My good mates at Maverick Musicals (who publish my musicals) have just updated their website and what a beauty it is!
Now, I must admit to nostalgia for the old site, after all, I designed and coded it, learning FrontPage, asp programming and design along the way.
But there was no easy way to bring this very 90’s looking (and functioning) site into the 21st century. And I was the first to admit that it was beyond my abilities, especially the web-payments side of things.
But Queensland web designers Fig Creative have risen to the challenge and delivered a crisp, clean, modern and easy-to-navigate website that’s a delight to use.
Maverick have always had a reputation for great customer service and the new website reflects this totally. If you’re a school looking for a show to put on, you won’t find a better range anywhere.
Just like before, you can download free samples of every play, musical, theatre-restaurant and classroom resource. But now you can order direct from the site for immediate dramatic-gratification. Play information is more readily accessible and there are clear descriptions of copying fees, royalties and performance costs on each page.
The old site did us well for many a year, but I’m so proud to see my musicals up on such a fantastic site.
Well done guys!
Printable Paper is a top resource for teachers – and students – with a huge range (1300+ and counting) of paper templates, graph paper, lined paper and music paper.
It’s all free, it’s all organised beautifully (just don’t click on the occasional ‘Start Download’ ad links) and there’s no registration needed.
Try these pages:
Graph paper – imperial and metric measurements.
Music paper – grand staves, tablature, chord charts and SATB
Handwriting practice paper – huge variety of line spacing, orientations
Calendars – monthly, weekly, perpetual
Templates – doorhanger, CD cover, postcards
Paper games – battleships, hangman, dot game, word ladder
Comics pages – three panel;, top action, grids
Storyboard template – small, medium, large, 4:3, 16:9
Teacher resources – attendance, grade book, lesson plans
As a music teacher, it’s a bit embarrassing to admit that my singing voice is most definitely not up to scratch.
In fact ‘scratch’ is probably a fair assessment of the tonal range and pitch qualities!
I’ve tried a few iPad apps in the hope they might – at the very least – provide me with a little more accuracy when singing. Of the several I’ve tested, one stands out from the pack; ‘Erol’s Singers Studio.
Data. data and more data
To improve my singing accuracy I need feedback on how I’m going, and Singers Studio provides that in spades.
Vocal exercises feature standard music notation plus a ‘piano roll’ style display with a graphed line of your vocal (in realtime) and notes that turn gradually greener according to your accuracy.
Each exercise ends with a percentage score for each note. Top scores are recorded as a point value: overall percent for an exercise multiplied by the number of octaves covered.
A ‘range’ graph gradually solidifies as you progress with the exercises.
A solid range of exercises are included in the app. I started on the ‘Beginner Program 1′ and there was enough material to keep me going for three weeks, until I changed to ‘Beginner Program 2′, an in-app purchase.
By this time I was so enjoying the app I bought all the in-app purchases, which still totalled less than one decent lesson!
It’s worth a hunt through the users manual in the help section, as you’ll probably discover a few things you didn’t realise the app could do, such as being able to slow down exercises, or set a key.
It’s also worth while reading the comments on the different sections from users, which range from ideas for improvements through to questions of technique and progress.
Best of all is reading Erol’s replies; thoughtful, helpful and professional. Just what you need in an app that is a teaching tool.
Singers Studio is brilliant, Erol is brilliant and although my voice isn’t brilliant, it’s not as scratchy as it used to be.
- Ear Training for Singers – $3.99
- Beginner 2 – $0.99
- Intermediate 2 – $1.99
- Advanced 2 – $2.99
- Advanced 3 – $2.99
At its most basic, a drumkit rock rhythm can have just just four components: a snare drum hit on beats 2 and 4, a bass drum hit on beats 1 and 3.
The pdf poster features eight variations on this idea, each adding a slightly more complex hi-hat pattern or bass-drum variation.
The bass drum is coloured red, the snare green and the hi-hat blue.
