Monday, March 30, 2020

March 30-April 3

Getting back to work this week.  Main objective is to get at least 30 minutes every day of practice on your band instrument.
Remember ... Mondays are the big days for assignments and Fridays are usually deadline days.  Next week is still Spring Break so we're kind of easing back into the idea that assignments will count from now on. 
There are two assignments for Wind Symphony
1) Sight Reading Factory - practice with the program and submit the test
If a student has had a SRF account in the past and is renewing their account:
2) New sheet music - Spring focus is Festive Overture
Join your class in SmartMusic and begin to explore what you can learn by practicing with it.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Birdlike - Tribute to Parker Lesson

Assigned to Jazz Ensemble 1 on March 17 2020 during COVID-19 closure.

Assignment Date: March 17, 2020
Due Date: April 20, 2020
Sorry to not get to spend the whole school year together ... disappointing for sure.
Hoping to turn this obstacle into an "bopportunity".
I'm using this "enrichment lesson" to work on my Canvas Peer Review skills.  I hope you'll use some of your extra non-class time to reach for new learning on your instrument.
This assignment is not worth points at this time but may be re-announced and include points in the future?  Special focus for me is how to use Canvas to have peer reviews so as you prepare this lesson, consider your audience to be at least 3 other Jazz 1 members. 
Although the future is a bit hazy lately, there will be jazz in the future.   Jazz combo opportunities during Jazz Colony, the Edmonds Arts Festival this June and also during SeaJazz on Wednesdays and Sundays all summer. In order to play in combos we all need to learn some Jazz Standards and vocabulary. 
This new assignment is yet another variation upon the "transcription assignment" from years past. However this assignment should be slightly easier.  There will be no culminating performance - no "solo night" but hopefully you'll buy in (engage) and internalize some of this vocabulary and notice that it shows up in your solos in the future (as most of your practice will and should). 
2020 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Charlie Parker.  Bird melodies are in many cases themselves excellent jazz etudes. 
Submit a URL video only, include some text on the screen during editing to let me know which tune it is and from what LP did it come. Who are the other players on the recording. 
Some of you are familiar with the FB group called Jam of the Week ... one of the coolest things about FB which I realize many of you are not involved in.  Take a look?
Playing a solo well at a recital is difficult and playing an actual transcription doesn't always make for an enjoyable night of listening for the audience. However playing transcriptions is one of the best ways to work on your nuance and finesse and internalize jazz vocabulary. Most highly accomplished improvisors agree that the best way to do this is all by ear. However you may not want to spend the break working that hard so you could also choose to do this from sheet music (but you'll need to do a bit of work to find pdfs on line or from your network).
Often people post youtube or Jam of the Week videos playing along with the original recording ... I recommend this. However you can also do it with no accompaniment or just a metronome or drum genius or a play along of your choosing. 
Materials necessary: chromebook, mp3 player/ipod or phone with headphones, metronome, possibly some apps like iRealb and/or a tempo slow app, youtube, pencil, instrument and a quiet place to practice well. Might help to also have a sound system or blue tooth speaker to be able to play along with so the camera can pick up your sound and the playalong. 
Not required but you may want to check out this new Bird transcription book by Michael VanBebber (Links to an external site.)
Purpose: to refine instrumental independence, develop solo vocabulary, increase knowledge of jazz repertoire, refine inflection and nuance,  and gain additional opportunity performing alone. This project will require students to practice more and LISTEN to jazz.
This project may also help you to produce an asset for use when auditioning for camps, colleges, other groups, etc.   
Guidelines for Picking tunes:
  • There's a lot to learn from mastering the head to Bird tunes like Donna Lee, Confirmation, Dexterity, Relaxin' at Camarillo, Segment, Cheryl, and so on.  And there are easier ones like Blue Bird for those who find the "boppier" ones forbidding (like bassists and trombonists).
  • Choose a tune you like -  AABA form, blues tunes are okay too must be by  Charlie "Bird" Parker
  • Choose a tunes that may be called at a jam session - try not to pick the most obscure things?
  • Solo should be not too fast, not too busy, and  not extreme in register
  • Most of Bird's tunes are contrafacts, so those interested may want to write Bird-ish contrafacts.
Thanks to Mr. Greenblatt for helping develop this assignment during last year's brain storm session on solo night.

Learn Standards

This was assigned to Jazz 2 on March 13, 2020 during COVID-19 Closure.

