Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Kodaly in the Choral Classroom Workshop- Tips for choosing and preparing music

Hello! I hope everyone is having a great first few weeks back to school.  I am in the middle of my first full week now and so far so good! I will have a post soon about my first month procedures but today we are finishing up The Kodaly in the Choral Classroom series!  Part 4 is all about choosing and preparing music before you even step foot in front of your choir.  After today you will have all the tips and tricks I learned from Dr. Laszlo Norbert Nemes from the Kodaly Institute in Kecskemet, Hungary.

We have already talked about the Auditions and First Rehearsal, Warm-Ups, and the Rehearsal Itself-(click the titles to be taken to that post) but how do you know WHAT to sing???  Dr. Nemes had a lot of great tips for picking and preparing music.

First, when thinking about what materials to program be sure include music that meets your artistic goals for your ensemble, is attainable- yet some still with a challenge- with your groups musical ability, and that you are thinking about the vocal and technical readiness of your chorus. You also want to teach music that YOU like.  If you don't like a piece, that attitude will rub off on your chorus- where as if you LOVE a piece, students will pick up on that and end up loving the piece as well. :)

More specifically, here are 6 things to remember when choosing music.
1. A worthwhile piece will always help chorus members grow musically and vocally
2. The music should be age appropriate in subject and meaning (both emotional and cultural)
3. The music should contain many pedagogical opportunities for you as a teacher to teach students how to read and understand music!
4. The style of each piece should be taken into consideration so that a concert is engaging for both singers and audience.  Have a variety of time periods, tempos, cultures, composers and more all represented!
5. Utilize both accompanied and unaccompanied pieces
6. All choirs should move gradually from unison to part singing.  Even if a choir is advanced, unison can be a great tool to practice many things so have both on your program (even it is only a section of unison for a more advanced group).

Once you have your music literature picked out it is time to start prepping for the rehearsal.  A chorus director should plan each and every rehearsal but also needs to remember to be FLEXIBLE as things do not always go as planned or a wonderful teaching moment may appear that you don't want to pass up.  The best time to plan the next rehearsal is IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING the one you just finished.

When planning a rehearsal, a director or conductor should not only be planning which songs need to be worked on next, but which specific sections of each song need to be taught or practiced, which warm-ups relate to those sections, AND logical transitions between songs. To be successful in planning it is best if a director really knows the music inside and out by carefully taking time to study the score well before the first rehearsal.

When studying a score for the first time there are 3 ways a director should go through the song.  
1. Line by line or horizontally is first- work your way through each top starting with the sopranos and ending with the lowest section. Find tricky parts within each vocal line, read through the text, and find musical symbols like crescendos, accents, etc. so that you can be fully prepared when teaching a line to the chorus.

2. Next, move through the piece vertically by playing each part with each other part.  For a 3-part piece you might play the soprano and alto together, then play the soprano and baritone, then alto and baritone, and finally all 3 at once.  Listen for the harmonic progression and figure out which parts should sing out and which need to back off based on text, chord structure, or even just written in cues from the composer.

3. Finally you want to move through the music zig-zag.  Look for cues, voice leading, etc. and find which part is the most important during each section of the song.  Find entrances and cut offs and if another voice part may be able to help with a tricky interval or entrance.

By the time you are done with score study- you should be able to sing every part of the piece and even jump back and forth between parts with out thinking.  Only then should you present the music to your chorus :)

I hope you enjoyed reading this series! Be sure to check out the other posts (links are back at the top) so you don't miss ANY of the wonderful information that Dr. Nemes shared.  I am so excited to really start chorus this year and put all these tips and ideas to good use! My students will be singing, reading, moving and having fun!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Kodaly in the Choral Classroom Workshop- The Rehearsal

Alright- time for Part 3 of my series Kodaly in the Choral Classroom- Notes and thoughts on a workshop with Dr. Laszlo Norber Nemes at Capital Univeristy.  Today I will be focusing on THE REHEARSAL! Finally!

Don't forget to check out the first two posts in the series (links below) - Dr. Nemes had so much information I just couldn't condense it all into one post! He is truly a master teacher- if you ever get a chance to go to Hungary to learn from him at the Kodaly Institute, or attend a workshop with him where ever you are I highly recommend it!

