Music education always & always looking forward.

Weird Stuff Taught in Mrs. L's Classroom! (1/17-20/17)

Today's the first day of my weekly wrap-up, which I am going to appropriately title Weird Stuff Taught in Mrs. L's Classroom!  (Week of 1/17-20/17)

This week was indeed weird, in that we had a block schedule due to benchmark testing (or whatever we're calling that now) and Monday off to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  It was also my first day back after the FMEA conference in Tampa, where I saw lots of great stuff going on.  

All of my classes were two hours long this week, which meant that we got to look at some weird stuff in addition to the normal Chorus/Band ensemble class structure.  

After talking about subdividing rhythms, some of my students asked me, "How does a 128th note sound?"  My explanation was not totally sufficient, but it was also not pertinent to their understanding, so we moved on.  (A decade of teaching has taught me when to move on from the endless barrage of questions students will try to delay you with.  Yes, intellectual curiosity is good, but you have to get to the point some time.)  Later, I looked up the answer online, and while the first video that popped up on YouTube was disappointing, the second demonstrated a young (and presumably Australian) bloke trying to break the Guinness World Record for Fastest Guitar Playing.  That was interesting, mostly because I've never heard a metronome go that fast before. 

The video featured a nice juxtaposition, putting the guitarist in front of a window so that we could see the people and cars moving outside at normal speed while his hands appear to be moving in extreme super-speed fast motion.  And we reinforced the meaning & understanding of BPM.

The above video also led to transfers & discussing Rimsky-Korsakov, which is always a good thing.  I try to relate everything I teach to popular culture, so I told my kids, "I know the Russians have a bad rap right now, but I love their music."  And as a youngster myself, before I got more into the French and the fin de siecle/Les Six scene, I was a major Russian composer fangirl, so it was fun to dive into some of the Might Handful.  As most of my students do when I play a well-known classical piece, the first time I played "Flight of the Bumblebee", they shouted out, "That's from Tom & Jerry!"  (I'm mostly amazed that any network still shows Tom & Jerry.)

In one class, we ended up (somehow) discussing what the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was all about, which of course leads into the beginning of the "white people did not invent Rock and Roll" discussion.  We did not get into that quite so much, but it was interesting to watch their reactions as they read the names of the artists who have been (or will be) inducted.  The names that garnered the most recognition among my students were The Eagles, Green Day, Guns'n'Roses, Michael Jackson, Prince, and Tupac Shakur.  

Cleveland Rocks!  Right?

Cleveland Rocks!  Right?

Nothing else particularly interesting taught this week, but we'll be back next week to show off some odd things that came up/were covered during class.  The life of a music teacher is exhausting, but it is certainly never boring. 



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