Movie making, soundtracks, literacy the whole lot

I’ve uploaded a video (below) that gives you an example of something I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.
This was a task I was doing with grade 6 students that used Imovie and Garageband, two great programs that come with the ILife bundle for macs.
The kids imported photos into IMovie, they wrote a short story that related to their selection of photos and recorded that story in using the recording facilities within IMovie. finally they wrote a soundtrack in Garageband to accompany the movie (in Garageband) exported the music as an MP3 dragged it into I Movie and off we went. We talked a lot about the appropriateness of the music to the film, the role of the soundtrack and how it was to enhance the visuals not overwhelm them.
We also had a huge number of technical issues which is often the case and actually quite beneficial for the students to experience.

There was so many things involved in this project such as literacy skills (creative writing), editing, music composition, multimodal learning, authentic learning, investigation and presentation, rendering, teamwork, saving to a network, folder creation, troubleshooting technical issues, leadership, importing and exporting of files, learning different file types.

The Enmore, Sydney, the world

I loved our gig at the Enmore.
I loved the size of the room, the beauty of the room. The feeling of age and history. I loved the feeling that you were playing at a venue that made you feel like you had achieved some level of success. I love playing in Sydney. Driving in to Sydney always makes me feel like I’m getting into a big city, a city with more possibilities for trouble, a city that has more levels and each level goes slightly deeper. Even the shallow levels go to a deeper place; the trash is better, cheaper, filthier.
There’s a greater energy in a big city. There’s a greater energy when you play on a big stage. All of sudden there is a larger amount of space in between you and the other members; you have more room to establish as your own. There’s also a greater space in the sound. It comes back at you different. It leaves you differently.
The backstage is bigger, almost like a house, your hotel room is bigger, still not like a house.
The rider is larger and the meat platter is fresher.
The energy of the band is way higher. There’s more people and more possibilities.
I love playing to Sydney people, they’re focused, they sing in all the right spots.
I loved that the venue had way to many over enthusiastic security guard all Indian of course. If ever a nationality has conquered a profession this one has.
I loved the fact that when in our last song an over enthusiastic audience member climbed onto stage there wasn’t a security guard in sight, in fact so hopeless where they in getting him down he didn’t know what to do with himself so he broke into an Arabian style snake dance that went to places dance should always go. Finally an Indian gentleman was seen politely asking him to please stop and come off the stage.

Space Compositions

In Grade two we have been working on vocal compositions. This is where you draw shapes on the whiteboard and find appropriate vocal sounds to match (an early form of notational teaching). We also invented shapes to represent loud and soft and duration. We then incorporated some of this learning into the theme of space and added some sounds from the marimba that could be translated into variouse movements. Finally we made masks to make our short performance look cool and filmed it.

This is a great way to introduce children to the concepts of composition – using their voice, using sounds that can be made on the instruments having some simple notation and finally performing.

Heres the video

Confusion Tends to Lend Itself to Brilliance but not in this case

I attended the AMP awards the other day in Sydney. An event that was bathed in strangeness, desperation, and a need to be loved, well maybe just liked, by all in attendance and further afield despite the lack of substantial qualities that lend themselves to liking or love. AMP stands for Australian Music Prize giving off the deception that it is a reflection of what is to be regarded as good in Australian music. Instead it is an example of what can be done when a good publicist jumps into bed with media, industry, washed up rock starts pretending to be holders of some sort of knowledge and keen to be washed up rock stars all glittering and shiny in their rap around Ray Bans or T Shirts with designs from a previous decade emblazoned over them, and a tiny sample of talent.
The ceremony conveniently took place at the corporate offices of one of the major sponsors, an energy drink company that not only provided slabs of their gum decaying ridiculous ideas of a drink but also provided the gold colored girls wearing air hostess uniforms resembling an era long since past where to be an air hostess was to be sexy even if slightly plastic. It was there job to hand out the free slabs of Red Bull on offer and then wonder aloud “why isn’t anyone taking the drink” . Everyone instead had made there way up to the corporate nightclub, past the corporate basketball court, skate ramp and whatever other retarded idea some corporate designer thought would be appropriate to put in the offices of a corporation keen to represent energy and youthfulness as well as ensuring their employees had the BEST DAMN TIME at work.

The nightclub quickly filled with people, aromas and blazing afternoon sun pounding through the windows. Mixing in with the aromatic delightful musk of media types was the rotting sweat of young rockers together with the bland aroma of advertising people. The Presets were up for the award, not because they were likely to win it as they have gotten to large for something like this, no a decision would have been made in some small office by those who are running this award in conjunction with the major sponsors to ask them to be on the shortlist, maybe even pay them some money to be on it and show up. This would further legitimize these awards making it even more attractive to sponsors.
So many people with simultaneously so much to gain and lose in this room. So much in their own eyes so little in everyone elses.
A media type who had been at our gig the night before was gushing in his praise of our band and how sympathetically we played. I burst out laughing then realizing the inappropriateness of that action and how much of an uncomfortable situation it had paradoxically caused I excused myself and went to the bar and ordered a drink of the boutique beer company owned by one of the Industry types in attendance.

I was starting to feel a stickiness all over my skin and a claustrophobia not helped when a shrieking young representative /presenter from Channel V started squawking in the microphone espousing the greatness of her employer and her all round excitement at presenting this life changing award (that’s $30000 to change a life). Here was a girl who had entered the workforce to early in life therefore depriving her of the ability to compare it with any other from of reality, she seemed to truly love her company. Her shrieking was only matched by Renee Geyers loud and forceful attempts to speak for everyone while successfully speaking for no one screeching at the young presenter to Shut the F..k up and get on with it. Now didn’t that cause some confusion.
A performance by a clichéd riddled band with a confused front singer not old enough to know how to be the embodiment of cool from such a bygone era he was imitating was followed by the announcement of the winner. The confusion of all my senses was growing evermore extreme and the idea of violence had a soft fluffy type feeling to it. It was time to go. When the arts gets involved in money making, back slapping self deception it always makes for an intolerably boring occasion and subsequently an intolerably boring story. I apologize.

