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Rob Jones

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Everything posted by Rob Jones

  1. The accepted definition of 'music technology' is the use of sequencers, digital multi track recorders etc. to create music. It isn't particularly about the reaction to pre recorded music. So, your question I suspect relates to how cognitive mathematical principles are experienced through the creation of digital music. I'm not an expert, but I would think that the creation of Fibonnacci series related music, complex pattern based minimalist music and serialism are the kinds of things your student should start with. As for literacy, I've no idea. Personally I would favour a good book over a Tascam 16 track for literary enlightenment.
  2. There are so many moments in teaching, some fantastic others embarrassing, that I wished I wrote them all down. Two of the latter come to mind. 1. I had a boy called Andres Arce in a class once. You can guess how it was pronounced, so I generally avoided it and just called him Andres. One day, my guard was down, he was absent and during register call, shouted loudly "Has anybody seen Andres Arce", to paroxysms of laughter of course. 2. I had suspected a boy of systematically stealing small items of music equipment, so planted a small interesting shaker instrument to see if he would nick it, planning to later call the deputy head and catch him with said shaker. At the end of the lesson, it disappeared so I gleefully called the deputy head and we nailed the thief. We asked him to empty his large bag and discovered not only the very small shaker, but an enormous amplifier, two large speakers, 10 cables, a CD player and around 20 CDs, which I hadn't missed! The story circulated not only around the school but around the city and I still get teased about it.
  3. I've set similar tasks for my teacher trainees, but it should certainly include forums since you are much more likely to find useful information there. If the info you require isn't there, you can just start a topic and watch as the replies flood in (as you've probably realised here!). This is the best forum, but there's also the TES staffroom which is UK biased but still very good. In the UK, there are also some pretty good newsgroups around. I use uk.education.teachers and uk.education.misc but I find newsgroups are being used by spammers more and more so am reluctant to use them these days which is a big pity.
  4. I am very interested in integrating music with maths. One model I have been working with recently is using the Fibonnacci series and relating this to musical pitch as a composing tool. If you have any ideas, please post them here.
  5. Here is a list of free software on line Anvil Studio Logic Fun Coagula synthesiser SimSynth version 1.3 Vocoder Acid Xpress Hammerhead Rhythm Station Finale Notepad Music Trainers
  6. I said goodbye in July to take a break from teaching and concentrate on consulting for at least a couple of years. Colleagues are a little envious to say the least!
  7. It only appears more complex than GTP mentoring because the chances are, your RB or DRB provided very little, if any guidelines for mentoring. In theory, the mentoring process should be the same regardless of which route to QTS the trainee is following. I worked with the OU on their flexible PGCE and found that the support they give to mentors and trainees is exceptional. If you get stuck with which form to fill in or which assessment is due, just ring the regional office who will sort things out for you.
  8. I've been using technology and music since the 1980s, in the days of the Atari ST. Since then I've been teaching using interactive whiteboards, video conferencing, digital video (which I'm heavily into at the moment), sequencers, scorewriters, multi track recorders, digital audio editing etc. I was a national on line mentor for the NOF programme which I don't often admit to, but there we go.
  9. Yes .... Because our new head says uniform is the key to good behaviour, and he must be right mustn't he? Also he intends to start a uniform for the 6th form. Rumour has it that there is to be a uniform for staff... I think I might enjoy that bit.
  10. It really depends on what you mean by notation. "I played a note C and it lasted for 1.5 seconds and I played it quite loudly" is a form of notation. West African drummers and Indian tabla players among others use mnemonics as a form of notation. Many other cultures don't use notation at all and rely on the music being passed down from teacher to pupil. A survey in 1994 estimated that 0.02% of all music ever performed exists in staff notation. Horizontal line notation probably goes back to the 9th or 10th century and then only in Western civilization. To have a good appreciation of music, I would argue you really don't need any knowledge of how to read or write it.
  11. The old 70s musicals are undergoing a bit of a revival. We just did Jesus Christ Superstar which was great. Godspell was last year. Good old Grease gets an airing now and again as does Joseph. Little shop of Horrors is my personal favourite which we've done twice.
  12. Rob Jones


