Lecture 6 Music 1Y(& this week’s thoughts)

April 16, 2010

In recovery from school, but nearly end of holidays, and don’t seem to have stopped yet! Sleeping lots, but.

Assignments & resources

Seemed to spend most of last week doing uni assignments for 1X and 1Y, and most of this week thinking about or doing the next ones.

Pretty interesting though getting some new transcriptions and arrangements done, and thinking how to wedge it all into a sensible assignment and still meet the deadline. Compromised a bit on quality of my writeups to make the deadlines, but got good resources together both in 1X and 1Y.

Learned how to upload audio and pdfs and stuff to my blog. Bought a wordpress 5GB deal for $20 (maybe US$) for the year. My internet is slow – end-of-month-used-up-bandwidth factor. Seems that timeout issues make it harder to make embedded YouTube video links? Anyway just put the urls in instead. There’s that mouseover preview thing anyway in wordpress.

Thinking of making the blog an ongoing thing and sharing resources I’ve developed over the years. I have lots of transcriptions. Just having time to do it is the challenge. Maybe next holidays.

Uni  tutorials/lectures kind of interesting this week

Thanks James for organising the conference poster session at Apple ITSC 2010 conference freebie (with nice food and drinx too). I went to the blended learning one and discovered some interesting DET racehorses.

They’ve even talk in there about an updated Bloom’s taxonomy (2009) to cope with the digital era. Not sure whether to groan or cheer. Either someone’s trying to fit new wine into old wineskins (=kaboom!), or maybe the world really is changing (to cope with the world changing!).

Thanks too James for the tools and tricks and tips in the lecture part. Plenty of food for thought. Liked Auralia and Musition ideas.

Pretty wild jams Indo-Aust folk style in our 1X tut too. There are some great musos among you all: singers, improvisers, spontaneous organisers: hey you’ll do great in classrooms guys!

Holiday reading

I found a book of Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts (the TV series he did in the 1960s) in a secondhand bookshop. So I bought it for teaching ideas. Pretty imaginative guy. I love reading old-school imaginative people. Keeps you up with history too. The challenge is not to replicate Bernstein but find a parallel approach for today’s culture.

And I found in the same shop Beds are Burning: Midnight Oil semi-authorised biography. Great interviews with the band and good musical and cultural insights into Midnight Oil’s time and their legacy in Australian music culture. So I’ve been reading that too.

It’s got me inspired to do more Midnight Oil in music classes. Haven’t tried much as I thought them a bit oldschool for students now. But tried last year playing the Blackfella/Whitefella doco (found it in a specials bin on DVD) to a senior class, which went down well.

Also now planning to read Neil Murray on the Warumpis and Rob Hirst’s insider’s view of Midnight Oil touring the US before they broke up. More keeping up with history, and filling some gaps.

Holiday internetting (or procrastinetting)

Went poking around some links from the #uwsmteach twitter page; e.g. @katiew pointed to music tech guy who pointed to the timegrinder YouTube channel which is really interesting with lots of Howard Goodall music docos, and more. Goodall’s highly recommended for class use btw.

If you’ve also got a case of thinks-too-much

If you’re interested in 21C pedagogy, or if you’re looking for way better models than the old-school ones, check out Kieran Egan, Canadian professor from Simon Fraser Uni in BC, who I’ve been reading. He heads up an innovative imaginative education program and teacher preparation program and whatnot.

Kind of like Vygotsky on steroids, plus he believes in starting with the learning material and letting the lesson emerge imaginatively from the material:

  • Let the objectives emerge organically from the interaction of the material and the teacher and learners. YES!
  • Don’t start with the learner’s background knowledge and experience but start with what the learner can imagine. Start outside his/her experience. YES!
  • Start always with material that you’re excited and fired up about. Else how can you have an interesting lesson? YES!

Why do you think teachers always go for dragons, Antarctica, pirates & pyramids? What ‘cos they relate to the students’ background knolwedge? No, ‘cos they’re extreme and outside of experience – but fully accessible to the imagination…

I’ve occasionally had students blown away by extreme stuff I tried in class: e.g.

Although for every one who gets blown away there’s always someone completely underwhelmed! Lots of people have had their wonder circuits fried by the time they stagger into high school. (The arts should aim to provide healing for this problem.)

I love Egan et al’s work ‘cos finally I find a theory that agrees with the way I’ve always intuitively taught. There’s hope for a way out of outcomes-based education!

Gotta keep encouraging wow, mind stretching, and recovery of wonder in your classes: it’s the only way.

If you have an hour, listen to this – Egan talking – while you wash up or something.

Vivid festival news

Have you heard? Not only are Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson co-curating the Vivid Festival coming up in Sydney, but My Brightest Diamond (check out her audio at this link) is playing (aka Shara Worden, who sang the Queen in the Decemberists’ Hazards of Love recently).

Andrew Tredinnick

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