Archive for the ‘Music’ Category


Gospel Singer

October 21, 2016

Subway in New York

Whether it is morning, noon or night when you are at this blog post take the time to … stop, breathe deeply, and watch this one minute and 2 seconds video of a man singing in the subway in New York City.

When we wake each morning we never know what will come our way when we get to school. Certainly there are situations that are out of our control. Some of them make us uncomfortable, challenge us, and provide the opportunity to grow. Sometimes they bring us a smile and even make us laugh uncontrollably. The one thing we do get to control is our attitude; how we wish to be and to respond to whatever students, parents, and colleagues say and whatever may happen. That’s why I say “make it a great day”. What will your attitude be today?



Bob Dylan

October 19, 2016

2016 Nobel Prize in Literature

I graduated from high school in 1972. Many of you are aware of the following information, perhaps first hand, since you were growing up during that time as well. It was a period filled with challenges and turbulence. The Vietnam War started in 1955, escalated in the 60’s in response to military clashes. Even though the military fighting involvement ended in 1973 the war officially ended in 1975. The following year North and South Vietnam were reunified.

Bruce Aydelotte, my high school art teacher demonstrating pen and ink drawing with me wearing my Mondrian dress. You can read the post that includes this photo from March 2009 at

Bruce Aydelotte, my high school art teacher demonstrating pen and ink drawing with me wearing my Mondrian dress. You can read the post that includes this photo from March 2009 at

Bell bottom jeans, beads, headbands, fringe, tie-dyed t-shirts, leather sandals, Dr. Scholl’s wood-bottom sandals, and leather Earth shoes were popular attire. French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent created “The Mondrian Collection” as a homage to the work of several modernistic artists.

The Woodstock Festival was held in 1969 at a 600-acre cattle farm in the Catskills (NY) with an audience of more than 400,000 people. I have a brother who was at Woodstock for the pivotal moment in popular music history. Many of the songs performed at Woodstock by the 32 acts were protest songs.

Some of the musicians and artists of that time period were The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Claes Oldenburg. Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin as well (both died from drug related deaths).

Dylan did not perform at Woodstock but his song The Times They Are a-Changin’ documents the early-’60s turbulence and became an anthem for change. Most interesting, Dylan never claimed to be a protest singer.

What does Dylan and The Times Are a-Changin’ have to do with me and my high school graduation? My class sang the song at graduation – it was our small way of recognizing (and for some of us supporting) what was going on, even though we were at the tail end of it. My older brothers were in the thick of it so I was very aware at a family level of what was happening.

Consequently, I was gleeful to hear the recent news that Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature. So wonderful to know that he is the first musician to be recognized with this award makes it even more special!

If you’re around my age you may have a personal Dylan connection yourself. If you’re younger you may have (or will have) a personal connection to music or an artist from your past. Hopefully the memory will be as sweet as this is for me. I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without sharing my Dylan story. Enjoy Bob Dylan singing The Times They Are A-Changin in this Youtube video.

 Below is the article that came out on the AP by CBS on October 13, 2016.

STOCKHOLM — American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday, a stunning announcement that for the first time bestowed the prestigious award on a musician.

The Swedish Academy cited Dylan for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

Reporters and others gathered for the announcement at the academy’s headquarters in Stockholm’s Old Town reacted with a loud cheer as his name was read out.

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Dylan, who turned 75 in May, had been mentioned in the Nobel speculation for years, but few experts expected the academy to extend the prestigious award to a genre such as popular music.

The academy’s permanent secretary, Sara Danius, said that while Dylan performs his poetry in the form of songs, that’s no different from the ancient Greeks, whose works were often performed to music.

“Bob Dylan writes poetry for the ear,” she said. “But it’s perfectly fine to read his works as poetry.”

Dylan was born on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota. He grew up in a Jewish middle-class family. He’s the first American winner of the Nobel literature prize since Toni Morrison in 1992.

By his early 20s, he had taken the folk music world by storm. “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are A-Changin” became anthems for the anti-war and civil rights movements of the 1960s. Dylan was also awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for his contributions to music and American culture.

The literature award was the last of this year’s Nobel Prizes to be announced. The six awards will be handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.

Earlier this year, renowned photographer Ken Regan released a limited edition book capturing rare, intimate images of Dylan on tour.


Franklin County Fiddlers

October 14, 2016

Mt. Blue High School, Farmington

The Franklin County Fiddlers from Mt. Blue High School, Farmington, under the direction of music educator Steve Muise,  performed at the Maine International Conference on the Arts provided by the Maine Arts Commission on Thursday, October 6, at the Franco Center, in Lewiston. They were one of several pop-up performers that wowed the audience during the MICA conference! Below is a small clip of their pop-up performance.


Playing for Maine

October 6, 2016

Playing for Change

While on location filming spots for their Playing for Change inspired video “Understand” the Maine Academy of Modern Music (MAMM), with a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, filmed a number of stand alone videos showcasing their partnering artists’ own music. Below is one of those videos, House of Hope, Sorcha Cribben-Merrill.


