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The Influence of Books on Children’s Music Education

Using the well-known fact that music education raises a child’s IQ by up to 40 percent, we can now consider how books and reading in general can help our “musical” children.

Presently, mankind, having achieved enormous strides in the field of technology, continues to invent new means of receiving and distributing information almost daily. Radios, TVs, computers, and the Internet are now a normal way of life. Do you know that all information received doubles every year and a half due to the general acceleration of technology?

These days, we and our children do not need to go to the bookstores and libraries. We can easily find the book we are looking for on the Internet. Moreover, if we have no time to sit and read, we can record the audio version of the book and listen to it while driving, walking, or doing any other activity that doesn’t require much reflection. There are also video books. Certainly, these adaptable gadgets are very convenient and we should be grateful to people who invent things to make our lives easier and help us save precious time.

Our children, looking at us, try to copy the things we do. Receiving news in the “easier” version, for example from the TV, the new generation began to read less. On one hand it is normal. But if you want your child to play music without losing interest, he has to read a lot. While reading, a child increases his vocabulary and intelligence. Your imagination automatically “turns on” when you read something exciting.

Have you ever read books in which the author describes what his protagonists see around them? For example, dark-blue skies; dewdrops on a blade of grass; dense, white fog the colour of milk above the river in the early morning, etc. Some people omit such descriptive passages in books so as not to miss a string of events, action, adventure, and learn what happens next.

Every single small detail is important for our children during reading. Just after birth, a child is like a white, blank, pure sheet of paper. The person he grows up to be will depend on the information, knowledge, skills, and abilities that we, as adults, will teach and give him. Even the child’s personality and habits are literary copied from the behavior of other people. And again, books play the huge role in this. The contents of the books are imperceptibly recorded and stored somewhere deep in human subconscious.

You might agree, but you might also wonder what this has to do with music education. I will ask you another question. Have you ever heard a piece of music that has deeply touched you? This piece can amuse you, make you pensive and even make you cry…

It happens because two very important moments coincided. First, the composer, who wrote the music, managed to convey with absolute precision not only his mood during the creation of this piece, but also a picture that he had in his mind. And second, the person, who played the piece, had these images available in a databank in his brain.

A child, who doesn’t read much, can not open and express the beauty of a musical piece only because he memorizes the notes. There is a unique, direct connection between reading and the expression of feelings.

If you pay attention to people who read a lot, you will notice that their speech is more beautiful and rich in comparison with those who don’t read much. The same is true for a child. The more he reads, the better his understanding of social surroundings and the easier it is for him to understand emotions and feelings and to express them in a musical piece.

Are You a Teacher or Parent that is “Up” on Music Technology Trends? To Find Out, Take the Quiz

Young people are amazing. They are able to keep up with technology without even “breaking a sweat”, while the rest of us struggle with some of the “easiest” of electronic technologies (remember the days of programming the VCR? tried your luck with TIVO yet?).

The simple truth of the matter is that younger people have an advantage; they are immersed in the new technologies. They have been since birth. For the rest of us, thankfully, we have those “younger people” to explain things to us!

I have compiled a brief list of questions that contain a few of the “hot” items and “buzz” words prevalent within the music technology culture of our students. Take the quiz and see how well you have assimilated the new music technologies of our current youth.

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Instructor: Prof. Pisano

Quiz one, lesson one- Music technology used by our youth

Name: ________________________________

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1. Is “Pandora” still only associated with misery and a box in your mind?

2. Does the term “bit torrent” sound like something that was in a Star Wars movie or can you dissect it and redefine the term into something a little more current?

3. Do… “YouTube”?

4. Is a “lime wire” just a green corroded battery wire in an unused transistor radio of yours?

5. Many of your students scribble on their tests, do you know if any of them are “scrobbling?”

6. Is “ripping” something you still only do with a saw or paper product? Does it “ring” any other “tones” in your mind?

7. “last.fm”? What! are you “Sirius”?

8. Do the acronyms R.I.A.A. and D.R.M. strike fear into the hearts of your students for some law they might be breaking?

9. iPod, Zen or Zune, which do you prefer?

10. Is “napster”, just another nickname for your overly sleepy child or can you “search” a little deeper into your archives and come up with something else?

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ANSWER KEY:

1. “Pandora” is a totally free, “web 2.0″, radio service that learns what music you like by comparing your choices of music to the Music Genome Project.

