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Brent M. Gault On Listen Up! Fostering Musicianship Through Active Listening
By West Music Company
7/8/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Author Brent M. Gault explains the concepts behind his book Listen Up! Fostering Musicianship Through Active Listening

All individuals respond to music through listening. Since music listening is such a universal part of life, and the skills fostered through critical listening to music can transfer to many other areas, making listening an area of focus in a music curriculum is logical.
In elementary general music settings, children learn actively through direct experience with given concepts. As a result, it makes sense to approach listening instruction actively by using other musical behaviors (singing, moving, chanting, creating) and aural, visual, and kinesthetic learning modes as a way to develop a deeper connection with musical material while fostering musical skills and introducing or reinforcing musical concepts.

Listen Up! provides sample experiences that utilize music excerpts as a means of not only providing an opportunity for children to listen and experience given pieces of music, but to also foster musical skills and reinforce given musical concepts (rhythm, melody, form) that are prominent in the chosen selections. In addition to providing an overview of the planning process for developing these types of lessons and providing sample experiences for 23 specific pieces, a companion website includes Power Point presentations to accompany each experience that provide visual material students can view and respond to as they listen. The site also includes sample videos demonstrating some of the listen experiences and a link to a Spotify playlist that includes musical recordings.

The listening lessons in this book developed through my own exploration of active ways to introduce wonderful music to children. I have spent the last 20 years developing these ideas and utilizing them with children and teachers. Having the opportunity to put these together in one collection is extremely exciting, and I hope the book serves not only as a resource for existing lessons, but can also provide ideas that can be applied to other pieces of music.

-Brent Gault

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Tags: brent gault, listen up, teaching, listening, book, lessons, author
Categories: Kids & Movement, Music, Books & Resources
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How To Make A Halloween Sound Story
By West Music Company
10/1/2015 1:30:00 AM  

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Tags: classroom activities, sound effects, halloween, story, spooky scary, walking dead
Categories: Drums & Percussion, Music, Books & Resources
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Dances of the Seven Continents
By West Music Company
4/23/2015 12:02:00 PM  
Author: Sanna Longden

Many of you have heard me say that, even though I am a dance educator, I really teach (here come all my “C’s”) civility, cooperation, community, creativity, consideration, communication, cultures, and character development.

Recently, a new set of “C’s” has come into our lives—the Common Core Curriculum (CCC)—and I’d like to suggest that my world dance CDs will help you to connect to this current criterion. And (moving on from the “C’s”), so will my DVDs. You’ll find many useful, educational, and enjoyable cultural dances and music games on my entire FolkStyle Productions series of five CDs and seven DVDs. However, here are some specific curriculum connections you can help your students make with my two CD-DVD set, Dances of the Seven Continents.

The title itself leads to Geography: There are actually only six continents—one big land mass is officially named Eurasia. Have the students find out why, and then locate their dances on the world map. Another idea is to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with “Waves of Tory” and find out where Tory is, and how the dance simulates these well-known waves. You can support World Language with dance titles and songs in Armenian, Bulgarian, Caribbean, Flemish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Romanian, Spanish, Tahitian, Taiwanese, and Tibetan. Children from these countries would be thrilled to help with their languages.

For Science, the “Penguin Dance” could elicit much information about these amusing birds, as well as about snow, ice, and the Southern Hemisphere. Traditional dances from U.S. History are “Goin’ Down to Cairo,” “Here Comes Sally,” the “Yakima Round Dance” and “Haliwa-Saponi Canoe Dance,” and, of course, “Swing Dancing.” There are even ways to do Math with meters, measures, phrases, and formations. There’s lots more, especially the most important one, the Humane Curriculum—teamwork with “Mexican Clap Game,” “Thady You Gander,” and others, and humor in “Gustav’s Skøal,” “Ox Dansen,” and “Ach Jah.”

I hope you and your students will enjoy using these CDs and DVDs!

