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Music Schools BC

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The official blog of the British Columbia Association of Community Music Schools

Friday, January 29, 2010

VWMS 2010 Scholarship Competition for Voice

DEADLINE for ALL applications - Friday, February 5th - don't delay!

Applications must be received by Friday, February 5th
The first 20 eligible applicants are automatically entered into the competition.
A minimum of $4000.00 to be awarded.
International opera singer and world-class conductor are the adjudicators.

Competition Date: Saturday, March 6th - from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For further details, rules and an application form, please see our website: vwms.ca

VWMS BURSARY COMPETITION - open to all classical music disciplines

Applications must be received by Friday, February 5th
The first 20 eligible applicants are automatically considered for awards.
Designed to assist advanced level music students further their studies.
A minimum of $4000.00 to be awarded.

Competition is by recording - all materials must be received by February 5th.
For further details, rules and an application form, please see our website: vwms.ca


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

RCM Exam Accreditation Information

Did you know that students taking Royal Conservatory of Music Examinations can get high school credits for completing their exam requirements? In this way students can get high school credits for taking private music lessons that can count toward their graduation requirements. It is important to note that in order receive credits for practical examinations students must also complete the theory exam co-requisites.  The table below, copied from the Royal Conservatory of Music website lists the information for the province of British Columbia. Please note that the education in Canada is a provincial jurisdiction and some provinces have different requirements.Information for other provinces is available on their site.

Voice, Piano, Strings, Accordion, Guitar, Harp
Grade 6 Practical + Grade 1 Rudiments
Grade 10
Brass, Woodwinds, Percussion, Recorder
Grade 4 Practical + Grade 1 Rudiments
Grade 10
Speech Arts & Drama
Grade 7 Practical + Level 1 Speech Arts Theory
Grade 10
Voice, Piano, Strings, Accordion, Guitar, Harp
Grade 7 Practical + Grade 2 Rudiments
Grade 11
Brass, Woodwinds, Percussion, Recorder
Grade 6 Practical + Grade 2 Rudiments
Grade 11
Speech Arts & Drama
Grade 8 Practical + Level 1 Speech Arts History & Literature
Grade 9 Practical + Level 2 Speech Arts Theory + Level 2 Speech Arts History & Literature
Grade 11
Voice, Piano, Strings, Guitar, Accordion, Harp
Grade 8 Practical + Grade 2 Rudiments
Grade 12
Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion, Recorder
Grade 8 Practical + Grade 2 Rudiments
Grade 12
Speech Arts & Drama
Grade 10 Practical + Level 3 Speech Arts Theory + Level 3 Speech Arts History & Literature
Grade 12

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If your Kids are Awake, They are Probably Online

So how much time do our kids have to practice and do homework? Considering that today is the day Apple is set to tell the world about the iPad, this article is rather timely. According to this study just released from the Kaiser Family Foundation in the United States by Victoria J. Rideout, M.A.,Ulla G. Foehr, Ph.D., and Donald F. Roberts, Ph.D., kids are spending almost every waking moment with some electronic media device or another.Smart phones, texting and Twitter are taking over our lives.. Knowing my own students, I would say that what is happening here in BC would be exactly the same, especially in urban areas.
A national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that with technology allowing nearly 24-hour media access as children and teens go about their daily lives, the amount of time young people spend with entertainment media has risen dramatically, especially among minority youth. Today, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week). And because they spend so much of that time 'media multitasking' (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes (10:45) worth of media content into those 7½ hours.

Article in the New York Times

Kaiser Family Foundation Study

Generation M2; Media in the lives of 8 - 18 year olds  Pdf report

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

What Makes a Great Teacher?

For years, the secrets to great teaching have seemed more like alchemy than science, a mix of motivational mumbo jumbo and misty-eyed tales of inspiration and dedication. But for more than a decade, one organization has been tracking hundreds of thousands of kids, and looking at why some teachers can move them three grade levels ahead in a year and others can’t.

The answer seems the the success of the classroom is tied directly to the effectiveness of the teacher. Socio-economic factors matter of course, but good teaching as illustrated by examples in the article is more about what happens in the classroom than it is about the circumstances of the child or the school.

Great teachers tend to set big goals for themselves and their students. For example, when Farr called up teachers who were making remarkable gains and asked to visit their classrooms, he noticed he’d get a similar response from all of them: “They’d say, ‘You’re welcome to come, but I have to warn you—I am in the middle of just blowing up my classroom structure and changing my reading workshop because I think it’s not working as well as it could.’ When you hear that over and over, and you don’t hear that from other teachers, you start to form a hypothesis.” Great teachers, he concluded, constantly reevaluate what they are doing.

Read more »

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

What are your favourite books on music or arts education?

