Monday, June 15, 2015

How Has Music Changed Over the Centuries?

Five minutes of animation which help introduce composers and changes in music:

Kraków in Poland exemplifies how the past influences the present.

Medieval and Renaissance 

Gamba music from the Renaissance (14th to 17th centuries)

Barbicon which dates from 15th century in Kraków

Dance music from the Renaissance

Unknown artist
Fallow Deer, about 1430 - 1440, Tempera colors, gold paint, silver paint, and gold leaf on parchment
Leaf: 26.4 x 18.4 cm (10 3/8 x 7 1/4 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. 27, fol. 11v


Making homemade musical instruments:

Value of Music in Our Schools:

Amanda Mortensen Linford explains about "no bad kids" in her music classroom. She was an SUU student and played trumpet with the Orchestra of Southern Utah before her teaching career: 

"He blew into my classroom and tumbled to a stop near the choral risers I use for seating.

Small for his 8 years, thin and unkempt, he announced, “I’m new here. I’m a bad kid. I had eleven referrals at my old school last week in my old town 5 ½ hours away on the highway.”

He threw down that gauntlet in a hurry. I chose my next move carefully. “Are you sure about that? Because I’ve been here a long time and never seen one. There ARE no bad kids here,” I responded.

The voice inside my head, the voice that challenges and keeps me honest, balked at the phrase “no bad kids here” and requested clarification. Are you sure? Surely in 28 years of teaching you’ve come up against some bad kids. Remember so and so? Or that one kid? Or what about that other kid? Come on Amanda, no bad kids? REALLY?
No mystery where that voice was coming from. My memories overflow with children who have passed through my music room in the past nearly three decades. This may surprise you, but not every single memory is a happy one. I’ve worked with challenging kids, angry kids, willful kids, woeful kids, kids without hope, opportunity, or resources. Kids left to raise themselves and their younger siblings while mom does time in jail or dad escapes across the border to avoid prosecution. Kids who get themselves up each morning while mom and her latest boyfriend sleep off their latest binge. Kids in the same clothes three weeks running. Kids in desperate need of a bath, a comb, a toothbrush, a hug, a lap to sit on, a bedtime story, and more to eat than the two free meals a day they get at school. Precious young humans who know too much too soon of pain, disappointment, and loss. Children with a seething, justifiable wariness of everyone and everything.

But BAD kids? I let faces rush into my mind and paused just long enough to determine that I stand by my original assertion. I don’t know any bad kids. I know kids with bad lives, kids who make bad choices, kids in bad situations…but no bad KIDS.

So I say to my new young friend, let’s call him Chip, “Nope, no bad kids here so you’re in luck! You’re in the right place!” He gives me a cautious smile. Brief, but definite.
I started my lesson. Meanwhile, Chip busied himself with providing evidence to support his initial declaration. He is a whirlwind in constant motion. My finely tuned teacher instincts sound the alarm…”Houston, we have a problem!”
I always hoped I’d be one of those teachers kids remember, you know the kind of teacher you still think about when you’re 50, the kind who changed your life or your perspective, the kind of teacher who believed in you when no one else did. We all have them, right? Teachers who opened your eyes and made you see yourself for what you could be.
But I have to admit most days in the teaching trenches have not been what I would consider life-altering. Lots of daily grind experiences. Lots of days when the repetition borders on monotonous. Lots of days when, overwhelmed with minutiae, blurry with fatigue, I’ve let all the faces muddle together and forgotten to honor what is unique in each one.
Chip’s face is emblematic of 5000 other faces I recall from my 28 years in this room. Each one individual and vital. I feel myself coming back into focus. 

Chip needs me to do right by him. He needs what we all need: safety, security, belonging, and hope. I can’t fix his past or mend what harrowing turn of events has brought him to my class, but I feel confident I can help him have a good day. I hope I can help him see a good kid when he looks in the mirror.

So we gather in a circle. We hold hands and begin. We sing. We dance. We laugh. We jump headlong into the daily grind together. It’s just one day among the thousands that I’ve worked in this room, but it feels important. It's Chip's day and he desperately needs what is mine to give. A place to forget his troubles for a while. A place to start over. A place to belong.

I wish I could say I know it will all work out, but truthfully I can’t. I DON’T know. I never know. I don’t even know if he will still be here tomorrow. It’s like that all too often, kids in crisis blown about like tumbleweeds in a sweltering wind.
But today Tumbleweed Chip blew into MY classroom, a room that has been full of good kids for as long as I can remember. He tumbled in and became one of them. He couldn't help it...there are no bad kids here."

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