Beginning a Guitar Video Series

One of the most great things about my PLN on Twitter is that I get to meet wonderfully passionate educators and musicians. Recently, I received this tweet from Samuel Wright:

I love Rodrigo y Gabriela. They are a dynamic duo from Mexico City (if you’ve never heard about them or their music, it’s a MUST!). So his tweet immediately got my attention.

It is the content and what followed after his tweet that I want to write about. Samuel is from Australia. He teaches similar age students there. And the only way I have the privilege of knowing him is because of my network. He and I had short conversations about teaching on MusicPLN forum (you can read about it this post); I have been learning a lot from his blog, Wright-Stuff Music. Because he knew that I also teach class guitar, he shared his post on Rodrigo y Gabriela. I love that I learn with my network and that I can share new classroom ideas or even think about what I do in class every day. Thinking and carrying out actions are good.

So Samuel’s blog posts on Guitar Video Series have inspired me to start my own here. I also use a lot of YouTube videos in the classroom. It’s simply amazing what one can find on YT: videos which are eye-opening and educationally good. I usually save great videos that I will use in the classroom as “Favorites” and use them to begin discussion on performance,  technique, or give opportunities for my students to take in great music visually (bringing in the concert to them). This reminds me that I should read Jim Frankel’s book (another PLN member), YouTube in Music Education to get even more ideas to best use YT videos in class.

So here is the beginning of my guitar series.

Guitarists Cecilia Siqueira and Fernando Lima of Duo Siqueira Lima performing a Brazilian song,  Tico-Tico (extraordinary guitar four-hand):

They were the artists-in-residence at The University of Florida’s BRAZILIAN MUSIC INSTITUTE (BMI) in 2009. I believe this video was recorded then and you can read about more about the institute here. I love their musicality, skillfulness, and their sense of humor as they beautifully collaborate.

It might be interesting to compare another four-hand piece like this one for what the students can hear in timbre, tone, difficulty of piece, and style. Jerry’s Breakdown composed by Jerry Reed, played by Antoine Dufour and Tommy Gauthier:

What great ideas are you gathering from your PLN?

See it Grow! Music PLN

Early this morning, I had a chance to go to a local farm. I love this farm for many reasons: It has the sweetest, farm-grown corn and so many fresh farm-grown vegetables, U-Cut flowers for very cheap price, plants for the house, AND the local farmers. Although it was fairly early for a Saturday, the farm was already busy, filled with people.

Usually, when I go to this farm, I fill up both of my reusable bags with fresh veggies. Today, I came home with just one paper bag filled with fresh green beans which were on a “weekend special” at 1/2 peck for $2.00.

While I was looking around this farm for things to buy, I was struck by two people, one man and one woman. These were just 2 farmers I saw in action. Their feet moved at a fast speed, moving crates full of veggies or working on “whatever was necessary” around the farm. Their clothes were soaked with sweat, apparent dirt stains all over their aprons, socks, and hands. They truly had a “farmer’s tan”.

As I walked through veggie stands, I kept looking over at these two people. These farmers resembled a group of people in my life…

I have been thinking about how I’ve been learning many things through my PLN (professional learning network) for the past 10 months. It’s been an amazing experience for me learning from so many teachers who are passionate about learning, sharing, and teaching. I’ve been inspired to think beyond what I have come to know and be comfortable with. These smart people get me to think. Sometimes they challenge my beliefs and why I teach the ways I do. Sometimes, my PLN inspire great lesson ideas or projects. All in all, I’ve been learning daily with wonderfully different, but great teachers around the world. One of the fascinating things that made my learning so fun and interesting is that I get to have conversations with these people via social media.

The two farmers (their appearance, work, and life-style) I mentioned earlier reminded me of my Music PLN. These are pre-service teachers, music teachers, music advocates, musicians and artists who have been making my learning experience so wonderful. You see, like these farmers, I’ve been seeing how this growing community’s been “farming” this summer: thinking through things together, sharing teaching ideas, asking questions, assessing our roles and curriculum, finding ways connect with our students, journaling our experiences in our various blogs, and finding ways to become effective teachers – all of these have been vital in my own learning.

Joe Pisano, a friend and a professor at Grove City College has built a great platform for music educators all over the world. I’ve been very fortunate to have been a part of his launching team. The site, MusicPLN, is truly a great resource-filled place where teachers can converse about just about anything in music or music education. I love reading or adding my thoughts on forums like “Video Games in the Classroom”, “Integrating Technology in Music classroom”, or “Mouthpiece Size, etc.” (a post from the Brass Discussion Group. I don’t know much about brass instruments so I can learn by reading through discussions like this). Many tech-savvy, thoughtful people have contributed much to this forum – you just have check it out!

I am proud to be a member of this network. There will be even greater conversations, collaborations, and teaching ideas from this forum as time passes and we all work together to build on this community. I  hope many of aspiring and seasoned teachers, musicians and music advocates will add their voices here.

Happy Launching Day, MusicPLN! Here’s to learning!