Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My New Years Resolutions!

Thanks for inspiring this Blog Post Mrs Miracle - for as you can see, one of my resolutions is to Blog more - so I am already on my way!
Mrs Miracle's 2015 New Year's Resolutions!


My first go at a Linky Party so wish me luck please.

Personal: The work/life balance thing is always tricky. How to be the best teacher as well as the efficient house keeper (I'm afraid I am an epic fail on that one!), a fabulous Mum and a caring, generous partner? How? I guess I will just work at it, trying to be 'present' when I am with my family instead of thinking of all the things that I should be doing. If I can do that I know it will help.

Professional: That is an easy one. Next month I am flying to the USA, first time visitor, to present at the Georgia State Conference http://www.gmea.org/in-service-conference/ . Oh just a bit excited. I will meet so many other music teachers, get so many ideas, make so many new contacts...just buzzing with the thrill. But wait, there's more! I am then going back to attend the OAKE conference http://www.oake.org/conferences/  and present a session there as well. I love working with Music Teachers, and this year will be no different, I will still love working with Music Teachers, just adding some Americans to my Network of FABULOUS Music Educators.

Classroom: After working for 33 years (on and off - with other bits and pieces thrown in the mix) in Primary schools (4 to 12 year olds) I am moving to Secondary School (12-17 year olds). All I can say is WISH ME LUCK! Seriously though, I am looking forward to the challenge and also looking forward to working with my colleague and friend Linda Mackay.

Blog/TPT: Not sure if I will start a TPT store..... I have my precious web site www.crescendo.com.au that I slave over (with free downloads but so much more for an annual membership) so I might stay focused on that. The NEW site will be launched on January 6th and I am so looking forward to it. It has been a long time in the making with loads of new features but I will blog more about that later. I plan to Blog more frequently - and make connections with other Music Educators just like this! (Again - New Years Resolutions already being realised and it isn't even the 1st yet!)

Just for me: Less Stress! Says it all really. I just want to keep doing what I am doing, just get better at turning off my brain from time to time to properly relax. I am sure many of you out there know exactly how I feel. It is one of the dangers of our profession. We care too much, we work too hard and we can't switch off!

To all my Crescendo Music Education Followers, to all my colleagues and friends, and to all of you I have yet to meet, have a fabulous New Year's Eve Celebration and I hope that 2015 has some wonderful surprises in store for you.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Fabulous Australian Choral Composer Mark Puddy. If you do not know of his work, then pop in and have a look. http://www.markpuddy.com/www/home/
Which one of his pieces do you love?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Finds #19

Have you heard of Pentatonix? If not, they are an American based a cappella group that have become very popular with their YouTube videos and are now touring worldwide. 

Below is a video that you may be able to use to discuss some of the history of Western music with your students. What have they included and missed out in their medley? 


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

Debbie's Quick Teaching Tip #19

Do you have trouble incorporating technology into the classroom? 

Don't neglect YouTube as a great resource for interactive classroom ideas. Not only are you utilising technology, you're also giving your voice a break for a change! 

Check out our YouTube channel for the sorts of videos that you may find useful in the classroom. Or take a look at the video below. 

Let us know what other videos/channels you've found useful when teaching! 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Finds #18

This week's find is again, from Teachers Pay Teachers. A great site that provides instant downloads created by teachers. Some are free and some are paid. 

This week our find is some music themed borders. You could use these for worksheets, notes and other things you create for the music classroom. Click here to have a look and browse around the rest of the site!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014

Debbies Quick Teaching Tips #18

Happy September everyone! Today's teaching tip is to incorporate your in class administration into each lesson by turning them into a meaningful musical experience. 

Have you thought about singing your roll call? Or have students answer their name with a particular rhythm pattern. 

Try it out and let us know your ideas for making these dry, boring tasks a little more interesting! 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Finds #17

This week's find is again, from Teachers Pay Teachers. A great site that provides instant downloads created by teachers. Some are free and some are paid. 

This week our find is blank boomwhacker sheet music. If you've got a set of boomwhackers lying around at school this may come in handy for your preparation or for the students to compose their own music on in the classroom. Click here to have a look and browse around the rest of the site!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hump Day Hilarity #??

Whoops!

We've run out of music related jokes to bring you joy on a Wednesday. 

So we need your help! 

Have you got a music related joke that you think others would get a kick out of? If so please email info@crescendo.com.au or post it on our Facebook page

Save us from a dull and lifeless existence! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Finds #16

This week's find is from Teachers Pay Teachers. A great site that provides instant downloads created by teachers. Some are free and some are paid. 

This week our find is musical instrument bingo! A sure fire way to get your kids engaged with music. Click here to have a look and browse around the rest of the site!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Debbie's Quick Teaching Tip #16

Today's (slightly tardy) teaching tip is one you are probably already using in your classroom but nevertheless here it is!

Flashcards. I wouldn’t be without them! I do more rhythm practice these days with my data projector but I still value these little guys. 

