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    The Circle of Growth and Dr. Rinehart

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    Dr. Carroll Rinehart from Tuscon, Arizona has been working in child music education his entire career, which has extended now into his 80’s.  He created the textbook series “Music! Words! Opera!” designed for music teachers to make opera accessible for kids.  His program even includes having children perform their own operas!   Rinehart believes opera helps students focus on the storytelling aspect of music.   “In acquainting children with opera as an expressive medium, they acquire basic understanding of character, setting, and plot. As the lessons proceed logically and sequentially, language skills are exercised and sharpened. In the process, children come to enjoy opera as a powerful form of storytelling.”

    Through his research on child education, Dr. Rinehart created the Circle of Growth to show us how educators can most effectively facilitate growth for their students.  “Building first on TRUST, the child gains the courage to risk creative thought.  Upon receiving AFFIRMATION, the child experiences growth in self-esteem.  GROWTH then inspires future trust, which continues the process.  The cycle repeats as the child gains self-confidence and eventually the ability to become an adult who thinks for himself”

    “All learning takes place at the edge of risk,” says Dr.  Rinehart.  Another way of saying this might be: “We learn best when we are able to risk showing our lack of knowledge by questioning and pondering.”

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    Watch “Waterfall” performed in front of an actual Waterfall! by The Piano Guys

    A piano goes where no piano has gone before!  This is a beautiful piece performed by pianist/songwriter John Schmidt.  How did they transport that grand piano to the middle of nowhere?  That’s part of their specialty.  The Piano Guys are a group of “guys” who put together beautiful videos like this one and live performances.  “What do you get when you mix up a marketing genius that does video, a studio engineer that writes music, a pianist that had a successful solo career, and a cellist that does pretty much everything? The Piano Guys: a miraculous meeting of “guys” with the same intrinsic purpose – to make a positive impact in the lives of people all over the world through music videos.” Their vision “is to create music and videos that inspire & uplift. Whatever we do, we put our heart and souls into every note and frame.”

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    Watch a Funny Classical Rendition of the Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride” by Igudesman and Joo

    The hilarious classical comedy duo Igudesman and Joo perform a barely distinguishable version of Ticket to Ride in the guise of a silly soprano aria.  Hyung-ki Joo gives a wonderful performance as both the soprano voice and piano accompanist.   Their new show, “A Little Nightmare Music,” is on tour across the world this year, ending in the US this fall and winter.  For more information & videos in our previous blog entry about Igudesman and Joo, click here.

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    Create Your Own Music Awareness Campaign

    Are you a parent or concerned adult who feels passionate about the benefits of music education for our local kids?  If you’ve read through this blog and seen the enormous amount of research and studies showing all the ways music improves lives, I’m sure you are.  But many parents in our communities don’t realize what their children are being deprived of when our school systems slash their music education budgets, and programs disappear right underneath our noses.  DoSomething.Org gives great tips on how to spread awareness in your community:

    There are tons of people out there who don’t know much about music education and its benefits. Make some catchy flyers so people can be in the know and learn how they can make a difference too.

    Double Check

    • Are you allowed to post your signs around school or on telephone poles and community bulletin boards? If so, go for it! If not, see if you can pass out flyers at your town hall, public library, a local business or at school.

    Do Some Research

    Include Local Info

    • Find out about music education in your area. Are music programs offered in your school or community center? Is there a symphony or orchestra that offers classes to young people? Call and ask around. Include this local info on your posters.

    Include Testimonials

    • See if you can get a quote from an expert. Call your local university and track down a professor. Speak to a musician who can attest to how music helped him or her in school. Include it in your campaign. Real stories are powerful!

    Use Images

    • Pictures can add a personal connection between the viewer and the issue. Feature photos of students and local musicians or your musician role models.

    Power in People

    • Now that you’ve got all this info, get some friends together to help you design and complete the posters or flyers. They can help you put them up when you’re done.

