Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Importing Garageband Creations into iMovie

The 4th graders that I have been working with are ready to import their Garageband poetry creations into iMove, which will feature their own artwork!  This tutorial will show you how to send your Garageband song to iMovie, and how to add pictures from the iPad's camera roll into your movie.

Step 1: Select Song in Garageband
We have to choose which project we want to send to iMovie. This has several steps, and I got lots of pictures to help guide you through the process.

In the "My Songs" section of Garageband, touch SELECT in the upper right hand corner, as depicted above.

A new set of icons appears in the top left.  Touch the song that you want to send to iMovie to select it.

After you have selected your movie, touch the share icon (the box with the arrow point up, out of the box) and you will see the menu picture above. Click on Open In...  

After selecting Open In...  

You will see the above window, where you are able to customize any of the information about your song before it imports into iMovie. You do not have to change anything, but the option is there. 
Click on SHARE.

After you click on Share you will see the above menu. Click on iMovie to import your song.

iMovie opens, and you need to choose where your song should go. For this project, we will choose Create New Movie

You can see your song in the movie -- depicted by the green. To start adding your images from the iPad camera library, select the word Photos, circled in yellow in the picture above. Then choose Camera Roll from the resulting list.

On the upper right of the above picture you can see the pictures in your camera roll. Simply touch on a picture and watch it drop into your movie!

Put all of the pictures that you wish to use into the movie in the order you wish them to appear.  Once there are multiple photos in the movie, the length the picture will be shown in the movie can be edited.  Do not try to change the size of the image until there are multiple images in the movie!

When you have your images in the movie, to adjust the length of time they are shown, highlight the image you wish to shorten or lengthen. When it is highlighted yellow, as in the above picture, touch the right side thick line and drag it closer to the left (to make it shorter) or further away (to make it longer).  Adjust the other photos in a similar manner until they are exactly the way you with to see them.

When you are finished, touch the back arrow at the top left of the screen.

This takes you to the above screen. You can do several things at this screen. Play the movie, as indicated by the triangle button with the box around it; Share the movie, as indicated by the share button - the box with the arrow pointing up and out; or Trash the movie, as indicated by the trash can.

Also from this screen you can change the name of your project. See below:

Press and hold on the title to bring up the keyboard to change the name of the movie.

At this point, your movie is finished! Congratulations!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Beyond the notes on the page

Image Credit: Angela Thomas

Whenever new music is handed out there is a palpable sense of excitement in the air. I love hearing the students practicing the new passages as I make my way around the band room with the large stack of music. The room fills with new sounds as they test out their parts.

When I take the podium for the first time with these new songs, the attention level is high. They are tuned in to every detail. We sight read music much better than we practice it.  All of our senses and emotions are involved in sight reading as an ensemble-- there is so much on the line.

The next rehearsal, having experienced such success the first time we played the song, the students have let their guard down a little bit. They aren't sitting on the edge of their seats anymore, aren't counting as carefully, aren't listening as intently. It has become the notes on the page and not an experience.

So -- we go back to basics. I sing the melody in the trumpet line, as if I were a robot, merely singing the correct notes at the correct time. I sing the part again, this time using breath support, phrasing, forward motion, dynamics. Everything that the part requires of one person playing a part. We discuss the difference between notes on a page and a phrase -- we compare that to words in a paragraph that have no connection to one another as opposed to a story, where each word is vitally linked to the one before and the one yet to come. We start the song again. While there are still imperfection and kinks to be worked out, the story is beginning to unfold.

The mechanics of playing a wind instrument are mind-boggling. The articulation, the air support, the air speed, the tension and shape of the mouth and lip muscles, the tension in the fingers, hands, and neck, the posture-- so many different elements have to line up perfectly to achieve the appropriate sound. And it has to happen for every student individually at the same time!

That is just the production of sound, and people playing at the same time. When you remember that the students are reading music -- a universal language that transcends language and cultural barriers -- while executing all of the steps in the previous paragraph? Well, it makes me tired just thinking about it. But when we are simply doing it, magic happens.

Magic happens every single day in my classroom. Students exceed their own expectations. Students fail at something and try again. Students learn to have patience with one another, and to support each other. Students learn a different definition of "playing together." In this definition, there are no cool kids, there are no bullies. No one is last picked, or sitting alone on a bench.

