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Posts Tagged ‘music

It is post-Christmas, so how sick are you of this now classic song?


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Perhaps James Corden and his carpool karaoke gang will turn a bah-humbug moment into a smile.


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People with keen and critical ears have probably been deconstructing music since the first note was played. So this deconstruction and analysis of Mariah Carey’s now iconic All I Want for Christmas should be ordinarily wonderful.


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Reduced to a core, deconstruction is essentially pattern spotting and analysis. When applied to something as complex as music, the patterns of what makes a Christmas song catchy and successful might be identified and replicated.

So why do we not do this with pedagogy?

Make no mistake: I am not suggesting so-called “best practices” of teaching because contexts are different. But surely some practices are better than others.

Music can be analysed, critiqued, and modelled because it is shared openly and discussed widely. Practically anyone can appreciate music and could develop some form of expertise in it.

Pedagogy, on the other hand, is more mysterious and poorly understood. The science and art of teaching practices tend to be closed-off affairs. Teachers, instructors, lecturers, and professors do not generally welcome their peers to their classrooms unless it is appraisal time. Appraisals are to judge and value, not to deconstruct, reconstruct, and learn from.

With the exception of some places, most teachers do not need to renew their licenses to teach. As a result, there is little impetus to be challenged, to stay up-to-date, and to change.

We know what we have to change, but we resist because tradition, ego, policies, and whatever we can throw in the way gets in the way.

If I bothered to search my blog archive, I could find out exactly how many times I have featured OK Go for my occasional series on process and product.
 

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This product was OK Go’s latest music video. It was a little over four seconds slowed down to play over four minutes and featured coloured salt.
 

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Like most behind-the-scenes insights, the next nitty-gritty video is not going to get as many views as the polished music video.

The almost needless reminder is how often people value the product over the process. If they want to be entertained, they have every right to focus on the product. But if they want to learn or gain an appreciation of the hard work, they need to get insights into the process.

In schooling, the principle that transfers is grades, scores, or certificates as products, and feedback, reflection, and revision as processes. The products are obvious, but the processes are not.

However, the processes in schooling and education are arguably more important than the products. A child can be drilled and pushed into getting As for tests or s/he can learn how be resilient, reflective, and independent.

The first set of methods tends to be formulaic, driven by shortcuts, and relatively easy. The second set, driven by character, attitudes, and values, takes time and is difficult. The first sets a child up for the test of school; the second for the test of life.

Which would you rather have? Decide. OK, go.

In July I updated my iPhone to iOS 8.4. When iOS updates, so does iTunes to keep pace. Like most updates, these brought new features and fixes, but they also broke what did not need fixing.

I did nothing to my podcast subscriptions on my devices. However, the updates caused one particular subscription to be blocked. I tried in vain to remedy what was not previously a problem.

Thanks to the collective problem-solving in online forums, I discovered that a new setting was the culprit. This is what to do to reach it.

  1. Activate the Settings application.
  2. Go to the General category.
  3. Go to Restrictions, and enter your passcode to access the menu. Note: You may have set different passcodes for your iPhone and for Restrictions.
  4. If not enabled, select Enable Restrictions.
  5. Scroll down to the Allowed Content subsection.
  6. Go to Music, Podcasts & iTunes U and turn Explicit on.

Before I had this solution, I moved to SoundCloud for the same podcast. SoundCloud does not have the same restrictions setting, but it does not seem to remember where I stop playback and to resume playing from that point.

SoundCloud also does not remember this between devices so that I can switch seamlessly between a Macbook Air and iPhone, for example.

Addendum: Apple pushed a minor update, iOS 8.4.1, today. The setting remained intact on my iPad, but reverted to off on my iPhone.

As I examine most things through an educational lens, this incident reminded me of the:

  1. power of collective problem-solving as enabled by the Internet;
  2. importance of providing resources on open platforms; and
  3. need to provide the same resource on different platforms should a platform change policy or not be available to some learners.

This is my long-running series on products and processes. WordPress tells me that this is at least the eighth in the series.

First I feature a product like this LEGO-inspired music video.


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Then I marvel at the process that its maker reveals in a behind-the-scenes video.


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The four-minute music video required over unique 5000 frames.

The product is for consumption and might create admiration and a following for both the band and the stop-motion animator. The process creates insight, inspiration, and opportunities for learning.

But if view counts are any indication, people prefer the finished product over the messy processes. This has been true of all the videos I have featured so far.

Schools also tend to value products and do not focus enough on processes of learning. But it is the latter where the most meaningful and powerful learning happens.

Product: A complex music video to launch BBC Music.


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Process: An all too short behind-the-scenes look at the process of creating the video.


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We tend to admire and focus on the product, be it successful or not. But the process is just as fascinating and important.


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It’s the weekend. It’s time to chill out with a music video that features Angry Birds, Plants vs Zombies and other iOS games as they may play out in real life.


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There are many music apps for the iOS platform but these plain vanilla phones aren’t about to be left out.

It just goes to show that if you have great tools, you can potentially do very much. And if you don’t, you can get creative! That’s something that teachers who bemoan the lack of ICT need to think about!


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