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The West Music Blog
The West Music Blog presents articles, press releases and other information of interest to our local and worldwide customers.

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Puppets In The Classroom
By West Music
1/26/2015 2:33:00 PM  

Using puppets in the music classroom can be a wonderful way to engage students and create a magical environment! Below are my favorite uses for puppets:

Vocal exploration: Whether using a rooster to get students to “cock-a-doodle-doo” or an owl to get students to “whoooo” in their head voices, puppets can be a great way to foster vocal exploration and pitch-matching. Students can also follow the path of a finger puppet, such as a butterfly, flying through the air.

Inner/Outer singing: Puppets that are able to pop in and out of something are wonderful for inner/outer singing! West Music now carries a raccoon that can pop in and out of the trash can: when he is out of the trash can, students can sing a known song normally, but when he is in the trash can, students have to sing inside their heads.


Song prop: A colleague of mine just told me that when she plays “We are dancing,” she has the child who is the wolf hold a wolf puppet to say what he/she is doing at the end of the song: you can then use it for vocal exploration to have kids howl like awolf! I’ve also used a turkey puppet for “Shoo Turkey,” and then had students gobble like turkeys!

Call/response songs: One of my favorite call/response songs is “Come back home my little chicks.” I teach the song using a rooster puppet and a chick puppet, so students can easily see who sings which part. Then, I have them only sing the chick part, or only sing the rooster part.

To encourage solo singing: Singing alone can be a bit overwhelming to some students, but if they think they are singing to a puppet, their perspectives can change dramatically! One of my favorite puppets is “Penny the Peacock,” who only answers questions when students sing to her. It brightens up my day to hear a child singing a solo to Penny, asking questions such as “What’s your favorite color?” or “What’s your favorite food?”

I hope you and your students enjoy using puppets to sing, play games, and explore!


Shop for puppets here:
http://www.westmusic.com/s/movement-props#dept=&cat=1477

 

– Aileen Miracle

www.mrsmiraclesmusicroom.com


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Tags: classroom, teach, education, children, students, puppet, Aileen Miracle
Categories: Classroom Furniture & Equipment, Kids & Movement, Music Advocacy, Music Education
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Why Music Education?
By West Music
12/29/2014 11:19:00 AM  
Students consume their music with technology; either on
an iPod, through a music streaming service, or by watching
YouTube. As educators, we begin with the knowledge
a student possesses, and then provide the inspiration,
guidance, and materials for students to expand upon their
current knowledge.

By offering a music technology course, teachers can attract
and retain students from the entire school. Begin the course
by teaching with the music that students already know, then
allow the class to discover the joy of creating and understanding
the elements of music, which can lead to further study in the field
or the desire to learn an instrument. Music technology allows
teachers to increase their value to the school and community by
reaching more students and growing their ensembles.

Want to know how to use recorded assessments in the music
classroom? Visit musiced.presonus.com to view more from John!

– John Mlynczak, M.M., M.ED.
Education Market Manager, PreSonus

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Tags: education, music, technology, music technology, teach, teacher, john mlynczak
Categories: Music Therapy, Music Advocacy, Music Education
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Cedar Falls May Musician of the Month: Travis Geisler
By West Music
5/2/2014 10:24:00 AM  

TRAVIS GEISLER

Percussion

TEACHER: DELAYNE STALLMAN

Travis Geisler is a drum student of Delayne Stallman. He has been taking with Delayne for 7 years. Travis is also a sophomore at Cedar Falls High School and is an active member of the band, including concert, marching, and jazz. Travis has many family members who play guitar, French horn, clarinets, and sing, so participating in music came very naturally for him! When asked, Delayne said that although Travis is very humble about his skills and accomplishments, he has a very advanced understanding of rhythm and reading skills for his age. His advice to other musicians would be to stick with it, even thru the tougher times because it always gets better and has great rewards. For Travis, his next musical goal might be a try at Weekend Warriors! We are sure he will excel there, too! The most recent accomplishment for Travis, recently would be that his percussion trio just got awarded a perfect score at contest! Way to go, Travis!