Part 1- Auditions and the 1st Rehearsal
Part 2- Warm-ups
Part 4- Picking and Preparing Music

This post, as some of the others were, will be two-fold.  I will share general advice for conductors to follow during the rehearsal and more specifically 5 issues in regards to intonation and how to help.

A few things to remember:  When teaching chorus- the objective should be to teach music JOYFULLY with concepts leading students down the road to understanding music.

Through singing, students can develop the following:
1. The feeling of musical time (sense of beat, rhythm, meter, form, tempo, etc.)
2. Inner-hearing
3. Melodic skills
4. The ability to move from monophony to polyphony
5. Sensitivity toward pure intonation
6. Reading musical notation on a staff
7. Reading musical notation using a hand-staff or hand-signs
8. Musical memory
9. Transposition (especially with the use of a handstaff)
10. Improvisation (question and answer using solfa, etc.)

When teaching in chorus the teacher should prepare and teach by deconstructing a piece of music.  The chorus members then reconstruct the music though guidance from the conductor.

When reconstructing and learning a new song, students should use solfege as much as possible.  They can sight read, follow from hand-signs or hand-staff, or even echo singing (whether T sings solfa or a neutral syllable- students always sing solfa).  Even if students have never used solfege before, it is still beneficial- eventually they will get the sounds of the intervals in their ears and they will be sight-reading before you know it!

Remember you do not have to teach a song in order from start to finish- starting with melody.  Sometimes it is beneficial to start with easier sections to give students a sense of accomplishment.  Or start with a section you know may be tricky so students have a lot of time to really figure it out and get the sound of the line in their head. Sometimes you may want to teach all students a harmony part BEFORE you teach the melody line.  However, as you teach sections, they should be taught in their entirety- including dynamics and everything so students do not get used to singing without all that is written on the page.

Also, just as you would have logical transitions in a general music lesson, they have a place in the chorus lesson as well. Make your rehearsal flow seamlessly by using lines from previous songs as transitions by perhaps having students work on their musicianship.  Have them echo lines (step step, sing sing as mentioned in the warm-up post or reading from hand-signs, etc.) and start with the meter and/or tone-set from the song that was just worked on.  Slowly transition to a new song by adding or subtracting notes from the tone-set or beats from the measure.  End on a line from the next song you want to teach. Don't be afraid to play music reading games in chorus, just as you would in general music!

Here are a few other tid-bits to remember during a chorus rehearsal:
1. Divide the piece into manageable sections- don't leave the ending for too late!
2. ALWAYS give the starting pitch (or if your choir is more advance, the tonal center)
3. Let the choir know how you will conduct- if you are changing your beat pattern warn them
4. When correcting a piece be sure to isolate patterns for corrections- don't just have the chorus sing the whole song again.
5. If there is repetition in the rehearsal (which there will be!) be sure to give a reason why- are you working on a specific section or interval?  Practicing dynamics? Working on Memorization?

**After the rehearsal is over, immediately (or as soon as possible) write the plan for the next rehearsal.  This way joys and concerns from the lesson will be fresh in your mind.  If you can't write the whole plan- be sure to at least take detailed notes about where you left off in a piece, what was unclear, and what needs work.  This is especially important if you do not see your group every day!**

5 issues in regards to intonation: Every chorus director knows that many things can contribute to the intonation of a choir.  Here are 5 issues and things to think about when trying to fix them!

1. Balance Within the Group: The foundation of balance is PERFECT UNISON.  All voices should blend so that they sound as 1- especially in pp dynamics!  Help students to work together and LISTEN to those around them so that one voice does not stick out.  I will never forget that while in high school a girl in my choir announced one day that she would NOT blend at school because she had to blend in the Youth Choir she was in and she wanted to show off her voice... what??? Be sure students understand the reason behind blending and listening :)

2. Oblique, Inversions, and Parallel Movements in Harmonies: Remember, when the vocal line is moving up you think larger, more energetic intervals.  However, when the line is descending, thing smaller and more careful intervals so as to not go flat. Practice this in warm-ups with reading from hand-sings (P1 follows right hand while P2 follows left), or other simple sight-reading exercises.

