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Showing posts from February, 2013

Queen of Sydney

In 1985, on a hot summer night in North Carolina, I tuned in to a late-night jazz program. 


I was in a dorm room like this one.

There was lovely, acoustic, ambient jazz.  I really liked the DJ's choices, so I loaded a cheap, blank cassette tape into my boom box and recorded the program. 

One of the songs was really lovely.  It was a jazz song with an oboe solo!  I had no idea what the group was and what the song was.  I listened to that tape hundreds of times.  I fell asleep to it for years!  Some time in the 90s, the tape melted.  Boooooo hoooooooo

Years later, in Tanglewood, I played Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra.

OMG! That's the sound of the oboe from that jazz song.  Did Bartok write that piece I heard?  I listened to the tape (that hadn't died by then).  It was so close, but it just wasn't jazzy enough.  No drum, no guitar, no piano.  Hmmmm.

I played the song for jazzers and they said that the group was Oregon

I scoured record stores but never found …

The Lighter Side: Movie Reviews

Silver Linings Playbook ****

This is a real love story with great characters, real situations, and a wonderful story arc.  She suffers from depression, he's got bipolar.  Decisions end up being more important than meds.  We have to realize that psychiatry is a very new medical discipline.  What we did 50 years ago is barbaric to us today.  In 50 years, what we do now will seem barbaric.  Each patient has to find their own way, and this movie shows just that.  These characters are dealing in a world of imperfect meds, unfair lives, and families that aren't quite Ward and June!  Highly recommended. 

Side Effects *** 1/2

This is a psychological thriller, not violent, not too sexual.  All the sex in this movie is meant to show psychological distress (no rape).  It is a total mind-*&^ , and it will keep you guessing.  There's nothing that demands the big screen, though, so, if you must, rent it on Netflix.

Introducing Stomp!

Perhaps you'd like to build your Spring semester into a Stomp unit with performances in June.  Okay, where to begin?  How about critique?  The National Standards have "evaluating music and music performances" as standard #7.  In fact, the last 4 National Standards can be applied to critique.   6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.7. Evaluating music and music performances.8. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture. No doubt, you have already had students observe one another and make comments on specific elements of performance.  Now they can apply these skills to a concert performance via youtube.  Here are some videos of different kinds of found-object percussion (I call it Stomp, which I know is a brand name.)  After each video I will have a set of questions for students to consider.  These questions are geared for students in 4th grade and above.  …

Hey Girl!

Happy Valentine's Day!   I came across this site and it makes me giggle with delight.  Please take a few moments and enjoy it yourself.  Handsome men giving us inspiration as we do our jobs.  For heterosexual guy teachers out there, sorry, you won't enjoy it quite as much, but I guarantee you will find posts you will want to forward. 

Here are a few of my favorites.











Stutter and Stammer

We are constantly reminded that Autism and other diagnoses of special needs are exploding, but there are some problems that we rarely see now that teachers used to see all the time just a generation ago.  One such problem is stuttering.  My grandfather stuttered, King George VI stuttered, Moses stuttered, chances are you have elderly family members or memories of family members who stuttered.  One of the most common co-morbidities with stuttering was left-handedness.  Before 1960, it was common to force left-handed children to write, cut, bat, and do any number of tasks right-handed.  Often this trauma contributed to verbal stammer.

Last night I watched "The King's Speech" with my husband via Netflix.  It was a wonderful movie that I highly recommend.

Speech is a musical skill among others.  It is well-documented that stammering cannot happen during song.  Jim Nabors was famous for his stammer and for his flawless singing voice.

For more information in this …