Ever since I opened my private piano studio (a nice way of saying a LONG time ago), I’ve always used lab-assisted instruction. Students not only have a piano lesson with me but stay another 30 minutes to complete activities on the computer, on worksheets and now the iPad. As I consider myself an expert consumer of technology but NOT an expert, meeting Michelle Sisler years ago at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy has been life changing and yes “lab changing”.
If you are interested in expanding the use of technology in your studio or music classroom, I highly recommend becoming familiar with Michelle’s products at her site Keys to Imagination. She not only sells and supports a host of software programs and books, but also authors and produces her own unique products. It would be difficult to make a complete list here so instead I’ll highlight a product that I believe you will find a perfect solution for your upcoming summer plans, a unique camp or theme for your private studio lab, a music classroom or even a general classroom unit. It’s called Are We There Yet? A Musical Journey Around the Globe®.
Michelle describes it as “a unique multimedia, interdisciplinary program to teach students about world music, instruments, culture, people, and geography through colorful slides, text, photos, videos, music, crafts, games and puzzles. Designed to be used with a projector or SMART board or computer station for an independent lab, this curriculum is completely done for you! Simply read the slides to students, click on related sound clips and videos, and complete activities as directed.”
Let me reiterate that when Michelle mentions it is completely done for you, she means it is completely done for you. I’ve known her and used many of her products long enough to know that whatever she produces will be comprehensive, extremely well researched, organized and most importantly, easy to use. In addition, Michelle aligns herself with top-notch people for all her projects. For the Are We There Yet series she collaborated with Dr. Deborah Brener (among others), an expert in world music. Deborah’s doctoral work concentrated on multicultural studies in teaching music and the blending of western and non-western teaching styles. She has written numerous published articles and given presentations on this topic nationwide. The pair decided to create a product to bring world music to elementary students using an interdisciplinary and multimedia program. As both Michelle and Deborah have different areas of expertise, I vouch that this team’s collaborative efforts have proven successful.
What does Are We There Yet? A Musical Journey Around the Globe® offer?
- An easy to follow plan for music or non-music teachers, no experience in world music is needed
- Sensitivity to the use of music to enhance learning
- An all-in-one multi-cultural curriculum that classroom teachers could coordinate with other subjects
- Well-researched content with music, text, photos, videos, crafts, games, and puzzles aligned with the national standards
- Flexibility with which to customize classes or a student’s lab session by choosing slides and activities to fit your schedule
- Currently six country kits are available with another six in development
- Lovely orchestrated accompaniment tracks showcasing instruments from around the world to enhance hand-selected and carefully arranged pieces for piano, Boomwhackers, Orff and rhythm instruments and singing (FYI: the arranger, Levi Taylor was hired by Dr. Randall Faber as a result of his work on this project)
- Easily accessed materials requiring minimal equipment
- A classroom or piano studio version: the classroom version is licensed for an entire school building and multiple classes. It also includes music for Boomwhackers (already color coded for the teacher) or other Orff instruments, rhythm instrument and vocals. This is an optional add-on kit for the piano studio version.
Perhaps the best way to learn more about the unique cross-cultural curriculum is to view this video in which Michelle steps through the details about the latest addition to the series: Africa. You will enjoy seeing her activities in action with real students.
So, book your tickets (the rates are reasonable at $40-$80 per kit), pack your bags and take a trip to a foreign country and culture in the comfort of your own studio or classroom. With her Are We There Yet? series, Michelle Sisler–in collaboration with respected colleagues–provides key programs to spark your music students’ imagination.
Good News! Michelle has offered a $5 discount for Are We There Yet? A Musical Journey Around the Globe – Teacher Kit (Piano Version) (Download only). This $5.00 discount can be applied to each country which adds up to $30.00 off retail.
Coupon Code: MTH