3. Long Tones and Repeated Notes: A teacher must remember that they have to teach how to intone a note that is long held, encouraging students to not drop the pitch just because they are running out of air.  Rather, they should be taught to stagger breathe and the technique for coming back in on the same note!  We also need to think about repeated notes as well and being sure that they are not dropping in pitch with each repetition.

4. Danger Points of Intonation: A teacher must be able to discern between the following danger points!
        A. Singing notes around breaks
        B. Loud Dynamics (don't push sharp!)
        C. Quiet Dynamics (keep the support- don't get lazy and go flat!)
        D. Problematic Vowels and Diphthongs (teach students proper vowel formation- warm-ups are a great time to practice!)
        E. Support and Posture (no slouching!)
        F. Letting the pitch change when the word ends on a voiced consonant (don't let it happen!)
        G. Key Changes (be sensitive!)

5. Natural Dynamics: Be sure the chorus is balanced in numbers.  Note: This does not mean equal numbers in all parts! In a 2 or 3 part chorus, the part that has the most members should be the lowest (in my case, the Altos).  The next largest group should be the highest (Sopranos) and finally the middle group should have the least number of people.  These numbers should not be vastly different but it definitely helps when trying to balance a chord (root = loudest, then 5th, then 3rd).   Also remember to crescendo on ascending passages adding energy to the line and decrescendo on descending passages, treating the line with care. 

I will leave you with a quote from Dr. Nemes: "If something doesn't work, find the mistake in YOU [the teacher]."

Don't forget to check out the other posts in the series if you missed them! Links are at the top!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Kodaly in the Choral Classroom Workshop- Warm-ups

I'm back for post 2 in my 4 part series on the Kodaly In the Choral Classroom Workshop I took with Dr. Laszlo Norbert Nemes at Capital University from July 12-14.

This post will be all about warm-ups! We did so many warm-ups throughout the 3 days of singing, but the thing I will remember most is to make the warm-ups super INTENTIONAL.  I know we have heard it before but it was amazing how we, as students, were so much more successful sight-reading, singing in tune, and more just because the warm-ups all related to what was coming next. Not only were there vocal warm-ups but there were a lot of physical warm-ups as well.

First I will share a few tips and tricks from Dr. Nemes that can be applied to ALL warm-ups, then I will share some of my favorites he taught us!

1.  There are 3 parts of a warm-up.  A physical warm-up should
            A. warm-up the voice
            B. warm-up musicianship
            C. warm-up concentration 
2. Change it up.  Even within one exercise, change up the vowels.  Warm-ups should not be predictable. (I really need to work on this one!)
3. Incorporate part-singing into the warm-up (examples below)
4. Give the pitch with your voice- even if you are using the piano, be sure to reinforce with your voice.
5. Select the warm-ups based on the repertoire your students will be singing.  It can relate to the tonality, the tone-set, similar rhythm patterns, be a simpler version of the song, have the same harmonic progression, etc.
6. Teach articulation and breathing super exaggerated and make it into a game
7. Use solfa, handsigns, and hand-staff for warm-ups and throughout the rehearsal.  
8. Don't always go up and down by half-steps, use whole tones or skip around. 
9. Walk to the beat when reading rhythms- ALWAYS!
10. End with something JOYFUL!

Now onto some of my favorite things we did as warm-ups during the work-shop! It was so fun!

To warm-up our voices we did many things, some similar to what I typically have done as warm-ups in the past.  For example we sang d-r-m-r-d-r-m-r-d moving up and down (not always by half-steps though).  We also inverted the pattern (m-r-d-r-m...) and sang it in two parts.  There was oblique harmony- where one group sang the pattern and another held do or mi, parallel harmony- where we sang the pattern in cannon, and contrary motion where one group sang d-r-m-... while the other sang m-r-d-...   You could even sing the same solfege pattern on neutral syllables to practice correct vowels. There was so much we did with just the one exercise!

One of my favorite things we did to warm-up musicianship was "step, step, sing sing" (I gave it that awesome name...).  The teacher plays a short solfege pattern on the piano while the chorus is stepping and then the student sing the pattern on the singing beats! We started with two beats of step, two of sing and added more and more (step, step, step, sing, sing, sing, etc.).  Of course, the solfa played was in the same key, and using the same tone-set as the song we would be working next!

