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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

LEGO Ideas - Help make the LEGO Symphony Orchestra a reality

My family loves Legos!  I was recently contacted by a musician/Lego fan designer who created this cool Symphony Orchestra set...

Daniel (aka PieceOnEarth), the fan designer of the Symphony Orchestra on Lego Ideas, has invited me to share with you how you can be a part of making this orchestra into a real Lego set! Lego Ideas is a website where people can submit or vote on idea proposals that they would like to see made into an actual Lego buildable model. If that idea receives 10,000 supporters, Lego will consider producing it as an official set!

Daniel has designed an intricate buildable orchestra that he hopes would give the opportunity to people of all ages to build their very own orchestra and would also help inspire the next generation of musicians. He needs your help to get this idea to 10,000 supporters.

I think this would be a fun set to have on display in my classroom.  Kids are always drawn to Legos and it would make a great conversation piece.  I love the creativity with the different instruments.  I imagine it would be fun to have students create a stop motion video using this set.  Student could even create and record their own soundtrack!  

If you would like to help support this idea, please visit the link below and then click the ‘SUPPORT’ button on the idea page. Signing up and supporting is quick, free and easy to do!  Share with colleagues and friends and let's see if we can get this set off the ground!

You can check out the project here:

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The world of online teaching - where does music fit?


I now have had 3 weeks of distance learning experience and am on Spring Break.  It's been good to have some time to reflect on how things are going with my students and reevaluate my goals and objectives.  When this all started it seems like teachers were ultra motivated to make assignments and find content for students.   And we succeeded!  There was no shortage of great ideas.  I was creating and posting assignments every day for my high school class (which normally meets on an A/B schedule) until one parent contacted me to tell me that every teacher was piling on work and it was too much!  Of course....I was so excited to post the awesome stuff I was creating, I forgot balance.  I hear stories about students who feel over-burdened with hours of work and assignments and feel overwhelmed.  All subjects are important.

It made me think...what do I REALLY want students to learn right now? 

Is now the time to make sure my students memorize the circle of 5th, memorize every major and minor scale, master 3rd position?   Maybe those would work great for online learning.. but at the end of all this, what do I want my students to really know?   I definitely don't want my class to end with a burdensome feeling.  There is time for all that stuff when social distancing is over. 

It seems to me that now is the perfect time to teach students - Why Music?  Music is healing, music expresses our deepest emotions, music moves people, music inspires.  There have been awesome articles online and in the news about people using music to deal with the challenges of this pandemic.  Isn't this why we do music?  To reach, uplift, inspire, and provide hope ourselves and others?  Music teaches us that anything possible.

I had been teaching new music to my students.  There is no way we'll ever perform that music.  Concerts are cancelled for the rest of the year.  I don't think that music is going to mean much to my students.  I need a new plan.  After Spring Break I am going to shift gears.  We'll still learn music, but it won't be for a traditional concert.  It's going to be for us to heal.  It's going to bring families together.  It will be for neighborhoods and friends.  I want my students to see what music can do for others.

My new 'Music Inspires' objective will focus on the following lessons:
  • Students will identify weaknesses and strengths in their playing and make a plan to overcome weaknesses.  Because in life, we can always overcome any obstacle.

  • Students will choose music they personally want to learn.  My best private teacher was one who talked to me and let me learn music I had always wanted to learn.  I worked harder for that teacher than any other because I was heard and I had ownership of my learning. 

  • Students will learn 'Amazing Grace' and we will perform it all at the same time on our porches.  I will encourage students to perform the melody for family members, friends over video calls, neighbors, and all who will hear to uplift the world and provide hope and comfort.
You can have my arrangement of AMAZING GRACE for FREE at my TPT Store:  

Click here for MIDI audio:  

  • Students will read and learn about how music makes a difference:



Dutch orchestra performs 'Ode to Joy' from self-isolation

The Italians Making Music on Balconies Under Coronavirus Quarantine | The New Yorker

Heartwarming Moments Quarantined Italians Sing Together from Balconies


Family's lockdown adaptation of Les Misérables song goes viral