Best email from a student ever

The following came from a student in one of my music technologies courses. The assignment in question involved notating a Bach chorale using Sibelius. The student gave me permission to post this on condition that I didn’t identify him:

I HAVE SPENT THE LAST 2HOURS CHECKING EACH PART AND STILL THERE IS AN EXTRA BAR OR A BAR MISSING I MAY JUST LOSE A FEW BRAINCELLS I have handed the chorale in but i am really really angry this is ridiculous!! and I need time apart our relationship isn’t working. any-who. I tried really hard I promise.
hope you like what I haveSEBALIUS

This student works really hard and could potentially do very well in the course. You know who you are – I hope you’re reading this. Focus and slow down. You’ll be just fine.



Raffi - Singable songs for the very youngSince we (finally) hooked up our turntable, Raffi‘s Singable songs for the very young has been in pretty high rotation. I listened to it a lot as a little kid, and now Max is too (the same copy). It’s got amazing musicians playing on it, like Bob Doige and several Whiteleys, but this segment from the credits was lost on me as a toddler:

Dan Lanois – mandolin (side 1, no.8)/bass drum; besides performing with Ray Materick, and Sylvia Tyson, Dan likes to compose music; Dan and his brother Bob own and run MSR Productions.

Now, playing with Sylvia Tyson and Ray Materick is about as close to stardom as I could ever hope for, but oh yeah – Dan will also make brilliant records of his own and produce The Joshua Tree, Teatro, Wrecking Ball, So, a ton of of other U2 and, of course, the year after this record, More Singable Songs, another of my big childhood hits.

“Dan likes to compose music”

Thomas Basbøll: Teaching as a Foreign Language?

I really love reading Thomas Basbøll’s blog, Research as a Second Language. Someday I’ll write that well. Today’s post, Teaching as a Foreign Language?, hits spot-on one of the biggest challenges I face anytime I teach. I’m going to make this article required reading for every student I have next year at Sheridan:

Even our students have fallen for this new jargon. They seem more concerned about how “good” or “engaging” their teachers are than how smart or knowledgeable they are. They don’t presume that what their teachers know (precisely that which qualifies them to teach the subject) is relevant to their educational needs. They are ready to evaluate the “teaching methods” used in the course but not to think critically about the subject matter they are being taught. They presume to be able themselves to judge whether today’s lesson was too “abstract” or too “trivial”, and whether they are “learning something”. (As trained theorists increasingly attempt to impart “practical” knowledge they are less and less often satisfied, of course.) They are too easily (because too eagerly) confused by the differences of opinion they are exposed to, and forget to form an opinion of their own, except, of course, an opinion about the course and its teacher.

Exactly how I feel, but written beautifully.

Pd, Python, MySQL

I’ve spent a good chunk of the last few days getting Python running in Pd. Thomas Grill has written an external that allows you to wrap up Python code. It’s really beautiful, and I love Python, even though I’m a complete novice.

It’s been an adventure though. Pd forces Python to work in 32-bits, which means it needs a 32-bit version of MySQL, as well as a 32-bit build of the MySQL library for Python. On a 64-bit computer that becomes a bit of an issue.

So far I’ve got it working flawlessly within Pd, but trying to import MySQLdb from a straight up .py file (which should be easier) doesn’t work – says I’ve got the wrong architecture. Luckily I’m not planning on doing too much db work outside of Pd right now.