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Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Falls
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Cedar Falls May Musician of the Month: Travis Geisler
By West Music
5/2/2014 10:24:00 AM  

TRAVIS GEISLER

Percussion

TEACHER: DELAYNE STALLMAN

Travis Geisler is a drum student of Delayne Stallman. He has been taking with Delayne for 7 years. Travis is also a sophomore at Cedar Falls High School and is an active member of the band, including concert, marching, and jazz. Travis has many family members who play guitar, French horn, clarinets, and sing, so participating in music came very naturally for him! When asked, Delayne said that although Travis is very humble about his skills and accomplishments, he has a very advanced understanding of rhythm and reading skills for his age. His advice to other musicians would be to stick with it, even thru the tougher times because it always gets better and has great rewards. For Travis, his next musical goal might be a try at Weekend Warriors! We are sure he will excel there, too! The most recent accomplishment for Travis, recently would be that his percussion trio just got awarded a perfect score at contest! Way to go, Travis!


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Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Falls
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April 2014 Associate of the Month: Andrew Stewart
By West Music
4/18/2014 8:56:00 AM  

Andrew Stewart“Stew”: A simmered dish: a dish of meat, fish, or vegetables, or a combination of them, that is cooked by slow simmering.

Although it sounds like very tasty dish, there’s nothing slow simmering about Stew in the Coralville Combo department. Andrew Stewart has been on fire for years! He finished 2013 with the highest combo sales numbers in the company. And he’s off to another great start this year in 2014.

Andrew knows his stuff and is never afraid to ask for the sale. He is constantly networking outside the store while running sound for a number of local venues, and talking to musicians. Thanks to Andrew and all of his hard work over the years.

Congratulations Andrew and thanks for all you do!"


-As told by John Feldman, West Music Coralville Store Manager


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Categories: West Music Coralville, Company Culture, Extraordinary Associate of the Month
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Extraordinary Associate of the Month February 2014: Sofie Michalicek
By West Music
2/13/2014 2:53:00 PM  

Sofie Michalicek"You know the adage about customers always being right? Sofia lives and breathes that motto. She works incredibly well with our face-to-face customers and always strives to make every customer’s experience at West Music both memorable and worthwhile. Towards that end, Sofie takes extra time to visit with children who come into our store with their parents. Our customers feel valued in her presence as she takes the time to get to know them and call them by name. In fact, Sofia is a rock-star about building customer - client relations.

She’s our hero when it comes to ukuleles, showing our customers how easy the uke is to play. Sofia has mastered the simple tune, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” as she practices the song over and over every day for anyone willing to listen. She’s a problem solver, a team player, a customer-relations
queen, and our hero."

As told by John Williams, Store Manager at West Music Cedar Falls


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Categories: Company Culture, Extraordinary Associate of the Month
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What to Teach When: A Guide by Brian Hiller and Don Dupont
By West Music
2/7/2014 1:21:00 PM  

Brian Hiller Don DupontAuthors Brian Hiller and Don Dupont are sharing a look at their popular series What to Teach When. Look for the third installment geared towards 4th and 5th grade students available Fall, 2014.

"Teaching is both an art and a science. The art of teaching provides creative, exciting, and enriching activities that engage the learners. The science is the understanding that we (teachers) need to present material in a developmentally appropriate and sequential manner. We want our students to be actively involved in the music making process and at the same time be able to articulate exactly what they are learning in music.

The goal of this series is to provide elementary music specialists with the tools and resources they need to develop a curriculum that teaches skills and concepts while maintaining an aesthetic and creative classroom environment! The music room is a place where children participate, discover, investigate, learn, and perform. The result is an experience that not only builds musical knowledge but helps students develop a positive attitude toward music and the music-making process. At the elementary levels, students develop skills in music through singing, chanting, moving, and playing instruments.

