Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Elton John is Right About Music in Schools

January 14, 2020


I read a report that links music skills with math. Kids that learn to play music make startling progress in mathematics. This report completely dismisses the argument that music is merely an expendable extra-curricular activity.

Elton John is of course right to rail against plans to diminish the scope and importance of music at school level:

There was a rather lovely moment during the Q&A when four of those students stood up and spoke about what they had achieved thanks to their star sponsor. This of course begged the question: what does Elton make of the dwindling presence of music in today’s schools?

“Music was one of the few O Levels I managed to get,” Sir Elton tells Tim.

“A lot of schools [now] have taken music out of the curriculum and I find that really appalling, because music is so inspiring and for kids that have the ability or want to play music, there’s no outlet for this in schools anymore. It’s tragic.”


Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.


Top 5 Musicians that Were Once Teachers

October 23, 2013



I’d love to give you the top 5 teachers who were once musicians, but this will have to do:


KISS frontman Gene Simmons (aka The Demon) was actually a 6th Grade teacher at a Manhattan public school for six months before quitting the classroom for the stage. He’s since said that he realised he went into teaching because he wanted people to notice him – but he preferred the idea of performing in front of thousands of fans rather than a few dozen kids.

If you remember 80s hit Don’t Stand So Close to Me, you might also recall seeing Sting dressed as a school teacher in the film clip ( The man who shot to fame with The Police worked as a teacher in a primary school in North East England for two years. He admits he wasn’t very good at it, because he only taught things he was interested in … poetry and soccer.

Prep teacher Art Garfunkel (of legendary duo Simon & Garfunkel) is a talented mathematician. After going to teachers’ college, he was still working in the classroom in Connecticut just after Bridge Over Troubled Water ( became a massive hit.

“If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad,” according to Sheryl Crow. Well, teaching was the career that made the Missouri singer-songwriter happy before a string of hits earned her millions. Crow started out as an elementary school music teacher – working in the classroom by day and singing in bands on evenings and weekends.

Our last musician on the list is sweatband-wearing Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler. His mother was a teacher and, before he formed the band and hit the big time, a young Knopfler taught English in a UK college and visited schools in the countryside several times a week teaching kids guitar skills.

OK, just because it’s you, here’s a bonus five celebs who have also worked in the classroom …

Mr T (best known for playing BA Baracus in The A-Team and his appearance in Rocky III) was a public school gym teacher in the US. We pity the fool who dared to mess around in his class.

John Hamm (Don Draper in drama series Mad Men) was an 8th Grade drama teacher before finding fame on the small screen.

Australia’s own Hugh Jackman is known for sticking to a tough fitness regime to prepare for roles like Wolverine. What you might not know is he also worked as a PE teacher in the UK in the late 80s.

Finally, two best-selling authors: The master of horror, Stephen King (think The Shining, Misery) used to be an English teacher, and Dan Brown (best known for the mega-hit The Da Vinci Code) was also an English and Spanish teacher.


Click on the link to read Principal Rewards Students for Reaching Reading Goals

Click on the link to read Proof that Teachers Care

Click on the link to read The Short Video You MUST Watch!

Click on the link to read Is There a Greater Tragedy than a School Tragedy?

Click on the link to read School Shooting Showcases the Heroic Nature of Brilliant Teachers

Click on the link to read Meet the Armless Math Teacher


The Pitch By a Famous Boy Band to Encourage Children to Get Tattoos

March 11, 2013

Last time I checked it was highly illegal for children to get tattoos (even with parental permission). Putting aside the fact that I detest tattoos, surely this is not a respectful way to treat your devoted fan base:

ONE DIRECTION have been forced to delete a tweet and a Facebook status which asked fans to send in a video of themselves with a “1D tattoo” for a chance to appear in their new movie.

The boy band – whose members range in age from 18 to 20 – sent the message to their 13 million fans on Facebook and 10 million fans on Twitter calling for video proof of the inking.

