Week 1 – Welcome back!

Welcome back everyone!  I hope you have had a great summer, are well-rested, and excited to start a new year with your students!

First, I would like to extend my many thanks to the Leask Community drumming group for being a part of our opening day.  I know how much work has gone into getting this group going and it was great to see it in action.  I also really appreciated Chris’s words that explained a bit about the group, about culture, and about the songs they played for us.

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Our opening day also included an afternoon session on how to play the ukulele by Alvin Kolach.  Thank you to all who attended, I hope it was valuable to you as you prepare for this year.  Alvin uses tunings set to “A” and I usually use tunings set to “D” because then the strings correlate directly with the bottom four strings on guitar.  Here is the take home document that Alvin gave those at the session.  This document uses “A” tunings, but can easily be transposed into “D.”  If you need help with this transposition, please contact me.

Uke Kolach


What to expect in 2014/2015:

A great deal was learnt over the course of last year’s piloting of music education support in Prairie Spirit, and we aren’t done yet.  I hope to apply new learnings to this year and continue to expand my own learning throughout the process.

This year I intend to provide moderate – high support in Waldheim and Blaine Lake schools, moderate support to Leask Community school, and as needed support to Hepburn school and Warman Community Middle school.

In addition, I intend to bring PD opportunities to teachers during the year.  To accomplish this, I will need your help!  What topics would be most valuable to you?

How to play and teach ukulele

How to use and implement a recording studio

How to read and play music notation and rhythms

How to teach and play boomwhackers and percussion

How to pursue grant opportunities

How to get students to compose their own music

Have other ideas?  Please take a moment and tell me if there is a topic that interests you and I will see if there is enough interest to provide a PD opportunity for it.


Wondering what boomwhackers are?  These great musical tubes are an excellent way to engage students of a variety of ages in music learning.  Our PSSD central library has two sets of these instruments available as reservable resources.  They are fun and easy to work with.  I encourage you to call Amanda Irvine at Division Office to book them out for your class.  Need a PD session on how to use them first?  Let me know and I’ll put something together.  In the mean time, here are a few boomwhacker links that might be useful to you.






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In addition to the boomwhackers available through the PSSD library, there are also a set of MusicPlay resources for Grades 1-5

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If you are looking for ideas for middle years students, here are a couple lesson ideas I got from a book I am currently reading.

Music lesson activities middle years

Reference info for this book is:

Price, J. & Savage, J. (Eds.). (2012). Teaching secondary music. London: Sage Publications, Ltd.


Provincial Music Organization and Conference:

The upcoming Saskatchewan Music Conference takes place in Saskatoon in November.  This is a great PD opportunity for music teachers of all genres and all grade levels to participate in.  It is also a great opportunity to join and be a part of a very tight sharing network of teachers.  This year I am thrilled to see Alvin Kolach appearing as a clinician for teaching ukulele and Chris and Chris from Rowloff Productions appearing as clinicians on creative percussion.  For more information please go here:


Also, you may want to consider getting your school a membership with the Saskatchewan Music Educator’s Association.  This association is a special subject council to the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and makes both resources and funding available to members.  With an SMEA membership you can attend the above mentioned SMC and you can apply for PD and workshop grants (which are rarely denied).  For more information please go here:



Lastly, I leave you with a nice little Jack Johnson tune you might like to teach your students as they begin the new year.   As always, should you need anything from me, please just ask.