Monthly Archives: May 2013

Composers Datebook for May 14, 2013

I receive this on a daily basis. Great information. You might even find a way to share with your classes.

Produced in association with the American Composers Forum
Tuesday, May 14icon_play.gifPlay today’s show | How to listen Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever!” March On today’s date in 1897, John Philip Sousa was in Philadelphia and leading his band in the premiere performance of “The Stars and Stripes Forever!” Sousa wrote his most famous march on Christmas Day, 1896, in a New York hotel room – completing the score, he said, in just a couple of hours. The work’s title was a tribute to one of Sousa’s mentors, another legendary bandmaster named Patrick S. Gilmore, whose favorite toast was “Here’s to the Stars and Stripes forever!”The 1897 premiere of the march went over well, but at first sales didn’t surpass the other Sousa marches available at the time. It was the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898, the subsequent national eruption of patriotic fervor, and some cagey showmanship on Sousa’s part that catapulted “The Stars and Stripes Forever!” into its unique status as his most famous work. Sousa crafted a touring patriotic pageant involving hundreds of performers, which ended with “The Stars and Stripes Forever!” playing as soldiers from all three branches of the military marched on-stage with flags unfurled, culminating in the entrance of an attractive local beauty decked out in red, white, and blue.

In spite of the thousands of times Sousa and his band were required to play “The Stars and Stripes Forever!” they claimed they never tired of it. And in its now 100+ year history, it’s become one of the most frequently performed pieces of American music worldwide.

Music Played on Today’s Program:John Philip Sousa (1854 – 1932):
The Stars and Stripes Forever
Royal Artillery Band;
Keith Brion, cond.
Naoxs 8.559093Additional Information:

On Sousa

About the Program
Composers Datebook is a daily program about composers of the past and present, hosted by John Zech.

Fostering artistic and professional development

13-05-12 Classroom Management

Latest newsletter from Denise Gagne. This contains info on the Orlando Summer Symposium with Artie Almeida and Denise.


May 12, 2013     Classroom Management

2013 Workshops

Artie & Denise 4th Annual

Summer Symposium

Join Artie Almeida and Denise Gagne in Orlando for three days of sensational elementary music clinics!  Network with colleagues from across the United States and Canada, and start the new school year with a multitude of great lesson ideas!

Fun and Practical sessions include:

Lisa Hewitt – Clap, Snap, Pat: Fun from Head to Toe

Grace Jordan – FUNdamentally Sound

Lisa Langston – Blacklight Bonanza (Fun in the Dark)

This will be the best ever!

Early Bird Registration – $200    After June 1st – $215

For more information:  Email Artie at       OR Visit

Bring the family and have a Disney vacation!Updates and information on the Summer Symposium can be found on Facebook –

Back to school workshops have been planned for Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto!  Workshops include choral reading sessions, back to school ideas, rhythm games sessions with Linda Miller’s amazing interactive materials, and more!  Visit for workshop information.

Music Classroom Management

We want music class to be something the kids look forward to, and it’s a very active learning environment.  How do you maintain the “fun” yet have your students behave in a way that allows for maximum learning.

This is a big topic, and will probably need more than one newsletter.

I’d appreciate your suggestions and input!  Either send me an email or post on  I can give suggestions and ideas, but I know there are many teachers with far better classroom management skills than I have.  So – send your suggestions!


1. Engage the students – When students are engaged, they aren’t causing problems. When are students engaged?  When they are “doing!”   The teacher needs to remember to talk less and do more!

2.  Pacing – My lessons are fast paced.  When students have very little down time, there are far fewer behavior issues.

3. Barbara Coloroso says it so well:

Our children are counting on us to provide two things: consistency and structure. Children need parents who say what they mean, mean what they say, and do what they say they are going to do.”

4. Praise the Positive  A pat on the back goes a lot further than a kick in the pants.  Catch someone in the class doing something right and make a positive comment.  It will often encourage the rest of the students to behave more responsibly.

5. Remind them about the Rules    Set your classroom rules early in the year and revisit them as needed throughout the school year.

