Making Bach Accessible to Everyone Online

I know not everyone is a fan of classical music. I get it. But you don’t have to be a fan to recognize the impact that music written hundreds of years ago still has on musicians today.

Composers and songwriters still take inspiration from the melodies created by Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, and many more.

Think of the possibilities with your students if you had one place to access all the available performances of someone like Bach.

Now you do. Enter the “All of Bach” project.

Since the start of this unique project, more than 350 of the total of 1080 works by Johann Sebastian Bach have been performed and recorded in special ways. They include some remarkable highlights, such as the St Matthew Passion in the Grote Kerk, in Naarden, the Six Cello Suites at beautiful Amsterdam locations like the Concertgebouw and the Rijksmuseum, and Brandenburg Concerto no. 4 in Felix Meritis, in Amsterdam.

Informative texts, interesting facts and interviews with the performers provide a wealth of background information. All the works are performed by the Netherlands Bach Society and many guest musicians, and you can watch and listen to recordings of the complete works. In personal interviews, the musicians themselves talk about what touches them in the music or why they enjoy playing it so much. In order to keep close to Bach, the recordings are made at suitable venues, but we also look for unusual recording locations. Cantatas are filmed in a church, for instance, and chamber music at the musicians’ homes or at special locations in the Netherlands.

https://www.bachvereniging.nl/en/about-allofbach

Of course, these works are available for performance by anyone since they are part of the public domain, allowing new generations to experience the work of a master and be inspired to create their own masterpieces.

Books I Read in May 2022

I’m consistently working to keep my reading on track this year. I have a book with me wherever I go (physical & ebook) and carve out a little time each day.

Some days more than others 😉

Here are the books I read/finished reading during May 2022:

Gun Control and Schools

school safety
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

I’m having a hard time putting into words my feelings over the past couple of days. I work in education but I’m also a parent. I worry about the kids and teachers whom I work with but I also worry about sending my daughter to school.

Note: she just finished 4th grade, which has struck me right in the center of my being after the deaths of many 4th graders in Texas. They were the same age as my own daughter. Frightening, to say the least.

My biggest issue now is responding to those who believe we don’t need to do anything about gun control in the US. I’m tired of their “thoughts and prayers” that don’t do much.

Thankfully, Steve Singer has a good response:

This is not hard.

The rest of the world has cracked the code. Just not us.

Not the U.S.

Guns are the leading cause of death for American children –  1 out of 10 people who die from guns in this country are 19 or younger.

Steve Singer

Read more here: If You Don’t Support Gun Control, You Support School Shootings

On the Uvalde Tragedy

27 school shootings have taken place so far in 2022.

https://www.npr.org/2022/05/24/1101050970/2022-school-shootings-so-far

What we know about the terrorist attack in Uvalde, TX on May 24, 2022:

  • At least 21 dead; 19 students and 2 adults
  • Uvalde is “the kind of place where ‘interconnections are thick’ and no one would have expected a mass shooting at the local school”
  • The suspect also allegedly shot his grandmother before going to Robb Elementary
  • The suspect (terrorist) purchased two assault-style rifles on his 18th birthday, though authorities have not confirmed whether these were the weapons used in the shooting
  • All victims were in the same fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School

https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/texas-news/uvalde-gunman-bought-two-guns-on-his-18th-birthday-texas-senator-says/2977034/

https://apnews.com/article/uvalde-texas-school-shooting-44a7cfb990feaa6ffe482483df6e4683

On the Terrorist

  • Ramos had hinted on social media that an attack could be coming, state Sen Roland Gutierrez, who was briefed by police, told reporters. “He suggested the kids should watch out,” the lawmaker said.
  • He shot his grandmother before driving to Robb Elementary just before midday on Tuesday
  • He “suffered from a fraught home life and lashed out violently against peers and strangers recently and over the years…”
  • The Texas Department of Public Safety said he was wearing body armor and armed with a rifle.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/salvador-ramos-texas-school-shooting-uvalde-b2087035.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/05/25/uvalde-texas-school-shooting-gunman/

Responses:

My Response:

I’m tired of reading these headlines. I’m tired of thinking about my own daughter not being safe in her school. I’m tired of thinking about the teachers and students I work with every day and them not being safe.

I’m tired of having to think about getting shot while in school when there are so many other things we should be focused on during our days but we can’t because we continue to allow guns like this to be sold.

I’m tired of bullying. I’m tired of not taking mental health seriously.

