Archive

  • Never miss out on DSMusic Updates!

    Comments Off on Never miss out on DSMusic Updates!

    News Feed Preferences on Facebook

    How to make sure you never miss out on any DS Music updates!

    I love what I do! Creating resources and content built upon sequential and rigorous music literacy and then, getting to share it with all of you. Sometimes  I will churn out a bunch of exciting  worksheets, videos and exercises, and am then keen to get the word out and some feedback in return.

    Facebook is a great place for this because I can instantly share my content with you and see your reactions and suggestions and requests in real time. This is the interactive part of social media I really enjoy, though, to be honest, there are other sides to the platform I am not such a fan of. Algorithms, for instance.

    So Facebook crunches the numbers based on what you click on and decides what then to show you, which can mean that over time, the DS Music Classroom Music Teacher Support Page might disappear off your news feed. When that happens, you might very well miss out on one of my content shares or a thrilling happy snap of Brodie the office dog.

    To prevent this, please follow these quick steps:

    1. On the Facebook homepage, click the drop-down arrow on the top right and select “News Feed Preferences”.
    2. Then select “Prioritise who to see first”. Make sure you choose “Pages only” in the view options and then click on the DS page!

    In addition, selecting “See First” lets you receive posts from my page in your News Feed as soon as a fun and fundamental (see what I did there?) resource arrives. If you haven’t already, be sure to click the “following button” on my page.

    Remember too, that the more you like, comment and share the posts on my page, the happier you make the Facebook algorithm, plus it is great for me to see everyone interact.

    Thanks for your support! Keep making wonderful music! – Deb

     

  • DSMusic – Remote Learning for All!

    Comments Off on DSMusic – Remote Learning for All!

    Sometimes, the worst situations can bring out the best in people:

    • supermarkets giving the elderly and disabled special times to shop,
    • hotels offering free accommodation to healthcare workers,
    • Italians singing and making music from their balconies in lock down,
    • neighbours leaving notes in letter boxes offering help.

    Here at DSMusic it has made me start creating those fully interactive resources I have been wanting to for ages!

     

     

    For all of you amazing teachers out there trying to work out how to teach a fun, rigorous, sequential and developmental music literacy program online – I am here to help in any way I can!

    Here’s what is happening so far:

    For ALL Music Teachers and Students:

    All Digital Resources available on the DSMusic Website for are now free to access for everyone regardless of which Musicianship & Aural Training for the Secondary School Books you own.

    • To view the Digital Resources for Lower Secondary Music Classes click here.
    • To view the Digital Resources for Middle Secondary Music Classes click here.
    • To view the Digital Resources for Upper Secondary Music Classes click here.

    The only exceptions to this are that the online exams for each Level 1 and 2 along with the assignments and curriculum documents etc are still only available with the ownership of the relevant books.

    All Level 1, 2 and 3 Print Books are now available to purchase as Digital Only (PDF) versions. 

        

    For Lower Secondary Music Classes:

    All lessons from the Musicianship & Aural Training for the Secondary School Level 1 books are being turned into fully interactive online lessons. These will include click through links to teaching videos and audio files, the MP3 files for dictation questions AND the answers.

    Click here to access Lessons 1 and 5 completed for you and your students:

    —————————————————————————————————-

    —————————————————————————————-

    In addition I am working on creating MP3s for all dictation activities in Level 1 along with audio files of song material being sung in relevant ways so watch this space!

    For Upper Secondary (Years 11/12, VCE, HSC etc) Music Classes:

    All lessons from the Musicianship & Aural Training for the Secondary School Level 3 and Decoding Sound books are being turned into fully interactive online lessons. These will include instructions and advice on how to use the click through links to videos, audio files, and worksheets etc AND the answers to all dictation and theory questions for our students to access.

    Click here to access the Section 1 – Rhythm + The Elements of Music Part 1 Lesson completed for you and your students.

         

     

  • Universal Music Education

    Comments Off on Universal Music Education

    Universal Music Education

    Welcome to 2020 and our first post for the year. This article has been kindly shared by Walter Bitner: a multi-instrumentalist, singer, conductor, and teacher, and serves as Director of Education & Community Engagement for the Richmond Symphony in Richmond, Virginia, USA. He writes about music and education on his website Off The Podium at walterbitner.com, and his column Off The Podium is featured in Choral Director magazine and as a weekly blog on the American Choral Directors Association‘s global networking community website ChoralNet. Thanks Walter! 