A school instrumental music program is about so much more than the notes on the page. It is the absolute perfect marriage of individual practice and improvement and corporate learning and performance.  The value cannot be easily quantified or even defined. Studying instrumental music is learning how to communicate in the language of the heart-- a language without words.

One of the Broad Content Standards in my district is to help students become Effective Communicator(s). I love that the pursuit of musical excellence helps students become better communicators.

After all, when words fail, the music remains.

Monday, March 3, 2014 --A resource that EVERY TEACHER (or human) should know of (and use!)

I got an email over the weekend from my assistant superintendent. He frequently alerts his "tech guinea pigs" when he finds something particularly exciting. When I had the chance to look at, the incredibly awesome resource that he had shared, I got lost.  I was lost in videos of amazing string quartets that I found by searching Jazz Music. I got lost learning about playing and soloing with the pentatonic scale on guitar.

Oh -- let me show you!

This is the  Quartet San Francisco playing one of my favorite Chick Corea songs: Spain. (On an unrelated (but totally awesome) note, I KNOW one of the violinists! He is originally from Maine, and  we played The Music Man together at a performance in Portland. A long time ago.)

I have never seen such a comprehensive list of music resources-- and they have videos, project ideas, for every subject you might imagine!

I now have playlists to use with my 7th grade Guitar Class:
As well as for Jazz music, for general music education, and for myself -- because there are so many things that I love!

Please-- do yourself a favor and check out -- you won't regret it. You may lose a few hours in a time vortex - but it will be time well spent. If you do check it out, let me know what you find?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Transference of Knowledge in action in High School Band Midterm

I have had the great benefit of being on the team of educators and administrators that is helping lead the rest of the district through the lengthy, challenging and exhaustive (and/or exhausting) process of getting our curriculum up into the Rubicon Atlas format and servers. I have learned so much about content, delivery, knowledge and assessment through the conversations we've shared through this journey.

It is so exciting when we dig into concepts and I can see how I am already doing many of the recommended strategies. Recently we have been tackling the concept of Depth of Knowledge (DOK), in an effort to truly capture student engagement in all areas. Being able to recite facts does not always demonstrate true understanding.  See this chart that explains the different levels of DOK.

Chart by Dr. Norman Webb

DOK is different than Bloom's Taxonomy in that the verb is not the end result, as it is in Bloom's. In DOK it is how the verb interacts with the content, and the complexity of the thinking that is involved that determines the DOK.

An excellent resource that I found makes the observation that students involved in Career and Technical Education statistically perform better on state standardized test benchmarks, like the NECAP, or the MEA's of old. I can easily see this correlation because students in the technical learning classes, and those in the arts classes, are always transferring their learning into doing. It is never the simple recall of facts. It is learning facts, and then applying them. Every single day, over and over again. 

When planning for the mid-year exam for my high school band students, I was very interested in trying to capture the transferred learning that happens all the time in the ensemble. Therefore I gave students time to select one etudes in the warm-up book -- a sadly neglected section, which therefore ensured that all students would be sight-reading and preparing a completely unknown piece of music for the the mid-term. I gave them several class periods to practice in class before the winter break, as well as the rubric that I would be scoring them against, and reminded them to be practicing on their own when we returned to school after the new year. 

On the day of the mid-term, the students were given time to prepare, and then when they felt ready, they recorded themselves on their iPads, using the Moxtra App.  This app is my absolute favorite for use in music classes. The students imported the digital copies of the music into their Moxtra Portfolio, and then while reading the music from the iPad, they are also able to record their audio on the incredible microphones the iPads are equipped with.  The students then shared the link of their file with the sound file attached to me via email.

It was very exciting to see the level of detail the students used in preparing their selections. Dynamics, articulations and phrasing were all evident -- without any formal coaching from me on these pieces. They transferred their accumulated knowledge of musical concepts to this assignment! <insert fist bumps and high fives all around>

Here is a video that explains DOK a little more.

Depth of Knowledge from NYC DOE Promising Pract on Vimeo.

I really enjoy looking at DOK and trying to incorporate all four levels into my teaching at different times -- depending on which grade level I am working with. It is common sense, in many ways, but a very thoughtful and accessible resource that helps educators to use the common language, and speak to goals with precision and specificity. I am excited to continue exploring other ways of demonstrating what students actually know!