Elementary School Music

The symphony flashmob videos: Spain and Denmark II

Posted in Video by P. Conrad on January 30, 2013

If you want students in a New York City public school classroom to see the wonderful Banco Sabadell flashmob performance of the fourth movement of sabadell flashmobBeethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, you need a way to work around the Department of Education’s system-wide YouTube block. Fortunately, this video is now hosted on a family-friendly site called Wimp.com, which will open on school computers (click link above).

This is an informal performance by 100 musicians from the Valles Symphony Orchestra, and singers from the Cor Lieder Camera, Amics de la Opera and Coral Belles Arts choirs, as well as passersby in a plaza of the Catalan city of Sabadell, north of Barcelona.


The Copenhagen Philharmonic has filmed two flashmobs:

one is at Copenhagen Central Station, performing Ravel’s Bolero (also hosted at wimp.com)

and also a later performance of Grieg’s Peer Gynt, on a moving metro car. But this one is only hosted at the celebrity-gossip site PerezHilton.com, which is full of raunchy material and images that for some reason does not trigger the DOE’s content controls. Unfortunately, you have to be careful not to share the rest of the PerezHilton content with your students.

Still unavailable for screening in our schools, is a production of l’Association Française des Orchestres, in which 60 musicians perform a section from Bizet’s l’Arlésienne

video for teaching and learning about Jazz, Piano, Dance

Posted in Video by P. Conrad on January 20, 2013


Joy2Learn is a foundation that’s been around for a while (since 2000) and hosts free video content useful for teachers in visual and performing arts. The founder is the virtuoso pianist Alan Gampel, who also presents the material on piano.

The site currently has “e-presentations” (click on the logo above)  featuring Wynton Marsalis on Jazz, Gregory Hines on Dance, plus Hector Elizondo on Theatre, Elizabeth Murray on painting and Richard Serra on Sculpture.

Each subject includes lesson plans, and teachers’ resources (bibliography, links to other sites). Marsalis’s section has specific lesson plans on jazz in history, composition, and trumpet technique.

Two music teachers’ workshops in July

Posted in Events, Prof. Development by P. Conrad on May 16, 2012

Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts offers two 2-day teacher education workshops held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Usdans’ Huntington, LI campus.

I Can Do That Kids! on July 17 – 18 will be taught by Angelo Truglio, music educator and founder of the I Can Do That! program.

Music for Learning, Music for Fun on July 24 — 25 will be taught by Elaine Gates a Usdan faculty member since 1968.

The workshops cost $95 each, and include classroom and hands-on experiences designed to enrich the programs of elementary music teachers, and classroom teachers alikel. A Certificate of Completion will be provided at the end of each course.

Applications may be downloaded from the Usdan Center  or all 631-643-7900 for more information.

My First Classical Music Book (and i-Pad app)

Posted in Books for Teachers, Music Technology by P. Conrad on January 18, 2012

 Genevieve Helsby’s excellent introduction for elementary aged children was published in 2009.  Now, My First Classical Music Book can be used in conjunction with an i-Pad app ($4.99) that opens up the book’s pages into a lively animated encounter with elements of Western art music.

The 60-page book (including an audio CD) is published by Naxos. The i-Pad app can be explored in a brief YouTube video.

Professional Organizations

Posted in Prof. Organizations, Where-ever by P. Conrad on December 15, 2011

Most of the activity of national and state groups for music education seems to be focused on middle and upper school music — where the performances, competitions and budgets are concentrated. Annual membership fees for these groups can add up. However, all the organizations listed here offer valuable resources; in some cases non-members can have access as well, through the group’s website. See also the local and national professional groups listed under Kodály, Orff, and Dalcroze.

National Association for Music Education (formerly known as MENC) Memberships include subscription to several publications. A combination NAME/NYSSMA membership is $108 annually. The NAME website hosts a lively General Music discussion on-line.


New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA)

NAME and NYSSMA are a combined membership: when you join one, you belong to both.

Music Educators Association of New York City (MEANYC) $30 annually, 1st-year teachers free.

MEANYC hosts various workshops throughout the year, as well as sponsoring the adjudication of NYSSMA festival competitions around the city. Their latest newsletter, Crescendo, is available here.

Texas Music Educators Association TMEA is included here as an exemplary professional organization: see especially what’s available under the heading Resources.

The Children’s Music Network is organization of  “teachers, performers, songwriters, radio hosts, and parents who care about the quality and content of children’s music.”

Tagged with: ,

Professional Development

Posted in Prof. Development, Where-ever by P. Conrad on December 14, 2011

Organizations or schools in the NYC area which offer professional development: clinics, workshops, or certification training of relevance to elementary-level music teachers. Click the “Events” link to see what’s current.

Office of Arts and Special Projects (NYC-DOE) sometimes plans day-long clinics during the school year, focusing on the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts.

Music Educators Association of New York City (MEANYC) has short (2-hour) clinics on Saturdays at locations all over NYC.