I have printed mine from the Australian Kodaly Site: http://www.kodaly.org.au/resources.php

Do you have any useful flashcard resources? Share them below! 

This week's tip came from the July edition of the Crescendo newsletter. Are you subscribed? If not, head on over to www.crescendo.com.au and sign up! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Finds #15

World's largest xylophone driven only by gravity playing classical music, you say? 

Crescendo is here to serve up your dose of instruments you never thought existed (and fun ways of introducing some classical music into the classroom!)

Check it out below!

If you have any suggestions for Friday Finds, as always, feel free to email them to info@crescendo.com.au or post to our Facebook page.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Debbie's Quick Teaching Tip #15

Paddle Pop Sticks

This is a super quick tip today! 

Paddle pop sticks are such fun to use – and not just for the little kids writing crotchets and quavers! Big kids like them too. Great for quick compositions or speedy, fun dictations.

Try it out and let us know how it went!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Finds #14

How big can musical instruments get? Have a look below at the video: the (gigantic!) tuba player manages Flight of the Bumble Bee! 

Do you have a Friday Find suggestion? Send it in to info@crescendo.com.au or post on our Facebook page.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014

New (Old!!) Photos!

It's A Blast From The Past!

We have just uploaded a huge amount of photos from past workshops to our Facebook and Instagram pages! 

Head on over to our Facebook page and our Instagram page to see some gems like the ones below! And don't forget to tag yourself, friends and colleagues if you find yourself hidden among the photos. 

Debbie's Quick Teaching Tip #14

Planning

When planning, there are always systems, experts, fads, school and system priorities, expectations for paperwork… Enough to make us go under I say. Recently I have reflected on how I have not burnt out or stayed under (permanently). I am not saying I have not had crises, I have had many of those, but how is it that I keep plugging along? I think the way to effectively plan is:

  1. Know what you want to teach
  2. Know how to teach it
  3. Know how you will assess it

In fact now, I put point 3 before point 2. 


Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Finds #13

Ever thought about giving Vivaldi some Van Halen treatment? This 14 year-old girl did!

Check it out below. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Debbie's Quick Teaching Tip #13

Preparing Sol and Mi

Are you starting your young ones (or your old ones!) on some Kodaly work, or some basic sol-fa? Pictured below is an example of some of the sheets available to download at crescendo.com.au. 

This one is part of a set that you could used printed and laminated or also on the projector. We can sing through them as a group, half class, individual, play them on two chime bars, on two boomwhackers…all part of the steps to teach reading writing and understanding high and low notes a minor third apart.

Friday Finds #12

This week's find is a visualisation of part of Stravinsky's the Rite of Spring -  a sort of animated graphic score. This might be useful with some of your older kids in understanding all the textural layers of this piece or in using graphic notation. Check it out below!

Got something you think should be featured on Friday Finds? Email info@crescendo.com.au and let us know! Or Facebook us here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Early Childhood Music Workshop


Debbie is presenting at a Crescendo workshop for Early Childhood Music. Don't miss out! Book your spot today - email debbie@crescendo.com.au for the full information flyer and a booking form! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Debbie's Quick Teaching Tip #12

So, it's winter. And all your students are getting sick. And so are you. 

Well at least I am. And you can blame the dreaded lurgy for the absence of post last Friday. Sorry, faithful blog readers! 

My particular brand of lurgy is that really terrible brand, complete with no voice! Just in time for the start of term! So, how can you look after a struggling voice as a teacher? See my tips below!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Debbie's Quick Teaching Tips #11

Planning

When planning, there are always systems, experts, fads, school and system priorities, expectations for paperwork… Enough to make us go under I say. Recently I have reflected on how I have not burnt out or stayed under (permanently). I am not saying I have not had crises, I have had many of those, but how is it that I keep plugging along? I think the way to effectively plan is:


  1. Know what you want to teach
  2. Know how to teach it
  3. Know how you will assess it

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Finds #11

This week we've found an awesome YouTube clip for your viewing pleasure. With thanks to Anne O'Regan for sending this in. Click below to watch it!

This might be a great way of introducing some Beethoven to your students! And super relevant with the World Cup on at the moment! Use this clip to springboard into some melodic dictation, melody analysis or discussion of orchestral instruments. 


Thursday, July 10, 2014

200 Posts!


Yesterday, we hit 200 posts! That's TWO HUNDRED neat tips and tricks you can use in your classroom and teaching lives.

And we know that the best teachers share their resources, so why not share this blog with a teaching friend of yours or on Facebook? I'm sure they'd appreciate it and we sure would too! 

Just copy the link up there in the address bar and email or Facebook away! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Debbie's Quick Teaching Tips #10

Wear a funny hat.

Yes, I said wear a funny hat. Connect it to a song, game, joke, anything! The kids will immediately brighten up, teachers will smile. (Sure they will think you are nuts but that doesn’t really matter because they already think that). Behaviour issues from outside the room are more likely to be left outside, you will be happier…everything is better! 

In this case, the two dollar store is your friend. Or those little stalls in the centre of shopping centre aisles: you can pick up furry Australian animals or an occupation specific hat like a construction hat. 

