Interactive Music Class Olympics

Happy February!

Over the last decade, I have come to really appreciate the Olympics  (and another one here) -maybe it’s a maturing process. 🙂

My students love listening to classical selections and learning about various composers. So I thought I would combine these components – composers, their music, the game of the Olympics, and some technology – together.

When you click here, you will get to a ThingLink page that looks like this:
The Music Winter Olympics ThingLink Page

Because iframe codes don’t work on my blog, I thought I’d just embed what the actual page will look like. When you move the cursor over each block, all the buttons will appear like the picture above. Each composer has 4 different areas of information:

  1. Biography (yellow bullet)
  2. Music selection (red play button)
  3. Flag of the composer’s country (blue bullet)
  4. National anthem (most current anthem; black play button)

Since this is the first of my online composer playlist, I started with mostly the “Greats” in classical music. The second page (forthcoming) has other interesting composers my students have not heard about.

Canva & ThingLink

  • I came across Canva through Twitter teachers who were putting out polished posters/infographics. It’s an amazing site to create newsletters, posters, documents etc. Why I like it: There are many choices for you for choosing layouts, graphics, colors, fonts, and sharing. It might take a bit of time to navigate and for you to create what you want, but it’s worth your time! If what you put on your project are “free” designs, it’s absolutely free for you to download your project as PDFs. All other premium items, you’ll need to pay $1 for each. I haven’t used any premium for any of my 4 projects so far. What I used for this project: Moodboard template. I modified the fonts, colors, and uploaded composers’ pictures. I highly recommend this site!
  • ThingLink is another terrific site for teaching.  ThingLink is a site where you can create touch points for students to touch your  parts of the image on the ThinkLink board to explore and learn. Why I like it: It’s interactive! When I use a ThingLink board for lessons, I can have the page open on the SMARTBoard and have my students interact within the lesson. What I used for this project: Uploaded image of my composers from Canva. I added 4 links on each corner. I used this board as a mystery game so many squares were filled with a question mark with only the country label. Right now, ThingLink does not let you replace the image so I had to re-add all the links every time I revealed new composers. But I highly recommend this site!

Useful Sites for Music Teachers and Students:

  • Biographies I normally use New York Philharmonic Kidzone or Classics for Kids for bios, but while researching, I came across a terrific site called 52 Composers. I love it because it has a comprehensive timeline, quotes, videos of musical performances, composers in art videos, lists of related book and online resources. I highly recommend it!
  • Musical selections – Spotify is still my go-to app for music classes, but I decided to post a YouTube video link instead (all linked to Viewpure.com – this site only shows the video you want, not all the “you might like” videos). If my students come across other related videos about particular videos, I can always tag another link onto the ThingLink.
  • Flag from each country – I found Flags.net to be a helpful site. Images of the flags are big and the site has pertinent information about the country.
  • National anthems – This site is also new for me. It has over 400 anthems past and present. I love it because it has a big database of national anthems in many forms: PDF of the music, audio playback so you can listen to the anthems (recordings or Midi), and download the anthems.

Beyond these sites:

  1. Because my students will be watching the Olympic games with their families, at the end of each music class, I will challenge them to write down or remember what music they heard in skating events (if any – some event broadcasters will mention these pieces). I also encourage my students to explore and learn about composers who are not on our board on their own. Some kids bring their findings (or email me interesting facts) and have a chance to present facts and repertoire in class.
  2. After the facts and repertoire is learned, my students will be participating in our own Music Olympics. Due to snow and no power days, our schedule has been delayed. But my plan is to divide K-4th graders in 3 different teams (somewhat random and mixed grades). Some of the games will simulate the Winter games. I have to be creative with using different parts of our campus or by making some games. Once my planning is done, I will also post the games along with the second page of composers.

I am happy that my students are excited to learn!

Music is, really, all around. Let’s help our young learners to keep learning!

If you’re a music teacher, check out my playlist of useful resources I use for my music classes here.

~@Doremigirl

Happy Birthday, Herr Mozart!

Today is W.A. Mozart’s 258th birthday!

What Mozart said here speaks volumes to what kind of master musician Mozart was:

It is a mistake to think that the practice of my art has become easy to me. I assure you, dear friend, no one has given so much care to the study of composition as I. There is scarcely a famous master in music whose works I have not frequently and diligently studied.  – W. A. Mozart. Mozart: The Man and the Artist, as Revealed in His Own Words

What’s a birthday celebration without music?

