and content that get published on a blog.

I try my best to make my content easily accessible. At the start of each month, I look back at that same month from the previous year and make a best of list. I call this feature Chasing Content.

I’m in the process of making these “Best of” lists for every single month I have blogged. That is why you are getting a second dose of Chasing Content this month.

Let’s go four years back into time and dig through the archives.

Read all of the posts from January 2009 . . . 

or just these ones . . .

Best Teacher Ever – This was a great day and it’s nice to be able to relive it through the magic og the blog archive.

Why Do We Fall for 99 Cent Pricing? – Today, I bought a meal combo at A&W. It was a special promo for $5.00 tax included. I wonder why more things can’t be priced this way.

School’s Not Important – Please put a value on education and stop sending the message that school is not important. It’s important to me. I want to see your kids succeed in life, but I need your support. Thanks!

Everyone Wants to be Joan – This article reminds me of the stuff I used to write for the high school newspaper. It’s about the connections I draw between television shows. Some shows are built upon the success of others, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Love is a Mix Tape – I love mixtapes. This book practically called out to me when I saw in on the bookshelf. It was a great read too and might have got me back into the habit of making mixtapes again.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me!

The 5 Pillars of the Music Business

“The music business was built around five pillars:

  • Free radio promotion 
  • A limited number of competing music labels
  • The high cost of production, requiring musicians to get financing from labels
  • The Top 40 hits-based focus of the baby boomer generation
  • A high margin, nonreproducible medium (the LP)
One by one, each of these five pillars has crumbled over the past five years. The result is that while there is still plenty of music, the music business is in trouble.
The innovation: use digital distribution and the Internet like radio, but do it better.”
– Seth Godin from the book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
Those pillars made sense in a lot of ways. Unfortunately, they kept many people away from creating music. 
I’m glad the second pillar crumbled.
Some of my favourite albums came out on independent labels. 
I’m glad that third pillar crumbled. 
Anyone can write, record, and distribute their music now without having to spend thousands of dollars in a music studio, without having to convince a label to take a chance on them, and without having to press up hundreds or thousands of product before they’ve sold any units. 
I’m glad the fifth pillar crumbled. 
I love making mixtapes. It’s an art unto itself. It allows those of us who can’t play instruments to still play and create musical compositions. It lets us share music. I allows us to be deejays, or music programmers on a small level. 
The first pillar is still alive.
In this digital age, we can promote things easily and for free. We can post songs on our own websites, share them on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and many other such sites. We can even get radio play (if we are lucky) 
The fourth pillar is still alive too.
I don’t think radio will ever die. I’m a champion for it, just not the Top 40 format. 
I think deejays need to play music they love and enjoy. We need to hand the power back to them. I’m not sure that is going to happen any time soon. Until it does, we have community radio and podcasts. 

The Word is Bond Podcast

Check it out, my podcast is now on the first page of the hip-hop category.

I’ve been working hard to bring you the best in underground hip-hop, music, and talk each and every week.

I’m on the radio Saturday nights with Daddy J. Our show is called DOPEfm and you can tune it in on 93.3 CFMU on your radio dial or stream it worldwide on the CFMU website.

The podcast is a partnership between the radio show and the informative hip-hop magazine website, The Word is Bond.

We drop a new podcast episode every Monday morning. You can stream the show on The Word is Bond Channel at Mixcloud or you can subscribe to feed on iTunes to make sure you never miss an episode.

Please help spread the word about The Word is Bond. 

We’re doing big things in 2013!