On The Air This Week

Highlights from May 31 to June 6

Tuesday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. & 5:15 p.m. New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
12 midnight Euro Classics: Lausanne Chamber Orchestra/Ton Koopman, conductor & organ; Haydn: Organ Concerto in C, Hob. XVIII:1 — recorded at the Salle Métropole, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Thursday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Regional Spotlight: Zodiac Trio.
Friday, 7:15 a.m. Moveable Feast with John Birge and Minnesota Monthly‘s Rachel Hutton.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Friday Favorites with Steve Staruch.
Saturday, 9 a.m., New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
10 a.m. Saturday Cinema with Bill Morelock (in for Lynne Warfel).
5 p.m. A Prairie Home Companion: live from the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
8 p.m. Euro Classics: Ex Aequo Trio; Schumann: Piano Trio No. 1 in d, Op. 63 — recorded at the Fundación Juan March, Madrid.
Sunday, 6 a.m. Pipedreams: Manifold Blessings.
12 noon From the Top.
1 p.m. SymphonyCast: Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; Christian Zacharias, piano.
8 p.m. Sunday Night Cantata, Choral Stream.
Monday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
Tuesday,1 p.m. Performance Today.

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‘None of us were meant to be common; We were born to be comets’

So far during commencement season, we have been generally unimpressed with most of the speakers whose speeches have made a social media blip.

The exception is Donovan Livingston, who spoke this week at the convocation exercises of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. He spoke to every teacher in America and the people who run the nation’s schools.

“Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin,
Is a great equalizer of the conditions of men.” – Horace Mann, 1848.
At the time of his remarks I couldn’t read — couldn’t write.
Any attempt to do so, punishable by death.
For generations we have known of knowledge’s infinite power.
Yet somehow, we’ve never questioned the keeper of the keys —
The guardians of information.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen more dividing and conquering
In this order of operations — a heinous miscalculation of reality.
For some, the only difference between a classroom and a plantation is time.
How many times must we be made to feel like quotas —
Like tokens in coined phrases? —
“Diversity. Inclusion”
There are days I feel like one, like only —
A lonely blossom in a briar patch of broken promises.
But I’ve always been a thorn in the side of injustice.

Disruptive. Talkative. A distraction.
With a passion that transcends the confines of my consciousness —
Beyond your curriculum, beyond your standards.
I stand here, a manifestation of love and pain,
With veins pumping revolution.
I am the strange fruit that grew too ripe for the poplar tree.
I am a DREAM Act, Dream Deferred incarnate.
I am a movement – an amalgam of memories America would care to forget
My past, alone won’t allow me to sit still.
So my body, like the mind
Cannot be contained.

As educators, rather than raising your voices
Over the rustling of our chains,
Take them off. Un-cuff us.
Unencumbered by the lumbering weight
Of poverty and privilege,
Policy and ignorance.

I was in the 7th grade, when Ms. Parker told me,
“Donovan, we can put your excess energy to good use!”
And she introduced me to the sound of my own voice.
She gave me a stage. A platform.
She told me that our stories are ladders
That make it easier for us to touch the stars.
So climb and grab them.
Keep climbing. Grab them.
Spill your emotions in the big dipper and pour out your soul.
Light up the world with your luminous allure.

To educate requires Galileo-like patience.
Today, when I look my students in the eyes, all I see are constellations.
If you take the time to connect the dots,
You can plot the true shape of their genius —
Shining in their darkest hour.

I look each of my students in the eyes,
And see the same light that aligned Orion’s Belt
And the pyramids of Giza.
I see the same twinkle
That guided Harriet to freedom.
I see them. Beneath their masks and mischief,
Exists an authentic frustration;
An enslavement to your standardized assessments.

At the core, none of us were meant to be common.
We were born to be comets,
Darting across space and time —
Leaving our mark as we crash into everything.
A crater is a reminder that something amazing happened here —
An indelible impact that shook up the world.
Are we not astronomers — looking for the next shooting star?
I teach in hopes of turning content, into rocket ships —
Tribulations into telescopes,
So a child can see their potential from right where they stand.
An injustice is telling them they are stars
Without acknowledging night that surrounds them.
Injustice is telling them education is the key
While you continue to change the locks.

