Kenley Kristofferson


Tag: choir


24 days ago, I uploaded the “Cosmos” choral suite to Soundcloud, hoping that people would listen to it and feel a resonance between the music and themselves.

The response has been more than I ever could have imagined.

Today, the suite hit 10,000 views 🙂

Thank you.

Thank you for giving it a shot.

Thank you for writing about it, if you did.

Thank you for re-posting/retweeting it, if you did.

Thank you for telling a friend, if you did.

Clearly, many people did – that’s how this happens 🙂

A special thanks to Phil Plait and Joe Hanson, who posted on their wildly popular blogs and twitter accounts to share the music.

After the weekend, I’m going to post some of my favourite comments and get started on the “Conception to Completion” entry for “Cosmos.”

Even though we’ve hit 10,000, please keep listening, sharing, and even getting into contact with me.  Here is the link if you want to listen/share!

I really appreciate every listen that’s gone toward my work.

My best and have a great long weekend!

Music Ed Monday – The Inspiration Board

We used to have this whiteboard at the front of our room, but then we got this incredible SMARTBoard.   It’s an enormous touchscreen monitor that’s rigged up to our iMac.  It’s like Star Trek, the future is now 🙂

… But then what were we going to do with this old whiteboard?

Well, we just put it off to the side on, really, the only wallspace that would fit.  We also didn’t have much to put on it either (because we did everything on the SMARTBoard), so it held rehearsal schedules or reminders for a while, but then it turned into something entirely different.

I love this thing.  It’s now the “Inspiration Board” and I can’t really take credit for any of it.  This is a brainchild of Michael Brandon, my collaborating teacher.  We each bring something different to the Music Room, but I’m sure glad that he brings this.

But then another amazing thing happened: The kids started writing on it too.  Take a look at this gem here:

Then just last week, Michael posed a question on the white board: “It’s your turn! What have you learned?” And just look how they responded…

Some of my favourites include…
– “Everyone leads from their own seat” (we can thank one of our clarinetists for that one)
– “No one cares what you can do without trying.”
– “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

It’s amazing what they’ll tell you if only you give them the opportunity 🙂

Have a great week!

Music Ed Mondays – Educating the Heart

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”

– Aristotle

It goes without saying, but sometimes we (not only as teachers, but as a culture) really get caught up in our day-to-day, be it curriculum, routine, meetings, or whatever.  It’s not necessarily our fault because that’s just the pace of our world, but when we get reminded about the why of what we do (again, whatever that may be), it becomes our fault if we choose to ignore that reminder.

I don’t mean that negatively or critically, but let’s not forget about what got us into this job in the first place.

For me as a teacher, I got in it to teach kids, aid them in a positive development of their sense of self and improve the world by having more globally- and socially-minded human beings.  Now, does teaching F major or running rhythm worksheets assist in that? Directly, no; indirectly, yes without question.

Skill development always needs to be taught with the end in mind.  It’s SO easy to get caught up in scale tests, prep for the provincial or state exam, or the big essay coming up, but sometimes we have to pull ourselves from our routine and ask “now, why am I doing this again?”

If you don’t have an answer, it may be time to shift your thinking.

I justify F major to myself as having facility in a key better allows the student access to a piece of music that may move them, or at the very least, deliver an idea.  If the student keeps playing Eb instead of E-natural, the integrity of the idea and cohesion of the music is compromised.

The same argument can be made for spelling and punctuation in English: If integrity is lost through misplaced commas, apostrophes or wrong spelling, the very idea that you’re trying to communicate is compromised.  Or, to be transferred to literacy: If the student cannot translate the vocabulary or read the words, the ideas taken from literature that change the world are lost – odds are that you won’t take messages of social justice, innocence, equality and integrity from To Kill a Mockingbird if you’re inhibited by the level of the text.  It’s a round peg in a square hole; a shiny key for the wrong lock.

So, will F major change the world? On its own: No.  BUT, in the context of a piece evoking beauty to students who feel like the Music Room is the only place where they feel safe, confident and can express themselves freely without persecution? Absolutely.  So, why are we doing this again? Oh yeah, that’s right.

It must always be with the end in mind, which (for me) is to make a positive change in the student’s life and for them to take that change out into the world and improve it themselves.

For them, it will not be “will I make a difference?” But rather, “what difference will I make?” 🙂

Thanks for reading!