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Tags: dances of the seven continents, sanna longden, Common Core Curriculum, FolkStyle Productions,
Categories: Kids & Movement, Music, Books & Resources, Music Advocacy, Music Education
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A Song In My Heart
By West Music Company
4/10/2015 9:00:00 AM  

Authors: Peter and Mary Alice Amidon

A Song in my Heart
is a compilation of the best of our children’s music CDs recorded over 25 years with 7 additional new songs. It is a celebration of singing and dancing with children in elementary schools, music festivals, and dance camps, and with our own family. The songs reflect the riches of the folk repertoire, both traditional and contemporary. Here are singable choruses, lovely melodies, poetry and ballads: a wealth of songs which make connections with literature and with the universal themes of love, the seasons, and nature.

Many of the elementary schools in southern Vermont’s Windham County hold an All School Sing: a weekly gathering of staff, students, and some parents. Many of the songs on the ‘Song in My Heart’ CD were sung at the All School Sings we led when we were music teachers. Some songs marked the year: Martin Luther King for his birthday, Harriet Tubman for Black History Month, "Silver Rain" for Thanksgiving, "This Pretty Planet" for Earth Day, and "Mail Myself to You" for Valentine’s Day. We always enjoyed singing the song "Country Life", a rousing traditional English song from the Waterson family which sings of the joys of the seasons. "Now It’s Time to Go", Peter’s round, would often mark the end of the sing.

We composed two of the songs on Song in My Heart to deal with conflict resolution and bullying. My "Say What You Want" was inspired by a Responsive Classroom workshop on conflict resolution. Peter was commissioned by a school in Lititz, PA to write a song for their school about "Celebrating the Differences” and to include a verse about bullying, so he wrote "Brotherhood and Sisterhood". John McCutcheon’s wonderful song "The Kindergarten Wall" deals so well with social themes as well: “don’t hurt each other and clean up your mess!”

Song in My Heart includes our song settings of poems: Peter’s setting of "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Edward Lear and my "Johnny Appleseed" by Steven and Rosemary Vincent Binet. Both of these poems have been published in picture book version, so one way to use the songs is to ‘sing’ the poems to the children or show them the picture books to the songs on the CD. “Singing” a book creates an opportunity to make a strong connection with literacy; "What a Wonderful World" and "I Miss You Everyday" (a companion to the Woody Guthrie song Mail Myself to You) are available as picture books. A kindergarten teacher once remarked to me that young children are intimately connected to a song, more so than to the written word, and therefore a book of a song is a dynamic tool for literacy learning. Big books and charts of songs also augment the experience of both written and oral language.

Orff teacher Judith Thomas remarked on the importance and integrity of “universals” in selection of repertoire. Sun, moon, stars, nature, and the seasons are reflected in many of the songs here. "Mr. Moon" and "Great Big Star" are elegantly simple tunes and examples of this both great for solos by children. Raffi’s "All I Really Need" is a hymn to universals: the sun and rain, food and a loving family as what we really need. My song "I’m Growing Up" was written to compliment a study of the life cycle. "The Seed in the Ground" by Connie Caldor is a celebration of the growth cycle of the seed into the flower and beginning again.

One second grade teacher used the song "Gentle Heart" to celebrate a child’s birthday: “If you want your dreams to be, take your time, go slowly, do few things but do them well, heartfelt work grows purely”, wise words to live by. We hope that this CD will both inspire many and fill children with songs in their hearts.

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Tags: Peter Amidon, Mary Alice Amidon, A Song In My Heart, children's music
Categories: Kids & Movement, Music, Books & Resources, Music Advocacy, Music Education
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Why Use Children's Literature In The Music Classroom?
By Sandy Lantz & Gretchen Wahlberg
2/24/2015 8:50:00 AM  
There are thousands of reasons to use children’s literature books in your music classroom. Here are just a few:

• Children just love books. They look at pictures, read the words, and escape into the pages of an adventure.

