Monday, December 8, 2014

FREE! 1812 Overture by Tchaivovsky - Listening Map

My students REALLY enjoyed this listening map!  Now that it is part of my google docs collection, I can easily share it with students.  I think it has been their favorite so far.  Enjoy!
Download listening map for FREE! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

FREE! Swan Lake Listening Map

I love studying composers with my students.  Tchaikovsky is definitely a favorite, but when time allows, I dearly love sharing more than just the music from the Nutcracker with my students.  When I have time, I like to share several other pieces with them including the Swan Theme from the Swan Lake Ballet Suite.  I created a listening map using PowerPoint to go along with the piece.  When I shared it with my students I projected it and had them use a pointer to locate certain features that they thought were important.  After we had listened to the piece using the listening map, we then moved to the music to accompany our exploration of the traditional ballet positions.  The students had a wonderful time and loved getting to be real ballet dancers. 

Since I have put this slide show into google slides, now I can share this slideshow with my students on their devices that they bring to music upon request.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have. 

To view the slideshow listening map click HERE

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Liebster Award - Find some great music blogs here!

Thank you Jennifer  from In My Music Class  for nominating me for the Liebster Award!  I love to blog and only wish that I had more time to enjoy it, so I really appreciate the award. 

By the way, if you are interested in some really great ideas,
Jennifer has shared some very practical "boots on the ground" ideas from her music class in her blog.  I especially love her sub plan idea because it both simple and effective when you aren't blessed with a music sub.  To check out her post, follow the link HERE !

The Liebster Award was created to highlight blogs with growing audiences. The rules for receiving this award are:

1. In your post link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and a 'shout out'.
2. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you've tagged to answer. (The questions I have answered please)
3. Nominate 11 people (Blogs with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post. 
4. Let your nominees know and provide them with a link back to your post (so they can see the rules)
5. No nominating the person who nominated you, however send them a thank you :)

These are the questions that are set for me to answer...

1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
In 2010 I wanted to start a website.  I tried to learn how to create a website from scratch and since I had a URL and a willingness to work, I created  It took me several months and lots of hard work to figure out that I really didn't want a website, I wanted a blog. So Melodysoup blog was born as an offshoot of my website that really doesn't have anything on it except a link to my blog.  Through trial and error I began to blog seriously and regularly in January of 2012.   The development of my blog corresponds with a time when I was at a new school and really feeling the loss of a great teaching partnership that up until that point in my career had provided a wonderful outlet for professional collaboration.  The blog was motivated in great part both by my need for professional collaboration with other music teachers, but also as a way for me to help out music teachers who might be like me and in need of a professional cohort.  

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?
Soup - I love teaching music and I love gaining insight from a variety of philosophies, ideas, and perspectives.  When I throw all of those sometimes quite divergent elements together into a beautiful mixture of techniques and experiences for my students it is sort of like a delicious soup made from all the great and sometimes random ingredients from my well stocked musical pantry.   As a result, my blog doesn't really embody any one particular musical method and hopefully as a result, everyone can find something useful in my posts.  

3. Is there something you learned late in your blogging journey you wished you knew before?

I wish I had understood the difference between content posts and opinion posts.  As a music teacher there are times when I am searching for content.  If I can find the content I need on a blog then I am totally there.  Opinion or editorial posts certainly have their place, but as far as blogs about elementary music blogs are concerned, the best posts that really drive traffic to my blog all contain real content.  

4. What is your favorite past time other than blogging?
I write music.  It is my favorite of all of my favorite things which means that I love writing music ALOT!!!  

5. How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog?
The time that I dedicate to my blog totally depends upon what is going on at school.  In the summer I try my best to work on my "BIG" projects like my word wall or my planner posts because those take lots of time.  I also try my best to get several posts scheduled so that I can have time to start school in August.  I feel REALLY great if I'm able to post twice a week, knowing that when things get nuts at school, then once a week will be a miracle.  However, I always have multiple drafts in process and I write something every single day because some posts are just more involved than others.  In a typical week, I'll check on my blog for stats and comments every day.  I do this primarily to make sure that there aren't any spam comments that need to be taken down.  I'll write a bit, but typically write heavily two to three days a week.  (1 hour a day on average) 

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?
FREE Downloads!!!  I like to create things and I like to share them.  

