• Spring String Fling

    Posted by Joe Shimp on 5/18/2009 3:00:00 PM

     Congratulations on another outstanding Spring String Fling this past weekend.  All groups did an excellent job of rehearsing and performing.

    Our video lost power halfway through the second number, so if anyone has a recording of the concert, we'd love for you to bring it in so the entire class can see it. 

    8th grade will not need to bring their instruments the rest of the year. 6th & 7th grade are finishing up some curriculum-related things we haven't covered yet.

    Thanks for a great year!

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  • Cello for sale!

    Posted by Joe Shimp on 5/11/2009 4:00:00 PM


    From Mrs. Swanson,

    Do you know anyone who needs a cello/bow?  I have student who is leaving the country and she's selling hers for $2500 for the cello and bow.  Let me know.  Thank you!



    Yoonhae K. Swanson


    BM & MM Music Performance in Cello


    Indiana University of Bloomington





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  • Adopt our Classroom!

    Posted by Joe Shimp on 4/20/2009 7:00:00 AM

    Use this link to help out our orchestra/percussion classroom!  We're in need of new instruments, instrument repair, and sheet music!  Any and all money is helpful.


    Tell your friends and family about this link as well.  We are in desperate need of money to help sustain our program!

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  • Music and Literacy - They are Connected!

    Posted by Joe Shimp on 3/20/2009 10:30:00 AM
    Today is the ISSMA contest held here at CGMSN.  We look forward to a day full of great performances after the students have worked so hard the past few weeks.
    If you have read the blog lately, you know how strongly I feel that music education should be part of the core curriculum.  There are many reasearch studies that point to this conclusion, but, thanks to our librarian, Mrs. DiPietro, I was directed to an article about how music education helps students improve reading skills.
    The article is from Science Daily, and they assert that children exposed to a multi-year program of performance music involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers, according to a study published in the journal Psychology of Music.
    The study found that students gain reading skills through music such as vocabulary, verbal sequencing, decoding, and reading comprehension.  The gains only happened, however, if students were involved for more than two years.  The reason is that the duration of music study required to improve reading and associated skills is fairly long, so the initial two years are not sufficient.
    Center Grove has taken a good step forward by requiring all 6th grade students to take a performance music class.  The better scenario for all students would be to require performance music 6-8 grade.  The gains made by the students in this study and other studies being done, show that music does make a difference in other subject areas:  language and math in particular.  With such an emphasis placed on language and math learning, music should be considered another effective approach to reach ALL students.  Some people would like to see students take more of the same to increase test scores.  More math to increase math, more language to increase language.  What it really boils down to, though, is that all students learn best when they have varied activities that cover the same topics.
    My hope is that all Center Grove parents heed this study and require their students to take music through the 8th grade.  Your student will reap positive benefits that will help them for a lifetime.
    For more information on the study click this link http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316075843.htm
    Good luck to all groups at the ISSMA contest held at CGMSN!
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  • Music fuels change

    Posted by Joe Shimp on 2/27/2009 5:00:00 PM
    During the course of the year, I have a lot of questions about why we think music is so important at Center Grove.  Why do we fight so hard to ensure that all students in our district, of every shape, size, background, ethnicity, social status, and zip code have music as part of their basic education. 
    We teach percussion and string instruments specifically, as a means of teaching students to apply themselves to music, and thus become better students overall.  My vision is to provide these young men and women with a positive activity that will teach them many of the skills they will need to develop in order to help put their lives on a better pathway.  Discipline, teamwork, problem solving, working toward a goal that is bigger than one's self.  All things that even I sometimes take for granted.  It is the power of making music that has the ability to change young people for the better.
    And it has. 
    Music gives our students a great sense of pride and accomplishment.  All the extra rehearsals to get ready for the next performance will be worth the effort.
    I believe the power of music can transform our students, forever.
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  • How and Why Parents Should Help with Practicing!

    Posted by Joe Shimp on 2/12/2009 3:15:00 PM

    There has been much publicity about recent research that indicates the powerful effect music can have on the intellectual and creative development of children.  One noted author, scientist and musician Daniel Levitin, has written a book called “This Is Your Brain on Music” which describes how 10,000 hours of practice – not talent – makes virtuosos.  He also notes that playing music combines areas of the brain that are not normally used in conjunction with each other.  This is what makes studying music so difficult – and so beneficial!


    Success in instrumental music depends on consistent practice.  Practicing is not an 'optional' or 'only if I have my other homework done..." assignment.  Much like math homework, it is a way to continually drill new skills necessary for mastery of the subject. 


    A lot of times I hear "I just can't get my son or daughter to practice.  They just don't like it."  My response is, "Do they like doing all of their homework in other classes?  Do you always like going to work?"  Most professional musicians don’t ‘like’ practicing either, but they know it is essential in order to maintain and increase their ability. 


    Many people feel like music should be a 'fun' activity - and it should!  However, it is a different type of fun from video games, movies, internet, and TV.  It is not a ‘passive’ activity.  Practicing takes effort.  It is only fun when you perform to the best of your ability, and that can only happen once you have mastered certain skills.  Without consistent practice, many students fall behind and that is when they start to think about quitting.


    Likewise, encouraging students to practice regularly takes effort (so does encouraging them to complete their math or science homework!)  However, it is essential for learning and it helps develop a work ethic that can benefit a person throughout life. 


    Here are some suggestions:

    ·         establish a regular time and place for practicing and try to keep this time free from distraction from other sources, especially siblings

    ·         monitor his/her practice on a regular basis to ensure that it is being accomplished

    ·         talk with him/her about the need for practice and set up mutually agreed upon goals and rewards

    ·         have an unofficial performance with you as the audience

    ·         ask your student to demonstrate various skills and knowledge of music for you while practicing at home

    ·         praise their practice efforts regularly in the presence of family members and peers

    ·         watch for correct posture, hand position and straight bows

    ·         try to obtain any needed materials and/or repairs in a timely fashion


    I hope you find these suggestions helpful.  Please e-mail me at shimpj@centergrove.k12.in.usfor additional ideas.


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Last Modified on May 18, 2009