I really enjoy the topic of meter and time signatures. Today I focused on the simple signatures of 4/4, 2/4, and 3/4, using the music listed below as examples. I got on a tangent when talking to them about the meaning of the term "meter" and also discussed the definition of "metric", ultimately explaining that every system of measurement is a metric system, and that "The" metric system is really SI (Système International). Though a nerdy point to make, I think that the students enjoyed realizing that their music teacher knows about things that aren't necessarily music-related. Though not a priority, I would like students to know that just because I have a teaching specialty, I am not narrowly limited in my knowledge and abilities to just one subject. I'm also glad that they now know what "metric" means :)
For metric study:
Stars and Stripes Forever - J.P. Sousa (iTunes)
Maiden Voyage - Herbie Hancock (iTunes)
Skating (Vince Guaraldi) - George Winston (iTunes)
Syiahamba - Coda (iTunes)
The GM classes have a quiz tomorrow on the elements of music. We have them take specific (though not lengthy) notes that will line up quite clearly with the quiz questions. The most difficult element to explain is "texture", as we are including differentiation of monophonic, polyphonic, and homophonic textures in the quiz. We're using some gregorian chant and Handel's "Hallelujah" chorus as listening examples. There is an effect on the students in GM that is similar to that which occurred in Theory today with "metric" when I talk about polyphonic texture. I use the term "polygon" to help explain "poly-" to them, and enjoy seeing them think about math and music at the same time.
I was present at the Middle School open house tonight. Parents (and sometimes kids) were rushed around the school in an attempt to follow their student's schedule and meet the teachers. This was a particularly effective and efficient exercise when teams of teachers would change where they wanted the parents of the students to meet them, and have almost no way of passing on the message (that was sarcastic). All of the "Unified Arts" classes, which includes music, gathered their parents in one room to watch a powerpoint (the same one as last year). I was struggling to stay awake by the third time through it. The night was a couple notches better than a debacle.