But critics were quick to accuse One Direction of encouraging fans – who are largely made up of 10 to 16 year-olds well under the legal tattooing age of 18  – into getting permanent body art.

“Have a real 1D tattoo?” they wrote on the social networking sites, “Show us! Submit a 90 second YouTube video to and show us why you should be in the 1D3D movie! 1DHQ x.”

The social media messages were deleted shortly after a backlash, but the band’s spokesperson Simon Jones claimed the tweet was a mistake.

“This tweet was posted in error and has now been removed,” he said, “One Direction do not want to encourage any of their fans to get 1D tattoos.”

The tweet and Facebook status was replaced by a similar request today giving fans the same opportunity to appear in their movie, but this time by submitting a YouTube video of their “1D Collection”.

“Who has the biggest 1D Collection? Submit a 90sec YouTube video to – show us why you should be in the @1D3Dmovie! 1DHQ x” they wrote on Facebook and Twitter.


Click on the link to read How Giving Your Children a Bath Can Get You on a Sex Offender Registry

Click on the link to read Don’t Look for Rolemodels from Our Sporting Stars

Redefining Gifted and Talented

December 28, 2012


If a school’s gifted and talented program goes no further than those who are gifted at calculations and essay writing they are limiting their scope dramatically. Creativity and the wonderfully imaginative and artistic ways children express themselves warrants some attention when it comes to devising gifted and talented groupings.

The child below may not be a writer or a human calculator but I defy you to argue that he isn’t gifted or talented:


Click on the link to read School Calls Police to Stop A-Grade Student From Studying

Click on the link to read Schools are Failing Gifted Students

Click on the link to read Skills Your Child Should Know but Isn’t Taught at School

Brilliant Rap Song By Parents About Parenting

August 17, 2012

It’s rap Friday and this one has particular resonance. It’s about the sacrifices parents make and the demands placed on them.


Click on the link to read Inspirational Dad Competes In Triathlon With Daughter Who Has Cerebral Palsy

Click on the link to read Lessons Learned From Maddy

Click on the link to read 20 Tips to Ensuring Your Kids Find You Embarrassing

Click on the link to read This is What You Get for Doing Your Homework

This is What You Get for Doing Your Homework

August 17, 2012

An after-school program offered its students the opportunity to make a rap-session for those who completed their homework. The result is a rap video that has gone viral:

Both the song and video were produced as part of the Beats And Rhymes after-school program at the North Community YMCA in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Kids who participate in the program are rewarded with a chance to flex their rap skills on camera if they keep up with their schoolwork.

“Each student has to complete their homework in order to participate in the after-school rap session, which encourages self-expression, hard work and dedication, all while fostering talent in these young kids,” writes Erik Thompson of local news outlet City Pages. “Qualities which will clearly be beneficial to them as they make their way through life.”

Professional beat producers and videographers helped the kids craft their final product, but the creative drive behind Hot Cheetos & Takis is 100 per cent ‘Y.N. RichKids crew.’

Click on the link to read Parents Urged to do the Job of a Teacher

Click on the link to read Student Walks By Without Helping Injured Janitor

Click on the link to read Experts Call For Homework to Be Abolished

Click on the link to read The Case in Favour of Homework

The Perfect Way to Start off a School Year

August 15, 2012

There is nothing better than a teacher flash mob to ease the apprehensions and anxieties of a first day at school. I love it when teachers stop playing the authority card and instead invest in connecting with their students through fun and positivity:

Teachers at Hancock High School in Mississippi went into the first day of the 2012-13 school year with what can only be described as an unconventional lesson plan.

Instead of the usual icebreaker sessions and syllabus distribution, the faculty gathered students in the gymnasium, where they performed a flash mob to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”

Click on the link to read Brilliant Clip of a Head Teacher Dancing

Click on the link to read Who Said Grammar Isn’t Important?

Click on the link to read Misplaced Lego is Often Found in the Strangest Places

Adele Should be Selective When Taking Parenting Advice

July 4, 2012

For some reason people feel they have the right to inundate an expectant mother with parenting tips and strategies. Some appreciate the concern and interest whilst others find it invasive and suffocating (especially since a lot of it is contradictory).

