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Showing posts from July, 2011

Lifelong Stress Management

Many professions are stressful.  People deal with this stress in various ways.  Some drink, others have secret personas, still more get abrupt and isolated, many get divorced, have heart attacks, become socially isolated depressed.   What about singing?  What about playing the cello?  What about dancing? What about acting?

I've come across some videos that you might find motivating as you rest and prepare for your next school year.  These are people in high stress jobs who use the arts to bring joy, fun, camaraderie, intellectual satisfaction, and humor into their lives.  Some videos are appropriate for all age levels, always use caution when sharing with students or colleagues.  Enjoy!

Thinking Inside the Volumes #5

Volume V
page 114
Chorus from Sophocles' "Antigone"
Greek chorus

I don't know of anyone who doesn't get a rush from listening to Carmina Burana, Carl Orff's most famous work.  The orchestration is simple, but very thick.  A huge orchestra blankets the stage.  The battery slugs our souls with gongs, drums, clanging cymbals, and sharp xylophones.  The enormous chorus floods us with sound, primal modes course through us.  We are entranced in a primal frenzy of ancient sounds!  

This feeling is possible to capture in the classroom.  There are some skills the students must have first though.

They must know how to respect and care for all the instruments usedThey must have experience with movement and dance in performanceThey must have modal music in their ears from songs, improvisations, or creative movementThey must embrace the text for the Greek chorusThey must have a sense of community, and be capable of working together as a group While the Sophocles excerpt on page …

The Lighter Side

Wow!  Harry Potter 8 has opened and it is AWESOME.  Here's the trailer.

It's a shame to see Mr. Potter die, but that's the story.  It ain't American, it's British.  Oops, spoiler!  Tee hee

My latest addiction is the Jason Isaacs suspense, thriller series The State Within.  Here's a clip from the first show.

This series is just amazing.  I call it, "24, only good."  It's 7 episodes of sheer genius.  You can instantly stream via Netflix.  Don't expect everything to be neatly tied-up and resolved or clear good and bad guys.  This is British, not American.  Enjoy!

An Interview with Composer Ruth Elaine Schram

Ruth Elaine Schram interview

Clips of choral music provided courtesy of BriLee publishers and Ruth Elaine Schram.  They include

Song of the Open Road (opening song)

In a Gadda Da Vida

All for a Baby (not the song mentioned, but a similar Christmas song)

Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind (words by Shakespeare)
   I love this piece!  It's so simple, easy to play, and the lyrics are the star.  What an inspiring piece of music.

Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, my arrangement (not available in print or mp3, clip at )

Youtube performance of Walk In Jerusalem, a Rollo Dillworth song with a tough and rockin' piano part

How Can I Keep From Singing (end credits)

Ruth Elaine Schram wrote her first song at the age of twelve, and her first octavo was published twenty years later, in 1988. In 1992, she became a full-time composer and arranger and now has over 1,700 published works.  Over sixteen million copies of her songs have been purchased in their various venues, and she has been a recipi…

Patriotic Songs

If children do not learn patriotic songs from us, they don't learn them at all.  You need to have this in mind when you approach your learning for the year.  Let's look at several patriotic songs and analyze them.  It will help you place them in your curriculum and plan your concerts well.

The Star Spangled Banner
(Grade 4+)
Previous knowledge:

singing a 10th in tunesinging semitones in tunepartner songs in tuneternary formquestion and answer phrases"head voice" vocabulary"dipthong" vocabularyso-mi-do able to read at sight in stick and staff notationNew Challenges for the Song range of a 12th (octave plus a fifth, do-so')changing vocal placement between A and B sectionsdiction can be toughmemorizing words and unlearning previous mistakessinging in a pressure situationOctavos? Here is a treble option.  Note the intonation problems with women singing in their chest voice (lower).  Also, the diction sounds like they are British, not quite the best for the Amer…