Thursday, May 28, 2020
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
- Trying to see the bigger picture
- Academic curiosity
- College preparation
- Keep a regular schedule
- Staying motivated keeps them in a good mood
- Be conscious of their momentum
- Avoid distractions like the phone or television
- Deadlines as a source of motivation
- Remember not to be content
I see a great example of this in my 17 year old son during this period. He is a baseball player and is currently missing his junior year baseball season. This has been really tough on him as he has really been pointing toward this season as a opportunity to attract the attention of coaches at the next level. He, like many other high school athletes, is not quite sure what this setback will mean for him. He has committed to physical fitness during this social distancing environment. He works on his batting in the batting cages several times a day, lifts weights everyday, and has started a routine of running as well. I guarantee that he is in the best shape of his life. I am excited to see what gains this level of commitment will manifest on the baseball field when we get back to playing games. I am betting that there will be a huge upside. His discontentment has motivated him to become better.
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Saturday, March 28, 2020
I hope that you find something here that interests you and you find informative!
Friday, March 27, 2020
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Monday, March 23, 2020
First and foremost, I do not want this class to add any extra stress to my students' lives. I will not lose sight of the fact that this is an arts elective and should be an happy enrichment for students. That there are many new stressors for kids at this time and I don't want to add to that. The arts should be an area of safety, breath, and always a different kind of rigor.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Sunday, March 8, 2020
I am in the airport, heading home from the American String Teachers National Conference which was held in Orlando from March 4-7. The conference was a huge success and, as always, included wonderful learning opportunities, renewal of old friendships, many new friendships, and a general spirit of community and love that many of us have grown to anticipate and appreciate on an annual basis at the conference.
I was thrilled to conduct the first National Conference Teacher Orchestra on Wednesday and want to thank all who participated. It was so much fun and everyone seemed to really enjoy making music together. The performance at the opening reception was a blast! Special thanks to Jesus Florido for participating and soloing with us. We learned so much from you in the rehearsal as well!
Congratulations to Jesus and all of the performers who brought the very first Electric Bowed String Concert to ASTA this year. It was so much fun and we all appreciate the unbelievable musicianship that was on display on Thursday night. I am so proud of my history in the electric violin community appreciate each of you!! Jesus: your love and positive energy was the catalyst for this. Thanks!!
I also wish to thank thank Brian Hellhake and the students of Freedom High School Orchestra for serving as a demonstration group for my session, along with Jim Palmer, on Sharing Our Secrets: Higher Order Thinking. The students were magnificent and we really couldn't have asked for anything better. Thanks, too, to Jim Palmer. We have so much fun presenting together. We certainly missed Rebecca MacLeod this year. She was judging the National Orchestra Festival this year, but I am sure our trio will reconvene soon!!
I want to extend a huge congratulations to the ASTA Staff for a magnificent conference. Monika Schulz has really moved our organization to a new level of professionalism and prominence. Susan Hoopes was invaluable in my preparation. Tracey Kratt has been instrumental in forwarding our ASTA Connect social tool. The whole staff is fantastic. Also, the ASTA Ambassadors (volunteers from the profession) were such servant leaders. We all appreciate you so much!
I can't begin to name all the new friends and colleagues whom I connected with this week. Please know that I value each and everyone of you. The meals, coffee, and hallway conversations were all so valuable and perspective-changing. Thank you all for your wisdom and encouragement!
And now we all go back our corner of the world to change string kids' lives one student at a time!! We are all filled up and ready to extend that energy to our individual communities. I can't wait to hear the stories of success again next year!
Thursday, March 5, 2020
Hi friends! These are my notes in preparation for our demo group discussion today at ASTA 2020.
As always, I welcome your feedback and thoughts. I hope you find some of this information helpful.
