Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Purpose of Education

"There have been many measures taken to try to turn the educational system towards more control, more indoctrination, more vocational training, imposing a debt, which traps students and young people into a life of conformity… That’s the exact opposite of [what] traditionally comes out of The Enlightenment. And there’s a constant struggle between those. In the colleges, in the schools, do you train for passing tests, or do you train for creative inquiry?
Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator and activist. Sometimes described as the "father of modern linguistics", Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy. He has spent most of his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is currently Professor Emeritus, and has authored over 100 books. In this video he discusses the purpose of education, impact of technology, whether education should be perceived as a cost or an investment and the value of standardized assessment
-- Presented at the Learning Without Frontiers Conference - 2012- London (LWF 12)

"It doesn't matter what we cover; it matters what you discover." 
-- Victor Weisskopf, MIT's Professor of Physics
"That's basically it: that's good teaching. It doesn't matter what you cover; it matters how much you develop the capacity to discover. You do that and you're in good shape."
-- Noam Chomsky

Making Music in Primary Schools - Wider Opportunities

"They learn so much more than the music ... It’s developing their ability to concentrate, to work together and to listen. And of course learning an instrument gives them confidence, develops self-esteem, inspires them, and helps them to develop as a whole person. All of those are transferable skills which are being developed incredibly well through music. Some are even creating compositions together – so it’s collaborative learning too. But beyond that, the teacher’s learning too." 
-- David Crunkhurn, Head, Westbury-on-Severn C of E Primary
Gloucestershire Music are the county's music education service, which provides high quality music services for schools and young people.
-- read "10 things schools should know about learning music"

Music in schools: wider still, and wider

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They report directly to the British Parliament and are independent and impartial. They inspect and regulate services which care for children and young people, and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages.
A 2012 Ofsted report examining music teaching found wide differences in the quality and quantity of music education in schools across England. One in five of the schools visited were judged inadequate for music. This report is based principally on evidence from 194 specialist music inspections and good practice visits in schools between 2008 and 2011, including curriculum lessons, additional instrumental and vocal tuition, and extra-curricular musical activities...To help schools and others interested in improving music teaching, Ofsted has produced six films exemplifying good practice in a wide range of settings -- read more here

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rage Medley

"One of the great things about young people is that they do question, that they do care deeply about justice, and they they have open minds."-- Zack de la Rocha (Rage Against The Machine)

We doubt that when Rage Against the Machine wrote pissed-off screeds like “Bulls on Parade” and “Killing in the Name” they ever imagined that one day a college marching band could cover their music. Nor that said band would actually do it well. But George Mason U’s crew has done just that.. (from REVOLVER)
No political statement here, just fun to watch and listen to :)
-- more videos here

Monday, October 27, 2014

more on PS22

Public School 22 in NYC has more than just an amazing chorus, they have an amazing story. These 5th graders went from performing in their school auditorium on Staten Island to closing the show at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards! It all started when their dynamic and caring teacher Gregg Breinberg started posting videos of their performances on YouTube. The videos went viral captivating viewers from your house to the White House (where they performed for President Obama) with the students' pure love of music. Celebrities and Indie Rockers alike started flocking to the elementary school to visit and perform. Then, at their annual Christmas concert they got a surprise visit from Oscar Co-Host Anne Hathaway who invited them to perform at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. This documentary is an inspiring feel-good story that shows us children have a lot to teach about music, and that a talented teacher can teach his students the most important lesson of all; within themselves is the power to do anything.
-- read on Huffington Post
-- watch on ABC News
-- FB page

Once in a Lullaby: The PS22 Chorus Story (Trailer) from New Jersey Pictures on Vimeo.

why music should be in schools...

The PS22 Chorus is an elementary school chorus from Public School 22 in Graniteville, Staten Island (New York). It is composed of 60-70 fifth-graders, and is directed by Gregg Breinberg. PS22 is the largest elementary school in Staten Island which draws students from a wide cross section of ethnic groups and socio-economic levels.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Encouraging Strengths in Our Children

"Follow the child's strengths rather than the system's weaknesses"

Follow a child's strengths and passions, learn by doing, teach how to be in relationships, focus on what happens after college rather than just getting in, be concerned enough to resist measuring success by test scores, bravely look for ways to overcome teaching from outdated content silos: that is where the future of learning must focus -- Jenifer Fox

