The Art of Pioneering a Music Program

February 15, 2012 at 2:49 am | Posted in music education, Music Teacher Profession | Leave a comment
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How does one start a music program that is largely non-existent? Here in South Africa it’s only the private schools that include private/instrument music lessons in their curriculum. At the moment, I’m teaching music appreciation as a subject in a private boys school that is obsessed with sport (grades 4-8). Music is a very low priority and making headway is slow and sometimes, I have to admit, I want to fall down in a puddle on the floor in the fetal position and suck my thumb at the injustice of it all.

I had to ask myself, after coming from a co-ed school, what do boys want? What do boys love? I had to make it relevant for them. A while ago I read a book by Dr James Dobson called “bringing up boys”; in it, he states that most teachers gear their lessons towards girls and not boys. I had a long think about it and realized I did that very thing in my music lessons. Girls are generally very accepting about most things we do within music lessons, but boys are rough and ready, these warrior like personalities who couldn’t be bothered about singing and dancing unless it involves some sort of hip hop fight scene.

They like the physical stuff, like drumming. I am generalizing here, as many boys do enjoy other things, but in my experience, they are in the minority. I began to formulate lots of rhythm lessons and invested in many pairs of drum sticks and boomwhackers where the boys could whack out their frustrations, in a controlled environment, to their hearts content. I have had to be creative in picking what I do with them, especially in a school where the music budget is small.

Boomwhackers are great to be able to teach chord structures to the boys in a fun environment. I will put together a tuned rhythm where I use the chords C, F and G. I hand out C and E (C chord), F and A (F chord), and G and B (G chord). We then create a rhythm and the boys whack it out as hard as they want to on the tuned, hardy, plastic music makers. At the end of the time, their hands are sore, they’ve blown in their friends ears through the tubes, tried out the strength of the plastic on another persons head and left thanking me for a very enjoyable lesson. I swell in the face of gratitude as my next class enters to go through the whole scenario again.

And slowly, slowly, each year I’m around, I begin to make a little more headway in the music scene around our college. I have to place music where there is none and create opportunities for musicians where there were none… and when all is said and done, I can turn around and be immensely proud of placing a musical note in a sport infested environment.

– Celeste Smith

Celeste is also an author of a book that tells a true story about a family’s struggle and ultimate victory in dealing with a disabled child. She speaks very frankly about their ordeal and feelings of depression and anger. She speaks about how this affected her other child and her relationship with her husband. She brings you into her world now, which is a place of peace, security and victory through Jesus Christ.

Websitehttp://www.celestesmith.co.za/
Follow her on Twitterhttp://twitter.com/celestetracy

Share Your Music Teaching Experiences and Tips

February 14, 2012 at 1:54 am | Posted in music education, Music Teacher Profession, Music Teaching Tips, My Experinces | 1 Comment
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Music teaching is indeed an exciting and fulfilling profession. Although there are instances and experiences that may cause us problems and difficulties, being able to resolve these can make us more effective music educators and even make us improve ourselves.

Teaching music to students with different behaviors, capabilities, age and other personal characteristics can be difficult to handle. There are even times when we have students who are too demanding to learn music but they do not have such discipline to study their pieces. However and because of our love and passion for music, we always tend to cope up with these types of students and still perform our job professionally.

We all have various experiences and techniques in teaching music. We differ in solving different problems. Thus, we are asking you to share these experiences with other music teachers. Share your effective teaching methods or even reviews of gadgets and software that you are using in your music class. With your willingness to share these things, we hope that more music teachers can become better professionals.

Write your pieces and send them to us. Our email address is musicteacher541@gmail.com

We will gladly post it on this website and let other music teachers learn about your story.

PureSolo – An Online Music Recording Platform

February 13, 2012 at 2:16 am | Posted in Music Teachers Resources | 1 Comment
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PureSolo is a global online music-recording platform that allows users to download professionally-produced backing tracks and accompaniments from a vast catalog, and record their own versions using the website’s own built-in recorder. Each downloaded track comes complete with lyrics or sheet music, together with a backing track played by high quality session musicians. Backing Tracks can also be downloaded as a takeaway MP3 for use outside the PureSolo website.

Users can search the catalog of over 25,000 tracks from 35 different genres and 19 instruments. Once a track has been selected, it can be re-recorded as many times as the user wishes. Once completed, a recording can then be exported to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, while a profile is also created on PureSolo where users can upload a photo, share some of their musical inspirations, and comment and interact with other members of the community.

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