• All students enjoy having a story read out loud to them regardless of their age.

• Every element in music can easily be taught using books as a catalyst.

• Students can be composers with literature as a base. They can create a “B” section using words from the pages of a book; add verses to an existing story; establish mood of a story using different modalities; improvise melodies to represent characters in the story.

• Sound effects are a must with books. Who doesn’t want to make the sound of a “Crash”, “Boom”, “Splash” or “Plunk”?!

• Standards in our music curriculum include accompanying a musical work, performing in front of others, critiquing others’ performances. Children’s literature inspires these activities in the music classroom.

• Common Core Curriculum is all around us. Mainstreaming children’s literature and music is a natural connection.
Sandy and Gretchen are authors of Drum It Up and Creative Bits With Children's Lit.

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Tags: Sandy Lantz, Gretchen Wahlberg, music classroom, children's literature, children's books
Categories: Kids & Movement, Music, Books & Resources, Music Education
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Playing with Improvisation: Technology with Integrity in the Orff Classroom
By Lisa Sullivan
1/6/2015 10:51:00 AM  
Lisa Sullivan

I tend to be a very practical teacher.  I have found that pieces work well for me when I can use them at multiple grade levels and in different ways.  This is the essence of Playing with Improvisation: Technology with Integrity in the Orff Classroom.  This resource comes out of 26 years of teaching K-5 students.  My students enjoy the chance to improvise on recorder and barred instruments and the more structured improvisation opportunities I can give them the better!  The goal of this resource is to give you dynamic, animated visual presentations (Microsoft PowerPoint) that will guide students through a musical journey with each piece in the collection.  The ultimate goal is to keep your students making music!

You can use this resource with barred instruments only or bring in recorders.  Either way, you can use the pieces in order or you can pick and choose as they fit into your curriculum.  There are two complete lessons plans and a Microsoft PowerPoint slide show available for each piece, one for barred instrument improvisation and one for recorder improvisation.  In this collection you’ll receive a total of ten pieces, each in both barred instrument and recorder versions, developmentally sequenced beginning with simple so-mi songs and progressing to the full do pentatonic scale.

These teaching pieces have been successful for me in my classroom for many years.  It is my pleasure to share them with you.  I think you’ll find they bring solid learning and joyful, musical play to your classroom as well. 

Lisa Sullivan

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Categories: Orff, Music, Books & Resources, Recorders, Music Education
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Celebrating Now's The Time's 10 Year Anniversary
By Doug Goodkin
10/15/2014 7:43:00 AM  

Now's The Time: Teaching Jazz To All AgesThe first National Conference in which I first presented a workshop was the National Association of Jazz Educators (NAJE) in Columbus, Ohio.

The year was 1984. Later, that same year I presented at my first AOSA Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Both workshops featured a jazz arrangement of Green Sally Up, an African-American clapping game. It was the first step I had taken toward combining jazz and Orff Schulwerk. And it turned out to be significant.

By 1994, ten years later, I had taught six week-long jazz courses in both St. Paul, Minnesota and San Francisco. I had a manuscript for a book being reviewed by two notable publishers and had arranged many jazz pieces for Orff Ensemble.

By 2004, I had taught my jazz course in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal and annually in San Francisco. My 8th grade jazz program at my school was now well-established, with notable jazz musicians—Bobby McFerrin, Milt Jackson, Stefon Harris, Eddie Marshall and others— visiting and expressing their delight with what the young ones could play. My jazz book, rejected by publishers who didn’t know where to place it in “the market,” was gathering dust in my closet. Determined to finally publish it, I created my own Pentatonic Press and took the bold leap into self-publishing.

On the 10th anniversary of its publication, Now’s the Time: Teaching Jazz to All Ages is on the cusp of its third printing and is joined by a first supplement, All Blues.  The jazz course has continued to roam the world—Iceland, Finland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Taiwan, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Winnipeg, Calgary and still every summer in San Francisco. Pentatonic Press has birthed three more of my own books, one from each of my colleagues and many more awaiting their turn. I started a jazz quintet, The Pentatonics, who perform both adult and family shows and workshops (AOSA St. Louis Conference, Stanford Jazz Festival, SF Jazz Center).

