Sunday, September 2, 2012

New World Symphony

Last week I rehearsed Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" with the Lee's Symphony Symphony Orchestra in preparation for their fall classic.  Although I love performing, this rehearsal reminded me of why I'm an educator and not fighting tooth and nail for coveted symphony gigs around the world.  I had never played "The New World Symphony" before, and it was quite obvious within a few measures of sight reading that I wasn't as familiar with the piece as I had originally thought.  I knew I had homework to do, and I knew exactly where to go:  Carnegie Hall's listening adventures!

Carnegie Hall's listening adventure for Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 provides a detailed, animated listening map for the entire New World Symphony.  I love how the melody of most of the themes is either shown on a musical staff or shown with contour lines.  These are the three themes from the first movement:

The interactive maps provide a great tool for teaching form, contour, motifs, and instruments of the orchestra.  It also provides a great cross curricular opportunity for teaching history, geography, and storytelling.  I don't recommend going through the entire symphony in one lesson or even through one unit unless you are teaching older students.  I do recommend using one movement at a time to help supplement your and objectives.

Carnegie Hall has provided a "How to use this site" page to help you design a lesson that works best for you.  They also have an Activities page for each movement of the symphony.  These activities can be a great way to assess your students and to check for understanding.

You can believe that when I perform this piece at the Lee's Summit Symphony's Fall Classic on October 13 (yes, that's a shameless plug,) I will be imagining the sailing ships, dancers, and locomotives.

If you liked this online tool, you will love Carnegie Hall's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.  You can check out my blog posts about the YPGO here:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to School

Summer break is over, and I'm already three days into the new school year!  I decided to take the summer off from blogging as well, but I'm back and ready to share more interactive activities for the music classroom.

My goal with IWBMusic this year is to post shorter entries more often.  I might share a new site or resource, or I might share an old favorite that I'm using in the classroom at the time.  The second goal I have for this blog is to write longer, more detailed reviews and lessons every few months.  I had originally set a goal to write a long entry each month, but that wasn't working well for me.  I think this new goal will get me writing and posting more often.

Click Here for GWEMusic
To get things started this year, I invite you to check out my classroom links page.  It is a collection of interactive music sites I have found over the years.  Because the web address my school district uses is very long, I always walk through how to find the site with my students.  Next, I always review how to use this links page with my students because there are literally hundreds of links on here.

I created a "categories" section at the top of the page to help with navigation.  It's not the best in the world, but it helps.  I also put a small screenshot with each link to help visual learners find the sites quickly.  I have found and used other thorough collections of music websites, but I find that even if the links are alphabetical, I have a hard time finding the links that I like when they are completely text-based.  I have found that a small picture helps immensely.

I hope that you find my collection useful.  I also hope that you have a great start to the new school year.  I look forward to sharing more often this year.  Please remember to check out the IWBMusic Facebook page and Google+ page, and please leave comments and share the resources!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra - Part Two: Woodwind Pond

Carnegie Hall's listening adventure, "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra," takes you and your students on a fun safari through the African wilderness in a hunt for all of the instruments played in the orchestra. This is the second part of my five-part resource for this excellent website. If you missed the previous post, you can click here for the Four Families Introduction resources.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chuck Vanderchuck's "Something Something" Explosion!

Chuck Vanderchuck's "Something Something" Explosion! is a great way to introduce different styles of popular music to your students.  Chuck, his friend Ramona, and his dog Zeppelin are trying to get to the big gig at the mall, and it's your job to help them get there!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Melody Street

Melody Street has been around for a couple of years now, but I just came across this fun site about a month ago.  When you enter the site, you are immediately introduced to Val Violin, one of the main characters who live on Melody Street.  As you walk around exploring Melody Street, you can meet more instrument friends who will let you to play games, watch videos, and listen to music.  It is very kid friendly, and does a great job of introducing music to kids.  I will let you explore the main website and all it has to offer on your own.  I want to make sure you are aware of a few other things this great site has to offer.  Read on to learn all about this great interactive website!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra - Part One: Introduction and the Four Families

Benjamin Britten's "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" is one of the staples for introducing the instruments and instrument families of the orchestra to students. There are a lot of interactive websites out there that attempt to teach the instruments to students, but why mess with a good thing? Carnegie Hall didn't mess with a good thing; they improved it!

Carnegie Hall's "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" takes your students on an online safari to find all of the instruments in the orchestra in the wild. It is up to you, Violet, and her Uncle Ollie to find them, collect them, and guide them to the orchestra stage.

Through the game you follow the form of the actual music.  You start by listening to the full orchestra play the theme, followed by the four families playing the theme, followed by the individual instrument variations, and ending with the fugue.

This online adventure can take a long time to complete, so I am breaking it up into five parts:

1. The introduction and four families
2. The woodwind family
3. The strings family
4. The brass family
5. The percussion family and finale

Friday, January 13, 2012

IWB Music Going Social

IWB Music is now on Google+Facebook, and Twitter, and is ready to share great interactive music resources!  You can add +IWB Music to your circles by pressing the link here:

While you're on the page, you can also press the +1 button if you like something I have posted, or the "Share this page" button if you'd like to share it with your circles.  Those buttons will look like this:

If you like fun resources to use in your classroom, then you should also "like" IWB Music on Facebook.  Simply press the "like" button below, and feel free to press the share button to spread these great ideas!

Finally, you can keep up with all things new on IWB Music through my Twitter feed.  Press the button below to follow @WEBraune.

IWB Music is all about sharing great ideas, so have fun making and sharing music!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Les Paul Google Doodle recently posted their list of the 30 Best Google Doodles of 2011, and number 11 on the list (any Spinal Tap fans out there?) was the Google tribute to Les Paul's 96th birthday.  What a great way to make music history fun!

Your students can simply strum the strings to create music.  You can also discuss the major scale, intervals, and chords by playing the notes on a computer keyboard.  Each row will play the same scale, and you can press up to four notes at a time to create chords.

Finally, have fun recording and sharing your compositions!  Simply press the record button, play a song, and press the record button again to end your song.  You will be given a link with your composition to share with other students, teachers, parents, or friends.  Click here for an example of a little tune I made to sound a bit like The Who's "Baba O'Riley."  Try sharing your composition links in the comment section below!

Rock on, and happy new year!