6. If students don’t meet the expectations, have them reflect on their behavior.  Here are two sample reflection forms.


Vocal Warm-ups for Singers or Choir

We are thrilled to announce that our second app is in the itunes store!   This app is based on the warmups book, “Strictly Warmups” by Kerry Heisler.  The warm-ups in this collection are organized into five sets.  Each set includes a physical warm-up, breath awareness, then five minutes of a variety of mid-range warm-ups. A vocal model with a male and female vocalist to accompany the singers for the first exercises, then you or your group continue until the end of the exercise.  This is a great collection of warmups useful for elementary, middle school or high school choirs, or for solo singers.  This app is available for ipad, iphone and android.

If you haven’t tried it yet,  our recorder app  Learn and Play Recorder has everything that you need for your beginning recorder classes.  Use the app to teach in class, and give your students the link to download at home and practice!

Musicplay Grant

Apply now to receive funding to assist with the purchase of K-6 music curriculum!  


At Themes & Variations we are committed to providing quality affordable materials for teaching K-6 music classes. Our Musicplay K-5 curriculum with digital resources is just $1625, however we realize that funds may not be available for it in high needs schools.   We believe that all children have the right to a musical education, and Themes & Variations is providing funding to assist schools in acquiring the Musicplay K-6 curriculum for their students. Funding to provide 25-100% of the cost of the Musicplay curriculum will be awarded to successful applicants.


Schools may apply at any time for funding. The application may be completed by a principal, music teacher or classroom teacher who teaches his/her own music classes.

Schools will be notified within 30 days of applying. Fill in the application.

E-mail to or fax the application to 1-888-562-4647.

Reporting Requirements: Schools receiving grants must complete a brief questionnaire 6 months after receiving their curriculum.

Grants have been awarded to more than 30 schools!  (We will post a list online!)

 Applications are available at

Are you Doing Workshops?– I’m happy to send out Resource Booklets and/or sample materials to anyone who’s doing workshops for teachers using any Themes & Variations publication.  If you are doing a workshop, let me know if I can help you in any way.  I would love to have more teachers presenting workshops on our materials!


If you live in one of these states, I’d love to come and do a workshop and finish my bucket list! Arizona, Delaware. Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Vermont, West Virginia.

Themes & Variations

Canadian Office

#2-4664 Riverside Drive

Red Deer, Alberta  T4N 6Y5

US Office

PO Box 309

Danville, WA, 99121



(real people answer our phones!)



May 25, 2013


University of Saskatchewan – Kodaly in Early Childhood workshop

August 7th 2013

Canberra, Australia

Joint Orff/Kodaly Workshop for upper elementary

Listening Fun with scarves, tennis balls

Explore Cultures through songs and games

– this workshop is geared for teachers of upper elementary aged students


August 10th 2013

Cairns, Australia

– A fun day where you’ll Sing, Dance and Musicplay!

August  2013

Brisbane – after school workshops for primary and upper elementary students  TBA

Listening Fun

Explore Cultures

– this workshop is geared for teachers of upper elementary aged students

August 17-18 2013

Melbourne Australia Orff Early Childhood Division.  Sessions will be chosen from the following:

– Developing the child’s singing voice

– Let’s Keep the Beat!

– Listening Activities for Early Childhood

– Music and Literacy

– Instrument Fun for PreK

– Lesson Planning for Early Childhood

August 21, 2013 – Calgary Back to School Workshop!  Elementary Choral Reading workshop is being offered by the Alberta Choral Federation.

Other Great Sessions:

Linda Miller – Smart Rhythms and materials for Smartboard or computer/projector

Kerry Heisler – Choral Warmups

Denise Gagne – Fun back to school activities

August 22, 2013 – Edmonton Back to School Workshop!  Elementary Choral Reading workshop is being offered by the Alberta Choral Federation.

Other Great Sessions:

Linda Miller – Smart Rhythms and materials for Smartboard or computer/projector

Kerry Heisler – Choral Warmups

Denise Gagne – Fun back to school activities

August 23, 2013 – Toronto Back to School Workshop

Denise Gagne – Fun back to school activities

– Choral reading session featuring reproducible choral materials

– Heather Morris, from Folk Song to Pop Song

Free Materials

Are you using any of our materials (Themes & Variations publications) in your Holiday Concert, an assembly, or in your classes?  If you are performing any of Themes & Variations songs, send us a video of your concert, and we’ll give you a credit of $25 to be used towards purchase of the Musicplay Digital Resources.    We LOVE to see your performances of our songs.  (We must be able to post excerpts on YouTube


Themes & Variations • #2-4664 Riverside Drive • Red Deer, AB T4N6Y5