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Items by Bart Brush

Results: 155
Title Author Date
Comment: Re: Middle School - need structure for a lesson idea
One of the most helpful pieces of advice I ever received was, "Tie everything to the six elements of music: melody, rhythm, harmony, tone color, dynamics and form."  Think of form as the way short "bits" of music are put together to make longer pieces.  To these I would add a 7th element, "words",...
Comment: Re: Middle school choir - Help needed!
I did not mean to criticize Amy's mentor teacher, as I don't know what his or her circumstances are.  Just meant to say this is not a fair arrangement for a student teacher.
Comment: Re: Middle school choir - Help needed!
There is another similar forum here on ChoralNet, entitled "FORCED CHOIR".  Several of the responses might be helpful to you, particularly those suggesting a change of format from choir rehearsal to general music class.     Beyond Amy's immediate problem is a larger issue in the teaching prof...
Comment: Re: FORCED CHOIR
After thinking more about a music appreciation course, and reading ann's suggestion to embrace unison singing, and others' suggestions to change perspective, here's another thought.  Would it improve participation and attitude to move away from conventional choral arrangements and change to a uniso...
Comment: Re: FORCED CHOIR
I'm sorry you're in this position--it's complete educational malpractice and administrative irresponsibility.  How would they feel if you dismissed those students from choir and demanded the band director take a turn forcing his elective on the unwilling?  Or that the administrators earn their muc...
Comment: Re: Hard Times Come Again No More
You'd have to make your own arrangements, but the book Rise Up Singing from Sing Out! magazine is full of lesser known folk gems (along with the well known songs, of course).  The songs are arranged in categories, including "Hard Times", "Work", etc.
Comment: Re: Hard Times Come Again No More
Also Climb Every Mountain from Sound of Music.
Comment: Re: Starting a Brand New Voluntary School Choir - with NO experience!
For 14 years, I have used lunch recess periods (20 minutes) for extra rehearsals, and they do help in our real world where music is given insufficient time during the day. Since lunch recess is outside time for students, attendance can be a problem here in Arizona where the climate is mild year-rou...
Comment: Re: The National Anthem
Well said, Michael and Toni.  Michael's third paragraph sums it, and applies to the Flag Code as well.  I do follow the Flag Code and teach the basics to my 5th and 6th grade drum corps and color guard, but it is a code, not a law.  Even were it a law, there are times when patriots engage in civi...
Comment: Re: Teaching 8th-Grade Choir Harmony
I second David's microphone suggestion.  It is a prop that is almost magical in encouraging certain 5th and 6th graders to sing in general music classes.  I place it at one end of my two rows of seats, so the student is facing me, just as if sitting, and also remind the rest of the class to look a...
Comment: Re: Disrespected and Frustrated
Eileen makes a VERY important point for Kristin and others in this situation:  MAKE SURE you have eye witness accounts or evaluations from colleagues that your curriculum and approach are sound, despite your difficulties with classroom management.  Make your own arrangements to be observed for thi...
Comment: Re: Disrespected and Frustrated
Seth, you make a good point in your first paragraph, but also bring up an important issue in education in general.  The "Character Education" movement would say that character development gets short shrift in our schools, and is much more important than getting through the curriculum.  Of course w...
Comment: Re: Disrespected and Frustrated
We can tallk about classroom management and behavior modification games all day, and we should have some of those skills, but let's get back to a basic concept:  The first responsibility for NOT being unruly and disrespectful lies with the student.  It SHOULD be the case that periodic reminders an...
Comment: Re: "Orisons" (prayer songs) for children
Seth's mention of Doreen Rao reminds me that her book We Will Sing includes Jubilate Deo plus Lowell Mason's Oh Music.  They're both arranged as multi-part rounds, but could be sung in two parts or in unison.  The text to the latter is:  "Oh music, sweet music, thy praises we will sing.  We will...
Comment: Re: Choral music for Civil Rights commemoration?
How about something sung by the Civil Rights demonstrators on the march, in the style that they sang it?  We Shall Overcome has been mentioned, and there are many others.  Spirited, in-tune unison singing is always appropriate, especially when historically accurate.  You could add simple harmonie...
Comment: Re: "Orisons" (prayer songs) for children
Rise Up Singing! is a best-selling book of lyrics and chords to hundreds of songs--folk, pop, broadway, standards, rock, etc.  It's published by Sing Out! magazine, which was begun by Pete Seeger in the 1950s.  The songs are arranged in categories, and I think you would find many possibilities in ...
