June 4, 2011

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Professional Reflection = Professional Development

Probably the most useful tool for professional development, I have found, is reflection. This is one of the reasons why I find blogging to be such a rewarding exercise, as I’ve pointed out in a previous post: 10 Reasons Why Teachers Should Blog and Tweet. In my first couple of years as a teacher, I […]

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June 2, 2011

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Looking forward to the ASME conference

I feel like I’ve accomplished much more professionally in the weeks since the MTEC 2011 conference, than I have done for many months. Between this blog (thanks for the inspiration, James!) and all the contacts I’ve made through MTEC, MPLN, the Music Teachers’ Network, and Twitter, I’ve had so much to keep me motivated to […]

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May 31, 2011

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Lesson Planning: Using MuseScore to Teach Theory

My year junior students had a look at MuseScore for the first time yesterday. It’s a really useful tool for reinforcing all the basic music theory concepts we’ve been looking at lately. My seniors were introduced to it today, and used it for a simple orchestration exercise to get the hang of the program. I’m […]

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May 26, 2011

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When the all the whiz-bang technology lets you down…

You’ve planned your lesson perfectly, made all the right preparations, and then suddenly… …the power goes out. …or the data projector overheats. …or the computer crashes. It’ll happen sooner or later, most likely sooner. I had all my ducks in a row: assignment sheets printed off, spare earphones handy, research space allocated, notebooks organised. All […]

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May 25, 2011

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I learned something today…

I like listening to music when I do my afternoon walk. If there’s one thing that bugs me, it’s finding a song with a really good walking beat, only to have it followed with another that slows right down, or speeds right up. It’s the little things. It gets really annoying when I spend a […]

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May 24, 2011

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What Teachers Make…

A brilliant piece of slam poetry by Taylor Mali:

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May 23, 2011

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No, you’re not seeing things. I really have changed my blog name…back.

So, I was all excited about having “Music Triple C’ as my new name for my new-look, new-feel blog. But I should have done some research first. Triple C is actually the name of a hip hop group. Now, granted, it struck me as kind of a happy coincidence at first, but it actually makes […]

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May 23, 2011

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Incorporating Creative Commons into Composition Assessment

My junior students have been doing a songwriting unit this term. Also, a number of them have talked to me about stuff that they or their friends have been uploading to websites like YouTube. I’ve only really been thinking with any real depth about Creative Commons licensing since I started this blog, and following other […]

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May 21, 2011

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Learning Management, Learning Design

There’s a term for teachers which has been in vogue for a while: learning managers. At the Central Queensland University, for example, you can get a Bachelor of Learning Management, which is a standard education degree. I have to say I’ve never really warmed to the term very much. I get the philosophy behind the […]

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May 19, 2011

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Teaching students how to finish a performance

My senior students have been rehearsing for an upcoming performance assessment during the past few weeks. One issue that frequently turns up is how to finish. Specifically, it’s how to maintain that split-second of silent focus, through which a performer communicates to the audience one of two things: either, “it’s over, clap now,” or, “I’m […]

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May 19, 2011

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10 Reasons Why Teachers Should Blog and Tweet

I’ve been blogging and tweeting in the Music Education world for a month now, and doing so has dramatically changed my whole perspective about many aspects of my work. I now consider blogging and tweeting to be essential professional tools. Here are ten reasons why: 1. Networking This is the most obvious reason, and for […]

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May 11, 2011

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Putting musical knowledge into long-term memory through spaced learning

“Spaced learning” is a teaching strategy based on recent research about how the brain creates long-term memory at the cellular level. I first read about spaced learning two days ago, and experimented with it yesterday in my year 8 Music class. The result was one of the most successful and engaging theory lessons we’ve had for […]

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May 5, 2011

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Stretching My Resources

In my classroom, I have my laptop, an interactive whiteboard (using Interwrite Workspace software, a little different to the Smartboards we saw at MTEC 2011), and one other computer for staff and student use.  There are computer labs at the school as well as trolleys with class sets of laptops for the library, but no […]

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May 1, 2011

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Music Technology and Staying Focused

Lately I’ve been thinking very deeply about music technology, and ways to go about integrating more of it into my teaching-learning environment and practice. However, I caught myself wondering yesterday: am I forgetting the most important bit…namely, the music?  That gave me pause, and I had to stop and think for a while about what […]

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April 26, 2011

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How gaming can make a better world

“If we want to solve problems like hunger, poverty, climate change, global conflict, obesity, I believe that we need to aspire to play games online for at least 21 billion hours a week by the end of the next decade.” (Jane McGonigal: Gaming Can Make a Better World, 2010) This is a funny and fascinating talk given […]

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April 24, 2011

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Teaching senior students how to write a musical analysis

Of the three musical assessment areas – performing, composing, and analysing repertoire – it’s the last one which invariably takes up the most lesson time, and the one which my students seem to have the most trouble with.  My analysis assessments generally involve an extended written task or a formal exam, where they have to […]

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April 19, 2011

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How to cope when your music class is full of “screamo” (sorry, post-hardcore) fans…

I’m not kidding. That’s exactly what I had last year, and poor classically-trained me had a tough time getting them to listen to Vivaldi. So in the interests of cultural exchange, I asked my students to write me a whole big list of songs they liked, and I agreed to get hold of them and […]

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April 19, 2011

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Spotlight: e-learning resources

E-learning resources is one site that every music teacher should visit.  Allan Melville and Miranda Myers put together this fantastic online resource for use in schools, which has a whole stack of material for music classroom use, with more being added regularly.  Here’s their content snapshot: You get a teacher’s login password, and all your students […]

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April 18, 2011

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Back From MTEC 2011

It’s the second time I’ve been to a conference for music technology in education, and it definitely won’t be the last. MTEC 2011 left all its participants completely knackered after three full days of hands-on workshops, but also inspired to get back to their classrooms and businesses with stacks of new ideas. For me, this blog is […]

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