Unbalanced

What has happened to the balance control on most stereos and music playing devices these days?

I still need this feature on occasion and am often frustrated that I cannot find it.

For instance, this morning I wanted to get a stereo to play only the left channel of a track. I have a radio in my class but it doesn’t have a balance control. I usually play music on my computer because I can use Window’s Media Player and adjust the balance on the graphic equalizer of that program.

I have some excellent music teaching resources and many of these programs come with records or CDs that have split tracks on them. These tracks will play normally on any stereo. You can hear the song with both the vocals and the instrumental track. This is a handy feature since you can learn to sing along with the song and then when you are ready to perform it yourself, you can pan the signal all the way to the left and you will only hear the instrumental track. The songs basically then become karaoke versions.

I absolutely love split track recordings. The best thing about them is that once you learn a song in class, you don’t need to find a piano and a player to accompany you. I find that the students really like having music to sing along with. It helps keep them on time and on beat, and it helps them from being shy and singing without any accompaniment.

The problem is that I wanted to have the choir sing a song in this morning’s assembly. I tried to find a stereo with a balance on it and I came up dry. I knew that a few classrooms have laptop computers so I tried to use of those but they all have a different version on Media Player on them and there is no balance control on it. I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t have this feature.

I also couldn’t figure out a way to adjust the balance on the computer’s main volume. I think there is probably a way to do that but I ran out of time. So the choir did not perform today. I will make sure that we have the proper gear and equipment so that next time we have an opportunity to perform, we will be able to.

Let me hear from you.

Check your stereo or MP3 player. Does it have a balance control? If not, does it bother you that you don’t have this option? Why do you think this isn’t a standard feature?

Unbalanced

I want to rant about a few things that I don’t like about my new school. I know that I shouldn’t. Every school is different and there is a period of adjustment that I have to work through. That’s fine.

But what is with this so-called “balanced day schedule” that most schools seem to be adopting these days?

What’s wrong with the traditional lunch hour and two recess breaks?

This is how it works at my school. We have class from 9:00 to 10:40. At 10:40 the junior grades have recess outside for twenty minutes. They then come back into the classroom to have a snack. Class resumes at 11:00 a.m.

This is repeated again at 1:00 with a twenty minute recess and a twenty minute lunch.

The younger kids in the school eat first and then go outside. This way the entire student body isn’t outside at one time. It does make outdoor supervision a little bit easier as there are less kids outside and seemingly less problems.

But I don’t like this system for a few reasons. My kids have to go from eating to working without a break. It seems more natural to eat, then go outside, and then come back to the class ready to learn.

I don’t like that they have to eat inside the classroom and that I also have to eat at my desk. I would like to have some time to go to the staffroom and socialize a bit. But I don’t really get a chance to do that. Twenty minutes goes by quick. And before I know it, I need to be back in the class to supervise them as they eat. I might as well eat at that time too.

This schedule seems unbalanced. I don’t understand the terminology at all. We used to have recess at 10:30 when I was a kid for fifteen minutes. If you brought a snack, fine, but most people didn’t. We ate at 12:00 and then had about forty minutes outside. This also gave us time to do sports or intramurals. The balanced day makes it near impossible to have any sort of organized extra-curricular activity.

We had a recess again at 2:30.

So we actually got outside three times a day. The school day was broken up so that it flowed nicely. I think the old way is more balanced. What do you think?