Grandmaster Flash Used Science

October 5, 2016


An interesting article that provides the inside scoop on a young man’s quest to find the right turntable. Below is an excerpt from the article named “Grandmaster Flash on ‘The Get Down’ and how he used science to pioneer DJ techniques”, written by Bethonie Butler, August 23, 2016, published in The Washington Post.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-10-06-28-am“I did extensive studies on the stylus. I had to figure out the proper needle that would stay inside the groove when it’s under the pressure of the vinyl being moved counterclockwise. That was the first step. The second step was figuring out what to do with the rubber matting that comes with the turntable. When I was trying to move the vinyl counterclockwise, it caused too much drag and too much friction, so I had to remove it. Then under that was the steel platter. The problem was I couldn’t put the vinyl on the steel platter because if there was a cut on the other side, I would ruin the record.

My mother was a seamstress so I knew different types of materials. When I touched felt, I said, “This could possibly work.” The problem with felt is that it draped, it was limp. So I ran home and got a copy of my album and I bought just enough felt to cut out two round circles the same size as a 33’ LP and — when my mother wasn’t looking — I turned the iron all the way up high and I used my mother’s spray starch. I sprayed it until this limp piece of felt became — I called it a wafer, like what you get in church at Easter. Today it’s called a slipmat.”

Read the entire article by CLICKING HERE and I’d suggest that you share it with your students.


Maine Acoustic Festival

October 3, 2016

Middle and high school students – deadline: November 1, 2016

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MMEA Conference

September 25, 2016

September 30

The Maine Chapter (American Orff- Schulwerk Association) with MMEA (Maine Music Educators Association) are proud to present:

Jonathan Rappaport & Charlyn Bethel

 Flavors of Kodály and Weikart:

Surefire songs, dances, games, and part songs

Sessions to include:

Introduction to the Kodály Concept

A Baker’s Dozen–13 Ways to Teach a New Song

The Sequential Development of Part Work

Teaching Movement and Dance Using Education Through Movement

Friday, September 30, 2016, 9 AM – 3:30 PM at Le Club Calumet – Augusta, ME (334 West River Road Augusta). Credit: 1.5 CEUs from the University of Southern Maine with a paper and lesson plan ($12. charge must be sent to USM at a later date – info at workshop).

For a registration form or more information please contact Nancy Cash-Cobb or call her at 446-1762, Windham Primary Sch00l.

Learn about this internationally-renowned approach to teaching students of all ages in a child-developmental approach of learning music through the human voice, movement, sight-reading, and comprehensive musical understanding. The process of learning is key, with careful preparation, presentation, and practice of all elements, concepts and skills. Covered will be choice of musical materials, sequencing, tools of Kodály teaching (hand signs, solfa, rhythm syllables, letter names), and learning a variety of classroom tested, successful song material.

A Baker’s Dozen–13 Ways to Teach a New Song

presented by Jonathan

Successful learning of a wide variety of song material is critical for the success of the general music classroom at all grade levels. Learn 13 ways of teaching songs that intrigue students, keep them focused, and offer variety to the routines of teaching songs. Songs presented will be time-tested, successful songs useful in a variety of elementary grades.

The Sequential Development of Part Work

presented by Jonathan

Developing part-singing skills takes time and careful sequencing for children to gain confidence, ability, and proficiency. This workshop examines part-work development in a successful sequence of learning. It will include a variety of part music suitable for young voices, including rounds, canons, partner songs, part songs, and folk song arrangements.

Teaching Movement and Dance Using Education Through Movement

presented by Charlyn

This session will outline how to build a movement foundation for your students. Education Through Movement is a process that has analyzed locomotor and non-locomotor movements, which helps the teacher start with what is easiest and progress into more challenging movement sequences that are used in simple folk dances. Topics will include ways of engaging learners to move creatively, the prerequisites to teaching dance, and then practical application to some actual folk dances. Wear comfortable shoes and expect to have some fun!

Jonathan C. Rappaport is Executive Director of Arts|Learning (Medfield, MA), a statewide non-profit organization that advocates for and promotes arts education and systemic education reform, and the Co-Founder/Director emeritus of the Kodály Music Institute, Southborough, MA, (founded 1998) where he teaches conducting and advanced pedagogy and materials analysis.  He was formerly Head of School, Conservatory Lab Charter School (Brighton, MA), and the Performing Arts Liaison of the Worcester (MA) Public Schools.

Jonathan is a conductor, educator, composer, pianist, singer, author, and consultant for school systems.  He has served as the choral director of numerous schools, children’s festival honor choirs, churches, synagogues, and community choral groups. Rappaport has published 18 choral works and 5 books, and is the recipient of awards for his work advocating for the arts in public schools from the MA Music Educators, the MA Alliance for Arts Education, the New England Theatre Conference, and the MA Art Educators Association.  He has taught music, trained teachers nationally, presented at national and state conferences in over a dozen states, and directed choruses for 45 years.

Charlyn Bethell has been using Kodály Methodology in her Concord Public Schools K-5 classes for 28 years. She has been teaching at the Kodály Music Institute since its inception (1998) and presently teaches Pedagogy and Materials to Level II students in that program. She has given workshops for the Organization of American Kodály Educators, the MA Music Educators Assn, and the Boston Area Kodály Educators. Charlyn is the Music Director of her UU church in Watertown and she is a freelance oboist in the Boston area. She is the adjunct oboe teacher at Phillips Andover Academy and she plays regularly with Solar Winds Quintet and Kaleidoscope Chamber Ensemble. She has performed with Monadnock Music, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Emmanuel Music, New Hampshire Symphony, and the Opera Company of Boston. She was a founding member of the New Art Winds (woodwind quintet), which made its New York debut in Carnegie Recital Hall in 1985. She has recorded for CRI.

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