Jenifer Fox is an internationally published author, educational keynote speaker and leading innovator on 21st Century Learning. In 2007, Jenifer set out on a journey across the United States with business guru and strengths expert Marcus Buckingham to set the stage for the Strengths Movement to spread to schools. Since then, Fox has become widely known as an expert in developing programming with a focus on developing strengths, project based learning, differentiated instruction, school innovation and helping parents understand their children and their schools. She works with schools, non-profit organizations and parents helping them understand how to find educational solutions and models for success in the 21st Century.
Interesting points.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

One Day One Goal

Peace One Day reporting: "It’s been a month since Peace Day and we’re just about catching our breath after a brilliant 21 September. All across the world we saw amazing events that inspired millions. From polio vaccinations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to celebrations involving 50,000 people in 17 cities across India and peace marches in Mexico, through global meditations, prayers, flashmobs and thousands of school events, every corner of the globe was mobilised in the name of peace... Peace Day this year really was a massive success...
Sport along with art can also bring hope, unity and reconciliation. Watch this nice video...
-- One Day One Goal FB page

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dancing in Jaffa

Pierre Dulaine, four-time ballroom dancing world champion, is fulfilling a life-long dream when he takes his program, Dancing Classrooms, back to his city of birth, Jaffa. For generations, Jaffa has been a city divided by two communities that continue to grow increasingly apart. Over a ten-week period, Pierre teaches Jewish and Palestinian Israeli children to dance and compete together. The film explores the complex stories of three children, all of whom who are forced to confront issues of identity, segregation, and racial prejudice as they dance with their enemy. We watch Pierre transform their lives, confirming his belief that dance can overcome hatred and provide the first steps towards real change.
Although set in Israel, this film is ultimately about one man’s hopeful endeavor to shift the paradigm and stop the hate. The film demonstrates the powerful role that the arts, and dance in particular, can play in enabling children to overcome prejudice and build strong personal ties with one another. Through his work, Pierre has demonstrated that the Dancing Classrooms method can be easily and successfully replicated worldwide.
-- Dancing in Jaffa website

Friday, October 17, 2014

Using our practical wisdom

"What we desperately need, beyond, or along with, better rules and reasonably smart incentives, is we need virtue. We need character. We need people who want to do the right thing. And in particular, the virtue that we need most of all is the virtue that Aristotle called "practical wisdom."
 If it is true that doctors should see patients not as organ systems and diseases but as people - people with lives, then it is equally as true that teachers should see students not as test scores but as people - people with most of their lives ahead of them! However, the rules and incentives that are driving education policies today are squeezing the life out of classrooms. Standardized curriculums and high stakes testing are demoralizing both the practice and practitioners - that is, the teachers, along with entire education system, are being demoralized and deprofessionalized by policy makers' incessant demand to rule and incentivize everything in education -- read on "for the love of learning"
In this interesting TED talk, American psychologist Barry Schwartz dives into the question "How do we do the right thing?" With help from collaborator Kenneth Sharpe, he shares stories that illustrate the difference between following the rules and truly choosing wisely.
Barry Schwartz is an American psychologist and Dorwin Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action at Swarthmore College.
-- Schwartz's TED talks

Does singing change the brain?

“Sing like no one is listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watcbing, and live like it's heaven on earth.” -- Mark Twain
Tania de Jong AM makes the case that people singing together can change the brain. Pushing the idea that creativity is the strategic tool of the 21st century, she says how our voices have been silenced and that it's not doing us any good. She explains how singing is a survival mechanism, how it makes our hearts beat together and can help heal strokes and depression. With singing, and the potential she believes it has, Tania dedicates herself to enhancing and promoting ingenuity and founded Creativity Australia and Creative Universe to do so. As a leading Australian soprano and through 'With One Voice', Tania works with disadvantaged communities. In 2008 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the arts and for the establishment and development of arts enrichment programs for schools and communities.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What some people think about music

“There is a practical reason for music education: it teaches people to think, to solve problems, to take risks, to think independently, to be an entrepreneur and innovator. The virtues of music education are the virtues of free enterprise in general and of a high tech, knowledge based society in particular: flexibility, adaptability, inventiveness, even playfulness.”
 - William E. LaMothe, C.E.O., Xerox Company

 “The arts are an important component of education. Music reaches us and teaches us in ways that can enlighten, and inspire for a lifetime. Some people may see music as entertainment, not relevant to the problems of the day, but music is very important in giving a sense of direction and purpose to the youth of our society.” 
 - John Bryan, CEO, Sara Lee Corporation

 “A grounding in the arts will help our children to see; to bring a uniquely human perspective to science and technology. In short, it will help them as they grow smarter to also grow wiser.” 
 - Robert E. Allen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AT&T Corporation