I’m tired. And I’m mad.

Hopefully, you are, too. And you’re ready to do something about it.

Assorted Links for Friday, 20 May 2022

Photo by Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash
  1. R.I.P. Vangelis: The Composer Who Created the Future Noir Soundtrack for Blade Runner Dies at 79
  2. David Letterman hosted the Late Show for the last time seven years ago today
  3. Panic Over SEL Is Unfounded. Here’s Why.
  4. Reducing Stress Through Tech – Podcast
  5. The Summer Reads Edition from Why is this Interesting?
  6. 13 Strategies That Will Make You A Better Reader (And Person)
  7. 13 Websites That Provide Lots of Digital Books for Summer Reading

And now, your weekly wind down…

Stress Reliever: Dirty Dancing with the Muppet Theme

Feeling overwhelmed as the end of the school year approaches?

I prescribe this video to bring you some smiles.

Thanks to @Pandamoanimum for creating this awesomeness. If you feel so inclined, buy her a cup of coffee.

You can also view the video on YouTube:

Colorado Teacher Reaches New Heights

Colorado chemistry teacher Eddie Taylor has something new to add to his resume: He’s reached the peak of Mt. Everest.

And he did it with the first team of Black climbers

While other Black climbers have previously climbed Mount Everest, this was the first summit by a team of Black climbers. The other Full Circle team members who summited were Thomas Moore, also of Colorado; and Manoah Ainuu, Rosemary Saal, Demond Mullins, James “KG” Kagami, and Evan Green. Phil Henderson, who lives in Cortez, Colorado, led the Full Circle team but did not climb. 

“If you’re a black person or a Latino person and you Google ‘climbing,’ you’re going to still see lots of people who don’t look like you,” Taylor said. “That, I think, makes those sports … seem a little bit more unapproachable.”

https://co.chalkbeat.org/2022/5/16/23076383/colorado-teacher-eddie-taylor-summits-mt-everest

Pike Mall Tech: 17 May 2022

Today’s Links

The Trials of Academic Publishing (Permalink)

academic publishing
Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash

First things first: I appreciate the need for peer review and understand why we have academic journals. I’m not the person you need to convince that any work any scientist or academic publishes needs to be scrutinized with as many eyeballs as possible.

My issues lie in how that work is disseminated to large audiences to be put into action and influence the world.

Thanks to the way most academic publishing works, it’s almost impossible for anyone other than another academic to read your work if it’s published.

It’s hard to overstate what a scam academic and scientific publishing is. It’s run by an oligopoly of wildly profitable companies that coerce academics into working for free for them, and then sell the product of their labors back to the academics’ employers (often public institutions) for eye-popping sums.

Cory Doctorow

As I begin my doctoral studies in the fall of 2022, I hope to have more experience with academic publishing myself. I mean, that’s part of the academic process.

Over the years, my articles, tweets, presentations, podcasts, etc., have been viewed or heard by multiple tens of thousands of people from all over the world. I’ve made that work freely available to others for a long time (thanks, Creative Commons) and seen many take advantage of what I’ve “published” in one form or another.

Sadly, any work I may produce and publish in the academic tradition may never see the light of day.

In K-12 education, we talk a lot about having students create work for an authentic audience; work that will be seen and critiqued by people outside of their school environment.

Shouldn’t we try and do the same with academic publications?

Teachers are Leaving, Here’s Why (Permalink)

teachers are leaving
Photo by Mitchell Ng Liang an on Unsplash

Universal truth: COVID-19 changed education forever. The pandemic affected every area of education. Weaknesses were exposed, kids were left unconnected for months, systems failed, administrators panicked, students felt abandoned, and teachers just had to do more and more every day.

As a result, teachers are leaving. And I mean leaving in a hurry.

A staggering 55 percent of educators are thinking about leaving the profession earlier than they had planned

The Great Resignation has come to education just as it has many other fields in the past two years.

https://hbr.org/2022/03/the-great-resignation-didnt-start-with-the-pandemic

For months on end, teachers have been in survival mode, doing their best to meet the same expectations that were in place pre-pandemic and dance the world’s most epic dance from virtual to in-person learning (multiple times for some).

Students still had to take tests and meet all graduation requirements while learning how to talk with each other behind masks and appreciate short outdoor mask breaks a few times per day.

And the teachers had to keep going. They’ve had to deal with administrators who pressured them to try new things (some necessary and some not so much) and adopt more technology in less time than at any other point in educational history.