    As we enter the third decade of the twenty-first century, the time has come for music educators to stop pussyfooting around and advocate for Universal Music Education. Indeed, it is long past time. We should stop wasting valuable time – time that belongs to us and to the children in our care – we should stop seeking compromise solutions that merely seek to preserve music education’s place in school curriculum, a place that is in most cases completely upside-down, a place that has fallen into neglect and disrepute over that last decades, a place that was rarely or never ideal in the first place. It is time to advocate for what is truly needed by our children and our society: a comprehensive music education for every child in every school.

    Music Education belongs in the life of every child, and this means: every child who graduates from high school should have received a music education that provided her with the skills to: sing fluently, play an instrument fluently, and read and write music notation with enough skill to participate in musical ensembles with satisfying results; have a working knowledge of music history and music theory that provides them with an appreciation of the art form and its place in human culture; and experienced the profound moments of social harmony and personal fulfillment that can arise from the rehearsal and performance process.

    Two little children – cute curly toddler girl and a funny baby boy, brother and sister playing music, having fun with colorful xylophone at a window; kids early development class

    Universal Music Education is music education for every child.

    Even in most schools that boast of robust music programs, participation is by a minority of students. In the cities I have lived and worked in, some with vaunted music education programs, only about one fourth of high school students enroll in any music class during their high school years.

    Our Music Education System Is Upside Down

    Despite the fact that we know that the developmental “window” during which children have the greatest aptitude for learning all of the musical skills described above – the “golden age” of the elementary school years between the “age of reason” attained around age seven and the onset of puberty – most elementary school music programs do not provide children with the significant achievement of any of these skills before they reach middle school. This is by design: most elementary school music programs are not set up to provide children with the frequency, repetition, or intensity required to develop these skills.

    Most middle school music programs therefore begin with a severe handicap: students are introduced to the experience of ensemble music when the time has already passed at which they would most readily embrace it and develop the skills to be successful at it. For most children, by the time they are offered the opportunity for any real musical training, it is too late. Because of this situation, in their middle school years the majority of children are discouraged from pursuing musical activity in school, even if they are introduced to music classes during an “arts rotation” or some other introductory survey, and by high school most students elect not to participate in music classes at all.

    This design for music education in our schools produces the current atmosphere of competition that dominates the entire music education culture, and perpetuates the myth that musical talent is a kind of giftedness reserved for a lucky minority of the population. The competition design is maintained, supported, and promoted by our professional music education organizations, whose primary activities are organizing competitions. (see Is Music a Sport?)

    The exact opposite is in fact the truth. Musical talent is dirt cheap: everybody has it. The activity, solace, and joy of music is the birthright of every human being, and does not belong only to a select, “talented” few. Music is too important to be left only to the professionals – it belongs to everyone, and always has, in every culture, in every time and place. (see Is Music a Commodity?)

    A Very Old Idea

    The emphasis on music as a “core” subject which every student must study in school is not a new idea – it has been around for about three thousand years. The ancient Greeks included music as one of the seven essential components of a liberal arts education: grammar, logic, and rhetoric (the trivium) and arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy (the quadrivium). The founders of western civilization considered these skills – including music – necessary preparation for citizens to participate in a free society, with all of its attendant responsibilities. (see What the ‘liberal’ in ‘liberal arts’ actually means by Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post)

    “The man that hath no music in himself,
    Nor is not moved
    with concord of sweet sounds,
    Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils”

    ~ William Shakespeare
    The Merchant of Venice, 5.1.83-85

    This famous quote from the author generally regarded as the greatest ever to write in English (which I chose as the motto for Off The Podium when I began to write in 2015) describes the general attitude about music education of the European Renaissance: those who have not received an education in music cannot be trusted.

    The Purpose of Music Education

    Opponents of Universal Music Education will protest that including music as a core subject is too expensive. But the costs to our society of not including music education as a core subject are much greater. Some 2.3 million Americans are incarcerated in the United States, more than in any other nation. Although I am not aware that a survey of the music education backgrounds of U.S. convicts has ever been attempted, it is a safe bet that only a small minority of those behind bars were given a comprehensive music education, and as children did not experience the positive social and emotional benefits that are central to music education. (see What Your Students Will Remember)

    As I described in Wholehearted Attention, “students who sing in choir or play in band or orchestra must simultaneously perform a complex set of operations that call on more aspects of the human being than any other activity they face in school”. This wholehearted attention demanded by musical activity from every participant – complete absorption in the moment in which all other thoughts and concerns disappear – provides the rare opportunity for the child to experience the harmonious engagement of all parts of herself at once: physical, intellectual, and emotional engagement within a collaborative social context.

    “We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.”