    Variety is Key

    Keep in mind, that in order to make this campaign effective, you have to vary your strategy. So think about making a few different kinds of signs:

    • Small flyers to pass out to people
    • Big, colorful posters to post on telephone polls: you want these to stand out because people will be driving and/or walking by them so you want to grab their attention.
    • Informative flyers to post on cork boards or town message boards.

    Find a time when people will be most open to hearing about music education.

    • Consider the beginning of the school year, when everyone is deciding on what subjects they will take.
    • March is Music in our School Month!
    • If you’ve missed the best dates, don’t hesitant to get started right now.

    Be Bold

    • Think of strange places you can put up posters and see if you can get permission to post them there. Marketers have put ads up in odd places because it’s an effective tactic. Like the doors in bathroom stalls of restaurants, cafes, and/or even in restrooms of your local bus or train station. Try it out!

    Post and Repost

    • While going out one day and posting is great, keep in mind that weather may damage posters so you’ll want to go out periodically and repost your signs. You also won’t catch everyone in one day so schedule a few days to go out and distribute fliers.

    The Extra Mile

    You can also recruit speakers to come in and speak about music education at your:

    • school
    • church
    • community center

    Remember that musician you spoke to about how music changed their life? Invite them to speak and/or ask them to suggest someone.

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    Listen to Warren Olney on Musicians & Online Streaming – Reporting on the Plight of Today’s Musician

    Today on Warren Olney’s “To the Point” on KCRW, he presents “The Brave New World of Online Music Streaming.” We know the benefits of music education to help us excel in all areas of our education, improve our brain development, and provide us with a creative outlet for a lifetime.  But for those musicians who actually want to go down the age-old journey of getting a band together, writing great songs, and becoming rich and famous — in today’s world that has become harder to do.  Olney interviews music industry professionals to find out what income opportunities are still available to a musician with a band in the digital age.

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    Watch the Karaoke App “Sing!” in Action

    Smule advertises their popular app Sing! as a “Global Karaoke Party,” which captures the way this app connects people across the world.  This is a wonderful concept that gives anyone the opportunity to sing with others, anytime, without leaving their house.  Singers can sing solos, duets, or group songs.  We like that this app encourages people to make music, and makes it a social experience as well.

    Often in our culture, we are encouraged not to sing by our family or peers unless we have an amazing voice.  We tend to make fun and tease each other if our voices don’t sound like what we hear on the radio.  This is sad because singing is the most organic way we can musically express ourselves.  We are all able to sing, it is built into our bodies.  The more we sing, and the more we are in a culture of singers, the better singers we are.  So an app like Sing! is a great way for everyone to get in touch with their voices.

    Here’s what Apptoyz.com lists about Sing! –

    JOIN THE KARAOKE PARTY
    Find and follow your friends in Sing!, and meet incredible singers from all over the world. Sing your heart out on Solo songs, or join up with others in Duets or Group songs. Keep up with your friends and favorite singers, and love and comment on performances to show your support.

    SOUND LIKE A STAR
    Sound amazing every time with Sing!’s voice enhancement technology. Use special voice filters to spice up your performance even more. Sing! is a supportive, joyful community where music-making at all levels is encouraged and appreciated.

    Features
    -Connect with your friends by giving & receiving comments and likes
    -Share your performances with the community through the globe
    -Join other songs for free and make it a duet or group song
    -Enhance your voice with special voice effects: Pop, Vintage, or SupaTune
    -Easy sharing to the outside community via Facebook

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    Discover 11 Music Education Facts!