Another way to warm-up musicianship is just by sight-reading.  I will be doing a "Daily 5" in both chorus and upper elementary general music where students read an example for Kodaly's 333 (get the book HERE) or a new folk song, or an example extracted from the choral piece itself and then we will play with it.  There are so many ways you can play with an example:
-Show the form through movement
-Sing it in cannon (be sure cannons you choose have different harmonic structures!)
-Perform it in cannon with yourself (singing and clapping, etc)
-Clap/ snap on different rests (we did this with Hotaru Koi- snapped on eighth rests and clapped on quarter rests with singing and without). 

The warming-up the concentration was my favorite part because it got us moving! A few of my favorite concentration warm-ups were:

Let's put the Rooster in the Stew: We sang the song first.  Then we added in snapping.  This song is in 4/4 time so we added snaps on different eighth notes of the song.  For the 1st phrase it was no snap, the 2nd was on the 1st eighth note, the 3rd phrase had a snap on the 2nd eighth note, etc.  If you sing the song through twice, the final snap will be on the last word of the song.

Hey Ho, Nobody Home: This was similar to the rooster but it was more than just snapping- and hard! We first sang the song and then added a poly-rhythm body percussion ostinato. The pattern was clap, rt shoulder tap, lft shoulder tap, rt leg tap, leg tap ending with a clap -snap to finish it off after the pattern is completed 6 times.   This in itself was not too tricky for most of the music teachers in the room, but would definitely be tricky for some students.  Eventually we put it with a partner (clap replaced with a 2 hand partner "high five").  Then it got really tricky- and more similar to Rooster.  We were asked to replace a beat of the ostinato with a snap.  Just like rooster it started with no replacement, then we replaced the clap for the next time through the pattern, then the rt shoulder, then then lft shoulder, etc.  If you do it correctly, each beat gets replaced once before the final clap-snap! I hope to make a video of this soon- but I have to practice!

Land of the Silver Birch: For this one we added a cup game that uses 2 cups!  Check out this blog post I wrote in march that explains it in detail- there is even a video!  It is the same directions as Ludaim.  Hint: Use cups of 2 different colors because the cup that starts in your left hand will NEVER leave you the whole game! 

My Paddle Keen and Bright: For this warm-up we added a handclap game that can be done in cannon.  It is super fun.  I actually learned this one in Hungary in 2013 from Lucinda Geogohan but kind of forgot about it so I am excited to bring it back to my students- they love this song.  The pattern is basically:  tap rt shoulder, tap left shoulder, tap rt leg, tap left leg (all eighth notes) then Clap, Hit right hands with partner (or person to your left if doing in a round), Clap, Hit both hands with partner (across from you in round), Clap, Hit left hands with partner (or person to your right if doing it in a round).  All claps and hits are to the quarter note pulse.  The round sung at 2 beats (My paddle, my paddle). 

Note: Hey Ho, Land of the Silver Birch, and My Paddle can all be sung at the same time! Super fun challenge for younger kids and it would be awesome in a folk-song program-games and all. 

We also did some fun physical dance like warm-ups.  2 of my favorites are explained below.  One involves singing, one is just to get the students up and moving.

Gypsy Rover: We did the dance as a warm-up with the basic song before we went into learning a more complicated choral arrangement of the piece.  I LOVE this idea! This one is a super fun folk-dance type movement that is done in a circle with every other person being labeled a 1 or a 2.  It is pretty advanced so don't make it the first folk dance you ever teach!  I will try to explain the best I can because it was awesome.

I will refer to partner 1 and partner 2 throughout.  Partner one is the person to a 1s right or 2s left. Partner is the opposite. 

The Gypsy Rover came over the hill-  1s: Walk forward 4 beats then wait 4
                                                             2s: Wait 4 beats then walk forward 4

Down through the valley so shady- 1s: Walk backward 4 beats then wait 4
                                                         2s: Wait 4 beats then walk back 4 (all should be back to start)

He whistled and he sang: All Clap, pat partner 1, clap, pat partner 2 (on beat)

'Til the green woods rang: Clap, snap, clap, pat both partners (on beat)

And he won the heart of a lady: Swing partner 1 for 4 beats, then swing partner 2 for 4 beats.