    The AST issue is a completely separate thing to Performance Related Pay, let's be clear about that. It was unfortunate timing that the government proposals for PRP were unveiled about 3 weeks before the plans to create 'superteachers' as they were then called. The predictable result was that the two completely separate issues were confused. As one of the first ASTs to be appointed in 1999, I was faced by a lot of hostility in the early days. LEAs new to ASTs may still see it a divisive, but this has mostly long gone. Colleagues now readily invite us to advise and support them. We don't look for work, it finds us. ASTs get paid for the additional duties related to teaching and learning. A comparison might be with a deputy head, who gets paid for management duties. The difference is that the AST has to prove himself, jump through hoops and get certified before even being considered for a job, whereas the aspiring deputy head can just apply for the jobs. True, there are some dodgy ASTs around, but in my experience the dodgyness ratio is far lower than in management teams. This isn't the right thread for this, but some of the points raised by Andy are quite valid and we've been campaigning for years to change them with DfES. What is actually happening with the AST initiative is extremely positive. I've seen dozens of amazing teachers staying in the classroom where they do the best jobs. The majority of these, would have gone into management or LEA positions, taking them away from contact with children if it were not for AST.
  13. I believe also that if you lose a Promethean 'marker' you are stuffed.
  14. I'm not entirely convinced that the sport analogy is exactly the same as Nationalism in the sense of having pride in one's country. When football violence occurs, it is just tribal behaviour; complete with tribal colours and tribal chants. If we support our national tiddlywinks team, then that is displaying pride in our own nation, but when rival tiddlywinks supporters throw broken bottles at each other, there's no pride being displayed, just clan behaviour which is deeply engrained in men's psyche. Most of us manage to suppress it though. My favourite pub; the Marble Beer House in Manchester (great for home brewed IPA, but I digress!) has got wise to clan behaviour and allows football fans in as long as they don't wear any colours.
  15. Proclaimers. Yes that is bizarre. I reckon it's because one of their parents must play it ad nauseam and it has had a brainwashing effect on your student. We have rock bands that do Thin Lizzy, Free, Black Sabbath (good for power chords) and I caught another band doing 'Wine Women and Song' by Whitesnake... not good in a Catholic school, so I shut the door. One answer is that their parents play it at home. Another answer is that pop music these days (o-oh... old fogey alert!) isn't as varied as it was in the 70s or it doesn't contain as much decent guitar work as it used to. Interestingly, a couple of years ago the Dandy Worhols did Bohemian Like You which rock bands in virtually every school covered. This is because it is almost identical to Brown Sugar (Stones) and has some great guitar riffs and real guts that you don't normally get in boy/girl band stuff these days. (eeee, it were all fields around here then.. pass the Complan)
  16. I am a Flash fanatic. Problem with Flash is the time it takes to create good educational content. Take a look at my Harmony lessons for a sample. I created these lessons with a nice program called Swish which takes the blood, sweat and tears out of using Macromedia Flash. You can get it from The Swishzone website Alternatively, there is a really nice flash generator in the shape of CoffeeCup Firestarter from The Coffee cup website This is free, but has a small advert at the bottom of the presentation. An advert free version is $49 I think.
  17. I do think the EU, widespread travel and the collapse of the Eastern bloc have shifted allegiances from Nationalism to other types of clannish pride; such as Religious or linguistic apartheid. Arguably, all equally threatening to world peace. During the Falklands war, I was in Spain (being half Spanish). It was interesting how the vast majority of people there supported Argentina. This was mainly due to the simple fact that the same language is spoken, although British colonisation of Gibraltar undoubtedly influenced this. The body language, conversation, vocal intonation and behaviour of Argentinians was closer to the Spanish than the British. Shared cultures, bring countries closer together, and this is the crucial thing we should be teaching pupils in schools. An appreciation and toleration of other languages cultures and religions is the key to harmonious international relations. In the UK, we just don't teach enough foreign languages. Many pupils in the UK therefore view other nations as completely alien and it's not an overstatement to say that xenophobia is quite common. In secondary schools, pupils are frequently disapplied from the National Curriculum usually due to staffing problems in KS4. The effect of this will be a further shortage of MFL teachers in the future. Perhaps this could be the subject of another debate though! I'm not suggesting for a minute that the worlds' problems will be solved through teaching more languages. This is part of a range of strategies schools should use to increase cultural and linguistic awareness. Exchanges and study trips to various countries should be a curricular right. When children have a respect and understanding of other languages and cultures, pride in ones own country can do no harm. Without that respect and understanding, National pride can indeed be destructive.
  18. The reform looks good and is needed. Certainly the array of vocational qualifications that exist at the moment is confusing even for those who work with it day in day out. I'm a little concerned that with the sweeping changes, they may throw the baby out with the bathwater. Although it's hard to find them, there are some good features of the present system. At one stage the working party proposed not grading the diplomas. This would result in a bunching of Advanced Diploma graduates. Universities and employers would not be able to discriminate those at the top middle and lower ends of this band without further testing. The proposal for grading is under review now I believe. Many of the identified problems with the current system especially at post 16 arose from the reforms in 2000 which created a horrendously complex assessment procedure and overloaded curriculum. I was part of a working group at that time, formulating GCSE and A level specifications and we were under very strict guidelines from QCA about the proportion of teacher and external assessment and the complex curriculum. We all saw the problems coming, including exam board administration nightmares which quickly emerged. Curriculum 2000 was a missed opportunity to make the big reforms in my view.
  19. Rob Jones