    DoSomething.org posted 11 Facts about Music Education:

    1. 1)Children who study music tend to have larger vocabularies and more advanced reading skills than their peers who do not participate in music lessons.
    2. 2)Studying music primes the brain to comprehend speech in a noisy background.
      • Children with learning disabilities or dyslexia who tend to lose focus with more noise could benefit greatly from music lessons.
    3. 3)Research shows that music is to the brain as physical exercise is to the human body. Music tones the brain for auditory fitness and allows it to decipher between tone and pitch.
    4. 4)Children who study a musical instrument are more likely to excel in all of their studies, work better in teams, have enhanced critical thinking skills, stay in school, and pursue further education.
    5. 5)In the past, secondary students who participated in a music group at school reported the lowest lifetime and current use of all substances (tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs).
    6. 6)Schools with music programs have an estimated 90.2 percent graduation rate and 93.9 percent attendance rate compared to schools without music education who average 72.9 percent graduation and 84.9 percent attendance.
    7. 7)Regardless of socioeconomic status or school district, students who participate in high-quality music programs score 22 percent better on English and 20 percent better on Math standardized exams.
    8. 8)Much like expert technical skills, mastery in arts and humanities is closely correlated to high earnings.
    9. 9)A study from Columbia University revealed that students who study arts are more cooperative with their teachers and peers, have higher levels self-confidence, and are more equipped to express themselves and their ideas.
    10. 10)Elementary age children who are involved  in music lessons show greater brain development and memory improvement within a year than children who receive no musical training.
    11. 11)Learning and mastering a musical instrument improves the way the brain breaks down and understands human language, making music students more apt to pick up a second language.

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    Watch 10-year-old Anna Christine – Semi-Finalist on The Voice this week

    This week, vocalist/pianist Anna Christine was the semi-finalist on The Voice.  At 10 years old, she possesses the vocal maturity of an adult that has been wowing audiences all summer.

    This video is of her performance in June, when the Daily Caller reported she “stunned viewers across the nation performing “The House of the Rising Sun,” on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” The talented 10-year-old from Henderson, Nevada, debuted a surprisingly rich, deep voice that left an expression of disbelief on the face of new judge Heidi Klum and veteran judge Howie Mandel”

    To sing with the strength and volume of Christine without creating vocal damage takes an advanced understanding of the voice that most wouldn’t be able to manage by age 10.  It’s evident in Christine’s tone that she is using the exact right vocal placement that can allow her vocal ease while producing such hearty sounds.  The placement can be taught to anyone over time and commitment to lessons, but then it needs to be exercised frequently to stay so strong and vibrant.  It’s a beautiful example, and also an amazing feat for her age.

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    Listen to Renowned LA Music Teacher, Rafe Esquith

    This week, Terrence McNally interviewed a multi-award winning 29-year LA 5th grade Music teacher, Rafe Esquith.  This is a wonderful interview where we get to hear about Esquith’s views on teaching and how he has impacted the lives of so many LA kids in his years at Hobart Elementary.  He started a theatre troupe called the Hobart Shakespeareans, takes his students on yearly field trips, and finances it all through a variety of donors including Shakespearean actor Sir Ian McKellen. He has authored 4 books, his latest being Real Talk for Real Teachers, Advice for Teachers from Rookies to Veterans: “No Retreat, No Surrender!” Rafe has an enlightened view on how to reach kids, born out of his lifetime of teaching experiences, that gives parents and teachers alike a vision of how educational experience should be.  In this interview he shares his journey, what it has taught him, and what that means for all of us.

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    Free Sight Reading Game

    Teoria.com’s Clef Reading Game is a great free sight reading game that comes with options.  You can choose to name notes either by just clicking on the list of note names, or by using a virtual keyboard.  With the virtual keyboard, you actually click on the key on a piano keyboard that matches the note on the staff.  This is a great exercise for learning which octave a note is in.  Knowing that a note name is “G” does not necessarily mean that you know which G.  This is a little more advanced, so starting with just naming the note would be a good first step before moving on to the virtual keyboard.

    Teoria has many free online music games to help musicians with anything from ear training to music theory.  Teoria’s Clef Reading Game is not an “app,” just a computer game.  It’s an easy game that any parent can quickly set up for their child to get a short, note-reading practice session in during their piano practice.  There are many games like this one on your phone or tablet that you can play on the go.  Games like these are a useful tool to beef up on your note-reading abilities.  They can be used as a review for musicians who are out of practice, and as a supplement to a student’s music lessons.

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