Hi All, 
I'm using this "enrichment lesson" to work on my Canvas skills.  Happy pre-Spring Break. I hope you'll use some of your extra non-class time to reach for new learning on your instrument.
This assignment is not worth points at this time but may be re-announced and include points in the future?  Special focus for me is how to use Canvas to have peer reviews so as you prepare this lesson, consider your audience to be at least 3 other Jazz 2 members. 
There will be jazz in the future.  Time to learn some songs.  Jazz combo opportunities during Jazz Colony, the Edmonds Arts Festival this June and also during SeaJazz on Wednesdays and Sundays all summer. In order to play in combos we all need to learn some Jazz Standards. 
Here’s a thought … do you have a list of songs which you feel you know completely? To know a song means you know these basics and maybe more….
1) melody (maybe in all keys)
2) words (if there are any)
3) key
4) form – AAB, AABA, ABC etc
5) chord changes
6) composer
7) quintessential recording/s
8) be able to play it at various tempi with various styles
Anyone can make a list but here’s a nice option I googled ….
Start a list and add to it weekly … the more songs you know, the more opportunities you will have to play with more people in more situations which equals MORE FUN.
You may need to use your research skills to find just the right song and other resources to help you be successful. 
1) Pick one of the tunes off of this list and learn it!
2) Make a video of yourself playing it with nuance and steady medium tempo
3) After you play the melody, play the root movement
4) after you play the root movement, play an improvised or transcribed solo
5) during video editing session add a title which includes which quintessential recording you studied 
6) as always, be sure that viewers (me and peers) can see your fingers and embouchure (not too close but not too far)
7) obviously you'll need to practice a good deal before you create the video, please plan to do it all in one sitting with NO EDITS
Extra challenge -  if you really learn it well, you should be able to play it in different keys

Concert Band Lesson during COVID-19 remote learning

Here's a Canvas Lesson I've assigned to Concert Band 9th Graders on March 22, 2020 Due March 27.

Hello Concert Band Musicians,
I'm lonely for you all.  Hope you're all healthy and trying to make the most of this isolation from our learning community. Having no class and no performances can really make you reevaluate your motivation ... which can be a good thing.   
I'm practicing quite a bit (many times per day) and have also learned some new things ... especially how to Zoom. I really enjoyed our Wednesday Zoom meeting and I'd like to schedule another one for this week at 2 PM ... plan for 30 minutes? We had over 60% of the class login and people looked and sounded happy and supportive. 
Band is a social class and I think it's important to share your successes and struggles with each other.  Not many folks completed the online written assignment from last week :(
Note: I notice when I practice the same stuff every day that it keeps getting better. I've been playing the same simple Beethoven piano piece since January and it's slowly improving. I'm sure you've noticed this too ... strive to keep track of what is improving through effort and dedication.
The weather has been great so I'm outdoors quite a bit and hope you are too (forest bathing?).
As I've said before, I'm trying to post some type of enrichment lesson each Monday.  For this lesson you'll need your instrument, chromebook or phone, music stand, pencil, metronome, tuner (tonal energy?) and sheet music (fussell book and Essential Technique 2000 book).
These lessons are still optional until further notice. I'm really hoping we can get back to school this in May.  Thanks for all your support sharing the GALA Auction with your sphere of influence. It's gonna pretty well considering.  Take look at the items? It's over today. I'm buying some cool stuff. (Links to an external site.) - share it?
If we do come back to school in May, I'd love our finale concert on June 9th to be a real celebration of our perseverance and grit. We will play our 2 contest pieces and at least one more new piece "to be determined".
2 parts to this lesson: 
1) warm up and/or video creativity - CREATIVITY ... do as much or as little as you like
2) Book Etude p 21 Pavanne - DISCIPLINE
First the warm up ... use this video to as a metronome with a personality? Mostly for FUN
Record your part (see attached photo) and create a video which we can share with each other ... make it fun?  The Fussell book is a tool we use in Wind Symphony daily.  It's full of good exercises which can be played by all instruments.
Load your performance video to a site where it can be shared via url link like wevideo or vimeo etcAdditional challenge, download the Acapella App and play along with it with this Cuban Countoff.  
Then share ... these will be evaluated by your peers. I'm a novice at Acapella but hoping some of you may collaborate in advance and I'll end up learning more as a result of what you share. Hint: you don't actually have to follow the instructions in Mr. B's video either.
Then write a little bit about your process and how you decided to approach this creative assignment.
Second - p. 21 Pavanne
a) Practice the etude and work on your tone and vibrato.  
b) notice that this lesson has also been created in SmartMusic and join that class and try the platform to see what you think. I'm struggling a bit with SmartMusic so you'll need to be patient most likely.  It's a little glitchy but may be a cool new way to avoid the need for so many video tests. 
Here's our class code

Thursday, March 19, 2020

COVID-19 & School Band Lesson Ideas

Hello All,

Posting some of my communications to my students here regarding the new Pandemic and how I am proceeding as a band teacher at Edmonds-Woodway High School. Wishing health to anyone taking time to read this. 

