Music Room Ramblings

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Great Talking Pumpkin

I love Halloween! Simple as that.

My dad used to put a microphone inside a huge pumpkin on our front porch. Then he would hide behind a curtain in a nearby window where he could see the trick-or-treaters but they could not see him. When children came up the steps on our porch, he would say,

Friday, October 6, 2017

Do You Teach Standing or Sitting?

Not a Question for Me!

I was taught that being on eye level with children was less intimidating, so I sat in a chair unless I was moving with the children. I avoided "standing over" them. So when I was teaching a song or telling a story or

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Elephant in the Room

What to do when disaster strikes your school community?

I am certainly not a psychologist but I do know children. And 67 years here on earth have hopefully given me a little wisdom. It has definitely given me a wealth of experiences, both good and challenging. 

There have been so many posts on Facebook about what are teachers to do when they return to their classrooms after the devastation of the hurricanes. Schools have been physically torn apart. The newsfeed coming

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Noteheads vs Sticks!

Developing Music Reading Skills Using Iconic Notation

“Music must not be approached from its intellectual, rational side, nor should it be conveyed to the child as a system of algebraic symbols, or as a secret writing of a language with which he has no connection. 
The way should be paved for direct intuition.” 
—Kodaly website, OAKE

Melody vs Rhythm

This blog post gives a brief description of the method I used and developed over my 30 years in the classroom. Most is Kodaly-based.

Iconic notation has long been accepted as a great way to introduce children to music reading. Stick notation to represent rhythms gives children a visual of sound—one icon for each sound.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Awards long before Recorder Karate . . . Yep, I'm THAT old!

Question: How do you keep your 3rd-4th graders interested in playing recorders?

I had a great reward system for my 3rd-4th graders. They were on a points system, meaning they got points for bringing their recorder to class, points for playing the assigned songs, extra points for tutoring other students, points for assessments, projects, compositions, etc.

They earned cords similar to Recorder Karate except I started my system way before they did (darn it!) and the cords were longer and worn like neck straps—a loop around the mouthpiece and then tied in the back around their neck. I purchased the cording at a fabric store by the

Thursday, August 24, 2017

What do I do with 4th - 6th grade students who refuse to pay attention?

Engaging Older Students at the Beginning of the Year

Obviously, you cannot teach if you don't have your students' attention. Do not fight for it, do not beg for it. Expect it and reward it. You are in charge. Be firm, loving and consistent. 

Your students, no matter what age, need boundaries, desperately. If you don't set them immediately, they will push until they defeat you, And, believe it or not, that's not really what they want. 

At the beginning of the year, students don't know everyone and they are vying for the attention from their peers, and for their position in their class.  Take a deep breath. You are older, more experienced, and smarter than they are! You can do it!


Here are a few ideas that worked for me.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Absolutely Blown Away!!

Over 50 items! 

When an item is sold on TpT, the seller is notified via email. Monday, August 21, Eclipse Day, I thought it was a mistake of the galaxy when my phone started making a weird sound. So I checked my email and was convinced there was a mistake because there were so many emails from TpT. I just knew something was wrong.