In our classrooms, we often integrate all of the music-making activities into one learning experience. For example, children may learn a traditional folk song, identify the form and style, add movement and instrumental accompaniment, and develop ideas for contrasting sections. This multifaceted approach fosters active music participation and allows individual students an opportunity to express themselves through multiple forms of music making. Through this process the children learn to become not only independent musicians but interdependent members of a community of learners. Every elementary student in our district attends music once a week. As in any other discipline, music has its own tools, materials, concepts, and skills, which are developed with increasing understanding over time. For each concept or skill, the student must pass through a learning sequence to assimilate and build understanding.

What to Teach When What to Teach When Hiller DupontWhat to Teach When provides elementary music specialists with repertoires and learning activities for teaching the elements of rhythm, melody, form, texture, and timbre. The curriculum is spiraled and the order of the activities has been carefully designed so that skills and concepts are continually reinforced before new concepts are introduced. Each song or activity lists the elemental focus and concept along with the basic way in which we teach the piece to our students. When applicable, you will see thumbnail images of the visual aids and/or manipulatives we have created for teaching the piece. All of these can be found on the CD-ROM included with the book. Our goal is to provide teachers with a core curriculum and encourage you to use the ideas in our publication as a springboard to creating exciting and enriching experiences with your students. At the end of each grade-level offering, you will find a fully processed sample lesson plan that demonstrates how particular music skills and concepts might be taught in more detail."

Click the books to learn more about the K-1 and 2-3 installments in this series! For more information on Brian and Don, visit their website or head to their Facebook page.

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Categories: Orff, Kids & Movement, Music, Books & Resources
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"It's Time For Discriminate Listening!" Lynn Kleiner Talks Recorder Quality
By West Music
1/6/2014 3:23:00 PM  

Lynn KleinerAs a well-known Orff pioneer and creator of recorder curriculum, Lynn Kleiner certainly knows a thing or two about the difference a quality recorder can make to a school curriculum.

"As a recorder teacher since 1978, I am aware of the increasing number of choices teachers have to select a brand of recorder. I have also noticed that the quality of different brands of recorders varies widely. I have heard inferior recorders that are out of tune, with horrible tone quality that remind me of the old days when the tonettes were the elementary melody instrument of choice, instead of recorders. That poor sound quality classified those as toys, not instruments. I think we need to evaluate this objectively by having two groups of players, one with a known quality recorder and the other with a suspected inferior brand, and then shout “LISTEN, EVERYONE! There’s clearly a significant difference in sound quality that we observed!” Well, I think it would obvious; no one really needs to shout.     

My early recorder training led me to be very particular about the choice of recorder not only because the price difference is minimal but the quality difference is dramatic and greatly affects the performance experience.  I was taught in my Orff-level training that the type of recorder for students should be the best quality plastic recorder possible so the child can hear an instrument that is in tune with itself, with the other players, and has the best tone quality. Young students don’t need to be burdened with the issues inherent with a wood recorder, such as cracking, humidity, and swabbing.

It is also important for the teacher to demonstrate good tone and intonation to the students by playing an instrument that is of high quality and in tune. For the last 31 years, I have had an after school recorder ensemble (We were fortunate to have the opportunity to perform at two AOSA conferences and one MENC conference!). We played the same quality brand of all sizes of recorders for the best possible ensemble blend.

For those of you reading on, here’s another issue that I struggle with in teacher training environments. My beginning recorder lesson is one of my favorite lesson plans of the year and includes a number of exotic birds in my story (yes, I teach recorder using a number of stories). In order to play my “Weird Birds” piece, you must have the head joint alone, playing the mouth piece without the body of the recorder. I work with tonguing, breathing, and improvisation in a way that can foster success for the first time player.  Then I hear teachers say “I can’t take the top off my recorder, it’s all one piece!” Students should have at least a two piece recorder; however, if you are going to get to the low C in your recorder classes, I suggest the 3 piece recorder so the students can adjust the foot piece. 

I hope teachers have the opportunity to make side-by-side comparisons to select the highest quality within a target price range.  Yes, you usually get what you pay for, but in this case, sometimes paying a little more will get you a whole lot more!

