Data driven teaching rocks my very small world

I have noticed in my role as a music teacher that there has been a recent swing away from open ended, student driven learning to data driven, closed, assessment and results driven learning. When I started teaching I was so excited to learn that things had moved from the draconian days when I was a child, at the same time I was warned that everything in teaching goes in cycles and I have now been a part of the institution to see the first turn.
Once again things such as task completion and surprise, surprise “Spelling” assessment have taken over in the scale of importance from concepts such as deeper level thinking and the encouragement of “ideas”.
I love data collection because it shows us whatever it is we want it to show us and justify whatever it is we want to justify, including bad teaching and wow does it make us feel so much better about ourselves to be able to carry around reams of useless paper with various results on them.
We feel better about our sad selves because of the amount of work it took to get all those results.
Sad Sad Sad small world

Data collection and Teching

I have noticed in my role as a music teacher that there has been a recent swing away from open ended, student driven learning to data driven, closed, assessment and results driven learning. When I started teaching I was so excited to learn that things had moved from the draconian days when I was a child, at the same time I was warned that everything in teaching goes in cycles and I have now been a part of the institution to see the first turn.
Once again things such as task completion and surprise, surprise “Spelling” assessment have taken over in the scale of importance from concepts such as deeper level thinking and the encouragement of “ideas”.
I love data collection because it shows us whatever it is we want it to show us and justify whatever it is we want to justify, including bad teaching and wow does it make us feel so much better about ourselves to be able to carry around reams of useless paper with various results on them.
We feel better about our sad selves because of the amount of work it took to get all those results.
Sad Sad Sad small world

Eumundi

Last night I was playing at The Eumundi Hotel, or more specifically Joes Water Hole, in the aptly named Eumundi with C W Stoneking and his band of mad troupers. I haven’t been to a pub like the Eumundi Hotel in a long time and actually forgot that these places actually still exist. In fact I forget places like Queensland actually still exist. Eumundi is a tiny almost novelty like town that has built its entire reputation around it’s famed markets. SO when that’s not on there ain’t much to do but sit in the pub. And sit we did. Our sound check finished at four giving us 6 hours to sit before the gig started.
The front bar of the hotel is like some sort of set design from a forgettable Australian movie from the 1980s. Every man was wearing short rugby shorts, some sort of blue singlet or collared tshirt and a cap that had been provided for them by a tooling or paint company. Most of them had beards that dropped down to their knees. The few women in the joint had earned there place in the front bar by the physical resemblance to there male counterparts and the stench of rotting underarms was coming from both sexes.
At 5 it was free dinner time and plates of overcooked rock hard party pies, chips and spring rolls were placed on the bar. As I bit into one it scolded my lip so badly a blister rose up immediately. A bell rang at 6 indicating Happy Hour which reduced the price of beer by a grand total of 30cents Raffle tickets were sold and the meat tray and free beers were won by the scrawny tart sitting to my right. The previous week she had won a meal for two at the local restaurant to the value of $20 to which I pointed that might only pay for half her meal she didn’t seem to bothered as she was struggling to find a partner anyway.
Gig finally got under way and the room was heaving with humidity charged alcohol fuelled Queenslanders. After letting a couple of youngsters break into the venue by climbing through the bands changing room window I found my way to the stage.
It was an interesting night for me because I was testing a new theory. I have recently taken to shaving my chest in an attempt to change the way I wear my cloths. Up until now I have buttoned my buttons up to the top of my shirt but I thought if I have a new chest appearance it would be like having a different persons chest so there for could be decorated differently. Almost like disassociating with my various body parts and treating them as though they were somebody else’s. I have therefore been taking to have at least 2 of my buttons open, but last night I thought I would set marker points in the set where I would open another button and therefore aim for the glorious point of having a completely open shirt by gigs end. Things went well initially and by the 45 minute mark I was down to one button left. It was at this point, which is always the most challenging part of a set as your mind recognizes the end is near and so starts to lose focus, it also lost focus on the fashion challenge at hand and a mild paranoia set it and my own chest started coming back to my body. No matter how much I fought this I regret that I failed and was sure that I would be cut down by various members of the band for my failures. Fortunately for me no one seemed to notice as the were more interested in watching the more than entertaining an violent fights breaking out in the audience.
Queensland is a great place to experiment via subterfuge

QUT Lecture

For Those interested I will be giving a paper at the Queensland University of Technology this Thursday at 2. It will be titled The creation of The Escalators – David Lynch Sampling and Memory and will be an overview of my cuurent work in my Masters studies. The Escalators is the band I have written a large body of work for that takes in my interest in David Lynchs movies, the Use of the sampler as an improvising instrument and specifically how that relates to human memory and the use of rule based compositional techniques.
I will be blogging parts of my paper in the coming weeks.

London and Sydney

Played one of the great gigs of my career on Saturday night as part of the CW Stoneking and his Primitive Horn Orchestra tour. Sold out at Sydney’s Metro Theatre the energy in the hall was breathtaking. It was the fourth gig of the tour and all the things that are required for a band to really find it’s feet was happening.
The tour opener is a New York madman called Brown Bird Rudy Relic. Brown Bird whLinkile being the cleanest man in that dirty tradition of the blues also has the loudest voice in the animal kingdom.
CW Stonekings band is full of cracking musicians including Ollie Brown (Art of Fighting), Steven Grant, James Clarke (Society Syncopators) and together this band produces music from another planet. HOT DAMN.

