If you’re new to my blog, then you’re also new to my monthly favorites posts. Each month, I write about the things I loved in music education, food, entertainment, geekdom, and any other topic I find worthwhile. It may seem strange to see this type of post on a music education blog, but I think it’s important to remember that music teachers are more than their vocation. We have many interests beyond music education. For example, how to artfully dispose of the 20 cupcakes you received from various students during school parties. Or finding time to wash your hands after tying wet shoelaces that appear as though they were dragged through mud and other brown substances you’d rather not think about.
All that aside, let’s see what I loved in the month of October.
I absolutely love learning about the personal trials and triumphs of music composers. It adds an extra weight and understanding to their music when I know more about their personal struggles. Take Ethel Smyth for example, who was an important figure in the woman’s suffrage movement. She was once imprisoned (along with 100 other women) for breaking the windows of politicians who opposed women’s right to vote. She spent two months in prison, and while there, was once observed conducting a chorus of women with her toothbrush. Or the story of Florence Price, who was composing at the age of four, battled prejudice, and became the first African-American woman to have her work performed by a major American symphony orchestra. To me, these stories are as important as the music itself. With that in mind, my favorites in this category are:
- This recording of Andante from Ethiopia’s Shadow in America by Florence Price
- My updated Music History Quick Guide Bundle.
TECH & TOOLS
Musictheory.net has been around for a long time. I love its simplicity and ease of use, particularly with the exercises, which are free to use. I think the exercises would be a great option for middle school general music, as part of centers or for the whole class if each student has their own device.
I play guitar, and I’ve always loved my Snark tuner. I’ve seen some music teachers wondering what tuners to get for their ukuleles, and I think the Snark would be perfect. It’s super convenient (it clips on) and easy to use.
If you don’t already have a squishie on your desk, you should! Personally, I’m happy that the age of slime seems to be on its way out, with squishies being every kid’s must-have for the year. You can find some cheap ones at Oriental Trading to add to your timeout/rest area. I found mine at Michael’s, but I’ve seen them at Walgreens and other places too. At this point, you can probably find them anywhere.
I wish there was a pumpkin-carving equivalent for each holiday. This year, I decided to stick with the same Whovian theme as last year. You can see my creations here and here. Be sure to share pictures of your pumpkins with me if you carved any this year.