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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




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



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!




Tags: N/A
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!




Tags: N/A
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Falls
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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




Tags: N/A
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.



Tags: N/A
Categories: Orff, Kids & Movement, Music, Books & Resources
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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!




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




Tags: yamaha, clavfest, clavinova
Categories: Pianos, Digital Pianos & Keyboards, Conservatory
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October Money for Music Winner: Sara Rond
By West Music
10/4/2013 8:35:00 AM  

Sara RondCongratulations to the October 2013 winner of West Music's Money for Music contest, Sara Rond!  Sara shared this story about how she supports her music classroom and some of her fundraising ideas.  Thanks for sharing the ideas with us, Sara!  As a way of saying thanks, we'll be giving Sara a $100 West Music Gift Card to spend on her classroom!

My name is Sara Rond, and I am one of two music teachers at Ethridge Elementary School in Garland, Texas. We are a Title One school with a demographic that includes 90% of our student's on free/reduced lunch and a variety of cultural backgrounds, including a large population of Vietnamese families. Due to the amount of low-economic families in our school, our fundraisers aren't able to be as straight forward as selling candles, gift-wrapping, chocolate, etc. Therefore, we complete several smaller fundraisers throughout the year that aren’t dependent on our families to complete.

We have a parent volunteer that makes homemade quilts to be sold in our front office all year long. Any funds made from these quilts are split between music and our 5th grade camp trip.

Once a month, our principal allows the student’s to have a “Popcorn Day” during their lunchtime. A movie is shown during lunch and the student’s may purchase a small bag of popcorn for 50 cents.

We are constantly thinking of ways to revamp our fundraising opportunities that won’t interfere with our family’s day-to-day life. Our music department puts on a student program once a month for the parents and community. We do not charge admission for these events, because we want to encourage everyone to attend. However, we’re beginning to brainstorm selling refreshments at each event.

Our administration believes in providing our student’s with experiences no matter their financial ability. Whether those experiences are in music, Student Council, Honor Choir or any of the grade level field trips. Because of the wide variety of needs for fundraising, our school combines all benefits from fundraising and applies the funds wherever they are needed. Our student’s never miss out on an opportunity because of money!

Interested in joining the contest?  Send us your successful or new ideas on how to fundraise for your classroom to moneyformusic@westmusic.com.  We pick a winner each month and feature them in the eblast!




Tags: money for music, fundraising
Categories: Contests
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Hal Leonard Introduces Essential Elements Interactive!
By West Music
10/1/2013 4:17:00 PM  


Announcing Essential Elements Interactive, the ultimate online music education resource!

Essential elements interactive is a new online resource center for users of the Essential Elements Band and String methodoloy that helps music teachers better connect with students and parents... anywhere, anytime, and on any device.

Hosted by Charms Office, EEi introduces the first-ever, easy set of technology tools for online teaching, learning, assessment, and communication.  Creating a new ideal for teaching today's beginning band and string students, both in the classroom and at home.

EEi does this by providing teachers with their own individualized secure website where they can extend their Essential Elements teaching beyond the classroom. With Essential Elements Interactive, teachers will have access to an ever-growing set of resources and the ability to easily connect with students and parents in a variety of ways.

Essential Elements Resource ExampleEEi Resources include:

  • New HD Videos with extensive pedagogical lessons
  • Individual Studies for all instruments
  • Music Theory lessons and worksheets
  • Instrument Training Worksheets
  • Additional Music including songs, duets, and trio
  • Teachers can also upload, share, and archive their own materials to further customize and organize their online classroom.

Music Studio Features Include:

  • Professional Soloists demonstrating each exercise in the book
  • Multiple Accompaniment Styles for each exercise, performed by professional musicians
  • Recording Feature to share music with teachers, friends, and relatives
  • Tempo Control for more effective learning and practice
  • EEi Practice Tools including built-in metronome, tuner, and fingering charts
  • Easy-to-use Interface to make playing, recording, and sharing simple and fun

Additional Features include:

  • Online Assignments to help students prepare for class more effectively
  • Practice Records to help students and teachers plan home practice while keeping parents informed of practice goals and progress
  • Shared Resources to help students practice and to inspire them to love music
  • Customizable Calendars with flexible group sharing, event details, and instant updates
  • Flexible Communication Tools that provide a variety of ways to communicate with students and parents
  • E-mail to Text Conversion to reach students and parents quickly

Learn more: https://www.essentialelementsinteractive.com/




Tags: essential elements, hal leonard, essential elements interactive
Categories: Band & Orchestra, Music, Books & Resources
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