Education is no equalizer —
Rather, it is the sleep that precedes the American Dream.
So wake up — wake up! Lift your voices
Until you’ve patched every hole in a child’s broken sky.
Wake up every child so they know of their celestial potential.
I’ve been a Black hole in the classroom for far too long;
Absorbing everything, without allowing my light escape.
But those days are done. I belong among the stars.
And so do you. And so do they.
Together, we can inspire galaxies of greatness
For generations to come.
No, sky is not the limit. It is only the beginning.
Lift off.


This piece by Bob Collins, originally published on the NewsCut blog from MPR News.

Fresh Ed: Teaching students through hip-hop

Earlier this week, NPR Education reporter Anya Kamenetz visited Gateway Intermediate School in Brooklyn N.Y. She talked with James Miles about Fresh Ed — described by Miles as “a professional development program designed to boost student achievement in middle school ELA [English Language Arts] and Social Studies.”

In the streaming Facebook video, we see Fresh Ed in action. In one classroom, Toni Williams (one of  Fresh Ed’s “Masters of Curriculum”) helps students write their own raps about fairy tales and their origins. In another classroom, Fresh Ed MCs teach students about engineering, videography, and dance as they make their own recordings.

Learn more about Fresh Ed in the video below.

On The Air This Week

Highlights from May 24 to 31

Tuesday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. & 5:15 p.m. New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
12 midnight Euro Classics: Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra/Tomas Brauner, cond.; Martin Kasik, piano; Martinů: Piano Concerto No. 3, H. 316 — recorded at Dvořák Hall, Rudolfinium, Prague.
Thursday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Regional Spotlight: Accordo.
Friday, 7:15 a.m. Moveable Feast with John Birge and Minnesota Monthly‘s Rachel Hutton.
11 a.m. Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Spotlight: Copland, Suite from Appalachian Spring; led by SPCO musicians.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Friday Favorites with Steve Staruch.
8 p.m. Minnesota Orchestra: Erin Keefe plays Brahms; Minnesota Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä, conductor; Erin Keefe, violin; live from Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.
Saturday, 9 a.m., New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
10 a.m. Saturday Cinema.
5 p.m. A Prairie Home Companion: hosted by Garrison Keillor, with Chris Thile; live from the Filene Center at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Va.
8 p.m. Euro Classics: Lausanne Chamber Orchestra/Ton Koopman, conductor & organ; Haydn: Organ Concerto in C, Hob. XVIII:1 — recorded at the Salle Métropole, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Sunday, 6 a.m. Pipedreams: New from New Mexico.
12 noon From the Top.
1 p.m. SymphonyCast: Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Jeffrey Kahane, conductor; Natasha Paremski, piano.
8 p.m. Sunday Night Cantata, Choral Stream.
Monday, 7:15 a.m. Sing to Inspire with Tesfa Wondemagegnehu and Julie Amacher.
12 noon Learning to Listen with Andrea Blain and Alison Young.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
7 p.m. Conspirare presents Stephen Paulus: A Lyrical Life (encore broadcast).
Tuesday,1 p.m. Performance Today.

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Composer Corner: Wagner

May’s composer of the month is Richard Wagner.

 

Born: May 22, 1813

Died: February 13, 1883

 

Five facts:

• As a child, Wagner had little interest or aptitude for music, and was the only one of his siblings to not take piano lessons.
• Wagner’s first completed opera, Die Feen, wasn’t premiered until 1888 — five years after the composer’s death.
• Wagner popularized the concept of leitmotifs — themes associated with a particular person, place or idea — which later became the foundation of film scores.
• Wagner has a controversial reputation as a composer, primarily due to his association with Nazism. It is alleged that Hitler once said, “Whoever wants to understand National Socialist Germany must know Wagner.”
• The composer had a love of animals (he was particularly devoted to his dogs) and swore off eating meat toward the end of his life.