Here's my favourite: 

Try it and let us know how it works out! 


Friday, July 4, 2014

Friday Finds #10

This week's find is from Teachers Pay Teachers. A great site that provides instant downloads created by teachers. Some are free and some are paid. 

This week our find is cute musical poster to brighten up your classroom! Click here to have a look and browse around the rest of the site!





Monday, June 30, 2014

Debbie's Quick Teaching Tip #9

Happy school holidays, everyone!

This week's tip is don't forget to take some time for yourself! We're busy teachers, always worried about someone else: our students, their parents, our bosses, our own kids and family. So much so that we forget that our health (physical and mental) is just as important!

Social researcher Brene Brown puts it best: you can't care for others if you don't first care for yourself. 


So teachers, I have some homework for you. Put down next term's program, put down that left over marking, put down the vacuum (because now it's holidays and you have time to clean), stop everything! Today, do something for you. Something that is purely and utterly just because you want to do it. Something that will make you happy inside. 

Go for high tea with a friend. Sit on the couch the whole day and read a book. Retail therapy. Get in the car and just drive. But whatever it is, be selfish. Find your happy place. 

You made it through term two and reports and parent teacher interviews and everything else. You deserve it. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Finds #9

Do your students love Disney's Frozen as much as mine do? Show them this clip from US talk show The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. 

And then try to recreate it! (This version has even been transposed down to G major from Ab, for easy playing on Orff instruments and make those high notes just a little bit more reachable!)


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Debbie's Quick Teaching Tips #8

This week's tip comes from our monthly newsletter (are you subscribed? You should be! Head over to crescendo.com.au to sign up!) 

Maintaining interest and practising known elements in many different contexts is the constant lot of music teachers. 
Grab some felt from the cheapie shop, draw on some staff with black marker pen (make sure you get the counters first so that your staff is the right size for the note heads), and you have a fun way to 'write' notes. Even my older students enjoy the counters and staff. Much quicker than writing, they can create, edit, sing and play what they have written, add stems with match sticks, add a clef with a length of wool...


Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Find #8

This week's find is an oldie but a goodie. Bobby McFerrin uses something we as music teachers use all the time: the pentatonic scale, to teach the audience a melody. His use of stage space as "notation" would be something to try in the classroom! 

See below for the video!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hump Day Hilarity

We're going to be injecting a little funny into your life every Wednesday. Hopefully, this will get you smiling and help you through the week!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Debbie's Quick Teaching Tips #7

Sorry the Teaching Tips have been a little absent the last few weeks but we're back on schedule for every Monday! 

This week's tip comes from a colleague, Leigh Jabs: 
"a simple transcription of "Everything Is Awesome" from the Lego movie. I use it as the final song with Kinders, Preps and 1s in a construction medley with Johnny Works With One Hammer, There's A House, and Build 'Em Up. Works a treat in performances with boomwhackers (two chords) and fluorescent vests & hard hats."

See below for the transcription. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Find #7

Staff Wars

I know many of you know and LOVE Staff Wars (HERE), but did you know there is now an app version available from the iTunes store? (HERE)

At only 99cents it is worth a look!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Friday Finds #6

Join a choir. Science shows it’ll make you feel better.

As Music Educators, we know that singing in a choir can make you feel happier. You may be interested in this:
"I used to think choir singing was only was for nerds and church people. Since I was neither, I never considered singing in a group—even though I loved singing by myself...."
Read more here

Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Finds #5

Boomwhacker Sheet Music

Now, I'm sure you've all heard of Boomwhackers and just how much fun they can be as an alternative instrument in the classroom! But did you know there are some awesome boomwhacker sheet music resources on the net? 

This website has bunch of sheet music resources for boomwhackers. Some easy (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) and some challenging (The Pirates Of Caribbean Theme!). And the best part is all the music is colour coded to match up with the boomwhackers. Awesome!

Check it out and let us know what you think in the comments below or if you have any other boomwhacker resources you'd like to share.   

Monday, May 26, 2014

Debbie's Quick Teaching Tips #6

Quick Roll Marking

For quick check listing, have the students sit in a circle in the order of the roll. You can whiz around the group in no time and you don't have to take time to find the students name on your list! Also great for those of us with so many children that learning and remembering their names is hard enough without having to scour your list on every turn!

[Joel's Edit: This can also be used to do your bit as a music teacher with students' literacy. Have them organise themselves in alphabetical order the first few times. Then have them do it in reverse alphabetical order another time. Or starting from a particular letter of the alphabet. Or by first name instead of last name. Have them do it silently if you find that your brighter students are getting a bit bossy about the whole thing!]   

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Finds #4



The Value of Music Education - TedX

This week's YouTube clip is a little more serious than the last but we think you'll find it just as interesting. Richard Gill, a powerhouse proponent of music education in this country discusses the relationship between music and our imagination and the power music can have as a tool for helping children's minds to grow. 

Check out the clip below and then check out our YouTube channel for resources to help you in the music classroom.