J A N U A R Y 2 0 0 9 E D I T I O N YOUR SOURCE FOR ONLINE MUSIC EDUCATION E-NEWS Rethinking General Music, Part 1 Some of us K-12 teachers think about general music, and groan about having to follow boring music textbooks or teaching students about composers that they will forget next week. In this three-part series, ilearnmusic.com gives you some ideas and tips of how to make general music more exciting and engaging for your students. Important Questions to Ponder Learn by playing, not by watching One of the challenges of general music is to One of our main philosophies is that students only develop a curriculum in which all students are learn how to read music through playing an exciting and curious about the many facets of instrument. Have them learn an instrument music. In our ﬁrst part of this series, we should the together that is fun and relevant - such as the question what is the purpose of general music? keyboard, xylophone, tone chimes, djembes, or even guitar. Also, don’t be a standard notation snob! Be Many music teachers agree that the purpose of open to alternate forms of notation, such as the general music is to teach students to understand popular guitar tab. Students will enjoy how quickly how to read standard music notation, sing on pitch and easily than can read this form of notation and and perhaps play an instrument such as the will be playing in no time. Modern notation recorder. But practically speaking, how many software such as Sibelius will easily convert your students are exciting about the prospect of being a standard notation into guitar tab (with or without professional ‘recorderist’ or being able to decipher a rhythms). classical score written by Haydn. Ask your students this question, and you will probably get a lot of Sounds scary, but try it blank stares. What is current, practical and useful for young music students to learn? Ask these Many of you may think this sounds out there, but questions when designing new programs and units give it a shot, tell us how you are changing general along with surveying students regarding their music, and we’ll include it in the next e-newsletter. interests. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. ilearnmusic.com is now Subscribe to these feeds by sending RSS feeds for the latest scrolling to the bottom of content, latest blog updates and ilearnmusic.com and clicking ilearnmusic.com is now the latest videos. This will keep you the most up-to-date with on the icon that looks like this: feeding the masses! the latest and greatest offerings Happy Feeding. from ilearnmusic.com. so!ware review: propresenter 3.5.1 (mac) Do you work in a classroom or worship environment where you need presentation software that has a bit more of a kick than Powerpoint? I discovered this software a few months ago when searching for a good piece of software to manage the presentation of lyrics with moving backgrounds. After ﬁguring out the interface, I realized that ProPresenter not only achieves this remedial task, but also offers secondary display / projector support, easily imports HD video, music tracks, DVD clips and offers remote control via your ipod touch or iphone. Although this software is mainly made for a worship setting, I have listed creative ways that you can use it in your music classroom and the gear you need to make this happen. A Song / Lyric Database One thing that use to occupy a lot of time was copying lyrics or making transparencies of lyrics for the songs that we would sing in music class. ProPresenter allows you to import a .txt ﬁle or paste from your clipboard onto several slides. This is useful for building a library of song lyrics of the songs that you would like to sing through out the year. Add cool moving videos for the backgrounds of lyrics and control this remotely from an Apple Remote or ipod touch and you could be completely mobile. Develop Music Games / Presentations Necessary Gear to pull this off ProPresenter could be used in many ways, but one fun way for your music classroom would be for music A Newer Mac (2007-present) games. An audio track can be set with a slide presentation and the slides can change as a speciﬁc Projector or Secondary Display time in the music. This would be useful to have students guess lyrics, composers, etc...the possibilities ProPresenter 3.5.1 are endless! Optional ipod Touch Interesting Music of the Month This month, for something different, check out this indie rock band from Brooklyn, NY. It’s a little bit Sufjan Stevens, a little bit Radiohead, and a little bit Modest Mouse. If any of those bands strike a chord with you, check out their music. In their own words: “Lo-fi, garage rock ala Neutral Milk Hotel (the E6 gang) mixed with the producing styles of Brian Wilson. This is another solo album created entirely by musical imagineer Justin Stivers. Throw Animal Collective, Smashing Pumpkins and bit of Modest Mouse (the older stuff of course) into the blender and you have yourself a “cheer up~its raining” smoothie. Sit back and enjoy.” Listen Buy CD Four pieces of music gear to grab on the days after Christmas with that check from Grandma... M-Audio Pre-amp Interface AT 3035 Condenser Mic f Epiphone Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar Zoom H2 Portable Recorder A Vision of the Future As we ﬁnish off the year 2008, and look to the year 2009, we reﬂect on the past and look to the future of ilearnmusic.com. With the economic situation worsening worldwide, our philosophy of providing a free music education to anyone with a computer becomes even more important to those who want to experience the joy of music. Here is a ﬁctional view of how ilearnmusic.com could affect a small corner of the world. If you want to see this become a reality, see how you could help at the bottom of this page. JOHNNY’S PIANO Johnny Wilkins was a eleven year old boy who grew up in the rough streets of West Baltimore. His father, he was told was a ﬁne baritone in the church choir at Central Baptist on Franklin Avenue before he was born. Johnny never got to know his father as he was told he left after his birth to ﬁght in the war. Johnny never understood why his daddy didn’t come back from the war, but he now just accepted that his daddy wasn’t ever coming home. Johnny told his mama every morning that he went to school, but he really didn’t feel like worrying about a knife ﬁght or the drug dealers that stalk the school parking lot. Instead, Johnny spent most of his warmer days at Mt. Vernon Square absorbing the musical walls of Peabody Conservatory. One window, in particular always played a familiar melody on the piano and Johnny hummed the tune as he roamed the streets of Baltimore to ﬁnd dropped change. One day, Johnny was waiting outside Mt. Vernon Square as a young man passing by hummed the same tune. Johnny said to the young man: “What’s the name of that tune?” The young man replied, “It’s Fur Elise by Beethoven” as he hurried presumably to his next class. Johnny knew from his mama that the library was the place to go when you have a question, so Johnny walked to the Pratt Library on Cathedral. He sat down at the ﬁrst computer he saw and typed in Fur Elise on the familiar Google homepage. He ended up at ilearnmusic.com and saw a video lesson on how to play Fur Elise taught by a woman from India. It all looked a little confusing so Johnny browsed around and found Piano Lesson 1.0 on how to ﬁnd the white keys of the piano. He memorized this information and walked down to his father’s old church Central Baptist. Hearing the music of the choir practicing, he waited until the rehearsal was over and asked the conductor if he could play on the piano... Stay tuned for more of this ﬁctional story in February 2009... If Johnny’s story struck a chord with you think about giving back. Being part of the ilearnmusic.com community means adding your insights and original ideas to our philosophy of a free music education available to all. Login to the free members area of ilearnmusic.com and submit something from a lesson plan, to video, or just e-mail us your ideas to email@example.com. Happy New Year!