Virtual Drum Lesson with Garage Band

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With Quicktime Player Screen Recording mode, Garage Band, Google Slide (lesson powerpoint) and Spotify, I created a playlist of Virtual Drum Lessons for my Secondary class.

Kids were quite impressed especially when they get to play along simple drum beats with pop songs.

There are 10 videos in the playlist including the a quick setup video at the beginning. You may skip to the last two videos to hear some surprise pop music.

This videos are not perfectly made they give a strong idea of how you can teach music tech in class for lack of real instruments.

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Never Enough -Solo Cello-Free Sheet-pdf

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It’s been awhile since the movie came out but I was suddenly inspired to transcribe this beautiful song for solo cello.

I’m also trying out embedding the music sheet from Flat.io which is the website I use to create the arrangement.

Hope some amateur cellist out there like me would give this a try and give me some feedback ’cause this is my first cello transcription.

https://flat.io/embed/5ae9a53e3702667bf107f9a0?layout=track&audioSource=&videoPosition=

The Free Cello Sheet – Never Enough(1)

Music Ed Tech Tools: Free Music Composition and Notation Software

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One day, I was driving while thinking about a composition that I’m working on. It struck me amazing that composers in the old days were able to churn ensemble hits since the 1600s. All the symphonies from Mozart, Beethoven etc. were composed with music in their minds. Today, we have a luxury of listening to our originals on the fly by just clicking a play button. In some philosophical sense, our brain capacity has greatly deteriorate over time. We simply became lazy.

On the bright side, technology advancement means we have the ability to do more and be greater right?

That’s fruit for thought.

I deal with music arrangement a lot in my free time and some occasions where I’m commissioned to do so. Sibelius is my go to software for publishing music. It would be really nice to share the same enthusiasm and spread it to my students.

Over the past year while using the iMac, I discovered the use of Noteflight, Musescore and most recently, Flat.

Each site interface has their plus points.

Noteflight is available for free online with most common tools available for publishing. It even has a midi component but stuff like that are only available on premium subscription. I was to use it on the iMac and iPad. Both used on browsers like Chrome or Safari. However, Noteflight has a limitation to its number of working titles per account in its free version. The free version also does not allow you to share the score publicly. It does have a collaboration feature but as expected, only in the premium version.

Musescore is more complete than Noteflight whereby being it is an app of its own and you can download it on Mac and Windows. It’s almost like a free version of Sibelius. I have yet to push the limits of Musescore but I’m quite impressed that there are some useful plugins available to use such as the one that allows you to insert note names into note heads. Musescore has quite a large public user library too and quite often you will find pop sheet music originating from Musescore.

Flat is the most basic of them all but it has a very unique collaboration feature. It allows you to invite other users to compose or work on a composition. I also like it’s clean looking interface. It’s still a growing site but with lots of potential. Flat also has its own user public library and very easily accessible. You can also download it on your iPad as an app. The interface is a little different from its site version but it’s good to use when you’re on the go.

The winner for me is Flat as a very simple, clean start for students to try music publishing. What appeals to me the most is it’s free collaboration feature that does not affect the number of working titles you can have in your account (Flat allows free 17 working titles for each account user). I have no problems using it across my nearly 50 secondary school students and I was able to check their work seamlessly and provide feedback in due time.

Online music publishing has made composition class an interesting one as students quickly realize how theory rules like time signature are very essential. Students get to connect their understanding of music theory very quickly through application on such a platform.

Do you have other applications or methods to share? Will be glad to hear about them in the comment section.

Lesson Ideas: Musical Cliches

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It’s already the end of the second term, I usually give graded tasks a rest towards the end of term. I still wanted my students to learn something interesting about Music.

I created this mini project on musical cliches. In my own terms, it means music that is used to dramatise or emphasise a scenario.

That video, to me, is the perfect example of how musical cliches are used.