Now's The Time CD SetAnd yet there are still so many teachers who neglect jazz in their curriculum. The excuse is that there has been no model for elementary jazz education. But now there is—

Now’s the Time! The principles of teaching jazz via the Orff approach are now tried-and-true, affirmed many times over by a few thousand teachers who took my jazz course or used the book and tried the material with their students—with great success! There are still so many children waiting their turn to swing in the jazz playground— it’s not too late to give it to them. 30 years since that first Green Sally Up arrangement, 10 years since publishing the book, Now is Still the Time to bring jazz into your classroom! And this book will show you how. Enjoy!

Doug GoodkinDoug Goodkin is beginning his 40th year teaching music to children from 3 years old to 8th grade at The San Francisco School. He has taught jazz and other musical styles via the Orff approach in over 40 countries on every continent, chronicled on his blog: “Confessions of a Traveling Music Teacher.” See www.douggoodkin.com for further information.

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Categories: Music, Books & Resources
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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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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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From Wibbleton to Wobbleton: Exploring Orff-Schulwerk with James Harding
By West Music Company
1/3/2014 8:53:00 AM  

James HardingFrom Wibbleton to WobbletonJames Harding, author and preschool, elementary and middle school music teacher at the San Francisco School, was kind enough to give us a bit of insight on his new book, From Wibbleton to Wobbleton. Published in September by the Pentatonic Press, this book is the third in the Integrated Learning Series, following Intery Mintery and Blue is the Sea, and takes an in-depth look at creative play using the Orff-Schulwerk method and features artwork by Eli Noyes.   

"As I write this, the final proof of my book, From Wibbleton to Wobbleton (Pentatonic Press 2013), is winging its way through Express Mail towards the printer. Did I catch the last typo? Probably not! But I am confident that the book is going to be attractive and intriguing to readers from the moment they catch sight of the cover or flip through the pages, because it is filled with delightful drawings and diagrams from the pen of my collaborator, Eli Noyes.

I am a doodler and cartoon-drawer myself, and I knew from the start that I wanted the book to have illustrations. Eli is a former parent at The San Francisco School who is an award-winning animator, and when I saw his style of drawings I knew he would be perfect for the job. We started working together last September on some samples. Little did we both know that in the next 12 months he would complete almost 400 drawings for the project!

James Harding From Wibbleton to WobbletonJames Harding From Wibbleton to WobbletonJames Harding from Wibbleton to Wobbleton James Harding From Wibbleton to Wobbleton

One of my favorite parts of the book is a section called “Playing With the Elements of Music.” It’s a kind of index of ways to work creatively with any material by playing with the parameters of rhythm, pitch, timbre, tempo, dynamic and form. I wanted a drawing to show each element of music. I suggested that we show each element on the side of a cardboard box, implying that each element was one facet of the whole musical experience. Eli drew the boxes as I asked, but they looked lifeless. How about having a child playing with each box? Better, but the children looked lonely, and I realized that a child playing alone did not represent the spirit of communal music making that is the hallmark of the Orff approach. How about two children playing together with each element? Yes! Suddenly the images showed the spirit of creative play. As they say, a picture is worth one hundred words, and so I’d have to write millions to thank Eli Noyes for his contribution to this book."

From Wibbleton to Wobbleton features great ideas for any music curriculum, with chapters about speech pieces, singing games, working with props, orff instruments, songs and canons, and introductions to the elements of music, musical notations, and orff schulwerk. Find it at your local West Music or by clicking here.

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Tags: James Harding, From Wibbleton to Wobbleton, Orff-Schulwerk, Music Education, Eli Noyes
Categories: Orff, Kids & Movement, Music, Books & Resources
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