The gig with no Beer

Perth, we were booked to play a show at the Octagon theatre but due to some administrative complications, which often happens when you have to get the many layers of the self justifying “Music Industry” involved to accomplish Music Industry things like putting on a gig, our gig had to be moved at the very last minute.
That was fine except that it was moved to a venue with no alcohol, food lamingtons or refreshments of any sort what soever.
People don’t take kindly to this, it doesn’t matter who you are, and many a grumble could be heard.
In act more than grumblings down right dissent was streaming forth from various sober mouths.
While it would be incorrect to assume that panic hit the band, we were previously made aware of the situation and had prepared ourselves accordingly, there was a level of panic coming from the Music Industry members of our small party. They were the ones in the direct firing line (they were assigned to the door).
At this stage our illustrious leader, realizing the responsibilities that come with that title grabbed the bull by the horns and assigning my good self and fellow ship mate the task of manning the big wheel and steering our cruising yacht down to the nearest refreshment house to stock up with supplies. On our return arms was handed out to the poor suffering thirsty patrons (despite the protestations of the Music Industry specialists present under the guise of us becoming lawbreakers) and boy did the mood lift.
Sometimes it’s not only the music that is required to have a good show.

Here is a cartoon drawn by a member of the crowd that night and here is a link to his blog about that gig, Its always interesting to read the perspective of an event from someone else and his is fabulous. And his pictures are likewise fabulous

Bunbury Holidays

The first gig we played on this tour was in a placecalled Bunbury in a joint called The Prince of Wales, while the gig itself was as uneventful as the place I did have one interesting experience which might sum up the gig, Bunbury, and in fact most of Western Australia. On arrival and after eight hours of travel getting to this Mecca of sterility we stumbled in the back door of the hotel. Right in front of the stage sat 4 old people, all well into their eighties, all drinking beer from a pint glass all complaining loudly about the noise we might be about to make. I was immediately enamoured by this sight so I sat down with them and got chatting. We made some decent conversation despite the obvious inhibitors created by the hearing aids and my mumbling and I discovered that this group of 4 was once a group of 20 and had been travelling down to this pub from Perth by train every year to attend the Bunbury races (trots and normal horses). The absence of the other 16 members of the group was due to death which I was loudly informed by the only women who hadn’t as yet spoken, would happen to me sometime so I had better get used to it (I presume she was talking about old age preceding death but it doesn’t matter). I wished them all the best, told them not to loose to much money and headed off to my room. Strange place to come for a holiday I thought, this was no pleasant English country pub rather a dank smelling beer drenched pub, the walls covered in posters of other touring bands, the flat screen TVs adorning the walls blaring out video hits and announcements of the weekly bingo games or dog racing and where I believe one of the owners of the sound system is currently doing some time because of an untimely death to one of his ex mates. Oh well I though, maybe it was different 40 years ago.

The next morning I got up, showered the headach out of my head, and not daring to sample the breakfast on offer I decided to go for a walk. I had to pass through the hotel and here were the 4 elderly people sitting around the same table with beers in hand and empty glasses on the table in front of them. “Are you heading off to the races?” I asked after some cordial small talk.
“No Why would we do that,” they answered, “we’ve never been. We’ve got all we want here, beer, there’s no crowd (there was defiantly none of that) and the race is on the TV all day.

“Fantastic” I thought, what a great 40 year annual holiday you can have in this part of the world.

Touring again

About to head out on tour again with CW Stoneking and the Primitive Horn Orchestra
The support act for this tour is Mamie Minch a singer from New York who sounds cool –

Here are a list of dates
Saturday, 7 March 2009 VIC – Port Fairy Folk Fest
Sunday, 8 March 2009 VIC – Port Fairy Folk Fest
WED 11th – Prince Of Wales Hotel, Bunbury WA
THURS 12th – Fly By Night, Fremantle, WA
FRI 13th – Octagon Theatre, Perth, WA
SAT 14th – Spiegeltent, Adelaide, SA –
SUN 15th – Spiegeltent, Adelaide, SA –
WED 18th – Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland, NSW
THURS 19th – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
FRI 20th – The Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
SAT 21st – Canberra Playhouse Theatre, Canberra, ACT
SUN 22nd – The Clarendon, Katoomba, NSW
TUE 24th – GPAC – Blakiston Theatre, Geelong, VIC
FRI 27th – Karova Lounge, Ballarat, VIC
SAT 28th – Earth Hour – Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne VIC
SUN 29th – The Palais, Hepburn Springs, VIC
SUN 5th April – Tivoli, Brisbane
TUES 7th April – The Boogie Shack, Toowoomba QLD
WED 8th April – Sands Tavern, Maroochydore QLD
FRI 10th April – Byron Bay Blues Fest, Byron Bay NSW
SAT 11th April – Byron Bay Blues Fest, Byron Bay NSW
FRI 17th – fly to Perth
SAT 18th April – West Coast Blues Fest
I tend to blog more frequently when I’m on tour due to the amount of nothing time that you have to deal with when touring, time spent waiting, waiting for the tour bus, waiting for a plane, waiting for a soundcheck to start and definatly waiting for the sound check to end waiting for the support band to finish and your gig to start, waiting for the rider to arrive, waiting for the merchandise part of the night to end and for everything to be packed and loaded, waiting for the adreniline to leave your body, waiting to fall asleep.
Anyway in this waiting time it’s good to write

We also just finished a filmclip If you click on the link it will take you to it