 “Helping our children become the most informed, well-rounded people they can be is the greatest gift we can offer them. It will allow them to embrace the world and to reach their full potential in both their personal and professional lives. It is our job, as parents, educators, and friends, to see that our young people have the opportunity to participate in music. In addition to learning the valuable lesson that it takes hard work to achieve success, music education can provide students with a strong sense of determination, improved communication skills, and a list of other qualities essential for successful living.” 
 - Edward H. Rensi, President, McDonald's Corporation

 “Music has a great power for bringing people together. With so many forces in this world driving wedges between people, it's important to preserve those things that help us experience our common humanity.” 
 - Ted Turner, Corporate Executive

Music can boost language and reading skills

Nina Kraus, a neurobiologist at Northwestern University, found that musical training has an impact in strengthening neural functions as well as a connection with sound and reading of children in impoverished areas.“Research has shown that there are differences in the brains of children raised in impoverished environments that affect their ability to learn,” Kraus said in a press release from the APA. “While more affluent students do better in school than children from lower income backgrounds, we are finding that musical training can alter the nervous system to create a better learner and help offset this academic gap.”
This study recently published on published in The Journal of Neuroscience did not take place in a laboratory, but in the offices of Harmony Project in Los Angeles, a nonprofit after-school program that teaches music to children in low-income communities.
-- Read "Study: Learning a musical instrument boosts language, reading skills" on PBS Newshour 
-- Read "This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain On Music" on NPR Ed
-- Watch Prof. Nina Kraus discuss the benefits of music making on the brain
-- Watch Prof. Nina Kraus discuss how the brain hears music
-- Go to Harmony Project website

The documentary below is extremely inspiring, please take the time to watch.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

To This Day

Shane Koyczan is an award winning Canadian poet, author and performer. The world took notice of him when his influential, anti-bullying, To This Day Project video went viral in early 2013 and has reached over 14 million views and counting. To This Day is a project based on a spoken word poem. Animators and motion artists brought their unique styles to 20 second segments that will thread into one fluid voice. This collaborative volunteer effort demonstrates what a community of caring individuals are capable of when they come together.
The art (poetry and visuals) becomes the medium to a powerful message. For those who haven't listened or watched this, it is worth it.
-- go to the project page
-- go to the TED lesson

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Musical Fix for American Schools

Research shows that music training boosts IQ, focus and persistence.
"American education is in perpetual crisis. Our students are falling ever farther behind their peers in the rest of the world. Learning disabilities have reached epidemic proportions, affecting as many as one in five of our children. Illiteracy costs American businesses $80 billion a year. Many solutions have been tried, but few have succeeded. So I propose a different approach: music training. A growing body of evidence suggests that music could trump many of the much more expensive “fixes” that we have thrown at the education system. ... Until recently, though, it has been a chicken-and-egg question: Are smart, ambitious people naturally attracted to music? Or does music make them smart and ambitious? And do musically trained students fare better academically because they tend to come from more affluent, better educated families? New research provides some intriguing answers. Music is no cure-all, nor is it likely to turn your child into a Nobel Prize winner. But there is compelling evidence that it can boost children’s academic performance and help fix some of our schools’ most intractable problems."
-- read full article by Joanne Lipman on The Wall Street Journal

Friday, October 10, 2014

5 Ways Education Must Change

Geoffrey Canada outlines 5 ways education must change in order to better serve students and communities.
Geoffrey Canada is an American social activist and educator. Since 1990, Canada has been president of the Harlem Children's Zone in Harlem, New York, an organization which states its goal is to increase high school and college graduation rates among students in Harlem.
-- watch his TED talk "Our failing schools. Enough is enough!"

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Can Creativity Be Taught?

"Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value"
"If there was a moment when our crisis in education hit critical mass it may well have been the date Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk went up on YouTube. In just 19 minutes his wry but eviscerating presentation gave voice to what so many of us are living through: our schools are failing to recognize creativity; we’re failing to prepare the next generation for the challenges that lie ahead." 
Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources in education and in business. He is also one of the world’s leading speakers on these topics, with a profound impact on audiences everywhere.
-- Listen to his recent BBC Radio 4 - The Educators interview

Art education as a civil right

Professor Patty Bode talks about how education involves learning and teaching, and learning is what makes us fully human. Art, she argues, is thus a big aspect of being fully human. Dr. Patty Bode asserts art education as a civil and human right through her teaching, research, service, art making and activism. With a focus on democratization of the arts, her work reinvigorates the arts in urban schools, juvenile justice facilities, neighborhood community settings, and engages cultural institutions to re-imagine their role in art education.
Dr. Bode teaching prepares art educators to pedagogy through multicultural education and innovative classroom practice by highlighting the role of radical thought in the transformation of schools and society. She has published and lectured on critical art pedagogy and re-theorizing curriculum to redefine art education. Interesting talk.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

