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Music Schools BC

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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Music Festivals in BC

Here is a list of local music festivals for 2010- 2011 compiled by the folks at Long & Mcquade Music Stores.

Festival list 2010-11 - pdf download

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Study - Students are failing to learn in American Universities

If the purpose of a college education is for students to learn, academe is failing, according to Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, a book being released today by University of Chicago Press.
The book cites data from student surveys and transcript analysis to show that many college students have minimal classwork expectations -- and then it tracks the academic gains (or stagnation) of 2,300 students of traditional college age enrolled at a range of four-year colleges and universities. The students took the Collegiate Learning Assessment (which is designed to measure gains in critical thinking, analytic reasoning and other "higher level" skills taught at college) at various points before and during their college educations, and the results are not encouraging:
  • 45 percent of students "did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning" during the first two years of college.
  • 36 percent of students "did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning" over four years of college.
  • Those students who do show improvements tend to show only modest improvements. Students improved on average only 0.18 standard deviations over the first two years of college and 0.47 over four years. What this means is that a student who entered college in the 50th percentile of students in his or her cohort would move up to the 68th percentile four years later -- but that's the 68th percentile of a new group of freshmen who haven't experienced any college learning.
"How much are students actually learning in contemporary higher education? The answer for many undergraduates, we have concluded, is not much," write the authors, Richard Arum, professor of sociology and education at New York University, and Josipa Roksa, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia. For many undergraduates, they write, "drifting through college without a clear sense of purpose is readily apparent."

Read the Article  "Inside Higher Ed"  Jan. 18, 2011

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Advice to Charities, Move to Alberta?

A chastened Liberal government has raised its gambling-grant total to $120 million for 2010-11, below 2008-09 levels

In hindsight, the juxtaposition was hilarious:
For its October symposium on the financial crisis its members were facing, the B.C. Association for Charitable Gaming met in a hotel conference room at Richmond's River Rock Casino.
At the time, the BCACG was at war with the provincial government. The government had stiffed them.
The Liberals had cut the charities' grants to the bone.
And the source of revenue for those grants?
But there the charities were, in the belly of the beast, where they could hear the hotel's public address announcing that the casino was open 24 hours a day -- the message being, maybe, that to depend on the avails of gambling is to tread on morally ambiguous ground.
Businesswoman Sandy Garossino, a former Crown prosecutor, was invited to speak at the symposium in her capacity as a board member of the Alliance for Arts and Culture. She was also chair of the Alliance's advocacy task force.
What struck her about that meeting, she told me later, was the charity members' level of distress. Garossino went in under the impression she was attending a seminar; she came out believing she had just witnessed group therapy.
"To find myself in a room full of people who had dedicated their lives to volunteering, and knowing the financial trauma they were going through, and seeing how badly they felt, it had a real impact on me."
The experience, she said, compelled her to look more closely at B.C.'s gambling industry. She also volunteered her services and legal expertise to the BCACG.
One thing she looked at was how grants in other jurisdictions allowing legalized gambling compared to gambling grants the charities and nonprofits get here.
She looked next door, to Alberta.
Her conclusion?
B.C. did not come off well.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Seven Spaces of Technology in School Environments

Matt Locke originally came up with the concept of the Six Spaces of Social Media. Evan McIntosh added a seventh earlier this year, Data Spaces, and ideas about how education could harness these spaces, and the various transgressions between them, for learning.

This short presentation tackles the potential of adjusting our physical school environments to harness technology even better. What happens when we map technological spaces to physical ones?

The Seven Spaces of Technology in School Environments from Ewan McIntosh on Vimeo.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Toronto Symphony Orchestra National Piano Competition

We are writing to remind you of the deadline for entries to the 2011 Toronto Symphony Orchestra National Piano Competition. The deadline is FEBRUARY 18, 2011. The Competition will take place on May 27, 28 and 29, 2011 in Toronto at The Royal Conservatory.

  • Deadline: Applications must be postmarked no later than February 18, 2011. No exceptions.
  • Applicants must be Canadian citizens or landed immigrants between the ages of 16 and 25 as of May 27, 2011.
  • Excellence in performance is required at or above the ARCT level.
  • All selections must be performed from memory.
  • Applicants must be willing to be contacted by the competition publicist.
Entry fees are non-refundable except in the case of illness or
accident. Medical certificate required.Previous first-prize winners of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra
National Piano Competition are not eligible to compete. Competitors must make arrangements for their accompanists and are responsible for their costs. Local accompanists will be available upon request.
Competitors are responsible for their travel costs and must arrange their own accommodation. A list of local hotels and university residences will be provided.
Applicants will be notified of the status of their entry by the end of March 2011. Successful applicants will be notified two weeks before the competition as to date and time of performance.

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Music produces a natural high, McGill study finds

Music triggers the same pleasure-reward system in the brain as food, sex and illicit drugs, according to McGill University researchers who have been peering into minds of music lovers.

They've discovered the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine is released when people listen to their favourite music, be it rock, jazz or classical.

The finding by the team at McGill, reported yesterday in the journal Nature Neuroscience, helps explain why music is so pleasurable and popular.

It also hints at why music has been so valued and important throughout human history and across cultures, says neuroscientist Robert Zatorre, who leads the McGill team at the Montreal Neurological Institute.

"Music has such deep roots in the brain that it engages this biologically ancient system," says Zatorre, explaining how dopamine generates the sensation of pleasure in the striatum, a primitive region deep in the brain.

It's long been known dopamine is produced and generates pleasure when we eat or have sex, reinforcing activities that are key to survival. The Montreal study provides the first evidence that dopamine is also responsible for musical highs.

"For reasons that we don't entirely understand, somehow music was able to kick in with the same system," Zatorre says. "And that gives it power that it might not otherwise have."

While music may not be key to survival, he says it has been "very" useful.

"Because it gives us pleasure, we can use it to our advantage to modulate our state of mind."

Read more: 
Music produces a natural high, McGill study finds

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why work doesn't happen at work

Jason Fried has a radical theory of working; basically implying that the environment of the modern office isn't a good place to acutally get work done.. At TEDxMidwest, he lays out the main problems (call them the M & Ms) and offers three suggestions to make work work.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Saxophone conference at UBC

The School of Music at the University of British Columbia is pleased to host the Region 9 Conference of the North American Saxophone Alliance from Thursday, February 17 to Saturday, February 19, 2011. We invite NASA members to contribute with performances, presentations of scholarly research, educational research, lectures, clinics, master classes, and saxophone activities within our region. Conference registration is free for NASA members. High school students can register as NASA members for the special rate of $10.00. Information and participation forms can be found here.

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year to all our readers at Music Schools BC. I think 2011 should prove to be an interesting year for us here in British Columbia working in the arts and education. As we know there is never a dull moment in our provincial politics, and 2011 is shaping up to be an interesting one for sure. 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 2011!