Category Archives: Music

Jurassic Park

Despite some of the controversy surrounding the release of Jurassic World, the Phun Phriday post for this week honors the music from the original movie with interesting covers by The Piano Guys and The Warp Zone with Peter Hollens.

Click here to go to an A Capella cover from The Warp Zone and Peter Hollens as featured on Laughing Squid.

View the video here.
The Warp Zone and Peter Hollens cover Jurassic Park theme. View the video here.

Here is a slightly more poignant version from The Piano Guys.

I Want You Bach

I found today’s Phun Phriday post while I was browsing through Flipboard.

image from "I Want You Bach" by The Piano Guys
image from “I Want You Bach” by The Piano Guys

The Piano Guys have arranged a brilliant composition that combines Bach and “I Want You Back” from the Jackson 5. Here is part of the summary you will find on their YouTube description of the video:

“What if the harpsichord from the 1770s hit headlong into the talk box from 1970s? What if J.S. Bach and Jackson 5 met up and just jammed? Would they jive? Can you dig it? These are the kind of far out questions we asked ourselves as we laid down these licks and cut this film. We decided to put together a gig with two wigs in dandy attire and two hep-cats in some funkadelic threads to see if it would fly. (Incidentally, Steve’s 1770/1970 alter egos are “Sir Reginald von Sharp” and “Scooby” while Jon’s are “Duke Johann van Keymeister” and “Phil.”)

Presenting… “I Want You Bach” – Jackson 5’s funky “I Want You Back” mashed-up with 5 illustrious themes written by J.S. Bach.”

Hmm.  What do you think might be next? Bach in Black, Bach in the Saddle, The Boys are Bach in Town, Bach in Time…

Podsnack

I forgot my wireless speaker yesterday.  Usually, the week before our Winter Break, my students enjoy listening to Christmas/Holiday music.  Our new computers don’t have C.D. players, so I have a few playlists on my phone.  However, the phone doesn’t sound very good without a speaker.

Podsnack to the rescue!  During my planning time, I quickly put together a playlist of virtually all of the same songs I had on my phone.  When the students returned to class, the songs were ready to go.  Click here if you would like to access my Holiday Playlist. (The Straight No Chaser songs are a huge hit with the students, by the way!)

Podsnack is a free service.  You can access public playlists that have been shared by a link without even registering.  If you do register (for free), you can create your own playlist by adding tracks from your computer (not iTunes), Dropbox, or YouTube.  There is a Premium version of the service, but I haven’t needed that.

Of course, make sure Podsnack is not blocked if you are using it in your classroom.  And always preview the songs before playing them to make sure they are appropriate for your particular group of students.

Podsnack is great to use in the curriculum as well.  You can read about one great idea from my friend, LeAnne Hernandez.  She won the Teachers are Givers contest this summer with this lesson plan.

Below, you can see some of the creative thinking my 4th graders did yesterday while they were listening to our Holiday Playlist.  Their assignment was to “adapt” Santa’s sleigh to a different environment. If you are interested in more ideas like these, check out this post.

Santa has his own inner tube connected to one carrying gifts.  Whales are pulling them.
Santa has his own inner tube connected to one carrying gifts. Whales are pulling them.
I cannot even describe all of the details in this picture.  The sleigh is being pulled by lions and is also powered by a lunar panel as opposed to a solar one)
I cannot even describe all of the details in this picture. The sleigh is being pulled by lions and is also powered by a lunar panel (as opposed to a solar one).  There is feed hanging off the end for the lions.
Here we have the sleigh outfitted with a drill for underground travel.
Here we have the sleigh outfitted with a drill for underground travel.  Powerful lanterns are necessary, too.
My favorite thing about this one is the technical jargon on the buttons!
Sorry about the quality of this pic!  My favorite thing about this one is the technical jargon on the buttons!

