From Theory to Practice: ‘It was cool’

Both seminars seemed to go welFeedbackl.  Indeed, I even got student feedback from everyone present – I bribed them with chocolate!  I’ll do a reflective blogpost once I’ve read and sorted all the feedback – ‘It was cool’ was the best one, and I don’t think they were referring to Thorntons!  I need to compare the student feedback with my peer assessments, not to mention doing some evaluation of my own.

Meanwhile – the weekend was spent in a fog of exhausted, pre-Christmas stressiness, improved only by a trip to the Kelvingrove Art Galleries to see A Century of Style.

The Mystery Lady Cataloguer

On the research front, I have Big Ideas for ways to further my research into 18th-19th century Copyright Music Collections, and a tiny, glimmering hope that I may have worked out who created the early 19th century music catalogue at St Andrews.  Not in any detailed sense, nor why, nor how she came to be there. It really makes little difference to the big story, but human beings being what we are, it would be nice to have a wee anecdote about the early Victorian lady ‘cataloguer’ who wrote or dictated the two books that document what was there at the time.  What she did with the rest of her life still remains a mystery, of course!


A Headful of Theory and a File Full of Notes: Gagnon and Collay, Constructivist Learning Design

This was the gloriously free weekend when I was going to tie up two lesson plans, two theoretical accounts, and find the Peer Observer Assessment Template.

As it is, I have two lesson plans, a couple of documents retrieved from my IMG_20151206_221509Teaching Artist short course, no notes on a book that I realised was not going to help me; and notes on an entire book – one that I chose from a publishers’ catalogue:-

Gagnon, George W., Jr. and Michelle Collay, Constructivist Learning Design: Key Questions for Teaching to Standards (Thousand Oaks, CA.: Corwin Press, 2006.

As regards the Constructivist Learning Design, it was excellent.  Indeed, since the co-author is a music teacher, I was sure I was with kindred spirits.  However, the subtitle betrays a slant that I hadn’t expected: it was primarily aimed at American schoolteachers teaching to standards and set curricula.  Moreover, to make the book have general appeal, there wasn’t really any music input apart from a final chapter on incorporating dance.  (Ask my Traditional Music students to DANCE their collaboratively reached conclusions at the end of an hour’s seminar? No, I don’t think so!)

Nonetheless, if I wanted a breakdown of how constructivist learning works in practice, then I was in the right place.  I took fairly detailed notes until I reached the point where I felt I was going to have too much material to take in, let alone use.

The other book would be useful to someone interested in the psychology of learning, but it wasn’t going to tell me anything about how to teach, so after dipping into the initial chapters several times over the past couple of weeks, I finally put it aside:-

Carey, Benedict, How we learn: the surprising truth about when, where, and why it happens (New York: Random House, 2014)

So far, so good.  I haven’t written up my theoretical accounts, but my teaching plans are looking quite convincing.  A glitch with my favourite referencing software, Mendeley, used up an hour or two yesterday – to my annoyance – and of course there was all the usual domesticity, and a leaky roof after Storm Desmond.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t complete all I’d set out to do.

So, let’s see if I can find my Peer Observer Assessment Template, then I’ll call it a day.


Tradition and Nationalism … Two Lesson Plans

Well, it’s six days until I deliver my two sessions to our Traditional Music first and second years.  The first years will be led through historic examples of tradition in performance, whilst the second are treated to a guided tour through nationalism as it evidenced itself in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

I drafted the first of these a couple of nights ago, so this weekend is dedicated to crafting the second and then polishing both to within a whisker of perfection.

Ducking between a trip to St Andrews, three migraines and now a leaking roof – thankfully I don’t have a migraine whilst dealing with Storm Desmond and my building insurers – I finally settled down and drafted the second session, and am modestly pleased with the newborn lesson plan, which has some genetic similarities to its sibling, but is very definitely a plan in its own right.  I’ve even addressed the SCQF learning outcomes – good heavens, I’m turning into a teacher!

g159282_95559In fact, what worries me most is the armload of scores that I shall have to take to the seminar room on Friday!  A flight-bag is probably the best idea, and less conspicuous than a rattling library trolley!


I’ve been Cited! Excited …

Rather to my surprise, my book has been cited by the author of an article in Oral Tradition.  I thought I’d better note this somewhere!

Flemming G. Andersen. “Voices from Kilbarchan: Two versions of “The Cruel Mother” from South-West Scotland, 1825.” Oral Tradition 29.1 (2014). Project MUSE. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <;.

Not only, but also …

I am also cited in the Keats-Shelley Journal, a journal about literature of the romantic era.  “The annual bibliography of the Keats-Shelley Journal catalogues recent scholarship related to British Romanticism, with emphasis on second-generation writers—particularly John Keats, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, Leigh Hunt, and William Hazlitt.” Here:-

Ben P. Robertson. “Annual Bibliography for 2013.” Keats-Shelley Journal 63.1 (2014): 159-209. Project MUSE. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <;.

And a book review in Notes Vol.71 no.4:-

Frances Wilkins. “Our Ancient National Airs: Scottish Song Collecting from the Enlightenment to the Romantic Era by Karen McAulay (review).” Notes 71.4 (2015): 714-716. Project MUSE. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <;.