Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Salute to Captain Barrington Irving

At Delevoe Park and the African American Research Library and Cultural Center, Broward County residents and official salute the youngest pilot and first African American to fly, solo, around the world. (FL - October 27, 2007)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fifth Week of Music Class with Diva JC

This week, we're reviewing all that we've covered in October, including last week's lessons on intervals, chords: triad, Dominant 7, suspension, altered or raised 5th.

We reviewed SOLFEGGIO or SOLFEGE: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La and Ti.

We are looking at how music moves through the I - V7 - I Chord Progression, from key to key.

Also, we are searching www.ASCAP.com and www.BMI.com to find performers, composers and PUBLISHERS' and songs in their CATALOGUES.

November Lesson Plan

Week of November 4, 2007

1. Publishers (ASCAP + BMI)
2. Musical Careers (making videos)
3. Ear-Training (Solfeggio)
4. Writing Chords
5. Sight-Singing ("Dreamin'")

Week of November 11, 2007

1. Writing Lyrics
2. Writing a Melody
3. Sight-Singing ("Winter's Comin'")

Week of November 18, 2007

1. Writing Lyrics and Melody on Sheet Music
2. Singing 4-Part Harmony
3. Sight-Singing ("Little Drummer Boy")

Week of November 25, 2007

1. Review of songs for Christmas Show
2. Review of writing a song
3. Testing on ear-training and sight-singing

Also, in November, we will get to WOMEN IN JAZZ and Jazzmen that we didn't cover in October.

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End of 4th Week

This week we started looking at intervals and chords. I played the intervals for the students and asked them to identify thirds and fifths.

Two of my five classes sang in 4-part harmony. They sounded great, even the ones who said, "I can't sing!"

Well, well, well. The tide surely turned this week. Why?

Grades are due!

So many students remembered my name - not "Miss" - not "Dr.", but "Ms. Cartwright" became popular and famous, all of a sudden.

"Ms. Cartwright, what grade do I have in Music?"

"Ms. Cartwright, how can I get my grade to a B?"

I responded, "By rowboat!" to many of them who'd treated me like a red-headed step-child, for the past three weeks. But, oh, did they become friendly and, oh, did I have the upper hand.

I worked with them. Too many hadn't turned in the first two assignments I gave them:

2. Musical Careers: musician, conductor, lyricist, composer, agent, promoter, producer, distributor, manufacturer, graphics designer, engineer, etc.

More than half got less than 70% on Quiz 1 and the big TEST I gave. So, I had little to use to raise their grades. I gave extra credit, simply, for reading the Italian and English versions of tempos [or tempi, in Italian]. Presto, Largissimo, Adaggio, Allegretto, etc. That worked to raise some of their grades from and "F" to a "D".

Then, about 1/3 still refused to hand in the homework, over the last weekend, so I had to stay with the "D" for those and was able to give a "C", "B" and even a few "A's" to those who did hand it in. It was a simple assignment: Write two pages on ONE composer with birthdate, place, bio and 3 songs that they wrote. Many students gave me bios on people who sang songs but hadn't written the songs. Some gave me bios of groups. They just do not follow instructions. But I do not bend. I mark them down, when they don't give me what I ask for.

Well, grades went in on Friday. Would you believe they came in on Monday without their homework? This assignment was to watch music videos and write a sentence or two on seven (7) careers involved with creating the video. These students wrote down 7 rappers or singers. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, today, we sat there and went through 15 careers involved with making a video and put them in order of importance:

1. Script Writer
2. Producer
3. Director
4. Casting Agent
5. Talent Agents
6. Set Designer
7. Camera People (4+)
8. Sound Engineer (including Boom Microphone Operator)
9. Lighting Technician
10. Choreographer
11. Make Up & Costume Designer
12. Editor
13. Distributor
14. Promoter

I asked the students why I am discussing these careers with them. They said so that they would know about these careers and, possibily find one of them that interests them, since everyone won't be a successful singer, rapper, musician, dancer or actor. They realize that there are many different ways to make money in the MUSIC Industry.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Third Week

Music is a language. This week, we learned how to PLAY and SPELL scales:

1. chromatic - 12 tones
2. pentatonic - 5 tones
3. diatonic - 7 tone Major scale

We used the Circle of 5ths to determine Major Keys with sharps.
We used the Circle of 4ths to determine Major Keys with flats.