*Ladeo, Ladeo, O-a-day: Walk forward 4 beats bent forward

*Ladeo, O-a-day-dee: Connect arms to make arches and walk backwards

He whistled and he sang... (til end of song): Grand R+L switching every 4 beats.  You end on the 5th person you meet as your new partner 1.


*Note: If the Ladeo part is sung in cannon (1s first then 2s) The actions form a sort of basket weave where 2s are going forward under 1s arched armed as they move back.  Adds a really fun visual element!

Russian Dance from The Nutcracker Suite:  This one didn't involve singing but I will definitely be using it in general music (or asking the sub to since I will probably be out most of December).  It was very simple and FUN!
Formation: Standing in circle
A Section: Moving to the right: step, step, hop, walk 4 beats then repeat to the left (x2)
B Section: Walk around self to the right 8 beats then run in place for 4 beats repeat to the left
C Section: Pat the accents on your legs (1, 1, 1-3, 1-2-3-4)
A Section- Just once!
Coda- Count to 12 then clap!

(Want other Nutcracker Ideas- check out this post!)

Here are some other fun gems I learned from Dr. Nemes in Hungary a few years ago:
All warm-up the voice, musicianship, AND concentration :)

Physical Sing Counting: 
Sing count the following pattern: d'-s-m-d
Start by singing each note 8 times (d'-d'-d'-d'-d'-d'-d'-'d-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-, etc.)
Then sing each 4, then each 2, then each 1
Motions: On d'- touch toe, s-touch knees, m-touch stomach, d-touch shoulders

Body Percussion Patterns: 
Make patterns with the following motions (relate them to songs in your rep!)
Ta-quarter note- Jump
Titi-beamed eighth notes- 2 claps
Tika-tika- 4 beamed sixteenth notes- patsch
Ti-tika [eighth beamed with 2 sixteenths]- hit chest then snap 2x (or opposite for tika-ti)
quarter rest- tap head

Follow Along Partwork:
Play two parts on the piano and then have students sing along with their own part (make as easy or hard as your chorus can handle)

d   d-r-d d-r-m-r-d   d-r-m-s-m-r-d   d-r-m-s-l-s-m-r-d
Sing pattern as written above
To challenge students have them clap on mi (or pat re, or touch shoulders on so)- inner hear mi instead of singing it
Add another inner hearing note as they master (clap on mi AND touch shoulders on so, etc.)
Eventually students should be inner hearing r-m-s while doing actions and only singing do and la

I hope you got some new ideas for warm-ups! I know I plan on being really intentional with all warm-ups chosen this year!  Don't forget to check out part 1- Auditions and the first rehearsal HERE! Part 3 is on teaching repertoire is also up. See that one HERE.  Part 4 is on picking and preparing music for your rehearsal and you can read that one HERE.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Kodaly in the Choral Classroom Workshop- Auditions and 1st Rehearsal

Wow, what a wonderful 3 days of singing I just had.  This past week (ok, it was a few weeks ago...) I had the pleasure of attending a workshop given by the Director of the Kodaly Institute of the Liszt Academy of Music in Hungary, Dr. Laszlo Norbert Nemes. 

In celebration of the Kodaly Program at Capital University in Columbus being established 35 years ago, Dr. Nemes came to give a workshop at the start of Kodaly Levels this year.  Even though I completed my elementary levels a few years ago, I had to go back for this workshop.  Having worked with Dr. Nemes in Hungary in 2013 (he was the choir conductor for the Kodaly courses) I knew it would be amazing, and it sure was.   I was a little nervous going into the workshop, as my chorus is only 5th and 6th grade and I wasn't sure what level the workshop would be aimed at (elementary? secondary? post-secondary?) but I was not disappointed. We learned so much about every aspect of choral music teaching and conducting (as well as a few games that I will definitely be using in both chorus and general music this year).

