Archive for the ‘Do and Due’ category

Homework: listen, survey, comment

April 22, 2008

This must be complete by Thursday morning at 10 a.m

You will listen to the following four recordings (2 songs, each in two versions), then choose which you think is ‘best’ via the surveymonkey link, and finally comment as to why you chose the A or B versions of each song.

You’ll hear more about this in class on Thursday.

Listen to the files (mp3 files on my directory):
(please do not save these, they are for listening to from the server for class purposes only!)
Follow this link, and login with your Netfiles UIUC ID (same as CITES email):

Survey Link
Please listen closely, preferably more than one time, before deciding, and once this survey is complete, be sure to comment:


Required Comment 2: Reflect on the two assignments

April 15, 2008

Please take a moment and comment on the Audacity and GarageBand assignments. How would you revise them? What was the biggest challenge? What did you enjoy? How much do you like your final compositions?

You don’t need to answer all of these, but do take a bit of time to reflect on and comment on those aspects that were most meaningful as well as most problematic

CAI in Music Education

April 10, 2008

This week we’ll be investigating several CAI (computer-assisted instruction) resources that teachers use in music. Under the category of intelligent accompaniment, we will take a look at SmartMusic ( which is made by MakeMusic; the company that makes Finale. We will also look at Sibelius’ new counterpart called Starplay ( The different uses of these programs will be discussed in class, but I would encourage you to take a look at the demo videos, and even download the free versions to try each of them for yourself.

You will also be assigned several CAI software titles that we have available in our lab to write a review on. Your reviews should be posted here by no later than Thursday (4/17) at 2pm. In your review, you should try to answer the following questions:

1. How intuitive was the software? Were you able to navigate easily? Would students be able to?
2. How effective is this title in teaching music concepts? What concepts does the program focus on?
3. What level(s) would this program be best suited for?
4. Would you use this title in your teaching? Why or why not?

Your reviews should take the format of title of the program followed by a paragraph review. Example:

Music Ace
Music Ace is a fun and interesting program for learning basic music reading, etc.

Write these paragraphs as though they were going to be published as reviews in a music education periodical (i.e. Teaching Music or Illinois Music Educator). The programs to review are:

Music Ace 1 & 2
Music Lessons 1 & 2
Sibelius Instruments
Sibelius Groovy Shapes
Practica Musica

Homework: Record Effect reading

April 3, 2008

One of my absolute favorite pieces by one of the best music writers currently working (Alex Ross, music critic for the New Yorker) is a review of books looking at recorded music:

Please read this article before class on Tuesday. For us, the issue is making sense of the impact recording makes upon music (and music education). This should give us more room to think about recording as a possible music literacy.

Below: here’s a poster for a class at the YMCA (where I stayed in NYC last week for the AERA conference):

Hip Hop class at NYC YMCA

Assignments: Remix and Musique Concrète

April 3, 2008

These two assignments must be done before class on April 15 (we will listen to them in class on that day!). You will have some time in class today and some on Tuesday, but most of this assignment should be completed outside of class.

Audacity help and tutorials here:

We will also look at several artists who make extensive use of manipulated audio in their music. Today, we heard two tracks from Matmos. Of course, on your own, you may want to see more or more, or some of the more dance oriented work, or a brief interview (from YouTube). If you want something more traditionally musical, you can see how they create a percussive/static-oriented accompaniment to a song by Björk in a live performance of her song “Cocoon”.

Horns and Politics

March 27, 2008

Here’s the link to the in-class survey:

In the mean time, I visited NYC for the conference of the American Educational Research Association, but also stopped by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has an amazing musical instrument collection, including this beautiful horn:

French Horn at the MET

Political spots: a few examples

March 5, 2008

Here are just a few examples to watch to get a sense of music in political ads, from some candidates no longer running:

John Edwards goes straight for the heart strings of the Heartland, with music to boot:

Ron Paul (well, I guess he’s still running) covers a lot of ground with a 30-second spot:

Perhaps my favorite, which defies most political ads by being funny instead of serious:

For homework, please review a few ads, find one that does a good job using music to communicate a message, and then post a link and a short analysis of why the music is effective.