We watched videos:

1. "Encourage Yourself" on www.youtube.com and talked about self-motivation, praise and healing.
2. Clark Terry (trumpet) and Alvin Queen (drums);
3. Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World"
4. Chinese saxophone students with Diva JC in Tianjin, China.

Students identified composers in the following genres:

Classical, Blues, Jazz, Hip Hop
Reggae, R&B, Latin, Rap

Some received extra credit for naming "Old School" R&B artists.
They learned the term "cross over artist" and the meaning.

On Friday, they took a 4-part test covering everything they've learned in the past three weeks.

Here are the lesson plans for October:

Week of October 1, 2007

Introduction to Music
1. Songs and Emotions
2. Musical Careers
3. Instruments:

a. strings
b. percussion
c. woodwind

4. Voices
a. soprano
b. mezzo soprano
c. alto
d. contralto
e. tenor
f. baritone
g. bass

Week of October 8, 2007
1. Rhythms
a. Syncopation
b. Waltz
c. Ballads
d. Latin

2. Accidentals
3. Key Signatures (major, minor keys)

Week of October 15, 2007
1. Scales
a. Chromatic
b. Pentatonic
c. Diatonic (RULE for Major Scales)

2. Composers
3. Musical Careers

Week of October 22, 2007
1. Chords
a. Triad
b. Dominant
c. Suspensions

2. Auditions for Winter Play
3. Composers

Week of October 29, 2007
1. Review
2. Intro to Women in Jazz and Jazzmen


graphics designer

key signature


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Friday, October 12, 2007

End of the 2nd Week

As Music Teacher at the charter school, I have 83 students in five classes.

This week we covered "syncopation", which is the basic rhythm of most African American music in common or 4/4 time, including some jazz and blues compositions, R&B, Rap, Hip Hop, Reggae, Soul and Rock. We also explored these rhythms:

2/2 - March
2/4 - Ballad (Also, known as cut time)
3/4 - Waltz
6/8 - Latin (Salsa, Clave, etc.)
5/4 - Irregular Rhythms (Also 9/4, 11/4 and 13/4)

While classical music in 4/4 looks like this:
1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and

Syncopated Rhythm looks like this:
1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and

Also, we identified key signatures in the songs in the Music Book that the school has. Students learned that there are three accidentals: sharp, flat and natural. They completed Quiz #1.

On Friday, I had each class read my articles in the Broward Times on B.B. King and Al Green; Mary J. Blige and Macy Gray. This exercise revealed the students who read well and those who do not. They were impressed that I'd met B.B. King and written these articles on him and the other artists.

My goal is to show the students that there are many careers involved with music and that concert reviewer or critic is one of them.


"You and I are made for goodness. You and I are creatures who are made for transcendence, were made for love, were made for caring, were made for embracing one another. I have look out of door but I mean, although God looks down and sees all of the ghastly things and God says oh, dear.

"Whatever got into me to create that lot?

"And then God sees and God sees the others, the ones who wipe the tears from the eyes of the many, the ones that say we want to do something about poverty eradication. We want to do something about the HIV pandemic and God begins to smile through the tears. And a little angel walks up to God and wipes God's tears from God's eyes. And God says, yes, they have vindicated me. Because you and I are ultimately made for goodness. And that is what is going to prevail."