 

Three important works:

• Die Walküre (1854)
• Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1867)
• Götterdämmerung (1869)

 

Audio Backpack playlist: Richard Wagner

Co-Teaching Music Across Grade Levels

This spring, I had the opportunity to co-teach with my music colleague, Andrew Kendall. In our small school district, the two of us make up two-thirds of the district’s music teachers. I teach kindergarten through fifth grade general music, and Andrew teaches sixth through twelfth grade vocal music. We’ve had many planning conversations, we’ve taught collaboratively in each other’s classrooms, and earlier this week, we co-directed a concert. Collaboration across grade levels and across programs within a department may not be as common as collaboration between teachers with similar teaching assignments, but it’s equally, if not more, beneficial to students, teachers, and music programs.

Building a Cohesive K-12 Music Program

A strong music program is one in which students transition easily from elementary music to higher-level performing ensembles, but this is only achievable if their teachers are communicating and collaborating. Andrew and I chose to co-teach fifth and sixth grade to help students with this transition. My fifth graders were able to meet and work with their future music teacher while in a familiar environment with their elementary music teacher. In Andrew’s choir room, I gained an understanding of the abilities and expectations of sixth graders.

Our hope is to create a seamless flow through our K-12 music program. Moving from elementary classroom music to middle school performing ensembles is often considered a big “step up” in difficulty and behavior expectations. Ideally, it should simply be a move between two types of classes with connected content. When teachers in a department get to know each other’s teaching, they are better equipped to guide students from elementary to secondary music. Knowing my colleague’s teaching style helps me to prepare my fifth graders for the focus on performance in his classes and decide what elementary music experiences I want to ensure my students have before they move to middle school ensembles. Next year, those new sixth graders will know Andrew’s expectations and he’ll have an understanding of their prior knowledge.

Teaching

Once we settled into our co-teaching routines, it was liberating to have two music teachers in one classroom. We each took the lead on one or two concert pieces with each grade while the other accompanied on piano. When the active teacher was able to be directly in front of the students, without the barrier of the piano between them, students were more focused and attentive. Meanwhile, the accompanying teacher was able to see behaviors and hear issues in the music that the active teacher may have missed while dealing with other issues in the ensemble. Co-teaching helps students learn content, but also models collaboration, professionalism, and respect to students.

Creating Collaborative Concerts

Andrew and I went into our co-teaching with the goal of co-directing a concert. When two teachers of different backgrounds choose repertoire, the result can be an interesting, multi-perspective program. Being able to divide the duties of set-up, logistical planning, promotion, and student supervision drastically reduces pre-concert stress. Concerts are a big deal for music teachers, and perhaps above all, it’s been nice to have someone to share that with.

Growing as Professionals

In a small, rural school like ours, there aren’t many professional development opportunities that apply to our content, and we don’t have department of teachers teaching the same levels and ensembles with whom we can share ideas. It’s important that Andrew and I work together for our own growth as music teachers, but working across grade levels and programs could benefit any music teacher, no matter what the size of their school. In addition to getting to know each other as teachers, we are getting to know each other’s content areas to enrich our own. Almost all of my training and performing experience is instrumental, but elementary music class includes both singing and playing. When we began co-teaching, choral conducting was outside of my area of expertise and my comfort zone, and therefore, this experience has resulted in me growing as a musician and as a general music teacher.

Co-teaching music across levels benefits the students, teachers, and the entire program. Students learn more from having two teachers with varied backgrounds, knowledge, and skills. Teachers learn to be better teachers from each other and from interacting with students outside of the grades that they usually teach. As Andrew and I left the stage after our shared concert earlier this week, we were already talking about how we can’t wait to do this again next year.


Maia Hamann currently teaches music at Holdingford Elementary, grades K-5. You can read all of her blog posts here. View our entire portfolio of educational resources on our Music for Learning page.

Kyrgyz folk musicians take on the Game of Thrones theme

A quick internet search of ‘Game of Thrones theme covers’ reveals a wide array of musics and styles — from a western version, to an 8-bit cover, to a rendition featuring goats.