UFT Music Teachers Committee was dormant for several years, but recently resumed offering a program of full-day Saturday clinics for music teachers, during the year.

Orff and Kodály chapters in NYC sponsor day-long Saturday events in Manhattan, with L.I. Orff workshops at Hofstra University.

Metropolitan Opera Guild

Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, offers some one-day-only music education courses on Saturdays.

NYU’s Kodály Summer Institute is an excellent intensive program for Kodály certification held each year around first two weeks of July.

New Jersey City University has Orff certification classes in July.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has a certification for early and middle childhood music teachers. NBPTS certification is a rigorous process through which accomplished teachers earn a distinction after completing a course of assessments and portfolio submission. Information about the Music Educators certification and the NBPTS standards for early and middle childhood music can be downloaded as a PDF file.

Tagged with:

Posted in Choral Music, Events, Prof. Development by P. Conrad on December 13, 2011

The Office of Arts and Special Projects just recently announced “Cross-Choral Training™,” an all-day Saturday workshop for NYC Department of Education choral/vocal teachers.

The clinicians are two master choral conductors: Dianne Berkun (right) of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and Jeannette LoVetri (left), BYC’s Voice Specialist.

BYCA’s Cross-Choral Training™ method is functional voice training applied in a group setting, based on the latest information on voice science and knowledge of the young voice. Through the development of vocal registers and resonance adjustments, singers develop the capacity to perform music of diverse genres and styles authentically, and to respond to musical and expressive demands of the most challenging choral repertoire.

The workshop will be held at the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy, 179 Pacific Street, Brooklyn (near the Bergen Street F train) from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday January 28.

A live music calendar for NYC students

Posted in Events, For Kids, Where-ever by P. Conrad on December 11, 2011

Music for a Sound Future is a site that helps students find free or low-cost performances of live music in all five city boroughs, with detailed descriptions of each event including a map to each respective venue.

The calendar is an initiative of the Council for Living Music in partnership with the American Federation of Musicians Local 802. It’s part of their effort to counter the trend among Broadway producers toward using canned music in place of pit orchestras for Broadway shows. The site uses GoogleCalendar and includes many Juilliard recitals and some drama as well as music.

Performing Arts in NYC

Posted in NYC Arts Partners by P. Conrad on November 13, 2011

Carnegie HallThe many performing arts organizations in New York City can be a great resource for teachers and students. Some of the links listed here also appear on the Professional Development page. Most of these organizations offer extensive outreach (visiting artist) programs for NYC schools, or offer print and audio curriculum materials for teachers. Some even host websites where children can explore music on their own.

  • Carnegie Hall has a program for 3rd through 5th graders called LinkUp! and one called Music Explorers for grades K through 2. Each program combines learning soprano recorder and trips to attend (or even participate in!) concerts at Carnegie Hall. Their Online Resource Center is a rich collection off videos, lesson plans and other materials (free, but you have to register on-line for access).
  • Metropolitan Opera offers a variety of opera programs for schools, as well as partnerships and professional development through the Metropolitan Opera Guild including the Urban Voices initiative.
  • American Ballet Theatre is listed here because the music is such an integral part of the experience, and they offer free schooltime concerts, as well as free tickets for students to attend regular performances in the Spring.
  • JazzReach usually schedules a few of its outstanding multimedia performances with the Metta Quintet in June at Manhattan’s John Jay College.
  • Young People’s Chorus of New York City, the resident chorus of the 92nd Street Y and WNYC, successfully emphasizes choral work from multicultural sources. Every spring, YPC hosts a big choral directors workshop.
  • Brooklyn Conservatory of Music has a Music Partners program which takes the place of a full-time music teacher in some public schools (P.S. 29 in District 15 is one). In some cases the partnership can be arranged to work along-side of a regular DOE music teacher. The BCM’s Music Partners director is Dorothy Savitch.

The NYCDOE’s Office of Pupil Transportation enables schools to reserve buses on-line. Each school is assigned a UserID and Password, for access.

“Arts Achieve:” New York City’s arts education assessments

Posted in NYC Arts Partners by P. Conrad on November 11, 2011

This past year, the city’s Department of Education joined with a group of local arts organizations and won a multimillion dollar “Investing in Innovation Fund” (i3) grant from the US Department of Education. The project, called Arts Achieve: Impacting Student Success in the Arts, is spearheaded by the longtime DOE arts-partner Studio in a School, and includes Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute; ArtsConnection; 92nd Street Y/Harkness Dance Center, Dance Education Laboratory;  and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, which is a branch of the Smithsonian Institution. An additional partner is Metis Associates, a consulting group that provides research, evaluation, program development and information technology services.

According the Arts Achieve grant application, the project is meant to create “standardized ways of assessing student achievement in visual arts, music, theater, and dance in benchmark years: 5th, 8th, and 12th grades.”  Hopefully, the assessment results will translate into better classroom instruction and higher student achievement. Use of digital technology features broadly in the project and in its eventual wider application, in tools for communication, for assessment feedback, and for accessing arts curriculum.