2. “bit torrents” are programs that use a specific protocol to allow the sharing of music, video and other files over the Internet by dissecting them into smaller pieces and sending them in chunks.

3. “YouTube” is an extremely popular video hosting web site. You never know what or “who” you may find in a video there.

4. “Lime Wire” is a “peer to peer” file sharing client that is used to share music and other media files across the web. Lime Wire has been recently subjected to a number of law suits initiated by R.I.A.A. (see number 5).

5. “Scrobbling” is a way to track the music that you are listening and share the list with others. last.fm uses this technology extensively (see number 7).

6. “Ripping” is the process of “lifting” the music from your CDs or the video files from your DVD and recording it to your hard drive or other type of storage device. One extremely popular program for ripping is “winamp”.

“Ringtones” are one of the hottest items available for your cell phone. They are customizable sounds for your phone that are enabled when someone calls you.

7. “last.fm” is a website using “web 2.0″ technology to provide you with an online radio. This service is similar to Pandora (see number 1).

last.fm also has the ability to “scrobble” your own music and share it with others (see number 5). Incidentally, the website last.fm is known as a “domain hack”.

“Sirius” is a satellite radio company. You may purchase the service for a monthly fee. The service can be taken along with you, in your car or anywhere you have their proprietary radio hardware.

8. R.I.A.A. stand for the Recording Industry Association of America. D.R.M. stands for Digital Rights Management.

R.I.A.A. over the last few years has unleashed a tremendous amount of lawsuits against corporate and individual citizens over D.R.M. violations.

9. iPod, Zen and Zune are all portable audio players. They are currently some of the most popular, coolest and smallest devices available today. All of them can, literally, hold hundreds, if not, thousands of songs.

10. “Napster” has been around a very long time (at least in Internet years). First, it was an illegal peer to peer music sharing service (see number 4). Now it is a pay service.

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ASSESMENT:

Number correct & Analysis:

1-4 Operating e-mail properly may be a real accomplishment for you… Thankfully, you may re-take this test to get a better grade! F

5 Half right sounds better than half wrong… D

6 You just might be able to have a meaningful conversation about these things with the students! C

7 Wow! you probably own an iPod! B

8 Yeoman’s work! Now, what’s a Yeoman? A-

9 Do some of your colleagues think you to be a little geeky? A

10 You are a music technological genius! Hey! are you under 25? A+

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Best Nintendo DS Educational Games

Nintendo DS Educational video games are more popular today due to the release of game titles that do have the ability to develop a child’s focus and skills. Adults are not left out as there are brain games like Brain Age and Big Brain Academy designed to sharpen their reflexes.

The Video games are played on the DS console which is a handheld gaming platform with a dual LCD screen. The console contains a microphone and a voice recognition system used in some simulation training video games like Nintendogs. The second screen is used as a touchscreen with the aid of a stylus.

Subject like maths and English can easily be mastered because the games are designed in such away that they make learning all fun and not a pain. Also children can learn mental strategy, eyes and hand coordination by playing these games.

There are varieties of titles to choose from ranging from simulation games to role play games. There are also puzzles and mysteries titles to play. I review below some of the best DS educational games for kids.

1. Super Scribblenauts: is an iteration of the original game Scribblenauts developed by 5th Cell for Nintendo DS. The video game allows players to conjure any object by writing the name on the touchscreen. Players can also change the appearance of the objects through the use of adjectives. Super Scribblenauts is a single player game with a PEGI rating of 12+.

2. Junior Brain Trainer 2: a sequel to the Junior Brain Trainer is a brain training video game designed for kids. The game helps kids develop their memory, maths, reading, logic and problem-solving skills among others. Junior Brain Trainer 2 is a collection of a 130 puzzles and activities. This game takes a fun method approach in encouraging children to learn in a stimulating environment. The game has been rated 3 and over by PEGI.

3. Junior Classic Games: is a collection of games aimed at developing memory, logic and problem-solving skills in kids. The game features various levels of difficulties with a reward system to keep children motivated. This title features number games, logic, arcade, music has a PEGI rating of 3+

4. Imagine Teachers: Imagine Teacher is a multiplayer simulation video game. Gamers play the role of a young teacher task with educating initially four students. Students are taught how to write, biology, maths, history and geography and develop artistic skills such as music, drawing and pottery. The video game has a PEGI rating of 3+

5. Let’s Draw!: is a simulation video game that challenges kids to be creative. The game teaches kids how to draw by following step by step guides to creating images. The video game allows kids to use their designs as part of the fun mini-games.