I am very glad that this class included time for us to learn about what we wanted to. How often does this really happen? In my experiences, not very much. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to take the time to learn more about jazz music. I never know know if I will have to one day conduct a jazz choir. And it is actually more likely than not. Over the past few weeks I took the time to learn about some of the big leaders in jazz. Part of the reason why I did this was because it also gave me a lot of history of jazz and a better understanding of the developments that have been made. I also spent quite a bit of time just listening. This was important for me because I needed to be more aware of what is out there and more familiar with the different styles in jazz. I’m really glad I spent this time because I learned a lot, and I really grew to appreciate it, and even like it. One of the other things I learned about was about jazz performing basics. One of the major elements of that was improvisation. I spent a lot of time on this because improvisation is one of the things that I am least comfortable with. It was important for me to have a better understanding of it, and learn some skills and tips about getting better with it.
I’m glad that after this, I now have a better idea of what to do if I ever have to conduct jazz choir. I know where to find some resources for music and examples to show my future students. I also have something to offer them if there is an opportunity for improvisation. I will be able to give them tips and ideas for how to improvise, and how to find their own style. I’m still very thankful that this class gave an opportunity to do some learning and investigating of my own!
I think that this semester I have been a lot more of an innovative learner because I have been much more open to doing my work differently. For example, I have found new ways to practice piano and vocal pieces, as well as memorizing them. In fact, I was able to memorize my music much quicker than any other semester. Doing things like starting from the end and working my way back has really helped. Even though that does not seem very innovative, it is kind of tough for me to do that, and it really did work well in the end. Innovation in learning can be a multitude of different things. There are always different strategies and approaches for every subject or task. Doing things differently from what is considered “normal,” I think is innovative. Anytime you are able to find another approach that works and is efficient is innovative. Whatever you can find that works best for your students is innovative.
I am an educator. I am an innovator. I am an innovative educator and I will continue to ask “what is best for learners.” -Couros The Mindset of an Innovator
This semester I have “unlearned” my old habit of always starting from the beginning in any scenario. I have been able to interpret what is going on in my classes in a different way, that is honestly more open minded. Especially after doing my observation hours for O&P, I learned a lot about the different methods of teaching music. As far as what I think I need to learn more about as a teacher, I think I need to be able to find the more innovative ways of presenting information quicker. Or finding what would works best for students, quicker. I notice that many teachers get stuck in a rut of always doing the same things, and I want to be better at find new activities and methods to use.
I think that I will at least continue to check Twitter because my PLN has a lot to offer and it is the easiest to share links on. I have surprised myself lately with how much I have accomplished over the course of 16 weeks. This has been my most trying and stressful semester by far, and I was able to finish everything that I set out to do. I also think I was able to learn a great deal about being an educator during this semester, more so than I have in the past.
This was a pretty fun piece of tech learning! I found it challenging at first to pick a topic to make a Piktochart about. I chose Piktochart rather than making a comic strip just because the very clean visuals appealed to me a lot more. I liked that you can use Piktochart to make a visual of statistics and facts. If you are very dedicated to digital activism, this could be a great way to share statistics with others. I find that I am more drawn to clean visuals, rather than just text.
Creating this visual was actually very simple for me. Even if you have never done anything like this, Piktochart offers full tutorials of how to use their website to create. Once I chose the facts I wanted to include, I searched for appropriate icons and graphs to go with them. I figured out what information I wanted to use by reflecting on the post I had earlier written on Louis Armstrong. I then went back to the few websites where I found information on Armstrong and chose some of the quick and fun facts about him. I chose his birthplace as a part of the biography, as well as his occupations. These are important and short facts, something that a teacher may want students to retain. I included the genres of music that he was known for, for the same reasons. I included the instrument and vocals piece because a student first learning about Armstrong would listen to his trumpet playing or vocal pieces. I thought the Grammy Hall of Fame information was important because it shows his success and popularity. And then the amount of albums because it shows his output, and may entice students to do some of their own research and listening.
I would definitely use this tool in the classroom! It would be excellent for music history, or if I wanted my students to be better educated about the composers whose music we may be performing. These visuals allow for teachers to include the most important information that you would want your students to remember. I think there is a lot of value in using these visuals because students are more likely to retain information that is organized like this. Showing students slides from a basic PowerPoint that you have created is not always the best for students to organize the information and realize what it most important.