Reports have surfaced that singer Adele has sought parenting tips by watching reruns of Supernanny. Supernanny’s Jo Frost certainly wouldn’t be my first port of call:

Adele is taking tips from TV’s ‘Supernanny’ Jo Frost, to prepare for the birth of her first child.

The ‘Rolling In The Deep’ singer announced last Friday (29.06.12) that she and boyfriend Simon Konecki are expecting a baby together.

The 24-year-old performer is reportedly learning discipline techniques already.

A source told The Sun: “Adele thinks Jo Frost is the business and wants to make her kids as well-behaved as possible.

“She’s been watching re-runs of ‘Supernanny’ – the UK and US versions.”

Teaching Fractions: The Musical

March 22, 2012

As it is very difficult to convey the skills of fractions,  I am keen to see how a new programme that helps students learn fractions to music actually works. Fractions is often the skill that teachers dread to cover. I have heard of teachers that have demanded to teach lower grades just to avoid it.

That is why I am sure that this programme will generate plenty of interest:

For tapping out a beat may help children learn difficult fraction concepts, according to new findings due to be published in the journal Educational Studies in Mathematics.

An innovative curriculum uses rhythm to teach fractions at a California school where students in a music-based programme scored significantly higher on math tests than their peers who received regular instruction.

“Academic Music” is a hands-on curriculum that uses music notation, clapping, drumming and chanting to introduce third-grade students to fractions.

The programme, co-designed by San Francisco State University researchers, addresses one of the most difficult – and important – topics in the elementary mathematics curriculum.

“If students don’t understand fractions early on, they often struggle with algebra and mathematical reasoning later in their schooling,” said Susan Courey, assistant professor of special education at San Francisco State University.

“We have designed a method that uses gestures and symbols to help children understand parts of a whole and learn the academic language of math.”

It will be interesting to see if this programme becomes a success.

Parents Revolt Against Teacher Who Removed the Word “Gay” From Christmas Carol

December 8, 2011

The teacher who swapped the word “gay”with “bright” so that her class wouldn’t giggle during their rendition of “Deck the Halls” was always going to draw the ire of at least one parents. As much as she may have made the change with the best of intentions, I am sure if she had her time over, she wouldn’t have fiddled with the lyrics:

A Michigan teacher chose to censor the word ‘gay’ from the festive holiday tune ‘Deck the Halls’ and was met by a frosty response from parents.

Parents thought the Cherry Knoll teacher had been naughty and not so nice when the elementary instructor replaced ‘gay’ with ‘bright’ after her students wouldn’t stop laughing when they sang the word.

They took to the school’s Facebook page ranting about the teacher’s decision to change that word in the traditional holiday carol.

Cherry Knoll principal Chris Parker told 7&4 News in Traverse City that he was disappointed the music teacher decided to change the lyrics, saying she could have used the moment for a learning opportunity on tolerance.

‘This would have been a great opportunity to teach that “gay” has more than one meaning and is not a bad word,’ he said.

Enraged parents took to the school’s Facebook page, which has since been disabled, to voice their complaints over the word-swap.

A teacher’s poor choice is not the real story here. The real story is the way the parents handled the situation. Instead of confronting the school or teacher with their displeasure, they did what many parents are now choosing to do, and turned their disapproval into a large-scale Facebook campaign.

I have no doubt that a few quiet phone calls from concerned parents would have been sufficient to provoke this teacher to revert back to the original lyrics and make a profuse apology to all offended. Instead, this teacher had to contend with a barrage of negative comments on Facebook, and now, worldwide media coverage.

This sends a shocking message. It says that whenever parents are upset over the actions of a classroom teacher they can turn to Facebook for a fully fledged smear campaign. This amounts to bullying of the worse kind.

Teachers make mistakes. Some small, some huge. But no well-meaning teacher deserves to be pillaged on Facebook – ever!

%d bloggers like this: