About Flynx

Tim Tuck lives in Maitland, South Australia, with his wife, two cats, and a goldfish pond with an untraceable leak in it. He teaches Reception-12 music, drama and IT at the local area (rec-12) school and spends entirely too much time on his iPad and Windows 7 computer writing, scoring (music that is) and designing. When he's not busy on a new musical, teaching, or tidying his office, Tim freelances for Maverick Musicals, editing scores and trying to fathom what went wrong with the website code he wrote nearly a decade ago. He's also written extensively for Blake Education and Pascal Press, including the popular 'Ready-To-Go-Music' series, several computing 'Go Guides' (Word, Excel and Internet), the 'Best-of-the-Web' guides for primary schools and teacher resource books for SOSE, science, English and Civics. Oh, and he’s just finished a new series of Interactive Whiteboard programs on handwriting of all things. As anyone who might have seen his own handwritingwould say, ah, the sweet irony of it all! He won a NEiTA (National Excellence in Teaching Award) in 2003 for leadership in schools and an 'SA Great' award for contributions to the Arts. He was the SA State nominee for the AITSL Inspirational Teacher of the Year in 2010 (but not inspirational enough to win it). He’d really like to be able to play the trombone better than he does.

Australian Song Lyrics Analysis

Two questions.

Who is Australia’s most erudite lyricist?

And how can you embed the General Capabilities in secondary music lessons?

Aussie Song Lyric Readability

In answer to the first (but no spoliers here, let me tell you) you’ll need to read all the way to the bottom of  How complex are Aussie song lyrics? Analysis shows our wordiest songwriters to find out. The article looks at readability scores, length and the difference between being able to read the words and having the life experiences necessary to understand them. Along the way there’s fine (YouTube linked) examples of our best talent, from Paul Kelly and ‘Dumb Things’ through to Kasey Chambers and ‘Nothing at All’.

Embedding General Capabilities

Now let’s use the con concept of assigning readability scores to song lyrics as a way of embedding general capabilities into music lessons:

Start with the article. It will make a fine primer and Australian-artist orientation for students before delving into lyrical analysis.

Now have students collect lyrics from their favourite artistes and paste them (the lyrics, not the artists)  into Word.

  • Click the File tab, and then click Options.
  • Click Proofing.
  • Under When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, make sure the Check grammar with spelling check box is selected.
  • Select Show readability statistics.

Word will also give a word count for the text. Record the results and organise them in Excel. Their efforts might look a little like this, from The Dumbest Hits of the Last Decade:

Click for full size view: from ‘The Dumbest Hits of the Last Decade

Questions to ask. Which artist pitches (hah!) their lyrics at the lowest reading age? Which at the highest? Who has the longest word count? Shortest? What’s the average readability? Who uses the longest words? Shortest? What correlations can be found across genres? What other generalisations can be made?

So what General Capabilities have been covered? You can certainly tick off:


  • Comprehending texts through listening, reading and viewing
  • Text knowledge
  • Grammar knowledge
  • Word Knowledge


  • Investigating with ICT
  • Communicating with ICT
  • Managing and operating ICT


  • Estimating and calculating with whole numbers
  • Using fractions, decimals, percentages, ratios and rates
  • Interpreting statistical information

Critical & Creative Thinking

  • Inquiring – identifying, exploring and organising information and ideas
  • Generating ideas, possibilities and actions
  • Inquiring – identifying, exploring and organising information and ideas




Radik Tyulush

A big shout out to Radik Tyulush, a truly gifted Tuvanese musician who gave me permission to use his photograph in my A-Z Musical Instruments Poster Pack. (I is for Igil!)

He learned throat singing and playing the Igil from his grandfather and since graduating from the Kyzyl School of Arts performed in the folk groups “Tyva”, “Yat- ha”, and won a BBC Award for World Music. He is the youngest member of the “Huun Huur Tu.

The Internet still amazes with its potential to make international connections!


Radik Tyulush: Facebook

Radik Tyulush: Home page


A-Z Musical Instruments Poster Pack

I’ve been looking for a set of A-Z musical instrument posters for our music room. But most sets seem to skimp on the difficult instruments (quick- name an instrument beginning with I, N, Q or Y!) and many are just line drawings.

So I’ve created my own with all letters represented including I for Igil, N for Nyckelharpa, Q for Quena and Y for Yanqin.

You can download the first set – letters A through H – here for free and I’ve included links for the other two packs and the first ‘expansion pack’ below. They’re just £3.90 (around $6.50) on the TES store.

