Friday, July 29, 2011

Are you a Conscious Listener?

Julian Treasure speaks in this TEDtalks video, about conscious listening. 

It reminded me of the listening classes we had to complete when I was in Grade 4. We wore headphones and listened to sounds, stories and voices and then had assignments to complete around those sounds. It made me very aware of "listening" as a specific act I could consciously engage in. I think I became a more conscious listener by participating in the least for a few years.

Do you remember learning to listen?
Was listening taught as a subject when you were in school?

Early childhood
I remember being brought back to the everyday world of listening via my nephew's toddlerhood. He would be pointing to the plane in the sky before I could even hear it coming. His lack of listening filters reminded me I had filters and defenses around listening.  Hanging out with him brought consciousness to my listening.

Deaf listeners
This fall I have a student registered in a class who we have recently discovered is deaf. The way this child listens is different from the way most other children listen. And yes, I do think this child listens even with the challenges of being deaf.

Becoming conscious again and again
I'm becoming conscious about listening again. 
You'd think as a music teacher I'd always be conscious of listening with all the sounds and songs and instruments we use.

Well...we all have patterns and fall into routines.  It's the thought that I will be planning listening activities that need to accomodate this deaf child that has me waking up...again!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Do you hide your creative ideas?

Kandinsky - try interpreting this as a music score!

I've been using modern works of art as stimulus for music-making for over 15 years. 

In fact, didn't know anyone else who did this...until a couple of weeks ago!  I didn't share much of what I did with art...I think because I was a bit afraid of criticism from other teachers.

While studying at the Orff Institute I re-discovered my "tribe"!

First, at the Orff Symposium (held at the Mozarteum) then at the Orff Institute, I met two people who do the EXACT same things with the art that I do! (and I thought I'd made all this weird respond-to-art-stuff up!)

  1. One professor uses the art as a score for beginning violin cool...and I do this too!
  2. The other (Monika Unterholzner, a dance teacher) uses the art to stimulate creative movement ideas for child-created choreography.
  3. I also use it with my baby programs and preschool programs.  We "read" the lines and dots with our fingers tracking along and vocalize. The children LOVE it and the parents think it's so creative.

Read more about creativity at my favorite blog Colour Me Happy.  Maria has some great posts on creativity here and my favorite one


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's Good to be Home

It's me sitting outside Frohnberg, the home used to film various scenes from the Sound of Music, and is now a guesthouse for students attending the Orff Institute (right next door) in Salzburg.

While it was fantastic to travel to Salzburg and to meet interesting teachers from all around the globe, I am so grateful to be home!

Would your government punish you for sharing music or dance with other cultures?
I am even more grateful to be living in a country that has broad freedoms and tolerance for differences (at least compared to some countries).  

I was stunned to learn that the reason we were not to post pictures of classes with participants, was because there were students from countries run by governments with little tolerance for sharing their culture with others.  

Teachers from these countries have learned to restrict their involvement in activity so as not to receive punishments personally or to bring hardship on their families.

I was truly shocked...I had somehow thought that the reason we couldn't videotape or audiotape sessions or bits of sessions was for copyright reasons or some such thing.  It had never occurred to me that it was to protect other participants from being punished by their governments.

My return home to a little, black dog and a little green parrot on the day of our 3rd wedding anniversary felt even more important and dear to my heart knowing that simply because I was born and live in Canada, I am able to enjoy a charmed life.  I have the freedom to live without fears.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Good-bye Salzburg!

Our dance class created this score and then we danced it in many different ways!  Monika Unterholzner was our instructor...her classes were wonderful, creative and colorful.
Tonight marked the end of our last day together at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria.  All 138 of us from 32 countries were taking pictures all day long with our instructors and one another.

I won't be able to share many of these images with you as we learned this week why video, audio, etc... were forbidden during our classes.  

My time here has been a wonderful, jam-packed, buffet of music, movement and creativity with my "tribe".  I have much to internalize and eventually share with you...over the next few months!

I'm packing now...excited to have been here and excited to go home.  I will arrive home just in time to celebrate my wedding anniversary! 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Salzburg Studies Have Begun!

Entrance to the Orff Institute

One of my friends recently emailed me to ask if I was in Salzburg to gallivant or to study!

I have been gallivanting.  It was so much fun to not have responsibility for a few days..and to sample the sausages and beer!

I was at the Orff Symposium from July 7-10, held mostly at the Mozarteum for 4 days.  There were 500 people there from all over the world.  We were celebrating the 50th year since the founding of the Orff Institute.  

Taking photos was I don't have much to share with you from the symposium.  It was pretty good as far as symposiums go (some lectures and active learning, performances by professional troupes, musicians and also students) but not nearly as much fun as this next bit is going to be...

I'm travelling in the right direction...Orff Institute straight ahead!

Today I start my studies at the Orff Institute in the Summer Course.   It's formally called "The International Summer Course" focussing on Elemental Music and Dance Pedagogy in Orff-Schulwerk.

This year it is offered in English!

Last night was opening night for the course and there are over 100 people registered...a record as apparently it's usually about 20-30 people.  We are from countries all over the world. Iran, Kuwait, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, US, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and more.  

I am the only person from Canada but I know I'm in the right place. 