Right at the start of the workshop we jumped right into singing.  Throughout the whole workshop he used many tried and true teaching activities such as pair and share, learning by doing, mock lessons, etc.   After a fun warm-up activity where Dr. Nemes taught us a song and then added an ostinato, first with body percussion and then open 5th harmony, we talked about Auditions and the First Rehearsal. 

The first question he asked was "What is the Ideal Chorus Member."  Obviously with everyone from different teaching backgrounds all of our answers were a little different.  My answers were
1. The chorus member has to want to learn and grow. 
2. The chorus member has to be willing to work hard.

For an entry level chorus I think WANTING to be there is a VERY important thing. Chorus rehearsals can be tough when you have kids who we re strongly encouraged to join by parents rather than because they truly want to sing as part of a group.

Your ideals may be different but if you go into your auditions/ a first hearing knowing what YOU want and need for your chorus.  Have your goals for your chorus year established before you hear anyone sing and forming your group will be that much easier.  It is not always about who is the best singer or best sight-reader (though these things are important), but rather singing personalities, tone, confidence, etc.

With my chorus, there is no "audition" per-say as anyone who wants to be in chorus can be, but when I do a first hearing I am still looking for who should stand next to who, putting leaders next to those who may struggle, mixing voices so that confident singers are spread throughout the group AND clashing personalities (or best-buds) are also spread throughout the group.  During my first hearing I try to make students as comfortable as possible.  One gem from the workshop was ask the to SHARE what they can do, not SHOW.  Students just sing a simple song for me that I know they know (usually a favorite folk song from the year prior) and some warm-ups. 

Now, with my chorus, the first rehearsal is actually BEFORE the "first hearing" because at my school ALL 5th and 6th graders come to the first rehearsal for their grade and we sing, move AND hear about what the upcoming year will be like.  The following week they then get to choose if they want to join chorus or not.  For this reason, I love for my first rehearsal to really leave the students wanting more (which I try for all year, but I feel it is really important to hook them right from the get-go!).  Last year as my super fun warm-up I taught them "la-ti-do-ti-la" and the hand motions and then was able to add cups when the group was a little smaller (though I still had a HUGE chorus last year-yay!).  Check out this BLOG POST for how to play the cup game! This year I plan on stealing the first activity from Dr. Nemes. 

He taught us Kye Kye Kule (a Ghanan Children's song) in stages. If you don't know the song there is background and some videos here- my favorites are the 1st and 3rd.  I plan on splitting the stages up over the course of a few rehearsals. 
1. Call and response (just like the videos).  Dr. Nemes would sing a phrase with motions and we repeated.  He started with the phrases in order, but then moved to random for each step.
2. Teacher HUMs a line with motions and students sing and do
3. Teacher just does motions and students sing and do
4. T. claps the rhythm of a phrase, students pat phrase
5. Show rhythm cards to put song together

If you have a group that is reluctant to sing right away- Dr. Nemes recommends getting them used to you first either by just rhythm activities that evolve into a dance, partner clapping activities, etc.  AND then add the song.  By the time they realize they are singing, you already have them hooked! (We did movement and games to so many folk songs it will take another post to describe them all so stay tuned!)

After he had us hooked with the first activity we moved seamlessly into warm-ups which were very intentional (Part 2 of this blog series) and finally into pieces we would be singing/ performing for our mini concert we gave at the end of the workshop.  Throughout the ENTIRE first rehearsal there was so much singing (of course!), movement, smiling, games, laughter and more. 

For my first rehearsal this year I plan on doing the same.  We will start with Kye Kye Kule and then move into true warm-ups which relate to the pieces we will sing.  The Veterans Day Concert is always the first performance of the year so we will be working on The Star-Spangled Banner, the songs of the Branches of the Armed Forces, and more TBD (I am debating between a few pieces to add to the program).  Students will also get a rundown of the whole year- when Concerts/ National Anthem performances are, when the musical is (though you don't have to be in chorus to be in the musical) and more. 

Over all I hope to make chorus this year much more ACTIVE after taking this workshop and using a lot more folk music. Everything in the workshop flowed seamlessly and each part of the rehearsals was so intentional.  It is my goal to be that intentional with EVERY chorus rehearsal this year.