One of the more interesting and evocative entries comes from central Asia, and the mountainous country of Kyrgyzstan. Recently, a group of Kyrgyz folk musicians known as Ordo Sakhna uploaded a video featuring their rendition of the Game of Thrones theme performed on authentic Kyrgyz instruments  such as the sybyzgy (side-blown flute), the komuz (a three-stringed, fretless instrument, related to the lute) and the kyl kyyak (a two-stringed, bowed instrument).

See the group in action in the video below.

New program brings mariachi to Chicago schools

As a product of the Chicago Public School system, investment banker Cesar Maldonado had a dream of helping Chicago-area students celebrate Mexican heritage and culture while continuing to learn about music. In 2012, Maldonado founded the Mariachi Heritage Foundation — an organization dedicated to preserving the art of mariachi by partnering with K-12 schools to implement mariachi music programs.

“We started with five schools now we’re in seven schools,” Maldonado told Medill News Service. ”We have about 1,700 students. The program takes place during the school day, integrated as part of the general curriculum. The Mariachi curriculum aligns with the music and arts standards in Illinois, and the national standards.”

He added, “It’s part of our culture, it’s part of our identity. You hear mariachi everywhere around the world, and as Mexican-Americans, you always feel proud when you hear mariachi music.”


Related Stories

Class Notes Videos: Mexican Music

On The Air This Week

Highlights from May 17 to 24

Tuesday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. & 5:15 p.m. New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
12 midnight Euro Classics: Basel Symphony Orchestra/Ivor Bolton, cond.; Mozart: Symphony No. 39 in E flat, K. 543 — recorded at the Casino Gesellschaft, Basel.
Thursday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Regional Spotlight: Hungarian pianist Dénes Várjon performs the Piano Sonata No. 34 by Haydn.
Friday, 7:15 a.m. Moveable Feast with John Birge and Minnesota Monthly‘s Rachel Hutton.
11 a.m. Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Spotlight: Hindemith: Kleine Kammermusic for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn & Bassoon, Opus 24; led by SPCO musicians; Julia Bogorad-Kogan, flute; Kathryn Greenbank, oboe; Jonathan Cohen, clarinet; Charles Ullery, bassoon; Matthew Wilson, horn.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Friday Favorites with Bill Morelock (in for Steve Staruch).
Saturday, 9 a.m., New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
10 a.m. Saturday Cinema.
5 p.m. A Prairie Home Companion: hosted by Garrison Keillor; live from the State Theatre in Minneapolis.
8 p.m. Euro Classics: Trio Wanderer; Ravel: Piano Trio in A Minor — recorded at the Schwetzingen Festival in Germany.
Sunday, 6 a.m. Pipedreams: Organ Plus.
12 noon From the Top.
1 p.m. SymphonyCast: Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra/Edo de Waart, conductor.
8 p.m. Sunday Night Cantata, Choral Stream.
Monday, 7:15 a.m. Sing to Inspire with Tesfa Wondemagegnehu and Julie Amacher.
12 noon Learning to Listen with Andrea Blain and Alison Young.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
Tuesday,1 p.m. Performance Today.

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Carleton College plans music addition to Weitz Center

Thanks to a gift of $20 million from alumni Barbara and Wally Weitz and family, Carleton College will add a music performance commons to the Weitz Center for Creativity.

The planned addition includes:

• a 400-seat performance hall (replacing the existing Concert Hall)
• rehearsal spaces for individuals and small ensembles
• offices and studios for faculty
• two lounges for pre- and post-concert gathering

“I’m thrilled that Carleton’s music department will have new facilities that match the excellence of the curriculum and faculty, as well as the music-making and music-appreciating opportunities on campus,” Roger Weitz said in a press release. “Music is an integral part of the lives of so many Carleton students, both music majors and non-music majors alike. I hope these new facilities will help add to the number of both.”

A public groundbreaking ceremony takes place Friday, May 13. For more information, visit the Carleton College website.