Here’s a great video of Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 D minor, K. 466 with the Camerata Salzburg, directed by Mitsuko Uchida. Ms. Uchida, an acclaimed pianist and a Grammy Award winner, is renowned for her interpretation on the music of Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven. Here, she is directing and performing as the soloist. The entire performance is brilliant!

Happy Monday!

@Doremigirl

 

Sounds of Music #4: Mandela Tributes

I found these two tribute songs for Mandela. First video features the Soweto Gospel Choir. The Choir’s flashmob performance at Parkview Woolworths is beautiful. Read more about it here.

The second song is by the students and teachers of Playing for Change. The song “Strong” was inspired by Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Myriam Makeeba,  heroes of South Africa.

These are the beautiful sounds of music I’m hearing. What are you hearing?

~@Doremigirl

Sounds of Music #2 – Celebrating December Songs

I have to trek back.

2013 Thanksgiving + Hanukkah  = Thanksgivukkah happened simultaneously.

Hanukkah ended in the evening of December 5th, 2013.

So here are my favorite new Hanukkah songs I found on Spotify. I used most of these with my students (to perform or to listen to).

Happy listening!

For non-Spotify users – here is the list to Google for your pleasure.

  • Swingin’ Dreidel – Kenny Ellis
  • Rock of Ages (Maoz Tzur) – Artaria String Quartet
  • Hayom Chanukah – Shira Kline
  • Hanukkah is Here – Joe Nelson
  • Happy Hanukkah – Matisyahu*

*Artist Hilli Kushnir created a beautifully illustrated storybook of Matisyahu’s “Happy Hanukkah”. Check it out. It’s great for teaching the song to students.

~@Doremigirl

Create a Great Playlist for Your Students: MentorMobEdu

During the app share session at edcampHill, I shared MentorMob*.

*January 14 edit – MentorMob changed its educational site name to LessonPaths early 2014. All links from this post are still valid!
MentorMob is a great site to create a learning playlist for your students. You can paste any link (video, audio, article), upload images or PDFs, and create short quizzes to test what the students have learned. I think it’s ideal for any level of students. It’s not only great for teachers with IWB or SMART Board, but for teachers to create  playlists for learning-centers.
Why I like this app:
  1. All YouTube or Vimeo videos I selected for my students are in one place without the clutter of suggested videos or comments.
  2. Documents or slides for learning can be directly added to the playlist so that teaching and learning time is not wasted.
  3. Easy to view the entire playlist collection on the sidebar.
  4. Sharing the playlist with students and parents is easy.

Here is an image of  my playlist. Uploaded Doc that will be followed by a video of the music the students will listen to. There is a list of videos and docs on the left side. The circled tools are for editing, sharing and more (copy, delete, or change privacy).

Danse_Macabre_Listening_Guide_-_MentorMob-13

Create an Edu account. It’s easy!
  1. Go to mentormob.com and click on the EDU site (left bottom).
  2. Sign up using your email, Google, Facebook, or Persona accounts.
To create a playlist:
  1. Click on the “Create” button on the top menu.
  2. Fill in the title, description, type, category, & tags.
  3. Decide whether your playlist will be public (can be viewed by all) or unlisted (only people you share the link will be able to view it). I like to share with teachers so I leave mine in public.
  4. Hit the “Save and add content” bar.
  5. Click on the + sign to add links, documents, or articles.
  6. Add step info/ challenge questions.
  7. You can click on the pencil to edit any step on the playlist and modify any way you want it.
  8. You can embed your playlist on your blog/class website and have centers-like activities set in your classroom

One negative:

If your class blog is a WordPress.com like my blog, you will not be able to use its iframe code to embed the playlist. Fortunately, I use Edublogs and Google Sites so it’s not a problem when using MentorMob for school. The embedded playlist would look like this:

msfame.edublogs.org__p_1540_preview_true

So for my music classes, I no longer use the YouTube playlist I created for my students. MentorMob is great with customer service on Twitter (@MentorMobEdu). I like browsing through playlists created by other teachers in other subjects, too.

Check it out! You’ll be glad you did!

@Doremigirl

App Love: Spotify Radio

I love searching for songs and recordings on Spotify, everyday. Although I only signed up for its basic (free) membership, I’m able to enjoy millions of streaming tracks and organize my favorite tracks into playlists. When the Spotify mobile app came out, I downloaded it to my phone without hesitation.

But I deleted the app just as fast because the app only worked with paid membership :-).