Check out parts 2, 3 and 4 of this workshop series (there was so much info)! Part 2 is on intentional warm-ups, Part 3 give tips for teaching new songs (which relates A LOT to the intentional warm-ups), Part 4 is on picking your repertoire and preparing for the rehearsals :)  Happy Back to School!

Thanks to The TLC Shop for the border in my picture above! 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Wish & Dish- TPT Back to School Sale


Tonight I am linking up with Mrs. Miracle's Music Room and Music A La Abbot for their Wish & Dish linky. 

What prompted this link-up?  The annual Teachers Pay Teachers Back-to-School sale is upon us!  Monday, August 3 and Tuesday, August 4 my store (and many others) will be 20% off and you can get an extra 10% off with the code BTS15 for a total of 28% off! YAY!

Alright, this linky is 2 fold:

WISH: Be sure to get your wishlist ready NOW so when you check out you don't miss anything!  I am going to share some products I am super excited to purchase during the sale as well as some new products from my store!

DISH: Did you know that you can get TPT credits when you provide feedback on items you have purchased in the past?  You get 1 credit for every dollar you spend IF you take the time to leave feedback for the sellers!  You can then use credits towards future purchases :)  I will be making sure I am up-to-date on feedback tonight so I can use my credits during the sale as well.

To "dish" on products and leave feedback all you have to do is go to your TPT home screen and hover over "My TPT" and then choose "My Purchases".  You can then sort all your purchases, bringing the items that need feedback to the top. Just hover over "sort by" and click "needs feedback".  Super easy!

Here is my WISHLIST:) I am so excited for this sale!

Product by another Music Seller:
I can't wait to get Aileen Miracle's Early Finisher Task CardsThis set includes so many ideas for kids for when they are finished with individual work!  There are rhythm cards, melody cards, vocal explorations, song title cards, AND vocab cards!  I really want to be better at formal assessments this year but I have always struggled with what to do with students who finish early.  This set will be perfect! 
I am also thinking about getting a music teacher planner.  I have 2 on my wishlist that I am debating between.  I just need to make sure I use it!  I tend to be really excited about planners for a few months and then forget about them... but both of these are great!
The Whole Life Planner from Organized Chaos has pages to organize your whole life- teaching, home, business- anything you could think of!
The Music Teacher Planner from The Yellow Brick Road has pages for every binder a music teacher may want- there are sub-binder pages, seating charts and class jobs, desktop organizers, resource forms and check-lists, to-to lists and more! It's all editable too!

Elephant Clipart:
Alright, this purchase has nothing to do with a future TPT product at this point BUT I am so excited to use one (or more) of these clip art sets to make stuff for my Baby Boy's room! I want to make clothing dividers (divided by size) and some other elephant things and this clipart is so cute!
How adorable is this Blue and Gray Elephant Clipart Set from Digital Dollface??

I also love this Elephant Clipart made my Scrapster by Melissa Held Designs.

Product from my Store:
I just added some new Back-2-School sorting games to my store!  Back-2-School Stack- Music Symbols and Back-2-School Stack- Orchestral Instruments. Both are great for review stations, small group work, or early finishers on review worksheets or getting to know you sheets at the beginning of the school year.  

For the Music Symbols sorting game students match the Symbol Name-Crayon, to the Symbol Picture-Easel, to the Word/Symbol Definition-Notepad.  There are also larger pictures (left) of each symbol, great for the Fly Swatter game!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Back-2-School-Stack-Orchestral-Instruments-2003653  The Orchestral Instruments version is very similar.  Students match the Instrument Family (Easel), to the Instrument Name (Crayon), to the Instrument Picture (Notepad).  Just like the music symbols version, there are larger pictures of each instrument on Notepads and large Easels with the family names for the Fly Swatter Game!

They are very similar to some of my best sellers- "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman", "Jack-O-Lantern Stack", "Stacks of Love" and "Help My Garden Grow".   Check out all of the music symbols versions HERE and all of the Orchestral Instruments versions HERE!

Thanks to my wonderful husband for hand-drawing the back-to-school clipart and helping me figure out photoshop.

Well there you have it! Don't forget to login to TPT now make your own wish-list and dish on all the products you have bought in the past to get credits.  Happy shopping at the sale Aug 3 and 4!