A-Z Musical Instruments Poster Pack Set 1: A-H

Download: A-Z Musical Instruments Poster Pack Set 1 A-H

This is Set 1  (containing 8 posters)  of the A-Z Musical Instruments Poster Pack, a collection of 26 alphabetical posters in three packs depicting a range of common and uncommon musical instruments. Set 1’s eight posters include the Accordion, Bassoon, Clarinet, Didgeridoo,  Electric Guitar, Flute, Glockenspiel and Harp.

Each instrument poster features a highlighted alphabet-letter, colour and icon coded categorisation, a large photograph of the instrument, smaller supporting photographs of features and playing positions and an information box detailing alternative names, era of development, related instruments and more. Just the resource to brighten your music room walls or use as a hands on lesson resource!

It also includes a PowerPoint presentation with audio files (or YouTube links ) of each instrument.Use the PowerPoint presentation to introduce new instruments, feature an ‘instrument of the day’ or supplement other music lessons.

DownloadMusical Instruments PowerPoint A-H

Other sets

Set 2 (I-Q) posters include Igil, Jaw Harp, Kalimba, Lute, Maraca, Nyckelharpa, Oboe, Piano and Quena.

Set 3 (R-Z) posters include Recorder, Saxophone, Timpani, Ukulele, Violin, Washboard, Xylophone, Yangqin and Zither.

Set 4 (Brass) posters include Bass Trombone, Bugle, Cornet, Euphonium, Flugelhorn, French Horn, Sousaphone, Trombone, Trumpet and Tuba.

Free Music Resources

Matthew Hindson, Composer. Deputy Dean at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Curator, Australian Music Program has a number of useful free music resources on his blog.

Free Manuscript Paper: Five different styles including a compact 18 stave version.

Free Music Fonts: There are 14 different fonts including a recorder fingering font, a guitar strings font, a sax fingering font and a tempo indications font. My two favourites are the Rhythms and StaffClefPitchesEasy fonts.

Free English language hyphenation dictionary: A great resource if you’re a songwriter. I organised this (massive!) text file into Evernote for easier access.


Australian Curriculum General Capabilities Checklist

I needed a quick way to record my use of the general Capabilities in my my programs. I tried a few different configurations, but this one seems to work well.

There’s a title section at the top for unit title, year level and date. The capabilities are in two sections: ‘Supporting students to become successful learners’ and ‘Developing ways of being, behaving and learning to live with others’. There’s a checklist of elements for each capability with a small section for notes. I use this to jot down what I’m specifically doing in that unit to teach / assess the element.

Since using the checklist, I’m discovering that I’m actually teaching to the capabilities more than I thought. The element descriptions are a handy reminder of the scope of each capability too.

Two versions are available for download: a Word file that you can edit and a pdf version.

Download AC General Capabilities Template (pdf)

 AC General Capabilities Template (docx)

Okeanos Ocean Explorer

The Okeanos Explorer is a US federally funded research ship, assigned to ‘systematically explore our largely unknown ocean for the purpose of discovery and the advancement of knowledge’.

There’s a live feed happening between April 27 and May 19, 2017 where the ship will collect information about deepwater areas in the Pacific.

During that time the team will conduct remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives in areas including the American Samoa, Kingman Reef and the Palmyra Atoll Units of the Pacific

The NOAA Okeanos Explorer website has live feeds, background information and a huge education section with photographs, charts and lesson plans for different age groups. The project has an excellent webinar too:

Relevant XKCD Comic

Rainbow Tone Rows

My Year 6 music class experimented with serialism and tone-rows but using a diatonic scale (A B C D E F G) rather than a chromatic one (ie with all the semitones).

I used the phrase ‘Rainbow Tone Row’ to link in with out use of BoomWhackers.

Although this does somewhat negate serialsims goal of removing the influence of key from compositions, it allowed for easier composition and the use of our decidedly diatonic glockenspiels and BoomWhackers.

I demonstrated the technique on the board and then had students perform. The methods on the sheet (including writing the tune a third higher) are not authentically serialistic but the aim was to provide the students with readily accessible composing techniques. After students had tried their hand at writing and performing their (own diatonic) tone rows, we chose one student’s piece to perform using the performance grid. The class divided into four groups, with each group ‘soloing’ and performing with others.




A quick search of YouTube will turn up many videos on serialism.

Advanced students may like to try composing the chromatic scale. There are lots of resources around but mostly aimed at secondary students. This 12 tone serialsim worksheet at TES.com might be useful.

Australian Curriculum links

  • Explore dynamics and expression, using aural skills to identify and perform rhythm and pitch patterns (ACAMUM088)
  • Develop technical and expressive skills in singing and playing instruments with understanding of rhythm, pitch and form in a range of pieces, including in music from the community (ACAMUM089)
  • Rehearse and perform music including music they have composed by improvising, sourcing and arranging ideas and making decisions to engage an audience (ACAMUM090)


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