    Sorry to go off-topic a bit. Tablets are very nice because they are so portable. They are like a laptop but in two separate pieces; screen and keyboard. You can detach the keyboard and write directly on the screen which looks indestructable. The pen acts as a stylus and also as a mouse.
  20. I've not found anything suitable for GCSE on Gamelan on the web, but I've got a scheme which I developed with our city Gamelan (yeah, we've got one!) that is suitable for Y9 really. It can be used as a springboard for GCSE work though. Send me a PM with your e mail address and I'll send it to you in an attachment.
  21. I have lots of evidence that free materials from two of my sites has been stolen in this way. They've even gone to lengths to remove original identifying markings that link it to my sites and pass it off as their own work. This is plagiarism pure and simple. I have two branches to one of my sites. One is free and the other is subscription based. I don't actually earn any money from either and both are advert free. A personal thing, since I detest adverts with a passion but accept that if it wasn't for advertisements, many great educational sites wouldn't exist. My subscription site enables me to pay authors a decent royalty fee for real quality stuff and provide them and me with up to date IT equipment to do the job efficiently. What is particularly interesting is that plagiarisms and theft occur from my free site and never from the subscription site where the materials are of much higher quality. One of the reasons is undoubtedly that the free site has more traffic, but I think that there is a perception that if material appears for free then it is fair game to use it as one wishes, whereas if it has been paid for, the purchaser is more protective of it and unwilling to pass it on.
  22. Rob Jones


    Warchalking goes on a bit in city centres where insecure office wi-fis exist. A group of students set up a virtual office in Bedford Square doing just this not long ago. I read that some system administrators actually like the idea of warchalking, since it flags up insecure connections so they can do something about it! I don't think it's a problem as long as WEP is enabled and a decent firewall is in there. I have a wireless lan at home since we have 6 computers. It's all pretty secure and you'd have to be a genius to hack into my system (in my small seaside town, I'm, confident there aren't any!) and if anybody is sad enough to stand outside my house to surf the internet, I'm happy to oblige out of pity. A Netgear ADSL router ensures broadband is available throughout the house but it's important to locate it carefully otherwise there will be blind spots. My garden is a blind spot, but I do have a life, and don't particularly want to use computers there! Like Liza we have a wireless lan at school which Bromcom also operates through. I use it happily with my laptop and it seems to be faster than the wired lan for internet access. It is crucial though where the access point is located. If it loses connection when a door is shut, then it needs shifting a bit. Sometimes contractors just install them in places where a mains outlet is conveniently located and give practicality not much thought . Mine at school is in the roof cavity in the centre of the music block so the whole building has wireless connectivity. Another nice application of wireless equipment is a wireless projector and tablet PC. We got one of these through our local City Learning Centre. It means that pupils can pass the tablet around, contributing ideas to the lesson and giving opinions and this is projected on the whiteboard wirelessly. Also, I can write things on the tablet from the back of the classroom or, in A level lessons from the piano or student table which are then projected onto the whiteboard. Fantastic for aural tests and basic notes for listening lessons.
  23. Ha!.. Yeah, these music teachers must have too much time on their hands .. tut tut!
  24. If you like Gamelan stuff, try the BBC Virtual Gamelan which is brilliant
  25. Rob Jones


    That sounds like a perfect way of using EJay. Fruity loops is also a nice loop based program. Unfortunately it is also much misused. I'm a senior moderator for GCSE composing and E jay is a perennial nightmare. We get hundreds of candidates submitting very simple loop based compositions on E jay and the teachers awarding them close to full marks which is a complete joke. Often these same candidates perform to a high level, so they are being told to use over simplistic software that doesn't adequately display their creative compositional skill. Liza uses it with Year 8 in a very creative way but for medium and high ability GCSE pupils it surely isn't appropriate
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