Sharing Our Secrets: Higher Order Thinking
In this panel and demo group session, presenters will share tips and secrets that promote higher order thinking in the orchestra and string class setting. Topics will include a variety of approaches to musical problem solving, strategies for promoting independent thinking, musical habits of mind, taxonomy models, engaging students in critical listening, and more. Exercises that challenge and promote musical student independence will be demonstrated. Attendees are certain to enjoy and gain from the panel interaction with students and with each other. Together the presenters represent over 60 years of K-12 classroom experience at every level of instruction.
Habits of Mind
"Habits of Mind are the characteristics of what intelligent people do when they are confronted with problems, the resolutions of which are not immediately apparent." (Professor Art Costa)
Listening with Empathy and Understanding
Thinking about your Thinking : Metacognition
Striving for Accuracy
Applying Past Knowledge
Questioning and Posing Problems
Gathering Data Through All Senses
Creating, Imagining & Innovating
Responding With Wonderment and Awe
Taking Responsible Risks
Remaining Open to Continuous Learning
Accurate Rhythm and Time
Obviously, these are the first steps in learning a piece of music. Right notes played out of time are wrong notes. So, I place a great deal of emphasis on rhythm early in the rehearsal process.
Accurate Notes and Key
Very close behind rhythm is tonal center and correct notes. Obviously. The thing is that many teachers never get past this spot in the taxonomy. This is understandable. If the students are out of tune, this must be corrected.
I try to give all of my students individual technique goals. These can be left or right hand position, bow hold, set up, right had fluidity, vibrato, etc. Then, they can focus on this when they have learned the basics of their part.
This is the next obvious step in preparing a part. It is written on the page, for goodness sake. I encourage my students not to think about dynamics as some fixed value, but rather to consider them in the context of the overall piece.
This is one of the first big shifts in thinking that I find I can affect. So many kids think that they only need to shift when the part gets high. I try to change that way of thinking to looking at fingering from a perspective of ease of passage, tone color, and string crossing.
Bow Direction and Use
In a perfect world, this would be higher in the taxonomy. I feel like this is incorporated into every moment of every rehearsal. I don't usually over-bow string parts for my orchestra. I want them to be thinking critically about direction as it pertains to style, dynamics, and articulation. Bow direction is so subjective. I usually have very clear priorities, but I love to articulate them in the context of a great discussion about bow direction.
This is strongly related to bow direction. I find that students often come to me with a very limited palette of articulation options. I try to get them thinking about the initiation of sound throughout the rehearsal process.
Vibrato and tone production are often the difference between an average overall sound and a mature sound. But, where do changes occur and how can these be varied? These are important questions for each musician to be constantly asking themselves.
Artistry/Direction of line
This is where real musicianship develops and emerges. When we can get a student to think about this independently, they are truly on the way.
This is typically dictated by the conductor, but the students that are intuitive with this can help the group along!
Section and Individual Balance
Where do I fit in the dynamic balance of the orchestra? Where does my section fit in the dynamic balance of the orchestra?
Section and Individual Role
What is my role in this passage? What is my section's role in this passage? Melody? Harmony? Off Melody? Bass line? Engine? Rhythmic Underpinning? Sustain/Pads? Teacher? Student? What else?
Perspective and Emotion/ Performance
Defining Functional Musicianship (my guitar/piano class)
The characteristics that define computational thinking are decomposition, pattern recognition / data representation, generalization/abstraction, and algorithms. By decomposing a problem, identifying the variables involved using data representation, and creating algorithms, a generic solution results. The generic solution is a generalization or abstraction that can be used to solve a multitude of variations of the initial problem.
The "three As" Computational Thinking Process describes computational thinking as a set of three steps: abstraction, automation, and analysis.
Another characterization of computational thinking is the "three As" iterative process based on three stages:
Abstraction: Problem formulation;
Automation: Solution expression;
Analyses: Solution execution and evaluation.
The four Cs of 21st century learning are communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity. The fifth C could be computational thinking which entails the capability to resolve problems algorithmically and logically. It includes tools that produce models and visualise data. Computational thinking is applicable across subjects beyond science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) which include the social sciences and language arts. Students can engage in activities where they identify patterns in grammar as well as sentence structure and use models for studying relationships.