Our days are very long.  We start at 9 am and finish at 9 pm.  This morning I have dance then singing, after lunch it will be dance then percussion, after dinner more folk dance.  Tomorrow I have more percussion and ensemble work, dance and more singing.  Everyday is a bit different but I'm with my "tribe"  so to speak.

We're all a bunch of multi-instrumental-dancing-singing-percussion playing teachers who love to work with children and make music with people. 

So, the next 6 days are more sightseeing or church-watching for me!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Salzburg Zoo!

Yesterday I took a Salzach riverboat cruise to the Salzburg Zoo!  Check out the Make Me Musical facebook page to see the sweetest little monkey video ever...

This little monkey was very curious about my video camera and followed the red light at the front of the camera...aaahhh! sweet!  

I also visited the alpacas (and rhinos, flamingoes, tigers, lions, zebras, brown bears, gophers, parrots...)

Meet Bodega - the friendly alpaca.  He tried to lick my video camera!  I'm having technical difficulties uploading this funny alpaca video onto facebook.  So for now enjoy his photo:)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Whoa...can it ever rain in Salzburg...

So I woke up this morning to hot sunshine in Salzburg.  I thought...yay...I won't need my umbrella or my rain poncho!  What a great day to rent a bike and ride around...again.  So I did.  I ended up back at Nonnberg Abbey...just in case those nuns decided to sing again.  

They didn't while I was there.  I sat for a very long time inside the church just taking in the quiet,
I can't seem to get enough of the beauty of this small church.

...and taking pictures, lighting candles, giving thanks, watching a caretaker beautify the altar...

I thought I'd cycle out to the country again and just as I got into the fields and a beautiful park, dark clouds started moving in.  I turned around and headed back to town because I'd heard the rains could be fierce.  It did rain a bit and just as I returned my bike, the sun came out in all its glory...sigh...

So, I decided to have a cheater-lunch.  I sat under an umbrella outside a café and ordered...
Cappucino...something I NEVER was a treat!

The fruit made this healthy...right?  There were liqueur-soaked bananas in the bottom...:)  You can't see the chocolate in this photo but it was there.

Just as I was finishing up...I can't believe I ate the whole suddenly, shockingly began to downpour (and I thought the nuns singing was an act of God!).  
Can you see the raindrops bouncing?  and look way in the distance under the arch...all the people taking cover!

I mean this was a loud deluge, like a torrential-waterfall-downpour!  Within moments I had 4 people under my table umbrella with me (1 waiter and 2 women with open umbrellas).  
These 2 women are actually holding umbrellas and standing under my table umbrella.  They are so close to me I can't get a picture of them!  It made me laugh because the rain was rivulleting off their umbrellas and right onto me, my table, my food...I was soaked just because they were there!

When I looked around, the platz (the place or square) was suddenly emptied of people.   Everyone everywhere seemed to have stopped working, moving...except...this couple at the next table... 
She ate her dessert standing up while the rains drenched everyone.

After about 15 minutes, the rains were less and I bought yet another umbrella...because the one I bought the other day was back at my room.

You can never have too many umbrellas, right?

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Glorious Sunny Salzburg Day!

It's me with a bicycle and we're riding in the countryside, outside Salzburg!
The sun finally came out today and stayed out!  I have a beautiful sunburn:)

A late lunch overlooking Salzburg at the old Stiegl Brewery (it's now a restaurant and biergarten!)

I don't know if I've had such a perfect day in a very long time.  

This morning and part of the afternoon I joined Fraulein Maria's Bicycle Tour.  We rode all through Old Town and then enjoyed many stops on a Sound of Music tour.
The infamous gazebo from the Sound of Music Movie!

The highlight for me was the Nonnberg Abbey (where Maria in Sound of Music) lived as a nun.  We had an opportunity to enter the Abbey, which is still an active abbey with nuns, and while we were in the church THE NUNS STARTED SINGING AND CHANTING.
The Gates to Nonnberg Abbey

Truly, the most angelic sound.  It was so unexpected and filled the chapel with such beauty.

Inside the Nonnberg Abbey...the nuns are singing! 

I stopped in at the Mozarteum to see some of the Orff Symposium displays that are now up.
What an entrance!

Amazing photos from the past 50 years of the Orff Institute.
Carl Orff and Dorthee Gunther
Original instruments used in the first Orff classes.  A basket of recorders, xylphones, woods.

My day ended with a captivating marionnette opera at The Salzberger Marionettentheater, with stunningly handmade marionettes from Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute).
The entrance to the Marionette Theater.  It's an opera house for puppets! 

Papageno from the Magic Flute

I've posted a new photo album on facebook (click the "f" on the sidebar---->)
or click here to visit the Make Me Musical fanpage.

Wish you were here!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Salzburg is beautiful!

click on photo to see enlargement

So, I'm just winding up my second day in Salzburg.  It's beautiful here and truly looks like a fairytale land with castles, cathedrals, forested hills, cafés and cobblestone streets.
Inside the Dom cathedral in Salzburg during a Konzert!

I posted a few pictures from my first day on my facebook page. Click here to check out the new photo album.

It's me in St.Gilgen, birthplace of Mozart's mother.

Today I took an Austrian Lakes and Mountains Tour with 48 other tourists from around the world.  I'll post more photos soon with pictures from St. Wolfgang and St.Gilgen. 

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