I bet there are many videos such as these but they are in trend now as memes or viral videos. Such is this case for the age of social media.

Another example I used was this local telco ad video.

Not many knew but this song was originally a Peggy March favourite.

Task: Create a short video clip (1 to 3 minutes) or use an existing video clip to add in your own musical cliches taken from pop music, film music or classical music.

I gave my students the freedom of using silent films, game plays, animation etc.

Some even volunteered to record their own video which I thought was really great; an effort rarely seen sometimes.

I complied a Youtube playlist of Music very commonly used in these types of media: https://youtu.be/_D0ZQPqeJkk

 

Ed Tech Tool: GIFs

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I ran into situations in class where I find myself repeating over and over a specific instruction to my students to carry certain tasks like playing BAG keys on the keyboard. A majority of my young students find it hard to remember my instructions; they’re just so active!

It came to my mind that I need a looped video and that’s where the idea of using GIFs came to my mind.

I think this is really genius.

Perhaps better than using Youtube video as it doesn’t allow you to loop short clips. I think GIFs does a fantastic job of that. The only loop hole (haha! pun intended) is that GIFs don’t usually allow audio clips over it.

Nothing is impossible with the internet these days.

There are many GIF creators site out there and I just happen to used the most common one: Giphy

The site is user-friendly and self-explanatory in terms of creating your own GIF.

All you need are pictures or videos and the site will create the GIF for you.

Here is my sample that I made from a short video clip:

Music Education GIF
In this GIF, I’m helping my students to learn identify the BAG notes on the keyboard.
I have yet to try it on my own but here is a sample video that teaches you how to insert music to GIFs

Go try this new idea today!

It could be a simple thing like a body movement or drawing the treble clef [That’s an idea now!].

 

Ed Tech Tools: Music Fonts

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Recently, a friend whom I met through my Orff Levels in Singapore shared how she could now use consistent images for Kodaly and Orff learning with music fonts. I discovered the following paid resource:

Note-able Font – http://mymusicalmagic.blogspot.my/2014/07/music-notation-solutions-note-able-font.html

TpT link: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Note-able-Font-Package-Essential-Music-Teacher-Self-Publisher-Tool-PCMac-804893

I think that it’s actually very cool!

I’ve been using Sibelius for my music works and also classroom related materials and I think this is another good improvement and development towards how music teachers can present their work.

I also took the liberty of Googling for free music fonts that we might be able to use without paying. [If you are as resource-weak as me, free stuff is a joy!]

Free Music Fonts downloads:

http://www.fontspace.com/dvm-publications/metdemo

http://www.fontspace.com/robert-allgeyer/musisync

http://www.fontspace.com/renny-murray/dtnoted [I used this font to create the image for this post’s feature image]

I like to DIY in some ways and I wondered how these people came up with their own fonts.

Lo and behold…

How to create your own font video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjPOOBu2x2E

There are many resource or videos like that.

One of these days…. I will make my own fonts!!!!

Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 8.59.31 AM.pngScreen Shot 2018-03-07 at 9.00.48 AM.png

[The above font is made with this: http://www.fontspace.com/beeline/alphamusicman]

Edu Tech Tools – Mp3

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In the name of education, we need lots of free content to use in our classroom.

I find it quite unavoidable to use illegal means to get Mp3 but I justify that I’m not selling nor am I claiming to own the copyrighted content that I use in my classroom.

I find this site reliable by far in downloading music from Youtube. There many original if not, copyrighted content in Youtube that I wish to use and this is one means of getting it. It’s especially useful when you have internet connectivity issues and you wished you had an offline resource. Just remember, don’t claim it as your own and do not sell it.

This next site is also a very useful to to cut music without downloading any software. I like that it has many options of uploading the music e.g. via Dropbox, Google drive and even direct from your computer. Same reminder here though, don’t claim it as your own and do not sell it.

We need to give content providers due credit whenever necessary. Without them, we would have to create many ideas of our own.