Spotify sent out emails to users on Wednesday, June 20th with the heading: 

What it is: IT’S REALLY SIMPLE

Spotify Radio is a Pandora-like feature  that allows the listener to choose a genre (or style of a specific singer/band). You can build your radio station by giving Spotify’s music pick a ‘thumbs up/down’. This is screenshot of a Blues selection – Muddy Waters(!) – before I liked it:

Each ‘liked’ song is saved as a playlist file (i.e.‘Liked from Radio’) and easily accesible. If you don’t like the song Spotify has picked for you, it lets you skip up to 6 songs per hour. Pretty reasonable, I say.

This app was terrific to use when I was stuck in traffic yesterday. I listened to many more artists and recordings than I had in my mobile music collection. I enjoyed recordings of familiar artists like Sir Neville Marriner, John Mayer, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. And listening to Friendly Fires, Calla, Dropkick Murphys, and Rumer for the first time was just fun.

A few caveats: 

1. All kinds of ads can be heard a few times during your listening period. If you’re connected to your car audio through Bluetooth, or using the speaker on your device,  just know that your kids can hear these, too. Some ads are just for adults.

2. Since it’s not a regular FM/AM radio, there are explicit songs.

3. Spotify Mobile Radio feature is just for iOS right now. Android users, just wait a little longer.

Family Idea: Listen to music together 

Make music listening a part of your family’s summer. If you have younger kids, choose  a genre you want to listen with your kids and listen to new songs with them. If you have a preteen or a teenager, it might be fun to take turns picking new genre of music to listen together. As I mentioned earlier, there are many explicit songs in the database so pick more family friendly genres. For example, ‘Soul’ would have less explicit songs than ‘Hip-hop’ (although the topics that the songs from either of these genres might be equally adult-ish!). You, the adult, can decide what would make sense for your family.

As a test, I gave my phone to my 13-year old daughter. She naturally turned to ‘Alternative’. It was funny that the first song we listened to on this app was Ed Sheeran’s Lego House. This song happens to be one of her favorites so she was happy. She was also quick, though, to point out that Ed Sheeran should be classified under ‘Singer-Songwriter’, not ‘Alternative’. We listened to other genres, including the ‘Blues’ which she thought was cool. I loved spending our car ride talking about music.

I recommend it! Try Spotify Radio & experience more music! ~Yoon

If you like: Read my NPR Music App review.

App Love: NPR Music

I believe that apps were created to make our daily lives efficient and enjoyable. An app should make it easy for me to “do” a task. My criteria for keeping an app or actually buying one is simple: it has to be easy to navigate and use, the content on it has to make me think, and it has to be fun for me to use.

Last month, I saw a tweet from NPR about their new music app. Since I enjoy listening to many NPR podcasts, I thought I would give it a try.

As you open  this app, the front page features Top Stories with these

categories:

Rock/Pop/Folk, Jazz & Blues, Classical, World, Hip Hop/ R&B and Song of the Day.

One of the features I love is that I can read or listen to each story which had been featured on one of the 20 radio shows. I can scroll, touch~> listen, and touch~> stop whenever I want to move onto listening to something else. Most of the times, however, I find myself listening to the entire interview or concert performance because they are fascinating. There are genres and stories I would have never come across on my own! I frequently post these interesting finds for my Music PLN on Twitter using the app’s easy Twitter/Facebook integration. Finding new music and musicians is so easy and accessible.  Today’s Top Stories:

What does it take to find stories on the Canadian Soprano singing Wagner, or listen to School of Seven Bells’ song, or listen to a Raga Chamber Jazz or about women’s role in pop music culture now? Not much, except scrolling and choosing. Now I don’t have to wait for announcement-tweets telling where to look for such interviews or performances. I can just go to my phone and listen!

You can add segments you like onto your playlist to keep it for awhile. I like this feature a lot as I can save them for classroom use or to develop a project idea from a story or performance. Find even more music using live music stream from 75 NPR stations or purchase featured music through your iTunes.

All in all, I would recommend this app to anyone who appreciates music. Busy music teachers, especially, can search here for interesting articles, performances/concerts, or for classroom ideas. No more browsing for me: now I use this music smart music aggregator! It has become one of my favorite apps!

Note: This free app is available only for iPodTouch/ iPhone. I am sure NPR is working on making this great app for other smartphones!

June 22, 2012 Update

I still love this app on my phone AND on the iPad. Since my first post, NPR has released the app for other mobile devices. Enjoy!