-- Archbishop Desmond Tutu at Clinton Global Initiative

Video and transcript of this moving panel on "Managing Diversity"
with Fareed Zakaria, Editor, Newsweek Internationa, Queen Rania
Al-Abdullah, Queen, The Royal Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
and Hamid Karzai President, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Week 2 of Diva JC Music Teacher

Dear Joan,
The things you had in your blog were great suggestions. You had the kids write down how they feel about music and their emotions that they may be feeling. I will give it a try and let you know what happens. The kids have less and less attention span than we ever did growing up which is a challenge.
Wendell Harrison and Pamela Wise

This is truly the case. They don't get discipline like we did from our parents, teachers and neighbors. They have so many material things that make them think they are "grown" including cellphones, computers, cd players and telephones. They are not afraid of anything. They know they can report us just like we can report them. It is a tough job being a teacher, from the get go, but without the means of disciplining the students, it is closer to "impossible".

Today, I found out that they do not want an "F" or "0" for assignments. They will cheat from each other's work to get the assignment done. It is really difficult when you prefer that they cheat or copy from another student than fail to hand in the assignment at all. So, for their first assignment, MUSICAL WORDS, half of the students did nothing. The other half got grades ranging from B to A- to A, once they did the assignment and handed it in to me.
Diva JC

Also, see my blog, divajcpursuit.blogspot.com

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

End of the first week!

Day 5 proved to be the culmination of the whole first week. Students were agitated and ready to get on to their weekend of freedom. However, they were stopped in their tracks by the two assignments I had given them: A crossword puzzle that I designed before starting on Monday, entitled Musical Words; and a list of musical careers that they were to choose from and write about, including what the job entails and the education and training needed to get the job.

Stay tuned for next weeks blog that will reveal the results of the two assignments.

And be sure to print out the puzzle and do it for yourself. I assure you, you'll enjoy it and maybe even learn something. Ummm, the answer key is available, but DON'T CHEAT!

Finally, bookmark the link to our October Newsletter for WOMEN IN JAZZ SOUTH FLORIDA, INC. featuring Jazz Woman Sandy Patton and Blues Woman Etta James.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcomed!

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Day 4 - Musical Careers

Today, we discussed capital, business, free enterprise, products, services and Careers in Music:

Vocalist, musician, composer, lyricist, publisher
Producer, Engineer, Booking Agent, Manager, Marketing,
Graphic designer, manufacturer, distributor (bar code)
DJ, Critic, reviews

One class of 8th graders was very responsive. They sang my song "Dreamin'" in the Reggae style, while one young lady and young man beat the drums.

In the last class, someone raised the thermometer to 80 degrees and the room was very uncomfortable. Students were out of their seats, talking uncontrolably and very rude. They were throwing things at each other. I wrote up four young ladies and asked them to leave the room. I called the mother of one of the young ladies whom I asked to leave the day before for cursing at the security guard and announcing to the class that I was the next to be cursed out. Her mother was not happy to hear from me.

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Day 2 and 3 - Musical Insturments and Elements

Music classes involved identifying instruments, rhythms, voices, intervals and styles of music.

On Tuesday, students read the lyrics to my song "Dreamin'" and two poems from my book - "Untitled" and "Alone". They were responsive to the messages of the poems. They learned the word "omnipotent" in "Untitled" and realized that their personal power is at stake, if they allow someone else to believe that they are powerless.

However, most of the day was spent commenting on the behavior of out-of-control students. These kids have been left back one, 2 or 3 times. Their self-discipline is minimal.

It will be interested to see how they learn keyboarding. The challenge will be to retain their attention long enough for them to learn scales.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Day 1 - Music Class

Today, in my first classes as Music Teacher, I posed the question:
What is Music? to 8th graders. Answers included:

Something to relax you
Something to motivate you

These kids have too much energy, but we found ways to channel it. I asked them to name some emotions. Answers included:


Then, we sang songs to exemplify each emotion, as I crossed them off the board.

At the end of the first period, some of them said, "You make music fun!"

I'd written on the board:


I assured them that I was there for THEM and that the class was for them.

The second period with this same group of 8th graders, they read the lyrics to songs in my book, IN PURSUIT OF A MELODY. They really seemed to enjoy doing this.

By the end of the day, I was pooped, and they were jumping across the room like rabbits, but I truly believe they learned something. They told me that they had. So, my first day is done. On to Day 2!

Diva JC

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