The Friday Five: Music & Culture

With all of us being home during the day, things are moving, but in the evenings, it has been more important to me than ever to have music playing. As music is such an amazing support for the mind and spirit, today’s Friday Five focuses on some great music and music education resources.

  1. Even though live concerts are canceled through May 10, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra offers an amazing collection of audio and video concerts and is live streaming some amazing pieces on Fridays and Saturdays through April.
  2. The Metropolitan Opera is streaming a free series of Live in HD presentations of special performances recorded over the past 14 years. A pretty awesome lineup!
  3. The Grammy Museum offers some amazing mini-lessons for a variety of ages, including drawing to music for K-5, music of the American Civil Rights Movement for grades 4-12, electronic music production and more. They are also putting exhibits from their archives on their website each Friday during this COVID closure, and have recordings with musicians and industry professionals posted.
  4. The Minnesota Orchestra has created a “Minnesota Orchestra at Home” with a “Watch, Listen, Learn” focus. From 2- minute classical music breaks and small concerts from musicians in their homes to an animated film for children, “Perfect Square,” there are some great resources here for sure.
  5. Finally, the New York Philharmonic has a fun Kidzone! Online Learning, a launching point from which visitors to virtually go backstage with the orchestra, learn about the instruments, complete virtual puzzles and quizzes, composers, make their own music, connect with recorded Young People’s Concerts, play games, and more. Take time to click around, the concerts and games are engaging. (Note, some but not all of the Kidzone features require Flash.)

Clearly these are only five of the many resources out there supporting music education. Even if your favorite musical organization doesn’t normally have materials on their website, it is worth checking out again as they may be doing some special digital programming during this COVID time.

Play on!

The Friday Five: Food Safety

This Friday Five is dedicated to an important cause, food safety. (I was reminded of its importance late last week, I wish the restaurant that made the Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich I ordered investigated some of these resources. Perhaps I would have been able to blog sooner this week! :P) But I digress. Every FACS/food class and many health classes focus on food safety and food preparation safety. These free resources could easily come in handy either as individual assignments to explore, or in some cases, as resources to share and explore collectively.

Number 1: From Canada, this CBC Marketplace place resource has an interactive investigation of a coffee shop and key points to food prep safety consumers can watch for in any fast food place. This interactive also has links to  additional resources about food poisoning, news reports, and eighteen more pieces on food safety, some with videos.

Number 2:  Food Safety Mobile Game from the USDA. The USDA’s flash game has safety tips and questions on how to handle food safely with a focus on fighting “BAC” (bacteria).  The Food Safety Mobile Game would be great for elementary and younger middle school-aged students, though a high school student might enjoy it too (if no-one is looking).

Number 3 (probably my favorite): Food Safety Music from the University of California. 27 “downloadable” songs parody mainstream songs and all focus on food safety. The songs also have PowerPoint slide presentations with accompanying lyrics and clip-art, lyric files, Flash animations and in some cases concert footage. Pretty fun, really, check it out!

Number 4:  Food Hygiene Mission Control, an interactive series of quizzes, games and information aimed at young people ages 7-14 and their teachers/parents. The teacher resources includes two printable activities, a glossary, and links to more resources.

Number 5: From the American Museum of Natural History, the interactive “magazine” Infection Protection Detection. With articles, a game on cafeteria bacteria, an introduction to scientists in this field, links to related content on the web and more, the American Museum of Natural History created a user-friendly resource for students through at least grade 8.

And just for good measure, number 6: Curriculum on food safety for all grade levels. For K-3, a script for a skit on food safety, ideas for storytelling and other lessons focusing on food safety. For grades 4-8, experiments, games and activities focusing on fighting bacteria and food illnesses. And for grades 9-12, a link to the USDA’s food safety program for high school students including a free curriculum kit with video, teachers guide and lessons for the classroom.

Happy Friday and here’s to healthy, enjoyable dining! 🙂

The Music Industry and Technology

Technology changes just about everything. How is it changing the music industry? For years the profits of the music industry have been a topic of mainstream media, sites like Napster (historically) and Limewire let users share files with reckless abandon, and still my students smile and look to the floor at the onset of a discussion about ethics, music and file sharing. The Supreme Court has weighed in and lawsuits continue. Obviously technology, P2P capabilities and the ease with which files can be shared have had an effect on the music industry.  But how has iTunes changed the music industry?

According to this piece in Engadget, iTunes has killed the music industry. While I disagree with that, the article did make me think about an interview I hear this winter on NPR. The interview was unplanned as a scheduled guest was not available (I searched for it but to no avail or it would be linked here), but the discussion turned to how iTunes and the ability of everyone to download their favorite songs. The discussion focused on how artists once designed albums to be stories and how that is not as significant when people download only certain songs from an album, some people may never download an entire album. I had never really thought about that before.

Does it matter in education, perhaps to students interested in the music industry; otherwise, maybe it is just interesting and I’m on spring break and was thinking about it. Either way, I doubt Lady Gaga is complaining about iTunes…

Singing History

Love it! I just read an article from the Washington Post through which I learned about two talented teachers in Hawaii, Amy Burvall and Herb Mahelona (“historyteachers” on YouTube) who are making musical video parodies to teach about world history. From the Crusades to the Black Death, Gutenberg and more, the ideas are great and if I were to teach world history (haven’t done that for four? years now), I would be sure to incorporate these into my curriculum.  Thank you to the “historyteachers” for posting their creations!