There are a few books that i would like to review for this forum in upcoming posts. Has anyone come across any really interesting reads about education or Arts education that you would like to share with us? To get us started  I have found a couple of great books in the past year. One is The Talent Code by Tom Peters. Another book recently mentioned to me by a colleague is The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross.  I would like to compile a list of favourite books concerning music and education, and list them here sometime in the next month or so. Leave a comment with your favourite books if you have some recommendations. Thanks!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Here is an interesting link to the BBC website in London. Somehow I can't imagine our own CBC Radio doing this since Radio 2 seems to have developed a very narrow view of what "modern music" is (but that is another discussion) The BBC still takes the high road with perhaps the most complete and comprehensive music radio website in the world today. A fine example of this is this new series of online tutorials on Singing in a Choir - video presentations of vocal warmups and a series of videos and online tips about how to get the most out of singing in your amateur choir.

BBC Website - Learn to Sing


Monday, January 18, 2010

Songs in the key of life: What makes music emotional?

So why do tunes in a major key, such as Singin' in the Rain, sound cheerful, while those in minor keys – Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall, say – sound gloomy and depressing?
The answer – in part – seems to be that the patterns of pitches in major keys mirror those of excited speech, whereas minor keys parallel subdued speech. That suggests that language shaped our musical expression of emotion.
Several factors affect music's sentimental influence, and some are common sense: a fast, loud, jumpy rhythm sounds happy because it reflects the way an excited person behaves, and slow, quiet music with a regular beat mimics a mournful emotional state.
What's less obvious is why tunes in major keys tend to sound cheerful, whereas those in minor keys sound sad. "This is an age-old problem in music theory," says Daniel Bowling, a neuroscientist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, who suspected emotional speech patterns might be behind the link.

View the article:
Songs in the key of life: What makes music emotional? - life - 11 January 2010 - New Scientist


Friday, January 15, 2010

B.C.'s Arts and Culture division disappears

NDP MLA Spencer Herbert has told the Straight that the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts has eliminated its stand-alone arts and culture division. Herbert, who is the Opposition critic for this ministry, said by phone that ministerial assistant Frank Costa informed him shortly before Christmas that arts and culture now falls within the tourism-development category.
“I think it kind of signals in a sense what the government thinks of arts and culture—that it’s used as a tourism-development tool,” Herbert said. “It’s just one of the line items under tourism development.”
Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister Kevin Krueger was unavailable for comment. As of January 12, the ministry Web site still had a separate Web page for the arts and culture division.
Herbert said that as a result of the reorganization of the ministry, there are now five broad categories: tourism development, tourism partnerships, consumer marketing, strategy and policy, and management services. “One of the things that’s important to me is that art challenges us and questions our society,” Herbert noted. “Sometimes it’s disturbing, and sometimes it’s difficult. And that’s not something one would traditionally think of as tourism development.”

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Online Pronouncing Dictionary of Music

Here is an interesting link from Iowa Public Radio. This is a "pronouncing" guide originally put together for classical radio dj's who were not quite sure how to pronounce the names of various European composers. It is comprised of an alphabetical assortment of pdf files

Prononcing Dictionary of Music and Musicians - courtesy of WOI Radio, Iowa Public Radio, Iowa State University.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Music Fests in BC 2009 - 2010

It is that time again, when we think about getting our final entries ready for this year's round of Music Festivals.
Thanks to Christie Smith at Long & McQuade for putting together this list of competitions and festivals for 2009/2010 . This information sheet in pdf format includes festival dates, application dates and other contact information for more than 18 festivals and competitions here in BC.

Listing of BC Music Festivals 2009/2010

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When can children start music lessons?

Whether your child takes a music appreciation class or starts actual lessons, she'll benefit mightily from being exposed to music. Kids can start formal music training as early as age 3, when brain circuits for learning music mature. In fact, studies at the University of California suggest that taking music lessons at age 3 can increase your child's brainpower. However, many piano teachers prefer that children wait until they are 5, when their hands are bigger and they're more ready to sit still and concentrate. (See more on music and toddlers.)

There is however no clear answer to this question, it really depends on the individual student, and what instruments are chosen to play. Wind and Brass students of course usually wait to start playing much later than string and piano students. There is no "quarter" or "half size" trombone or clarinet for them to start on, so starting much before age 10 or 11 is usually a waste of time and energy. Students for winds need to have their permanent teeth well in place. Sometimes waiting until age 12 or 13 will lead to much more success with these instruments. At the same time waiting until age 13 to start the violin in most cases would be putting the child at a a disadvantage, and would set them behind most of their peers of the same age. A 13 year old violinist may be already quite accomplished, whereas a 13 year old trombone player is probably just learning to make their first sounds.

Link to article at Babycenter.com

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year to all our readers here at Music Schools BC. I think 2010 should prove to be an interesting year for us here in British Columbia working in the arts and education. .  As always I am open to ideas for articles to share on this forum. . If you come across anything of interest that you think you would like to share with others, drop me a line or use the comment form to send a message. I usually check for comments every week or so, so I will eventually get back to you.
Happy New Year and all the best for 2010!