Small groups of students can play these patterns together. Allocate one student to the bass / snare pattern and a second to the hi-hat pattern. The hi-hat pattern can also be duplicated on the ride cymbal and (lightly) on the bell of the crash cymbal.
Before playing the patterns on the kit, have students practice using their hands and feet while sitting on chairs. Rehearse the counting patterns, particularly for the two last rhythms with the more complex bass pattern.
My students love Advent calendars, especially the ones that include chocolates behind each door.
This year, for our End-of-Year Christmas Assembly, we’re performing an advent calendar song called ‘Christmas Countdown‘. No chocolates, but lots of fun anyway.
Christmas Countdown has six verses and six choruses. Each chorus proclaims the date and the number of days to go until Christmas. Each verse describes what is ‘hidden’ behind each door of the calendar. There are four ‘doors’ in each verse, making for a total of 24 items. (There’s lots of Maths at work here; ordinal numbers, counting up, counting down, summing to make 25 and more. What patterns can your students find?)
We’re performing the song as the interludes between other Christmas items (six verses does go on a bit…) but it’s the perfect song for involving lots of kids on stage. We’re making giant paintings to hold up showing each day but you could just as easily create a PowerPoint or act each ‘door’ out live. Puppets would be a good alternative too. Let your imaginative students ideas run wild on this!
There are four resources below. The PowerPoint is useful for IWBs but you can print out the lyrics from the Word document. The piano score can be used for performing live or just to check how the words fit. (Some verse are a bit tricky matching the syllables to the notes.) The mp3 has all six verses with a small pause between each one.
Have fun and let us know how it all goes!
- Christmas Countdown Piano Score (piano / vocal score with melody line and accompaniment)
- Christmas Countdown(Word document with lyrics)
- Christmas Countdown (PowerPoint of song, one verse / chorus to each page)
- Christmas Countdown (mp3 audio file of the six verses)
ACARA (The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority) has released a consultation draft of The Arts curriculum.
The paper is organised into eight sections:
- Rationale and Aims
- Media Arts
- Visual Arts
Each of the five Arts subjects has its individual rational, aims and learning detailed. Learning outcomes are then expanded for the Foundation to Year 2, Years 3 and 4, Years 5 and 6, Years 7 and 8 and Years 9 and 10.
Unlike other curricula (yes SACSA, I’m looking at you) the draft celebrates the diversity of the Arts’ subjects whilst acknowledging the connections; I love the description of them as being ‘distinct but related’.
The draft sees students in Foundation through Year 6 having ‘opportunities to experience and enjoy learning in, learning through and learning about all five Arts subjects’. From Years 8 up they have a more modest aim; ‘students will continue to learn in one or more of the Arts subjects, with the opportunity to specialise in one or more subjects in Years 9 and 10.’ Sounds like at least one of the authors has their feet grounded in the real world.
It’s interesting to see how the draft refines the presentation the Arts in each subject down to just two interrelated strands:
- Making – using processes, techniques, knowledge and skills to make art works
- Responding – exploring, responding to, analysing and interpreting art works.
There’s a nice turn of phrase for this; ‘The strands … involve learning as artists and audience’. Yay for simplicity!
Initial impressions are favourable, the draft is clear, concise and quite readable. Our school has an Australian Curriculum day this week and some our Arts teachers will be reading, analysing, dissecting and discussing the draft in detail.
I encourage all Arts teachers to do the same and make a submission while you can.
My musical ‘Cabbage Patch Dragon‘ (about a dragon, found in a cabbage patch…) is going international.
The fine folks at Lower Moutere school in New Zealand have their first performance on September 20th at the Memorial Hall in Motueka.
All the very best for the NZ premiere!
You can visit the school website here.
The school is here:
Here’s a set of free posters depicting the main parts of a drumkit.
The posters feature large views of essential hardware including the snare,bass drum, floor tom, bass drum pedal, hi-hat and ride cymbal.
Each poster is labelled and includes a QR code linking to the relevant Wikipedia page.