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from?
I am inspired to write a post when I try to find something online and i can't find what I want.  I'm planning a post on listening maps soon.  The reason behind the post is because I needed a particular listening map and there were none available, at least not the kind I wanted.  So, I have created my own and will share it soon.  That same feeling of not being able to find what I wanted has inspired my word wall posts, my teacher planner posts, and all of my free download posts to date.  

8. Which post that you've written are you most proud of?

Useful, Useful, Useful and FREE FREE FREE! 

9. Is there any post you have been planning to do, but have been postponing it for a while now?
I plan on putting together a series of posts about how to create a black light show.  I inherited the black light show and cannot in any way take credit for the genius that it is, but it sure is fun and before I inherited, I had never heard of one or seen one, so I spent a great deal of time looking for information online and didn't find anything.... So it seems like a good subject for a post.   

10. What's your favorite aspect of blogging?
The collaboration.  My post about a Musical Word Wall  is both the most work I've ever done for a blog post but also the most collaborative.  The response to this post was huge and everyone had requests for words that they would like to see included.  The list of words got longer, the existing words got edited and on the whole, the entire thing was better and more useful because in the end, it was a resource created collaboratively.  I think that is blogging at it's best!  

11. Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try yourself?

In my lesson plans for last week I actually included a link to the Nutcracker Movement Activities because my 2nd graders were studying Tchaikovsky and I wanted a quick way to remember what we could do as a movement activity for the Chinese Dance. It was great and my students loved it!  

You may notice that some other music education bloggers have suggested these blogs too!  That is because they are awesome!  :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

MelodySoup Video Wednesday - Aaron Copland - Appalachian Spring

Here is a really great video that combines the beautiful music of Aaron Copland with choreography inspired by the ballet created by groundbreaking choreographer Martha Graham.     To view the original choreography click HERE.....I probably won't have time to show my students the entire thing,  but WOW! I sure did enjoy it and hopefully we'll at least be able to view the Theme and Variations section.  GREAT JOB University of Maryland!  Thanks for sharing! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

10 modifications and accomodations for Recorder! - FREE DOWNLOADS

Playing recorder is rather complex and it is often an area where significant modifications and accommodations are needed in order to meet the instructional needs of ALL students.  Here is a quick list of the modifications and accommodations that I use most frequently. 

1.  Preferential Seating -   I can often make quick adjustments for those who need it, simply by making sure that they are close to me.  Sometimes this is as simple as pointing to music or being able to quietly repeat the instructions

2.  Recorder Buddies - I'll often have another student who is making good progress on recorder be a "mini-me".  They can sit next to the student in need and call out note names or model fingerings

3.  Time for independent practice - One of the best ways to keep students progressing without frustrating those who need more time is by using independent practice wisely.  I have a silent practice rule in my class.  I'll assign different groups different songs to practice.  Then they take turns playing in small groups out loud for the class.  This allows me to provide more support to those who need it. 

4.  Note Labeling - Generally I don't allow students to label the notes in their recorder books, but when a student needs the support, it can be very helpful and provide another avenue for practice. 

5.  Note name calling - Sometimes students can play at speed who might not be able to read at speed.  If I call the note names to those who need it, they can play what everyone else can play.

6.  Finger modeling - Sometimes I will model the correct finger positions during a particular song which allows students see what to do instead of worrying about reading it.   I use this sparingly.  I want them to continue to develop literacy, but if they don't get to "play" they might give up, so it's important that they develop sound as well s literacy. 

7.  Letter reading - Often students who cannot read traditional music notation have no problem reading letters.  If you use "letter notation" you can get them to progress pretty far along.  Dashes can be used to determine the length of the note and rests can be incorporated as needed. 

8.  Big is often better - I have enlarged copies of the book we use because for so many students, simply making the print larger enables them to read real notation.  This works really well in tandem with my projector.

9.  Personalized music - Sometimes I create music just for specific children in mind.  This is especially useful if there is a para-professional who travels with the student as they can work with the student who has a personalized book side by side with the class. 

10.  Alternate instruments - Sometimes in order to accommodate for the physical limitations, you can use alternate instruments.  All soprano recorder music can be easily changed to xylophone.  There are even recorders designed for children with at least 6 fingers that can be adjusted to fit their abilities. 

Here is a link to the adaptive recorder