How Art Can Change Society

Sarah Lewis describes how photography and music are often the catalyst for radical societal change. Lewis is a curator and historian based in New York. She is the author of The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery

4 Great Leadership Lessons from the Arts

Math and science are noble endeavors, but real leadership is taught in the arts.
Here are four powerful lessons taught best by artists:
1. Lead a Project from Start to Finish
2. Manage Dynamic People Effectively
3. Ensure Total Accountability
4. Implement Big Picture Thinking
Interesting article by Kevin Daum in -- read it here

Monday, October 06, 2014

Power of the arts

Over the last several years the focus of US education has been fixed firmly on the sciences. But research shows that the arts help children do better in all subjects and improve the likelihood that they will stay in school longer. We already spoke about Orchard Gardens Pilot School in Boston. Here the results have been dramatic. In just three years the students at the once-troubled school have improved their basic academic skills and many say the arts have changed their lives.

Music is one of the most ancient arts, but it's now the subject of hi-tech inquiry from scientists who wonder how music affects the brain. Researchers are using everything from simple instruments to cutting-edge brain scans to detect how music and the brain interact. They suspect that music can help improve focus and calm while also dictating mood.
-- read on BBC News

Pay it forward

The MusicianShip is a charitable non-profit organization that facilitates music lessons, experiences and opportunities. While their mission is not exclusive to any one particular group, they are focused on at-risk youth as they benefit most from positive outreach and music scholarship preparation.
Another great example of how music can make a difference.
-- read and watch them on abc news

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Raise Up

Interesting analysis on the issue of kids dropping out of school. Dropping out is a process not an event, it is a whole trajectory that leads towards greater and greater marginalization for young people, according to Pedro Noguera. Clearly poverty has a direct effect out of a lot of young people ability to graduate from and succeed in school. But there are also fundamental problems within our schools. We are not teaching the right curriculum, our teachers are not being prepared to engage with our young people, and generally we are not teaching what needs to be taught, according to Khary Lazarre-White.
Pedro Noguera is Pedro Noguera is the Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education at New York University. Dr. Noguera is a sociologist whose scholarship and research focuses on the ways in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions, as well as by demographic trends in local, regional and global contexts.
Khary Lazarre-White is a social entrepreneur, educator, non-profit executive, writer and attorney. He is the Executive director and co-founder of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol, an organization that provides comprehensive, holistic and long-term support services to youth who range in age from eight to twenty-two.
This interview was to promote Raise Up , an online hip hop and spoken word competition for youth ages 15-22. Youth who enter are asked to speak on the national high school drop out crisis. Five individual winners have each received a $5,000 educational scholarship and a trip to Washington DC to perform at the Kennedy Center on September 28. One group piece has been selected to receive a $2,500 award -- watch coverage of event at Kennedy Center

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Do you hear the people sing?

-- read new lyrics on the Telegraph

Music Education and the Brain

The benefits of music education has been researched for decades. Most recently neuroscientists have been excited about the significant differences they have seen between the brain functions of musicians, when compared with non-musicians. It has become clear that music education before the age of 7 has the greatest benefits to brain development. Furthermore it has been found that it only takes, at the very lest, an hour a week of structured, formal music education to make permanent and positive changes to the brain functions of every child. This film has been made for music educators, parents, principals and policy makers to help get across the importance of music education in every child's education.

Music Education and the Brain from Anita Collins on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Listen this way: music, mystery, and Meditation

Violinist Benjamin Sung is Assistant Professor of Violin at Florida State University, a faculty artist at the Brevard Music Center, and concertmaster of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony. Ben takes a short tour through his own mind to look at the inner workings of a piece of music in the moment of performance, drawing the listener closer to the mysterious spiritual center of music. Ben is an enthusiastic advocate of contemporary music and has worked with many of the greatest composers of this generation. Very interesting talk.

The All-Star Orchestra

Gerard Schwarz serves as Music Director of the All-Star Orchestra and the Eastern Music Festival. Schwarz recently completed his 26th and final season as Seattle Symphony Music Director and now serves as its Conductor Laureate. Music programs in schools around the world are being cut, so he created a project to help more people to learn music. He brought together an orchestra of the world's finest musicians, and created a free television series so that anyone can see and hear performances of the world's greatest classical pieces. In addition, it offers interpretations, historical context, and practical teachings about music. The series has already won multiple Emmy Awards and touched the lives of millions.