The first activity…

Classes started this week, and it has been … special.  We have a bumper crop of incoming students and a lot of wants and desires from the greater community to balance.  And we’re in newly renovated classrooms with technology that’s still… quirky (to put it nicely).  SO, that’s my excuse for no recorded music (not to mention, no recorded new-content music!) in my first class (I couldn’t get the sound system working).  But I have plans for our next class.On Monday, I get to see my aural skills students for the second time.  We will do an activity that has two goals: (1) identify the meter and (2) practice conducting –a new skill for many.  The activity will run about 10 minutes and hopefully encompass 5-6 excerpts from a variety of styles.

For my new content, I’m exploring the website of the Hardanger Fiddle Society of America.  I started my search for Hardanger Fiddle tunes on YouTube, but had no basis on which to choose an appropriate recording–is the performer well-versed in the traditions?  are they playing in a standard way?  I don’t know!…  I was thrilled to find this page of sound clips on the Hardanger Fiddle Society of America’s homepage.  I also love the way they have multiple people playing the same tune.

On first hearing, I had troubles finding the beat for the first few cycles of beats (what I would conceptualize as a few measures), but then it seemed crystal clear to me.  So, my task before Monday at 9am is to (1) listen to a bunch of these clips looking for triple and quadruple meters, (2) read up on this style of music, (3) build a playlist for class.  I wonder if I can find a website that will tell me how to pronounce the names of tunes and people….

I will report back on how the activity goes.  I’m looking for a sense that it’s just as easy run this activity with this music than it is my normal collection of Minuets, quartet movements, and piano standards.  And I’ll be looking for more musics with which to study basic meters.  Suggestions welcome!


6 thoughts on “The first activity…

  1. Good ideas — my thanks to my excellent colleague Romi Burks for making me aware of your blog! If you were serious about the website that will tell you how to pronounce the names of tunes and people, there’s this nifty item from Iowa Public Radio: and this one from Virginia Tech: .

    Good luck, and I’ll look forward to reading more! — Michael

    • Thank you so much for the resource… It takes me back to those PhD days when I had to pass language tests to prove I could translate and pronounce German and French words…

    • thank you! One of the ethical issues I’m struggling with these days is when it’s ok to use a YouTube video in my class–do these people know they’re being recorded and put up for public consumption? Does it matter (are we to the point where once it’s up, anyone can use it?)? This festival looks like FUN–are there discussions about putting videos on YouTube from the festival? I’m curious what participants think…

  2. Pingback: Evaluation: expanding content for meter ID | teaching matters

  3. I don’t think you’d go wrong using this video, at least. Catriona and Ian knew they were being filmed, and I think the artists agree to being recorded in their contract (I’m not entirely sure about that, but it sounds familiar….the purpose being for documentation and promotional purposes of the non-profit presenting them). My dad is the official videographer/photographer for the festival, so his videos are, as far as I understand, sanctioned. Video recording at Old Songs is otherwise prohibited…I think, though these days, it is hard to enforce it, what with cell phones and all.

    Of course, this video was taken waaaay before YouTube and internet streaming allowed these sorts of things to be made available to a wide audience. 🙂

    As for the festival being FUN…yes. YES it is! You should come next summer! My mom will probably be retiring sometime in the near future and the fate of the Festival is in the balance, so you should come while it still is “hers.” It’s a fantastic festival for families.

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