Comment: Re: Volume Issues
After 14 years, I am really appreciating having YouTube access in my room for the first time.  It is not feasible for me to get my students to a live performance, so this is a wonderful resource, though I often have to adjust the computer/projector volume to avoid distortion.    Your suggestion...
Comment: Re: Volume Issues
Please elaborate for this music teacher who has had no formal voice training.  I am confused by what seems to be a contradiction between "forward or focused", "feel the ringing in the mask of the face";  and my efforts to have my students increase resonance by lifting the rear of the oral cavity b...
Comment: Re: Middle School Choir- Rehearsal Help
1.  I'm a K-6 teacher (14 yrs) with a computer projector in my room this year for the first time, and I love showing my 3rd - 6th graders short YouTube videos of children and adults around the world, amateur and professional, singing as soloists, groups or choirs; also demonstrating vocal technique...
Comment: Re: Holiday repertoire for middle school choir
Street cries are, in  my opinion, an oft neglected but fascinating genre of music...or is it speech?  Actually, both--right on that primordial boundary between the two.  I've seen a few arrangements of street cries as rounds or with other simple harmonies, but I make my own adaptations on rare oc...
Comment: Re: 3 Part for Beginner High School Choir -- very strict school!
My suggestion would be to find another job, but I understand this may be easier said than done, and not practical for you.  This is reallly outrageous that you, the music specialist, should be dictated to in this manner, and that your school would not stand up against whatever threats are being mad...
Comment: Re: Sacred Christmas Stomp/Body Percussion etc for Youth Boys
Hi Greg,  Saw your post earlier and am just now, after school, able to respond.  I agree with Matthew in recommending African Noel, also know as Sing Noel or Banuwa (with different words but same tune).  Dr. Will Schmid has arranged this (the Banuwah version) in his World Music Drumming curriculu...
Comment: Re: First Year Teaching, Need Curriculum
Regarding Boomwackers, try giving only one of each note to your eight best behaved students.  Say something like, "I'm looking for eight students who can treat this instruments with respect, and after they demonstrate the lesson/tune/proper use, I'll pass out instruments to others who show me they'...
Comment: Re: a cappella patriotic music?
I suggest a medley of God Save the King (later changed to America, "My Country 'tis of Thee"), followed without pause by Chester.  Perhaps the first in unison and then Chester in 4 parts.  The tyranny and the American response.   "...Long too reign over us, God Save the king!   Let tyrants sha...
Comment: Re: First Year Teaching, Need Curriculum
P.S.:  I didn't mention it, but as we play these instruments, I'm also trying to teach--at an age-appropriate level-- performance standards, the elements of music, music and world history, human migration and cultural influences, geography, acoustics, etc.
Comment: Re: First Year Teaching, Need Curriculum
I know what you mean.  Fourteen years ago, at the age of 50, I started teaching general music K-6 with no experience or training.  I had just finished my MEd in elementary education, and was looking for a 3rd or 4th grade job in upstate NY, but competing with 30-50 other candidates, many with expe...
Comment: Re: Winter Pieces
Thank you Stuart, I enjoyed listening to it, and recommend everyone check out your arrangements.   I teach at the elementary level, and my comment above was related to my interests in hearing what composers might have come up with had they chosen different settings for favorite pieces.  Kodaly, B...
Comment: Re: Winter Pieces
I wish someone would make selections from Die Winterreisse and arrange it for 2-4 voices.    What I would recommend is Jon Krumm's round "Fly, fly, fly".  It's a short musical nugget that descends one octave on the natural minor scale.  Beautiful melody, words and harmonies.   "Fly fly fly; ...
Comment: Re: Getting individual voice lessons in the school day
For fourteen years, I have been holding extra rehearsals during my lunch and prep periods, and before and after school.  It's not ideal, it's not fair, I don't get paid for that time, and I eat lunch at 3 pm, but it works for me.  The time is there.  There are additional favorable circumstances i...
Comment: Re: Music as Protest
Finlandia?   I don't recall the circumstances of it's composition.   Also, there must be songs of this type from the American Indian tradition.
Comment: Re: Multicultural Theme
Both of the major textbook series for K-8 (Macmillan and and Scott-Foresman) are loaded with multicultural pieces suitable for those grades.  Each includes CDs with performance, accompaniment, and pronounciation tracks.  Indiana professor Mary Goetze is one of the multicultural consultants for the...
Comment: Re: HS candlelight processional
The Boston-based Revels group has a book Celebrate the Winter with a whole section on processionals.  Most are in unison, but good unison singing can be nice contrast and is always appropriate in my opinion.   Also, there might be other arrangements of these available.  The Revels book includes: ...