    ~ John Dewey
    (1859-1952)

    Musical activity demands wholehearted attention and this state presents the child with opportunity and means to integrate experience, thought, feelings, and sensations in a complete and challenging way that no other school activity can provide. When the music education environment is carefully cultivated, the child is presented with material that assists her in reflecting on experience in an emotionally safe social setting, and she returns to the state of wholehearted attention on a daily basis. In this way a fertile ground is prepared for the development of consciousness, which in turn makes it possible for the child to become acquainted with conscience in a manner that is free, intimate, and sustained. (see Walter’s Working Model)

    The development of this relationship with the inner voice of the psyche – this practice of return to ourselves – this is the purpose of music education.

    Universal Music Education is a call to conscience.

  • Semiquaver Games & Movement Activities

    Comments Off on Semiquaver Games & Movement Activities

    Games

    Tideo

    Sailing

     

  • Semiquaver Songs, Canons and Exercises

    Comments Off on Semiquaver Songs, Canons and Exercises

    Songs 

    Dinah – Sheet music and game instructions

    Dinah – Video of actions (this one is just here for show)

    Winter’s Coming – Sheet Music

    Lara’s Train

    Canons

    Semiquaver Canon

    Exercises

    Level 1

    Level 2

    Level 3

    Art Music Connections:

    Dance of the Mirlitons from the Nutcracker Suite – Tchaikovsky

    Rondo alla Turca – Mozart

    Can Can – Offenbach

  • Semiquaver Strategy: Present

    Comments Off on Semiquaver Strategy: Present

    Present

    Objective: Students will learn the rhythmic duration name for semiquavers and imitate the teacher in performing this.

    Steps:

    Review

    1. Students keep a beat in feet and clap rhythm. They deduce the song title.
    2. Teacher revises the meaning of rhythm symbols by pointing to each and asking, how many beats and how many sounds?
      A: one sound, two equal sounds, no sound and four equal sounds on a beat

    Point

    1. The Teacher explains that when we see four even sounds on one beat, we say “tika tika”.
    2. Students keep beat on their lap as the teacher sings the song in rhythm names.
    3. Students imitate.
    4. The teacher tells the students the music names for this new rhythm (semiquavers and sixteenth notes. This may be a good time to explain the mathematical origins of the whole note/quarter note etc).

    Reinforce      

    1. Students isolate the new sound by inner hearing the semiquavers then inner hearing everything except the semiquavers while singing the rhythm.

    Click here for above written out as focus activity.

    Click here for video of above activity.

     

    Re-Present

    The above “Present” segment should be repeated using different repertoire, preferably in the next music lesson.

  • Semiquaver Strategy: Preparation – Aural Discovery Objectives 1 and 2 and Visual Discovery Objective 1

    Comments Off on Semiquaver Strategy: Preparation – Aural Discovery Objectives 1 and 2 and Visual Discovery Objective 1

    Preparation – aural discovery    

    Objective 1. Students will discover a new sound that is not one, two or no sounds on a beat.

    Steps:

    Review

    1. The class sing Winter’s Coming while keeping a steady beat.
    2. The class sings the song again, while performing the beat (e.g. on their feet) and the rhythm (e.g. clapped).
    3. One student claps the rhythm of the first bar.
    4. The class claps back saying the rhythm names.
      A: ti-ti ti-ti
    5. One student claps the rhythm of the second bar of the song.

    Point

    1. The teacher asks if there any sounds in this bar that are not crotchets, quavers or crotchet rests.
    2. Teacher claps rhythm of the first and second bars of Winter’s Coming again and students raise their hands if they hear something new.
      A: Students should raise their hands on the first beat of the second bar.
    3. Students locate the word/s that have the new sound
      A: the new sound occurs on the words “there is little
    4. Teacher claps rhythm of the third and fourth bars of Winter’s Coming again and students raise their hands if they hear something new.
      A: Students should raise their hands on the first beat of the fourth bar.
    5. Students locate the word/s that have the new sound
      A: the new sound occurs on the words “hail and ice a

    Reinforce      

    1. The class sing Winter’s Coming while clapping the rhythm of all the crotchets, quavers or crotchet rests. The new rhythm is tapped on their heads.

    Click here for above written out as focus activity.

    Click here for video of above activity.

     

    Objective 2. Students discover that the new rhythm has four sounds on a beat.

    Steps:

    Review

    1. Students sing Winter’s Coming while keeping a steady beat and performing the rhythm.
    2. They discover that not all the sounds in this song are crotchets, quavers or crotchet rests.
    3. Students locate the words where they hear the new rhythm.
    4. Students sing Winter’s Coming and isolate the new sound by inner hearing it.

    Point

    1. The teacher sings the second bar of the song and asks students how many sounds they heard on the first beat of the bar?