Back in the world of Des Peres here is a video that myself and Luva DJ made for one of the tracks off our album

new melbourne sounds for your listening pleasure

I did a gig at Pony (legendary Melbourne rock venue) last weekend and saw three bands that I had never heard of or only new a little of. They were playing on the same bill and I was totally blown away by all of them. They were all pushing some sort of limit, whether that be distortion, rhythm, length of pieces, form or even conventional style, and each act played music that I felt like I had hardly any reference point to. Incredibly refreshing when so many musicians I know are so highly committed to playing in a revisionist manner. The new always excites.
The line up was
Touch Typist
Zond
10000 Killed in Chile (the band I was playing with)
and Duck Duck Chop

Check them all out and support those trying to push new ideas rather than the easy option of what you know

Tour Posters



Here are tour posters for gigs and tours I have coming up
The first one is for my band Des Peres
Quite unlike anything else you will see in Australia
and the second one is for is for CW Stoneking.
He is a great storyteller, song writer and guitar player and quite unlike anything else you will see in Australia
You can see what I count as important in life Things that arent like the other things you’ll find in Australia

How to make money on new years

The experiences of a musician for hire are the same the world over. A never ending uncertainty concerning every single gig and added to that a general scense of weirdness surrounding almost every gig. Here’s a tale that gives you a taste.
Once a year on the 15th of December I get a phone call. The man on the other end of the line is a fat, very wealth restaurateur who never has any idea who I am despite the fact the fact he has called me every year on this exact date for the last 5 years.
“ Hi is This ahhh how do you say your name, Kynan, is it” he says with the sort of tone that comes from a man who has always been pigeonholed as a jolly fellow.
“yes it is , hi Alf good to speak to you again”
“Ah good, hi Kynan, you don’t know me , Adam Simmons gave me your number. You see we have a new years bash at my house every year, lots of fun, my wife likes to have a brass band at it, I want Adam Simmons but it seems he’s very busy, he’s very good that guy I love listening to him. Anyway he tells me you might be able to organise something. Is that something you could do. Get my wife a brass band for my New Years bash.”
“Of course”
“Good good good, now get some trumpets saxophones drums the whole lot play some music, have a drink you’ll love it. Now I want American Patrol – you know that song Da Da Da dumda da. Of course you know it, the wife loves it so play that oh and also the Peter Gun tune play that. I don’t care what else you play. Actually if you just want to play those two and just keep playing them that’s fine with me, especially that Peter Gun. What do you play?”
“Trombone”
“Oh right oh, ok, bring one of those along…and some drums saxophones, oh I’m sure you know what your doing, just get American Patrol OK. Right see you then but 11.”
And the phone goes dead.
This conversation isn’t all that dissimilar to any other weird gig promoter who has his own delusional ideas of what makes a great event except that it comes around like clockwork every year, word for word, and no matter what I try to do each year big Alf blocks me out of his memory without blocking the routine.
So I make a few phone calls get a baritone sax, a trumpet, and two marching band drummers and we show up to his mansion at about 11.00 on new years.
The party atmosphere is unchanging from year to year, about 15 people sitting around looking fairly unenthused despite the surrounding madness. When we enter the house pushing past the collection of choristers that are lining the staircase getting ready for their set Alf come s striding up , arm outstretched, huge feathers sticking out of what must be regarded in some quarters as a hat, shirt open revealing the grey haired mat on his leather chest.
“You must be Kynan” he bellows.
“Yep the same as last year”
“Right heres the routine after the choir finishes you guys come on for about an hour set, that be right with you? Great what do you think of my hat. I got this this at the set of Pricilla Queen of the dessert. I’ll put my fire mans hat on in a while. Help yourself to anything, You want to come out and see my Lamborghini? What do you think of my chandelier, had it imported from Italy I hate it. I’ve got some costumes I want you to wear, go get changed in that spare bedroom. The chandelier cost me thousands, hundreds of thousand, the wife wanted it. See you when your ready.” Even with his huge fat voice he still has to speak louder than usual to bellow over the police bagpipe and drum band he has performing in the kitchen. This seems like no place for a police outfit unless you were wearing a skirt which this ones conveniently are.

Same drill as last year which we follow to the letter.

And come out charging determined to blow the 15 drowsily drunk guests off there feet. We start with a calypso number which on its conclusion draws an immediate response from Alf
“Alright boys enough of that just give us American Patrol followed by Peter Gun and loudly.”
So we do for the next hour at which stage it is the comedians turn.
When its over Alf stuffs wads of 50 and 100 dollar bills into my hand tells me he loves it. And says. I don’t think we’ll bother with that Adam Simmons next year, we’ll just get you.

Lats night I played a gig with one of the most unusual pop bands I’ve ever experienced
10000 killed in Chile. Check them out their great