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  • Sep 18, 2018
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From the Back Side

I go to a lot of concerts from professional level through to primary school groups with different standards and styles. Normally I focus on what they sound like, but this is about what they look like, or rather what one member of each ensemble looks like. Let me set the scene – a senior school […]

  • May 29, 2018
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Put up some hurdles!

A couple of years ago I heard students with special needs perform at a music conference – in some cases very profoundly special needs. The focus and determination these kids showed was huge. Deaf students who loved playing music and loved having access to it through some very hard working and talented teachers. These students […]

  • Oct 25, 2017
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Conductor vs Video Camera!

I have been practicing my conducting today. Mostly because I videoed my community orchestra rehearsal the other day and it was horrible to watch. Sooooooo many bad habits – either old ones that had crept back in, or skilfully developed new bad habits. Sometimes I dream of the days before I knew I was supposed […]

  • Oct 25, 2017
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Recruiting for ‘less popular’ instruments

I was asked the other day why more students didn’t learn the trombone. I had been admiring the piano teachers several days of full classes (on compass) and comparing to my list of 8 trombonists. Actually – I am quite happy with 8 in this particular school. It did however get me thinking about why […]

  • Apr 14, 2017
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The Curious Case of Year 7 Core Music

Like no other year level, year 7 is a heady mix of student skills, interests and experiences. They come from far and wide to our classrooms – some have been learning piano, theory and violin since age 4 while others are sitting in a music classroom for the first time. Oddly enough both groups are […]

  • Mar 9, 2017
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Pearls of teaching wisdom – safe forever.

I have scanned all my old teaching resources! Years of accumulated units, admin proformas, music sheets, planning documents, theory worksheet photocopies, exam handouts, appraisal documents, timetable lists etc…….  (as I slowly descend into madness). What made me start the project was the thought of what I would need to grab if I had to leave […]

  • Oct 7, 2016
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Wide eyed rehearsals

One of the things I love about school ensemble conductors is that they are usually educators first.  This is vital for the work we do with school ensembles. There is so much to teach! Notation Playing instruments Listening skills Group skills Sound production and tuning Ensemble conventions Playing and moving together And sooooo much more. […]

  • May 26, 2016
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Music education needs a better marketing department!

I have taken a while to comment on this. Not because I don’t have an opinion, as most of you know – I have many opinions, about almost everything. The reason I wanted to wait was that it was all getting a little fiery and really we are all on the same side. Actually we […]

  • May 9, 2016
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Musical Magic

This is my 3rd article about composition. As you may have guessed I’m pretty keen on using it as a learning tool in the classroom – extremely keen. It is one of the 3 major areas for the Australian curriculum given equal weight with performance and listening. ‘Students will listen, perform and compose’ yay! To me […]

  • Apr 4, 2016
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My favourite teaching tool – Composition!!

Music teachers often fall into two camps. Ones who teach composition through writing it down, using melodic development and harmonic progressions etc and others who believe in the ‘go wild’ approach where students run off and create. Each team seems to be highly scathing of the other, mostly I find because the other method is […]