    A: Four

    1. The teacher sings the new sound and asks are the sounds even or uneven
      A: They are four even (or equal) sounds on a beat.

    Reinforce

    1. The class sings Winter’s Coming, keeping a steady beat, highlighting the new sound using body percussion.

    Click here for above written out as focus activity.

    Click here for video of above activity.

     

    Preparation – visual discovery

    Objective: Students will use visual symbols to represent four sounds on a beat

    Steps:

    Review

    1. Teacher performs the rhythm pattern for Dinah and students identify the song.
    2. Students sing song while keeping a steady beat on their laps
    3. Students perform the beat and rhythm for the song simultaneously
    4. Teacher asks students to identify the number of phrases in the song and the number of beats per phrase.
      A: Four phrases with four beats in each phrase.
      Teacher represents this information on the board using beat circles (four lines of four beat circles).
    5. Teacher asks a student volunteer to point to the beat circles while the class sings the song with the words.
    6. Teacher asks student how many sounds they hear on each of the last three beats of the first phrase.
      A: Two on each beat
    7. Teacher asks what we do to these note stems to show they are both sharing the same beat.
      Join them together with a line across the top (beam).
      Teacher places a beam across the two note stems.
    8. Teacher asks the class to clap the rhythm for the first beat. Students clap the rhythm to the first beat only and derive how many sounds are on the beat.
      Four sounds
    9. Students determine that we must put four strokes in the beat circle to show four sounds and that, because they are all on one beat, we must join the together.
      Teacher adds a beam.

    Point

    1. The class determines that as there are four sounds on one beat, they must be twice as fast as the known rhythm that is two sounds on one beat (quavers).
    2. The teacher explains that because they are twice as fast, we use two beams to show this and then draws a second beam across the four stems.

    Reinforce

    1. The class sing the song with the words and perform the rhythm while reading it from the board.

    Click here for above written out as focus activity.

    Click here for video of above activity.

  • Semiquaver Strategy

    Comments Off on Semiquaver Strategy

    Learning Intentions/ Objectives/Outcomes

    By the completion of this strategy students will be able to:

    1. Aurally identify semiquavers as four even sounds on a single beat.
    2. Aurally identify crotchets, quavers, crotchet rests & semiquavers in known and unknown songs.
    3. Accurately read and perform semiquavers in known and unknown songs.
    4. Write semiquavers in stick notation and on the stave using known and unknown songs.
    5. Improvise and compose rhythmic patterns using semiquavers

    Prerequisite skills / knowledge

    1. Students existing rhythmic vocabulary includes: Beat, Rhythm, crotchets, quavers and crotchet rests
    2. Students will have a repertoire of folk songs using semiquavers that they will be able to perform competently (well in tune and at a steady tempo) without the aid of a teacher
    3. a. Students will be able to sing known songs while performing the beat in a variety of ways.
      b. Students will be able to sing known songs while performing the rhythm in a variety of ways.
      c. Students will be able to sing known songs while performing the beat and rhythm simultaneously.

    Songs for teaching semiquavers 

    Dinah

    Winter’s Coming

    Art Music Connections:

    Dance of the Mirlitons from the Nutcracker Suite – Tchaikovsky

    Rondo alla Turca – Mozart

    Can Can – Offenbach

    Preparation – Aural Discovery Objectives 1 and 2 and Visual Discovery Objective 1 

    Present

    Practice

  • Semiquavers Transcription Activity Level 1

    Comments Off on Semiquavers Transcription Activity Level 1

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    IDEAS FOR RIK:
    This is where having a blank music staff where we can drag and drop notes onto a staff – like in Sibelius – would be amazing so teachers can work through transcription activities with their classes on the screen for all to see! (This will also lead to the student workbooks being able to do this too!!!)

    Would be good if it has a playback option so they can hear what they have written and compare it to the given example.

    Have a look at the “What’s New” video on Auralia here: https://www.risingsoftware.com/auralia for more ideas on how they do this

    ALSO the “Follow via email” stuff would be removed from this page

  • Semiquavers Sightreading Activity Level 2

    Comments Off on Semiquavers Sightreading Activity Level 2

    Ideas….

    Each given rhythm would have TWO audio tracks – ONE with the rhythm names being said and one with just the rhythm as in the ones given.

    NOTE – these are not the actual examples (no semiquavers and all the same!) Is just to give an idea of how it might work. ALSO the “Follow via email” stuff would be removed from this page

    Semiquavers Rhythmic Sightreading Exercise 1

    Semiquavers Rhythmic Sightreading Exercise 2

    Semiquavers Rhythmic Sightreading Exercise 3