Physical Ways to Survive the Weeks Before Winter Break

This week I am revisiting some of last year’s posts that have a lot of helpful December links.  This one is about getting everybody moving! Whether it’s between assignments or for indoor recess (those of you who actually have weather that makes that necessary sometimes!), these links are sure to wake everyone up and get out some of those December  wiggles:)

from GoNoodle.com
from GoNoodle.com

One of the things that is really important any time of the year is to get the students up out of their seats.  But it’s particularly vital this time of year.  Attention spans are shorter and less time is spent out of doors in many places.  Here are some ideas for keeping active during the school day:

Want more from this series?  Check out Creative Ways to Survive the Week Before Winter Break and Logical Ways to Survive the Week Before Winter Break!

You Can Have Your Legos – and Eat Them, Too!

What can’t be done with Legos? I wish I had recognized the potential of this versatile toy when I was a kid!  Legos appear quite a bit on this blog because I am regularly astonished by how creative people can be with them, and certainly not because they pay me any money – which they absolutely don’t.  For today’s Phun Phriday post, I offer you links that show Legos making music, Legos keeping track of appointments, and Legos that will make your mouth water!

See the first ever Lego band play a Depeche Mode song here!
See the first ever Lego band play a Depeche Mode song in this post from The Creators Project!
Not only is this calendar made of Legos, but it digitally syncs!  Find out more in this article by Core77!
Not only is this calendar made of Legos, but it digitally syncs! Find out more in this article by Core77!
Nothing would actually be built with these in my house because we would be too busy eating them!  Find out more at Neatorama!
Nothing would actually be built with these in my house because we would be too busy eating them! Find out more at Neatorama!

VidRhythm

I found myself in Seattle a few weeks ago, stuck in a 12-person van with my daughter’s synchronized swimming team on a road trip.  The girls were getting a bit stir crazy, and I was trying to think of a game we hadn’t played yet.  I desperately texted a music teacher friend, “What was that fun music app you showed me last month?”

VidRhythm.”

vidrhythm

I quickly downloaded it, and got the girls next to me to give their input on the song and style.  Once you choose a song and style, the app tells you certain sounds to make as you are recorded, then mixes them into a fun video. The video can then be shared to your camera roll or on social media (if you desire).

The team loved it.  Suddenly every girl in the van was downloading the app to her phone and making weird sounds.  In retrospect, maybe it wasn’t a great idea to try it out in an enclosed space…

I was reminded of the app when I saw this article on the Huffington Post about a recent video called, “Schoolhouse Re-mix” by DJ Overeasy. (You should check it out. It’s great!)  I don’t think DJ Overeasy used the app to make his video, but the effects are similar.

VidRhythm is rated for ages 9+, and available on iPhone and iPad.  It’s free.  I’m sharing it today because it’s Phun Phriday, and it’s definitely a lot of fun. Of course, kids will be kids and try to make all kinds of sounds that are not suggested by the app – so be prepared if it’s on a student’s device to hear and see some unique videos that only kids would dream up;)

Yes, They Have No Bananas

One pretty standard piece of inventory in a Maker Space seems to be a product called MaKey MaKey.  I posted about the MaKey MaKey and its potential for creativity in April of this year.  If you ever see one demonstrated, chances are that someone will be using it to play a banana piano, or a Play-Doh piano, or even a human piano.  But there are far more uses than just as a piano.

I ran across this Flickr album posted by Josh Burker (@JoshBurker) that pretty much shows every instrument in the orchestra integrated with MaKey MaKey.  Josh had the opportunity to be the “Maker in Residence” for the Westport, Connecticut Public Library for a month this summer.  As you can see from his Flickr album and this video, you can do a lot with cardboard, conductive tape, MaKey MaKey, and Scratch – especially if you are a kid with an endless imagination and a bit of adult guidance.

My absolute favorite piece is the bird.  You will find a video on the 2nd page that details the creation of the bird and its numerous amazing abilities. The 11-year-old girl who came up with this brilliant device is as articulate as she is innovative.

I am really inspired to challenge my students to find a unique way to use the MaKey MaKey when we do this year’s Global Cardboard Challenge.  Since we only have one for our classroom, I plan to have a contest and whoever proposes the best idea will get to use it for their game.  Josh Burker’s collection of images will help the students to see the amazing potential of this tool.

image from: Josh Burker on Flickr
image from: Josh Burker on Flickr