After watching the TED Talk by Paul Miller, I was amazed by his wide range of emotions during his year without the internet. He went from feeling great and free to lonely. With the amount that I use the internet between my computer and cell phone, I can understand why he would have those feelings. I too, keep up with the majority of family on Facebook. Most of them live nowhere near me and I do not get to see them often. I would probably feel out of the loop without it. I also liked that after his year-long sabbatical, he was able to find a balance. He was using the internet, maybe not more responsibly, but the way that he wanted to. He was spending time with his niece and nephew while sharing those great times with the internet.
I know that I usually do not use technology mindfully. I am often on my phone as soon as I get out of class or work. I catch up with what I have missed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat over the last few hours. I am not particularly proud of this. But I know that I am capable of disconnecting for important times. Like when I am home with my family and having dinner, when I am at work, or when I am doing schoolwork. I think we need to be more attentive with our technology use, especially when we are with friends and family. Paul Miller said he was having much deeper connections with the people around him when he was not using his phone. I find this to be incredibly true. Some of the best, and most meaningful, conversations that I have had with my friends, have been when neither of us were using our cell phones. I think we are truly present when we are talking and sharing with other people without having thoughts of what might be going on in our “digital lives.” I think that everyone misses out on small moments throughout the day because we are always connected to our devices. You can miss the fact that someone was courteous to you, or the emotions of others around you. Our phones are incredibly distracting and hard to tear ourselves away from.
From this week, I am taking away that there is always a good balance. It is fun to share with our online friends and family, but we need to pay attention to those who are right in front of us.
This week I have been working on learning about the basic elements of jazz. This article was extremely helpful for me. There are four main parts of a jazz tune, bass, harmony, melody, and improvisation. This article repeated a lot of what I already know. For example, it said that the bass line will anchor the whole piece. This is true in every genre of music. Bass lines are used as a center of tonality and rhythmic support.
Jazz Advice had a great article about the basics of improvisation. As I have said before, improvisation is something I struggle with in many areas music, not only jazz. I learned about the four elements of improvisation, which are sound, time and articulation, ear training, and technique. From what I understood about sound, I believe it your own personal flare when you improvise, or something that makes your improvisation recognizable. The articulation used when improvising is important, your notes need to be clear and understood. I believe that this is also true in any genre, sometimes if the articulation is not clear, the notes will come across as being muddled or out of tune. Your sense or time is important. There is a difference between syncopation and having unclear rhythms. It is also important not to rush or slow down while improvising.
The ear training that the article talks about is something that many musicians do without necessarily thinking about it. As the article says, you may come up with a wonderful solo in your head, but to transfer that to singing or your instrument is another story. When you think of that line, you need to be able to hear the intervals between the notes in order for you to play or sing it. The technique that a soloist is using is important. Something that can help any musicians is knowing your scales and chords. If you know the chord progressions of the song, it can be easier to choose the notes you play. It helps to know what makes the most sense harmonically.
I chose to look into Eleni Bernier, who started using digital activism to spread awareness about depression and bullying. IT GETS BETTER ♫♪♥ is the name of the movement she has started, and she uses Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to help people suffering from depression and bullying. I would like to think that what she has started is successful, not only because she is a finalist for the Shorty Awards, but also because she has reached so far with this. I had heard of this before from a few of my own friends on social media before, I just had not looked into it.
I have participated in digital activism on Facebook, my personal Twitter, and Tumblr. Tumblr is something that I hardly use anymore because I do not have enough time for it. When I was using it regularly I would come across posts about different issues and I would share them. On Tumblr, I usually ended up sharing content about climate change and animal over population (adopt don’t shop). On Twitter I would occasionally share others’ tweets on topics like the recent election, and I would also tweet my own content. I feel much more comfortable writing my own stuff on Twitter, because the majority of people who follow me or that I follow, are in my age group or share similar views. I know that sounds little bit odd, but I blame this mostly on Facebook. I have shared activism posts on Facebook where I have a lot more friends, which include many family members who certainly do not share any of my views. I do not mind that they think differently than I do. What bothered me was that their arguments were not clear, and they were very rude. I do not get to have many interactions with my family as it is, and I do not want my interactions to consist of arguments on Facebook.
Now when I share activism posts on Facebook, I try to stick to the importance of animal adoption and being eco-friendly (recycling). I hope that by sharing posts on these issues at least makes people think about them a little bit more. I find this unit very interesting because people are participating in digital activism all the time through social media. Even if a person does not share any posts, they probably see several activism posts per day. So many people share posts without even realizing that they are participating in digital activism.