IPL Week 6

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.

Digital Activism

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.

IPL Week 5

This week I decided to do mostly listening. I just typed in jazz music on YouTube. The first thing that popped up was a playlist of jazz artists.

This is the first video that came up. It is a pretty good tune, although it was a little bit harder for me to listen to because it is only instrumental. The saxophone is very nice though. I have found that when listening to jazz it is very calming, and it helps me to focus. This is something that I have heard before though, a lot of people apparently listen to jazz in order to focus.

This piece has a much sadder sound than the first. Miles Davis is an incredibly influential jazz musician. This particular song is from the album Kind of Blue. I found out that it is a quadruple platinum album, this means that it has sold more that 4 million copies, and it is recorded as the best selling jazz album of all time! The House of Representatives even voted to recognize this album as a national treasure.

As a vocalist, I was very excited when this video popped up. Astrud Gilberto has an incredibly smooth voice, and it was very easy to listen to. Of course, the saxophone soloist was also great, but I was excited to hear this. I learned that this is a bossa nova jazz song. Bossa nova is a genre of Brazillian music. There are some versions with lyrics written in Portuguese by  Vinicius de Moraes and the English lyrics were written by Norman Gimbel. And I found out that this might be the second most recorded pop song next to Yesterday by The Beatles.

Tall and tanned and young and lovely,
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, each one she passes goes, “Aaah…”
When she walks, she’s like a samba
That swings so cool and sways so gently
That when she passes, each one she passes goes, “Aaah…”
Oh, but he watches so sadly –
How can he tell her he loves her?
Yes, he would give his heart gladly,
But each day when she walks to the sea,
She looks straight ahead – not at he…
Tall and tan and young and lovely,
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, he smiles, but she doesn’t see…

Oh, but he watches her so sadly –
How can he tell her he loves her?
Yes, he would give his heart gladly,
But each day when she walks to the sea,
She looks straight ahead – not at he…
Tall and tanned and young and lovely,
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, he smiles, but she doesn’t see…
She just doesn’t see…
No, she doesn’t see…
But she doesn’t see…
She doesn’t see…
No, she doesn’t see…

by Norman Gimbel

These are the lyrics to the song, and it is actually a fairly sad love song and it is really moving.

Being an Upstanding Digital Citizen

The props of the The Digital Citizenship Survival Kit by Craig Badura are a great basis for Digital Citizenship. The padlock which represents passwords are important. It is so easy for your many profiles or accounts to be hacked now. This can include credit card fraud, as well as unsavory content being shared under your name. The toothbrush represents something that you do not want to share, like your passwords. You would not want to share passwords with anyone, you never know who will try to access your accounts. My favorite prop is the permanent marker. Because it is so true that what you post on the internet will be there forever. Screenshots will live forever. The last item is the toothpaste, once you squeeze it out, you really cannot get it back in the tube. Once you share or post something, it is hard to take it back. These are pretty good standards to live by when using social media. I think this is something that we should be sharing with students. They need to understand how their online identity can effect their real life opportunities.

In the article, Living Our Lives Online, by Katherine Sokolowski, she overviews online bullying and kindness on social media. She talks about being a responsible parent to her children and laying down ground rules about sharing and posting, which I think is a good thing. My parents did the same things. I know that their needs to be a level of trust with your own children, but you also need to be aware of whether or not your child is being bullied online, or if they are participating in it. Right now, online bullying is a pandemic. It causes just as much, if not more, damage as face to face bullying. Parents need to be involved in their kids’ social media usage to help moderate this at least a little bit. Obviously, this will not put a halt on online bullying, but it would help if more parents were aware of it happening. Katherine talks about doing more to help by being a role model, and an upstanding digital citizen. She is always optimistic and kind with her posts in hopes of her own children and her students following suit. She is followed by many of her students on social media. This is something that I do not think that I would be comfortable doing. Not that I share so many things that I would not want my own students to see, but this is a line that many teachers do not cross. It could become very complicated and pose many conflicts of interest. I admire her for doing this in hopes of making a change, but it is not something that I would do.

