Status update…

The last year has been too full of non-research matters such as changing department, faculty, getting employment as Assistant professor at SMI

moving pianos, furniture, homes and family… Nonetheless I have manaed to publish a few bits and pieces. An article about open sourced software and cloud based software as possible approaches for music education, was a part of a special issue of the Journal of Music,  Technology and Education which I edited together with Steven Dillon (R.I.P), Lauri Väkevä and Alex Ruthman.

I have also published a chapter in a book about Studio thinking in After School Activities (Leisure pedagogy)

In April I presented the first results from the project “Some Teachers you carry with you” in the RIME conference in Exceter that is being developed into an article.

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“Aesthetics” in the new Swedish curriculum

In 2005, in the beginning of my PhD studies I published an article where I analysed the use of the word aesthetics in the curriculum LpO94 which was current then. That article has actually been the most read article I have written so it is time for a sequel 🙂 This autumn a new curriculum LGR11 was effectuated and there are differences. Last time I wrote with my supervisor Eva Alerby, but this time I will write together with Cecilia Ferm Thorgersen, my wife and smart colleague.

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“Software” for cloud based music creation

I have now done a search for “free” cloud based software for music creation and found quite a lot actually:

  •  Monkey Machine: A simple but decent drum machine based on Hydrogen
  • Aviary’s Music Creator – ROC which is an easy to use, sequencer software.
  • Aviary’s Myna – which is an easy to use multitrack recorder and sample DAW (similar to Garage Band from Apple in many ways)
  • Soundation – which is a loop and sample focused online music studio like Myna
  • Audiotool – which is a music creation platform much like Propellerhead’s reason – focused on electronic music
  • Audiosauna – which is a simple midi sequenser with a built in sampler as well
  • Rocudo – which is a sample loop based tool for live remixing
  • UJam – which is a very cool idea. You upload or sing/play into the program and it analyses your audio and generates accompaniment.
  • Noteflight – which is a cloud based and very capable notation software

All of the above are free and should be useful for a music teacher I assume. Just tell me how 🙂

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Need to read

Just to remind myself that I have found a couple of relevant thesis that I need to read and take into account in the ongoing project about teachers who stay with you: Johanna Ray from Finland has written about memorable musical meetings and Torill Vist from Norway about music and emotions.

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The UTEPia empire fell…

.. or not empire, but empirical base at least. I had scheduled for a in service distance training course for teachers where they would be testing, experimenting and along with me, develop the usb disk. Now I just received news that the course had too few applicants and are being cancelled. So now what do I do??

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“Drömmen om Elin”

Ok – I’ve decided. After having struggled to get to grips with the accordion by myself again today, I have decided to go for “simple”. Actually – Drömmen om Elin. I even found a note even if I do not believe I will use it. Tip for finding notes is to use googles “filetype:pdf” option (add that to whatever search term and find just pdf files).

The problem is of course to combine the two hands… There is a reason why I never became a good pianist, and there I can at least see both hands at once. I believe I will overcome that fairly quicly though. One thing I don’t understand is how they navigate through the bass notes. I understand that they are organised according to the circle of fifths, but how can I feel where in the system I am? It might dawn on me eventually. Now I have to liste through the notes to figure it out in relation to the right hand C (chich I can identify visually).

I hope to be able to master Drömmen om Elin fairly well within two weeks by practicing half an hour each day (except the weekends). If that works out, I’ll try to learn a christmas song.

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Accordion in the house

I finally got around to buying a Hagström accordion. A Granesso – probably from the late 40s/early fifties:Picture of Hagström Granesso

It sounds good – I am not sure if it is completely airtight but fairly close at least. And pretty much in tune as well. Impressive form such an old mechanical instrument!

Yesterday I was trying out the accordion without anything besides my logic. I knew that the left hand was the bass side and that it was chords organized accordion to the circle of fifth. I figured out that there where different kinds of the same chord outside of each other. The right hand side is easier in a way, since it is supposed to play melodies primarily, and the colour of the knobs are like on the piano – white for c-major, black for sharps/flats. So I managed to figure out the children’s song “Lille Katt” with chord yesterday. I thought I played it in C, but it was in G I discovered today when I checked out Hans Palm’s webpages about the bass and melody side.

So now I am thinking which song I should try to learn: Should I choose a traditional Swedish accordion song like Flottarkärlek oI try to learn an “easy” Christmas song like Jingle bells or just jump onto a song which I actually would like to play like Nordnorsk julesalme. I’ll have to sleep on it! Some songs can be found on wikifonia or elsewhere which might be an advantage for me since I usually lean onto sheets, but I would like to train my ear playing on the accordion so I really do not know!

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Starting the pilot

Me and my collague Olle Zandén met yesterday and agreed that we should go ahead with the research project The Internet as Teacher. We will start out with students in January, but before that we will try to put ourselves in the students’ postition by learning a new instrument through the use of internet and each other. And document that according to the ideas we had. Olle will attempt to learn the bassoon while I will try to learn the accordion. Only problem right now is the lack of an instument… I want to learn the accordion with buttons rather than a piano accordion, and will probably need to buy one unless I can borrow one.

An attempt to formulate the personal goal for this cycle of the pilot action research would be: To be able to play one Christmas song with both hands so that others can stand listening to it by Christmas.

I will also need to start documenting the process by starting or finding a wiki. I belive I will use this webpage in order to have control over the whole process.

Today I have looked around without any particular plan for what might be out there to learn the accordion. I found:

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Non linear tools for writing

Since computers entered my life I have “always” looked for new ways to write which utilize the strengths of the computer which is the flexibility of moving, removing and adding bits and pieces. The problem is that most tools are very linear in their design so that when we write and move stuff, it is easy to get lost in the mere amount of text… So I have been using different mind mapping tools as well as the outline tool in (which is not very good) and really never found the perfect tool. The other day I did a thorough search for something to suite my style of writing and found a few matches:

I tested my “old” tools more thoroughly: Neither Cmap, Compendium nor VUE which are amazingly competent mind mapping and content mapping programs had the necessary export functionality. I need something which will let med make a map of the bits of text I write and let me export it to word, openoffice or latex/lyx format in a sensible manner. I then tried some Freemind successors such as SciPlore, but I found them far too limited. I then stumbled upon two really interesting programs which were easy and tailored for writing: Semantik and ViewYourMind. Of the two, VYM attracted me most at first, but the export to structured text with defined headers in different levels did not work so I turned to Semantik.

Semantik seems to be doing what I want to: I can make a mind map almost only without using the mouse, and I can define in what order the parts are exported and even have an easily accessible window for writing the raw text. I am writing an article about the Linux on a Stick project for  the Journal of Music, Technology and Education with Semantik at the moment. However I find it a bit simplistic, and it still forces me to use two tools. It has no support for references footnotes and so forth.  Well – I have something to look forwards to I believe. Rob Oakes is a writer and programmer who is currently redesigning Lyx to facilitate the ultimate toolLyx-Outline. I will not test it yet as I will not risk wasting lots of time on software that breaks on me, but this looks like a one stop solution to my search. Stay tuned!

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The start!

Here I attempt to keep track of my research as well as posting ideas for research as a part of documenting and communicate the research I do. As a part of that I will of course even post things I stumble upon like conferences articles and so forth.

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