Best, Jake

Hello Band Folks,
We are definitely in uncharted waters in America due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  I'm wishing the best for all of you and your families for continued health during these unique times. I’m missing you. 
Please try to stay in communication by signing up for Remind Messages and also checking to be sure that your Skyward Contact information is accurate.
Visit school district for more information. 
Our school protocols are not clearly defined at this time but it seems clear that you won't be assigned grade bearing assignments during this crisis. However I'd like to be responsible and continue to help you stay motivated so I hope you'll read my weekly emails. I hope to be emailing all of you (via SKYWARD) only 1x per week on Mondays.  I may or may not email next Monday due to previously scheduled Spring Break.  Please check Canvas at least 1x per week. 
Today during the Governor's address residents were just asked to try to patronize local shops and restaurants by ordering takeout. Also he asked folks to continue to support Arts Organizations.  Notice the Gala is online with links including
Music can be a great part of keeping a daily routine while away from school bells and each other. I'm a fan of routine and hope you're trying to keep some healthy habits like:
1) daily exercise
2) healthy diet
3) reading
4) playing music
5) regular sleep habits
6) having fun 
Here's an interesting article regarding maintaining mental health during times of hardship. There are some good tips here which may help you or help you to help others. 
Remember to practice social distancing and help “flatten the curve”.
As I like to say: "put something beautiful in your life every day".  Now would be a good time to find some melodies that are special to you and your family and learn them. Take your time ... track your progress.
I will add that you should use this crisis to increase your "self-reliance quotient".  I was tested this morning and I woke up to a broken microwave. Instead of calling the appliance repair folks to come take a look (and violate the social distance idea) I googled the solution.  I'm grateful that I replaced the fuse and our microwave is working again. 
Onto something musical.... 
I have been a fan of Pat Metheny since I was in 8th grade.  He's an a amazing musician, composer and also a great speaker. For those interested in the intersection of brain science and music, you might find this  thought provoking.  Warning that some of the sound examples have been removed for copyright issues but if you have youtube, you can likely take a break and go hear them outside of the presentation. The other frustration is that the slide show they keep referring to is not visible in the video.
Of note to me were his answers during Q&A near the end especially 1:17 "How do you cultivate a sense of narrative" in a solo. Also 1:30 "what was the most valuable insight that music gave you"? His answers are worth pointing out to all serious music students. 
I'm looking forward to putting this event behind us as soon as possible and hoping that through this adversity we all learn something new about each other and ourselves. 
Also keep track of the free live broadcasts by the Seattle Symphony?
Feel free to email me with questions and I'll do my best to help you to continue your musical development during our hiatus.
Best to you! 
Jake Bergevin
Director of Bands & Department Chairperson
Edmonds-Woodway High School

Hi Concert Band Folks,

I'm thinking of you and thought we may learn today by gathering on a video conference meeting through Zoom to see how you're doing. You will not need your instrument for this meeting.
I miss rehearsing and without regular rehearsals and upcoming concerts we can lose our focus for practice. I'm hoping by getting together we might do a "wellness check" in and also share a bit about how things are going in regards to Music and Learning. The meeting should be about 15 minutes but might go a bit longer as we're all new to this.
Read the previous optional assignment and also notice the skyward messages I've sent? Mondays in band class usually included 5-10 minutes of chromebook time to check calendars, emails, skyward and canvas. I think that's still a good idea.  
This meeting is optional and if it's not convenient for you or you'd rather not attend, that's totally fine.  
Jake Bergevin is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Lesson posted to Canvas on March 16, 2020

Good Morning Band People!  
This is a short writing assignment. 3 or 4 sentences is plenty ... please no more than 200 words max. After reading all of this and enjoying another day.  Write a short summary of what you did to improve your musicianship and post it here on canvas for peer review.
So here we are Presuming Good Intentions in March and trying to turn an obstacle into an opportunity.  All of these lessons are to keep you playing but at this point have no bearing on your grade.  I hope you're motivated to be your best with or without grades :)
A quick review of our monthly virtues:
1) I am grateful I have you as students and that there is internet.
2) I am patient and realize online learning will test this virtue.
3) I will demonstrate perseverance through the frustration in order to keep growing.
4) I care about you and am glad you care about each other. Be kind to yourself during social distancing protocols.
5) I am going to be reviewing and refining the 7 Ps of Collaboration through this process. Take a look at this list link?
I am planning to learn quite a bit more about online teaching and am glad to approaching this with a Growth Mindset.  I hope you all have all the tools you need for success in music while at home. Tools you'll need include:
1) charged chromebook or smart phone (maybe both) - internet connectivity
2) instrument - in good working condition
3) place to practice where you feel safe and unjudged - straight chair
4) MUSIC, music stand and proper lighting - if you need your stuff from school, call the main office and see when they may be available to help you get into the band room and reclaim it. 425-431-6002 is Mrs. Scott
5) pencil and paper
6) other materials that will help but not be required 
a) metronome
b) another device to take notes on separate from your camera
c) headphones
d) separate microphone
e) amplifier or bluetooth speaker to make play alongs  or metronome louder
f) power strip to keep all your digital items fully charged
g) I'm planning for you to use the camera so be fully dressed and warn other folks in the home that you'll be video conferencing so to stay clear :)
Mostly for fun - Here's a quick call & response drill you could do with me from a series I recorded in Cuba in 2017
Go work on this website for 5 minutes with only your computer (no instrument) and use the space bar to tap rhythms.
Now try it with your instrument - did you try headphones?  What do you think?
Keep track of your levels and challenge yourself to do this every day for 1 week ... notice if you feel like it's helping you improve.
ZOOM with me?
Today I will attend a zoom meeting with some other staff ... I taught my first private lesson with zoom yesterday and I think it's pretty nifty.  Hopefully I'll be shooting you some zoom assignments so we can all get back together but I still don't know how this will work.  I think I'll try to practice with Concert Band zooming tomorrow (Wednesday) at 2:15 PM for only 15 minutes.  Then I'll collect some feedback and see if it's worth doing again. Check skyward email for the invitation?
Remember about MusicTheory.Net - focus on Interval lessons and drills
Thanks to Mrs. Charlotte Reese for sharing this activity brainstorm tool ...
Enrichment Ideas ... MUSIC (kind of like BINGO) - try for a blackout?
Call a friend and play together using zoom or skype
Play or Sing while you walk or do chores
Call an elderly person and play over the phone
Listen to something new
Read or Write a poem and create a responsive melody 
Play for a parent or guardian
Share your favorite song with someone special
Take a walk and listen to nature.
Play for a child
Play along with the radio
Read some music on piano
Check on a neighbor
Watch a movie and notice the music
Write ideas of next years’ class
Play a video game, notice the music
Email your teacher about what you have been doing.
Write a parody song based on COVID-19?
Listen to silence
Write/journal about your experience during break
Listen to your parents’ or grandparents' music using youtube?
Ask your grandparents about their favorite music or a story of dancing
Wash your hands
Use the SightReadingFactory
 Hello All,
Today I’m hosting an optional Zoom Video Conference Meeting for a short time today at 2:15 PM.  I have sent instructions through Canvas about best practices while video conferencing. Today’s conference is mostly to visually and verbally check in with each other and gauge our interest in staying in touch and also planning agenda items for continued Music Learning. We won’t know if Zoom is useful until we try.
I’m suggesting many different platforms for you to use your technology to improve your musicianship while we’re away.  However, if tech presents a problem at your house, you can still make big strides if you’ll just create a routine, stick to it and try to keep track of it.  Remember all the great lists we’ve discussed this year … 4 T’s = time, tone, technique, tonguing, 4 i’s = identify, isolate, iterate, integrate, and more. 
In addition to SightReadingFactory you may also want to start exploring SmartMusic. 
In order to get involved with SmartMusic, you will need an account code. Here it is … it’s free for now.  Please don’t plan to purchase anything.
1) Open your chrome browser and head to: 
2) Enter the class code for Concert Band 2020 – ............
3) Follow instructions and start learning … too many cool tools to list here. 
Smart Music supports our class etude book Essential Technique 2000 book 3.  If you left your book at EWHS call the main office and make an appointment to go pick it up (may not be a great plan due to COVID-19 warnings) and/or email a friend to email you some photos or scans of the pages.
My favorite part of SmartMusic is that they have thousands of piano accompaniments to solo/ensemble literature.  Ensemble music will likely be put on the back burner during this hiatus so focusing on your personal technique and building your solo skills are the main direction. 
Hope to see you on the Zoom appointment today. Check canvas for more info.
Mr. B