The Music of Baseball…
I became a baseball fan when I was 14 years old. Prior to that point in time I thought watching baseball was like watching paint dry! Oddly enough, I used to have the same opinion of jazz before it eventually became my favorite musical genre. In both cases my opinion was immediately changed upon seeing both pastimes performed live.
It was 1991 and the game was in Toronto. The Blue Jays were facing the Chicago White Sox, and given what would eventually happen over the next couple of seasons in World Championship baseball history, there was no greater time to be Canadian and become interested in baseball. Sitting in what to me will forever be “Skydome” for nine innings suddenly brought to life something I had had no appreciation for beforehand, and a Blue Jays victory that night solidified it. From that point on I became absorbed in all things Blue Jays. I would arrange my piano practicing and driving practice with Dad around the usual 5:30 pm EST game starts (I didn’t actually like diving anyways…). My mom preferred I watch the games in the basement because supposedly I cheered too loud when something good happened. That arrangement suited me just fine because in the basement I could watch the game on tv with the sound turned down and listen instead to the game called on the radio through Dad’s old stereo. You see I preferred the voices and enthusiasm of Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth during the game; they made it so much more exciting than the tv commentators! For a few years I even collected baseball cards and to this day I still have my big binder full of them.
I have been to professional hockey, basketball, football, and baseball games. Of them all there is something different and special about being in a baseball park. The sights, the sounds, the smells, and the history seem to set it apart somehow from the others. There is a unique energy in the air, and a feeling of being so close to the game and the players that you are a very real part of it. It is much like what I sense when I walk into a jazz club. The atmosphere holds a calm excitement before a show, there is history on the walls and on the stage, there are the familiar sounds of a crowd mingling, the smell of the kitchen preparing for the evening ahead, and that closeness to the artist or band that circles around and absorbs you into the show.
But…I digress! So knowing how I feel about music and baseball you can imagine how my interest was peaked when I found out that Bernie Williams, a former New York Yankee, now retired from baseball has moved on to a career as a professional musician. Apparently Williams has always found parallels between music and baseball, particularly through rhythm. Recently he contributed to a book that explores the connections between musical and athletic performance. So as we hit the heart of baseball season I will share some insights to help see you through the homestretch of this school year.
I continue to follow the Jays each new season, and continue to weather through the inevitable high’s and low’s that each season seems to bring…and I still go to a live game every chance I get! I’m also pretty jazzed about this year’s lineup at the Sasktel Jazz Festival! If you haven’t already checked it out here is the link.
Now, on to Home Economics…
Did you know that a music teacher and a home ec teacher could collaborate on cross-curricular learning for their students? I am so pleased to work with a teacher who saw something I was doing with a student and recognized an opportunity to tag team on it and create a meaningful and practical learning experience for the student that will meet outcomes in both subject areas at the same time.
Here is the idea that we are pursuing…which, should be noted has been given approval by the student directly involved!
The H.E. teacher has a student in her class that needs to complete a curriculum strand on design and heard that I would doing some field work with this student in a professional recording studio for music. So we have turned it into a joint project. The student will design & draft his own dream recording studio for home ec which will then serve as a research discovery project for music recording. Through this project, the student will need to learn a little about acoustical problems and solutions, performance needs, space dimensions and considerations, technology and equipment needs, business planning, and entrepreneurship. The result will be one project for two different classes and will be assessed and evaluated on different outcomes as per the curricular requirements for each class.
Perhaps we don’t take the opportunity to pursue cross-curricular learning as often as we should. In music there are certainly MANY ways it can be woven into other subject areas. However, we often don’t pursue this due to what is perhaps presumed to take more time, more preparation, and have more challenges when collaborating; but it doesn’t have to be that way! In this situation, the only additional time spent was during one very rich conversation that two excited teachers had upon sharing and communicating the idea for collaboration. Neither of us has to stray from our original individual intentions and goals for the student project, but both of us believe the project will now be far more enhanced and meaningful as a result of the dual focus within it, than it would have been without the collaboration. With an idea like this, the walls between subject areas can come down and students can see that what they are being taught in school is actually connected; just like that thing we call ‘life.’
If you would like to try some cross-curricular ideas and projects with you student, please connect with me and I can help guide you.
Resources and Info…
Check out this amazing young blues player and have a listen!
Would you like to do something really cool in the Arts in your school next year and get money (like $10,000) for it???? Then you should consider applying for a Saskatchewan Artsmart Grant. Now is the time to start preparing the grant application and if you need help to do so please call me and I would be happy to assist! Here is the link…
Here are two links to free guitar and drum lessons. These are better quality than what you typically find on youtube so pass them onto your students!
Resonate 2015 Feedback…
We got our post-Resonate survey back from students. We had a reasonable number of responses, enough to get a lot of useful information for future planning. If you are interested in seeing what students had to say about it, take a look here:
Kendra’s Road Trip Schedule…
Monday – Leask AM, DO PM
Tuesday – Leask all day, 3:30 Music teacher meeting
Wednesday – Colonsay AM, DO PM
Thursday – Leask all day
Friday – Arts ed meetings in Regina all day
Monday, May 11th – DO all day
Tuesday, May 12th – Blaine Lake AM, Leask PM
Wednesday, May 13th – Colonsay AM, DO PM
Thursday, May 14th – Leask all day
Friday, May 15th – PM DO
Have a great week!