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Category archive: Video

Saturday June 14 2008

Undoubtedly the best educational snippet I have picked up on while in France, so far, is this video, of the teachers at the Sainte Therese Lycée in Quimper, miming away on YouTube to an ancient pop song.  This was done only days ago, and has already got huge publicity all over La France.  The media studies teacher put it together, apparently.

So, guess where I’m staying.  Quimper.  And guess where the daughter of my hosts (and my second goddaughter) goes to school.  Sainte Therese Lycée.  How cool is that? - as the boys at Kings Cross Supplementary would say.

Thursday June 05 2008

Yesterday at mad housewife:

My son started surfing the net aged 2, on the Cartoon Network games site. He taught himself to read from reading the net, when his school class was still trying to memorise the alphabet. When he was still an earlyish reader, he learned everything from youtube, which is fantastic for those with less striking literary talents, like my daughter (I would say she is dyslexic, but she doesn’t like being “dys” anything), who finds out almost everything by searching google images first.

Their internet (in the UK) has been down due to storms for a few days, but today it came back up. I’ve never appreciated the internet so much! said D, listening to the latest pop songs and looking up the names of a couple of TV presenters to tell me about. Wow, I’ve got so much email! said Son, who has made a new “email friend” of one of his school chums.

It’s impossible to tell how the world will change when every child has access to a laptop with internet, but I’m absolutely sure it will be for the better. Kids turn into adults. It’s hard for most of us even to imagine how we’d be now, had we grown up with that kind of knowledge-power.

I don’t think I necessarily agree about this being an automatic good.  Knowledge is power and power can be used to do bad.  But, the world will change, I do agree about that.

A mad housewife commenter supplied this link.

Tuesday April 08 2008

Ah, the USA!  How can I ignore it?  This time it’s robots playing basketball.  Talk about the revenge of the nerds.  Geeks making their own mechanical jocks!  Sixty two teams.  Two from the UK! Thank you Instapundit.

Thursday April 03 2008

imageSuddenly I am being emailed with news of interesting videos, and I’m very glad about this.

Here‘s the best video I’ve been emailed about so far.  It’s a talk by Cambridge Maths Professor Neil Turok about his African childhood, his research work at Cambridge, and about AIMS, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences.  As you can see from all the categories this posting has at the bottom, he covers a lot of ground.  There could have been more.

Favourite Turok quote: “We want Africa to be rich.” Once again, there’s that enterpreneurship vibe.  I’m not stuffing that word into his mouth.  He used it.

Strongly recommended.  And, I would say, a perfect example of how valuable it is to make progress by doing the very best you can for your best students, and not just the best you can for regular students.  It’s also a first class example of seizing an opportunity instead of just moaning about problems.

Wednesday April 02 2008

The Stockholm network have just produced a short video in favour of moving the British state education system towards greater freedom of choice for parents, towards, in other words, a system like what they have in Sweden.  This is what Conservative leader David Cameron has already said he will be favouring, so it’s helpful to have a partisan video in favour of such changes.  Here‘s the video.  Here‘s the Stockholm Network press release plugging it.

One of the prime movers behind the Civitas schools, Robert Whelan, is one of the talking heads in this video.  He talks very quietly and rather sadly, making the point that he personally wanted to go beyond just badgering the government into doing better, by helping to start some cheap and cheerful schools, within the range of the less wealthy.  That reminds me, I must ask Whelan if he’ll do a recorded conversation with me.


If I was cleverer I’d have the video “embedded”, or whatever it is, here.  But I have much to learn about such trickery and am also in somewhat of a hurry.

Personally I’m more impressed by incremental steps in what look to be the right directions, at any rate for the people doing them, than big policy leaps, even leaps intended to be leaps towards a free market.  Nationalisation is an incurably political process.  So, unfortunately, is denationalisation.  But good luck to these particular would-be reformers.  I hope they can make this kind of stuff stick.  And congratulations to Greg Carter, the guy who made this video.

Thursday February 14 2008

imageIn the latest (March 2008) issue of the Gramophone, Jonas Kaufmann, who is arguably the finest tenor Germany has produced in the past half-century, talks about a crisis in his singing career, and how an American teacher living in Germany enabled him to surmount it.

A year after graduating I found that I had no clue how to sing. I was very close to quitting altogether, so insecure was I about everything I was doing onstage. The voice constantly felt as though it could go at any moment. And that, eventually, is exactly what happened. Twice. Onstage, while singing in Parsifal. The conductor looked at me, I opened my mouth, but nothing came out.

This is a regular nightmare for opera singers, but here I was living it. To my great fortune there was an American bass in this show who said, “You need a better teacher”. I was sceptical, and retorted that a doctor was what I needed. But eventually I took his advice and hunted for a vocal coach who could show me the right path. That’s when I met Michael Rhodes, and that first meeting changed my life.

A friend took me along to see this Brooklyn-born man living in the German town of Trier. This was 13 years ago, and although he was already in his 70s he was full of energy and power.

After we had been introduced, he got down to business. “Sing ah, ah, ah” he demanded. I obliged. “Interesting,” he said, “now sing ee, ee, ee.” I did as he asked, and he said, “Absolutely wrong”. I was stunned. “What are you talking about?”

I asked, baffled. “Your ee is much too slim and broad, you use your mouth in the wrong way and your entire sound is unnatural for you.” It was the first time that somebody had dipped their hand into that wound, but he was right. German tenors are expected to sound light and bright, with little vibrato, a typical Peter Schreier sound. I also expected this, and was manipulating my voice to sound like this. It sort of worked, but the sound was unhealthy and I would finish each performance exhausted.

In that session, Rhodes told me to open my mouth and let my own sound out. It took a while for me, and for other people, to trust this dark, heavy sound I was now making. But, whereas my voice had previously given out sometimes even before I had finished a lesson, on this occasion I sang for him for two and a half hours. I could have continued singing for hours more.

Suddenly it was so easy to sing! And by learning that new way of singing I became more and more relaxed in my voice and in myself. And I always had Rhodes as my indefatigable guide. If ever I couldn’t reach a note, he – a septuagenarian baritone – would sing a soft high B and taunt me. He challenged me, he taught me, he kept me in singing.

See and hear Kaufmann singing Florestan in Beethoven’s Fidelio here.

Thursday January 10 2008

Ted Tulley tells us of 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do, and Donald Clark lists them for those who don’t care for videos: play with fire, own a pocket knife, throw a spear, deconstruct appliances, drive a car.  Thank you Bishop Hill, where you can read the list and watch the video.

Friday January 04 2008

I have long been a fan of classical violinist Pinchas Zukerman, ever since the days of his regular collaborations with the young Barenboim and the alas eternally young Jacqueline du Pré.  He remains a formidable and formidably busy musician, who now also teaches a lot.  Nevertheless, when glancing through this Zukerman bio, linked to recently by Jessica Duchen, I didn’t expect to encounter this:

In addition to his position with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Mr. Zukerman chairs the Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program at the Manhattan School of Music. To maintain close relationships with his students while fulfilling the travel demands of his concert engagements, Mr. Zukerman has pioneered the use of distance-learning technology in the arts. Through the use of the school’s videoconferencing system, his students are able to receive regular string instruction.

imageHere is the best link I was able quickly to find concerning how Zukerman does this.  Interestingly, he was already deep into video-conference for music teaching over a decade ago

I found the picture I have used here, of Zukerman distance teaching in 2002, by scrolling down here.  (He’s the one on the telly.)

See also this, by another violinist who more recently tried doing the same thing, and was very enthusiastic about it.

Pinchas Zukerman - long distance violin teacher
Bad education?
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