Books · Music · Research · Storytelling · Teaching · Video

Teaching Mathematics using popular culture

Title: Teaching Mathematics using popular culture

Author: Elana Reiser
2015 | ISBN-10: 0786477067 | 244 pages

Teaching Mathematics Using Popular Culture: Strategies for Common Core Instruction from Film and Television

Mathematics teachers often struggle to motivate their students. One way to cultivate and maintain student interest is for teachers to incorporate popular media into their methodology. Organized on the subject strands of the Common Core, this book explores math concepts featured in contemporary films and television shows and offers numerous examples high school math teachers can use to design lessons using pop culture references. Outlines for lessons are provided along with background stories and historical references.

Hardware · ICT · Music · Programming · Teaching · Web Resources

Sonic-Pi: Music for Raspberry Pi

Sonic Pi: The Live Coding Synth for Everyone.

Simple enough for computing and music lessons.
Powerful enough for professional musicians.
Free to download with a friendly tutorial.

Learn to code creatively by composing or performing music in an incredible range of styles from classical to algorave.

Created at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory
with kind support from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
Sonic Pi is an Open Source Project released under the MIT Licence.sonic

There is a great article in the newest MagPi Essentials: Check out this cool TedTalk about the Sonic-Pi


Books · ICT · Music · Teaching

Book Reviews – Music and ICT

Today, on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.) radio there was an excellent program discussing the way that piano is being taught. The belief of the host was that teaching was completely the wrong way around. They start in the detached position of only touching the piano through finger tips and proceed to focus totally on reading music, other people’s music. His suggestion is that they learn in fear and confusion and never really touch their own capacity to create their own music through the instrument. He proceeded to work with a person on the air, to freely express musical ideas and techniques in an improvised way. The theory being, first create and express your own music through the piano and then, once you understand your musical voice, then play other’s music.

This was a wonderfully stimulating way to think of teaching piano and made we want to examine musical instruction once more, this time, with a view to how much ICT can change the way we perceive and express music. I don’t know what is the optimal method but I am sure fresh eyes and ears from all would shake things up.

Here are two books that explore the emerging trends in ICT and how they might impact music instruction. You might also check out a resource from a previous post. (Routledge Teaching Guide for Music)

Title: Teaching Music Through Composition: A Curriculum Using Technology

Author: Barbara Freedman

2013 | ISBN-10: 019984061X, 0199840628 | 336 pages

teachingmusic_covTeaching Music through Composition offers a practical, fully multimedia curriculum designed to teach basic musical concepts through the creative process of music composition. Author and award-winning music educator Barbara Freedman presents classroom-tested ways of teaching composition with technology as a tool with which students can create, edit, save, and reproduce music. As Freedman demonstrates, technology allows a musical experience for all skill levels in opportunities never before available to compose manipulate, instantly listen to music electronically and even print standard Western music notation for others to play without having to know much about traditional music theory or notation. All students can have meaningful hands-on applied learning experiences that will impact not only their music experience and learning but also their understanding and comfort with 21st century technology.

Whether the primary focus of your class is to use technology to create music or to explore using technology in a unit or two, this book will show you how it can be done with practical, tried-and-true lesson plans and student activities.

 Title: Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity

Author: Scott Watsonusingtechmusic_cov
English | 2011 | ISBN: 0199742766, 0199742774 | 350 pages

It has never been easier or more fun for students to compose, improvise, arrange, and produce music and music-related projects than with today’s technology. Written in a practical, accessible manner, Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity offers both a framework for and practical tips on the technology tools best suited for encouraging students’ authentic musical creativity.Author Scott Watson makes a compelling case for creativity-based music learning through eight teacher-tested principles that access, nurture, and develop students’ potential for musical expression. Example after example illustrates each principle in a variety of music teaching and technology scenarios. Watson also includes practical ideas for technology-based creative music activities, locating lesson plans and other resources, and assessing creative work. The book provides detailed plans for dozens of attractive projects, each linked to MENC National Standards, and also offers suggestions for making adaptations according to grade level and technology proficiency. Additionally, it includes a valuable section of resources with tips for setting up a computer music workstation, a plain-language description of how digital audio works, and a music education technology glossary. Most of the activities described can be carried out by novice users with free or low-cost music applications.The book also features a comprehensive companion website with dozens of audio and video examples as well as many downloadable worksheets, rubrics, and activity files. Visit the companion website at

Title: Facing the Music: Shaping Music Education from a Global Perspective

Author: Huib Schippers
English | ISBN: 0195379756 | 2009 | 240 Pages

facingmusic_c0vFacing the Music investigates the practices and ideas that have grown from some five decades of cultural diversity in music education, developments in ethnomusicology, and the rise of ‘world music’. Speaking from rich, hands-on experience of more than thirty years at various levels of music education (music in schools, community organizations and professional training courses), Huib Schippers makes a powerful case for the crucial role of learning music in shaping rich and diverse musical environments for the 21st century, both in practical terms and at a conceptual level: “what we hear is the product of what we believe about music.”


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