Monday, October 29, 2012

The Kobayashi Maru assessment in Music class

So then...

After an engaging discussion about curriculum with my fellow compatriots Steve and Phil, I realized that group work was going to be an important assessment focus for my second unit of grade 8 - Theme & Variations. After thinking about reflection questions, music journal prompts, or possible formative quizzes, I started thinking:

If I were to design a formative quiz to test group working skills (patience, time management, leadership, delegation, debate, participation, engagement), I would have to give the Kobayashi Maru test. By giving each student a piece of paper with their role (leader, antagonizer, yes-man, dead-weight) or at higher levels by thinking hat colour (i.e. black hat=logic, red as emotions, etc.), an assignment to compose a piece of music within sixty minutes could be given. As questions to be answered after, the answers would consist of those group attributes combined with elements of music or tasks that were either successful or not.

I've seen this activity before, and using it in music class just reinforces my belief that music can intrinsically instruct and that be reframing the assessment, music is a core subject of any thoughtful school.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Food Fair 2012

Well, it's all done for another year.
Steve did all of the MC work in the gym introducing musical and dance groups and I organized the sound. The new Presonus 16.4.2 worked beautifully, as did the iPad app. This helped me to moniter sound anywhere in the gym and adjust main speakers and moniters. Even Glay's tech guy seemed impressed. There was a very good balance between children voices and guitars.
Next year I will try to mic avery amp as well as the drums. Andy (go to What the Dickens every first Tuesday and you'll see him run the open mic night) commented that I should've had a mic on Takuro's $10,000 Matchless amp because we couldn't hear it on the other side of the gym with so many bodies in the way. I got some of it before the mic was needed for the chorus.
The only technical glitch was the Friday sound check. After setting everything up through the snake and into the amps and board, I plugged in the FireWire from the PreSonus into the Mac. No sound. No meters moving on the board. After three minutes of tracing cables, I just toggled to power on the board. Once it was back on, everything sounded fine. A small glitch, and very easy and fast to fix. 

Monday, October 1, 2012


Thanks to Chris Smith for pointing me in the direction of Flubaroo. It's a script for Google Docs to help teachers make and mark quizzes. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

school acoustics

Another great TEDTalk, this time about the importance of acoustics in classrooms. Teachers, did you see that part about myocardial infractions?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ed Gavagan

This blog will not always be about music. Watch this TEDTalk.

What a story, and what a wonderful way to tell it.

It's a story about knots and surgeons.

Welcome, musicians!

Let's learn all we can about making music.