Comment: Re: Most challenging song(s) for you personally that you were proud of yourself for learning and performing well!
I never had any type of voice training and was not allowed to sing in my high school choir (after successfully passing the audition) because I would not play in the marching band (was a school requirement).  So, when I got to college, everything in choir was new, challenging and exciting, particula...
Comment: Re: Favorite Lullabye
Dmitri Kabalevsky: Good Night; in Doreen Rao's book We Will Sing!  Unison with optional 2 part in the B section; one octave range.
Comment: Re: Favorite Lullabye
All the Little Horses.  ("Blacks and bays, dapples and grays, coach and six little horses...")
Comment: Re: General Music - Grade 6 Curriculum - Will This Idea Work?
   Joyce's time line is a great idea.  I don't have a commercial version, but make my own as each year proceeds.  I mounted century dates from 1100-2000 above the whiteboards on the long wall of my room, one century every four feet.  These are simply black cut out numerals glued on half sheets ...
Comment: Re: Repertoire & Schedule for TINY HS chorus w/ Learning Disabilities
Three of my favorite short, easy, and musical rounds are Peace Round (words by Jean Ritchie to an old English melody), Ah Poor Bird (English?), and London's Burning (Great Fire of 1666).  Publications and recordings by the Boston based Revels group contain many "short and sweet" pieces of many type...
Comment: Re: Exemplar Choirs from Around The World
Correction: second group should be Soweto Gospel Choir.  Also add African Children's Chorus and their wonderful choreogreaphy.
Comment: Re: General Music - Grade 6 Curriculum - Will This Idea Work?
If time permits, students should gain some awareness of world music and the similarities and differences between cultures.  For example: the same elements (melody, rhythm, harmony, timbre, dynamics, form) are used in different ways; same instrument families and acoustical properties used differentl...
Comment: Re: Exemplar Choirs from Around The World
Ladysmith Black Mambazo, South African Gospel Choir, Kecak--the Balinese choral monkey chant, contemporary American Indian small choral ensembles, authentic Sacred Harp groups (not "regular" choirs singing Sacred Harp), The Red Army Chorus (listen to their back-to-back renditions of the Star Spangle...
Comment: Re: Curriculum for class of 50, 5th/6th graders in General Music?
You might also find Nick Page's Sing and Shine On very helpful.
Comment: Re: songs about birds for a unison children's choir
At a Kodaly workshop a few years ago, Philip Tacka taught us a beautiful song "Someone Told The Wild Geese It was Time to Go." 
Comment: Re: Differentiating in the choir rehearsal
Whether we are musicians, music educators, music professors or directors of music degree programs, we must continually insist that the people demanding differentiation actually have experience doing this in a music classroom in a musically relevant way.   What a concept!  Can you imagine if we we...
Comment: Re: Unfamiliar curriculum
For non classic guitar classes, Dr. Will Schmid's classroom method published by Hal Leonard is said to be the most widely used.  He teaches reading, melody playing, improvisation and chords, and there are 4 CDs that come with it.  Several years ago, while taking Dr. Schmid's 5-day summer World Mus...
Comment: Re: making up classroom absences
Good suggestions Thomas.   This sounds like another instance where the priorites are sports, "academic" subjects, everything else, and music, in that order.
Comment: Re: Bluegrass for Choir
I agree with Kevin, that "published pieces are not very good bluegrass," and this causes the problems mentioned by Elizabeth.  For example, bluegrass rhythms are straight forward, not tricky (other elements of blegrass style certainly are), and bluegrass banjo players play with three fingers, not c...
Comment: Re: Winter Holidays Around the World
Neesa, Neesa is an elegant, simple round with beautiful harmonies.  It's on one of Libana's CDs, derived from Seneca Indian traditions, and means "Winter moon, we thank you." The various grade level books of the Macmillan music series Spotlight on Music (grades 1-8?) each have at least one "winter...
Comment: Re: Building a program from the ground up
I second World Music Drumming.  Go to the website and make arrangements to attend one of the 5 day summer trainings held around the US.  One of the most important sessions when I attend eight years ago, was an evening presentation of fund raising methods to cover the $3000+ cost of drums.  Some o...
Comment: Re: We need songs with names of states in the title
Sweet Wyoming Home by Bill Staines; and State Laughs by Tom Chapin (...and in Idaho, they go "ho, ho, ho....and in old Kentuck', they go "nyuk, nyuk" ......and they ro-o-o-o-oll on the ground."
Comment: Re: Journey songs
Further tentative historical information: the Sacred Harp setting was made in the 1830s, from a Negro Spiritual.