Googling Myself

When I googled myself, I wasn’t afraid of what would show up. A few of my profile pictures from my different social media accounts came up, but they are definitely not inappropriate. My Facebook came up, but you can only see my posts and shares if you are my friend on Facebook. Even if a person were to see my Facebook, it is not anything that I would be scared for a future employer to see. I have a lot of family on Facebook so I do not share anything that is really offensive. My personal Twitter came up, but I also have it protected so that no one can see those tweets unless I approve someone to follow me. I am mostly active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which are all private profiles.

My LinkedIn and Merit Pages profiles showed up, but those are both really good things that show my accomplishments and skills. I also saw an announcement from my previous college, listing graduates of that year, which is also a good thing. Other than that, I saw a few different things from Chadron State about my senior recital that is later this month, but that is all. It helps that since I’ve been an active social media user, my mom has been too. She has always warned me about what I share and post on the internet because you never know who will see it. I have always considered this when using my social media profiles, and I am glad that I have.

I think that my online identity comes across mostly professional and there was nothing that I could see an employer being deterred by. I am actually pretty proud of the content that shows up. I would hope that people would be happy or impressed by my online profiles and

Using Podcasts in the Classroom

After reading the article What Teens are Learning From ‘Serial’ and Other Podcasts by Linda Flanagan, I thought it was so interesting that the kids were so in to the podcast. My first reaction to podcasts is that they are very dependent on who is speaking. Even if the topic is interesting, the energy and delivery by the speaker must be very intriguing. I would think that it would be hard to keep the students engaged and listening. Although, the idea that listening to podcasts could comply with Common Core standards is pretty cool. To use a podcast as an exercise for listening could go very well. If students know that there would be questions asked after the podcast, they hopefully listen more intently. If I found a good music podcast, I would use it as a listening exercise in my classroom.

In a music classroom, I am not sure that I would ask students to create in the ways described by Leah Levy in Teacher’s Guide to Digital Storytelling. I can see how they would be incredibly helpful and fun in an English, history, reading, or writing class. Although, I do not think that these would be as useful in a subject like music. I would not be opposed to having students create their own piece of music and recording it to share with the class. But, that is not necessarily digital storytelling. It could be interesting to have students write song lyrics that tell a story and have them perform it. On the other hand, asking students to compose music can become extremely complex.

If any of my students are anything like me, it can be very hard to improvise music, or perform anything without learning from written music. This then turns into teaching all students the basics of composition and music theory, which is not an easy topic (knowing how to read music and music theory are different things). For example, I spent 4 semesters of my college career learning about music theory. It is not something that you teach just for a project like this.

My biggest takeaway from podcasts: they are an excellent tools for enhancing listening skills. They are also a great way for students to create, depending on what kind of class they are in.

Louis Armstrong, IPL Week 3


This week I spent more time learning about another legendary jazz musician, Louis Armstrong. This article from Biography is a great place to learn a little bit more about his life. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, which is a major center for jazz music, in 1901. He is well known and a vocalist and trumpet player. Armstrong did not exactly have the best childhood. But, he became well known as a blues musician. I also learned from this article that Armstrong accomplished many “firsts” as an African American. He was the first African American to write an autobiography,  to get a major part in a movie, and to host a national radio show.

This biography by All Music is also really insightful and and helpful. I learned that Armstrong was also one of the first influential soloists in jazz music. Although there is an unusual fact that even though he was a great innovator of early jazz, he was not necessarily interested in the new developments of jazz that later emerged. He was also loved by fans of pop music, who probably weren’t aware of his capabilities as a jazz musician.

This is one of the most famous examples of Armstrong’s work as a vocal soloist. According to the Biography article, he was discouraged from singing in performances because of the tone of his voice. Although, his sounds is iconic, his arranger didn’t think that his “southern” style would work well with all kinds of audiences. I believe that now, his vocal style is widely accepted and loved.