What do I like?  I have enjoyed both the 3-piece Aulos and Yamaha recorders in my schools."  


Lynn Kleiner’s recorder workshops and lessons are available online at www.lynnkleinersmusicbox.com.


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Tags: lynn kleiner, recorders, orff,
Categories: Orff, Kids & Movement, Recorders
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Taking Orff-Schulwerk to the 21st Century with Cecilia Wang
By West Music
1/6/2014 9:38:00 AM  

Cecilia WangOrff Schulwerk Reflections and DirectionsCecilia Wang shares an inside look her newest project - Orff-Schulwerk Reflections and Directions (GIA), which takes an in-depth look at how music educators can best take the Orff method into the 21st century. Featuring a look at the past, present and future of Orff-Schulwerk, the book includes contributions by 20 internationally recognized leaders in the field, as well as ten detailed and field-tested lesson plans for any music classroom setting.   

"This book is a reflection of Orff Schulwerk and its role in the twenty-first century. A group of passionate music educators gathered in Kentucky to discuss what Orff Schulwerk has been and what it could be internationally. The result is this book, written by twenty authors who dedicated much of their lifes work to promote Orff Schulwerk. Several of them are past AOSA presidents; others are Orff-Schulwerk pedagogues, researchers, an ethnomusicologist, and a music therapist. It is written for music teachers of all levels, college professors, and researchers.

The content of this book is unique in its comprehensive coverage of Orff Schulwerk from different perspectives by the various authors. The content takes you to several continents to observe Orff Schulwerk in action. Jane Frazee describes the colorful history of how Carl Orff developed the Schulwerk from the environment of the Nazi Germany to the current USA. Carlos Abril dares you to think critically and objectively of the dangers of treating Orff Schulwerk as an ideology. Arvida Steen shows real examples of our diverse populations in the schools that challenge all music teachers. Judy Bond, Cindy Hall, and Jay Broeker discuss current issues related to Orff Schulwerk teacher education. Need research findings? Wang and Sogin give you a panoramic view of research studies in Orff Schulwerk. Who can benefit from the Orff process? Nicola Mason, Michelle Lewis, Jo Ella Hug, Lori Gooding, and Terri Brown Lenzo share their work that extends Orff Schulwerk beyond the elementary population.

What directions should we follow for the future? Robyn Staveley’s chapter on technology and neuroscience, and Gregory Springer’s on creative thinking steer us forward. Springer’s model of Creative Thinking in Orff Schulwerk offers a much-needed theoretical basis for Orff research and advocacy.  To adapt Orff Schulwerk for teaching musical diversity, the chapters by Shamrock, Kuo-Huang Han, and Kim McCord, guide you in creating lessons including playing Gamelan, and Jazz music!

For school teachers, the most useful may be the last section which showcases field-tested lesson plans by various contributors, as well as two arrangements of Chinese music for the new year, by Margaret Thong."

Orff-Schulwerk Reflections and Directions is available now from West Music!


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Tags: Cecilia Wang, Orff-Schulwerk, Orff, Orff Method,
Categories: Orff, Kids & Movement, Music, Books & Resources
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Clavfest 2013 @ West Music
By West Music
10/5/2013 8:53:00 AM  

Clavinova Fest 2013Clavfest is a fun, rewarding experience where students work with their teachers to perform a song on the Yamaha Clavinova utilizing one or more features of the Clavinova—no piano only sound is allowed!  Students will often choose to use the automatic rhythm, layer and sequence their own fun background music, or use commercial software to enhance their selection.  A special concert is held for the student to perform their selection.










Upcoming Dates At All West Music Locations:


West Music Marion
October 26th

West Music Cedar Falls
October 26th

West Music Coralville
November 2nd

West Music Piano Gallery in Urbandale
November 2nd


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Tags: yamaha, clavfest, clavinova
Categories: Pianos, Digital Pianos & Keyboards, Conservatory
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The West Music Blog presents articles, press releases and other information of interest to our local and wordwide customers.

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