Monday, 29 June 2009

Using Music Room Charts

Large display charts are both a necessity and a headache in any classroom. Music teachers are even more affected than other teachers. They need display charts for teaching points or inspiration (like any other teacher) - but they also need loads of song lyric charts. And these chats need to be stored between usage. The storage alone was an issue for me in my teaching days. I was always getting bouts of sinusitis from dusty sheets of paper and cardboard stored either in open, wedge-shaped 'chart mangers' or in space-consuming drawer files. And then there was the rush of changing charts between classes (which was mostly chaotic with the constant stream of classes I had).

When we were developing Music Room, we decided to put all of our artist's beautifully created charts in the back of the book. We considered also producing large-format sets of them but decided against this as the manufacturing cost was so high and we would have had to charge a small fortune for them. But we knew that resourceful teachers would be able to take the charts in the book and 'blow them up' on the photocopier (and maybe even laminate them).

Then one day we got a request from a teacher in South Australia for what she called 'electronic file' versions of the charts. This had never occurred to us and we were very excited about the idea. So we now have a full set of CDROMs that contain the Music Room charts, lyrics, music, arrangements, certificates etc for each book.

If you haven't seen them, you can find them, you can find a chart sample with one of the free activities we have published. Also, more here.

The beauty of this format is that not only can you put the CDs into your computer and, using a data projector, display the chart or song lyric on a screen or whiteboard, but ... you can store all of them on your computer and simply summon up the song or chart that you need at will.

AND ... you can enlarge them in your computer and print them out for display purposes.

It certainly seemed like a brilliant solution to problems of storage, dust mites and ease-of-access. And it's inexpensive (especially compared to the cost of large-format charts).

Some teachers have asked why the CDROMs are not included in the Music Room package.
The answer is that not every teacher will use the charts in the above-mentioned ways or have access to a computer or a data-projector etc. So they won't need the disks.
And, of course, we would have to have to charge a higher price for the package.
The CDROMs are not essential, but are a convenient 'supplementary' tool. Hopefully, they make the teacher's job just a little easier.

Our basic aims in all our titles are:
Give the students material that is fun, engaging and inspiring.
Package it in such a way that it is easy for the teacher to use and makes their job easier.

If we achieve these aims it was a successful project.

Cheers till next time
Mark Leehy
Publisher - Bushfire press

Friday, 26 June 2009

Calling Queensland & NZ teachers

Bushfire Press needs help with linking Music Room and Dance Room lessons to curriculum outcomes (‘Essential Learning Standards’ etc) for Queensland and New Zealand. There is a fee available. If you would like more info contact me at the email address on this page
Mark Leehy
Publisher - Bushfire press

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The music program in the multi-age classroom

One of the more tricky classroom management issues is the thorny question of "how do I use a program like Music Room with multi-age classes?"

Multi-age classes (or "mixed grade classes" or "composite grade classes") will always be with us and it is a challenge to keep giving the students lessons and activities that they "didn’t do last year".

Our classroom music program, Music Room is currently up to book 5. Eventually (in a couple of years) there will be 7 books. This equates with 1 full year of lessons for each of the primary years.

We decided to number each book, instead of giving them a grade level, because each Australian state has a different system. The beginning year is called variously ‘prep’, ‘kinder’, ‘reception’ etc. Some states have a ‘prep’ year and 6 primary years. Some have 7 years. And so it goes.

Music Room book 1 is designed to work with the first school year – whatever it is called – and the rest of the books follow on. But what if you have a prep/1, a 2/3 and a 4/5/6? How do you juggle the books?

Cheryl Burgemeister, a music/Arts teacher from South Australia, has kindly allowed us to share her system. You may like to post your own solutions on this blog.

You can find Cheryl's system here.

Cheers till next time
Mark Leehy
Publisher - Bushfire press

Expanding our Blog

We’d like to start using this space to talk about issues and ideas related to music and performing Arts education.

Perhaps you’d like to send us your own thoughts and ideas.
Maybe we’ll feature guest editorials.

So, to kick things off, I thought I’d share a thought or two about multi-age classrooms.
This post will be up shortly.

Mark Leehy
Publisher, Bushfire Press

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Up to 40% off MUSIC ROOM Books 1-4

Purchase Music Room Book 5 @ A$180.00 (+GST) and get up to a 40% discount off Music Room Books 1-4.

Hurry - this offer is only available for Web orders before 30th June

More information here

June 2009 Activity
(Flute or Recorder)

Flute With a Twist Volume 1
By Marianne Broug

The book contains PHOTOCOPIABLE BLMs of Variations, Duets and Trios, musical games, puzzles in Classical, Jazz and Contemporary styles.
ODD ONE OUT is a puzzle for students to solve and the notes are easily played on the recorder. Can your students work out what the tune is and find the bar of music that doesn’t belong?
ODD ONE OUT is also suitable for recorder.

You will find the activity here