Three minutes. That’s all the time Lanee Higgins, a Baltimore County Public Schools teacher, had to herself during a typical day of coronavirus-era remote learning. On her computer screen were middle-schoolers, scattered across the county, running through their lessons — while at home, Higgins, age 29, was trying to maintain her authority over her classroom and her life. Sometimes her potty-training toddler, refusing to nap, would wander into the frame when her entrepreneur husband wasn’t there to corral him. When she just couldn’t hold on anymore, Higgins would announce a three-minute break. She’d leave her students staring at the screen while she scurried off to use the bathroom or steal some time to just think.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/magazine/2021/10/18/teachers-resign-pandemic/

Teacher shortages were already a reality pre-pandemic but now the shortages are reaching critical numbers. Stress was listed as the primary reason why teachers left the field before the pandemic and the pandemic only made it worse.

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA1121-2.html

The pre-pandemic teacher turnover rate was 16% but by January 2021 nearly one-quarter of teachers were thinking about leaving their jobs by the end of the school year.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2021/09/08/how-the-pandemic-has-changed-teachers-commitment-to-remaining-in-the-classroom/

And now, as we near the end of the 2021-2022 school year, over half of all teachers are thinking of leaving.

Teachers are tired. They’re tired of changing mandates from state and local officials. They’re tired of dealing with politicians who have little to no respect for the work teachers do every day. They’re tired of misinformed parents who accuse teachers of indoctrinating their students.

Trust me, we’re not indoctrinating any students. If we were, they’d be much better at following directions for turning in their work by now.

https://www.bridgemi.com/guest-commentary/opinion-schools-arent-indoctrinating-kids-and-teachers-arent-threat

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/america-s-school-teachers-aren-t-marxist-cabal-fox-news-ncna1271655

They’re tired of losing their jobs over reading children’s books that are widely available everywhere because their meaning was misconstrued and the teachers are labeled as perverts.

So, what do we do?

We figure out how to support teachers. While a pay increase would be welcome, it’s certainly not all about the money. Even when you understand that from 1999 to 2021, teacher salaries decreased in 27 states, thanks to inflation.

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2022/03/we-all-know-teachers-are-underpaid-but-who-imagined-it-was-this-bad/

Some things administrators, parents, and communities can do to keep teachers include:

  • Having a supportive attitude
  • Be flexible with policies and curriculum
  • Help teachers prioritize their physical and mental health
  • Lighten the load (stop making teachers do dumb stuff, like enforcing dress codes)
  • Maybe most importantly, trust teachers

https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/teachers-leaving/

Personally, I don’t have any plans to leave education but I understand those teachers who are either seriously considering it or already have.

Somehow, we have to find ways to keep great teachers and encourage more people to join their ranks. Otherwise, education is in serious trouble.

Colophon

colophon example
Latine non loquor

Currently writing:

  • Volume 1: The Heretic Chronicles – a fantasy story about a girl, her sword, and extreme fundamentalist religion (WC: 15,457)
  • Untitled Sci-Fi novel – a group of students race across the stars, avoiding an evil empire (WC: 275)
  • Sci-fi short story – earth as a farm for aliens (WC: 492)

Currently reading:

Upcoming Events:


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commercially, provided that you attribute it to me, Mike Paul, and include a link to pikemall.tech.

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Cory Doctorow’s work at Pluralistic inspired the layout, focus, and work displayed here. Hat tip to Cory for all his fine work.


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Changing Plans and The Future of This Site

the future
Photo by Tom Parkes on Unsplash

As I’ve mentioned previously, this site in one form or another has existed since 2006. Through multiple platform changes and changes in focus, I’ve shared thoughts and insights here for the past decade and a half.

As we all know, change is the only constant. With my job responsibilities and beginning my doctoral work, I knew I needed to find a better way to share my thoughts and things I find of interest that you might enjoy.

So, here’s my plan:

On Mondays and Fridays, I will share posts with links to things I’ve found that you may also find useful.

Tuesday – Thursday, I’ll be sharing links with my own commentary and hopefully making some connections with other sources. I may even have multiple posts these days.

I’m doing my best to build an online database of connected topics and thoughts that, I hope, will help me better formulate my own thinking around different subjects I’m passionate about.

Sometimes it will be education, sometimes technology, sometimes life. Whatever I find interesting is game for this blog.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll build something you’ll enjoy.

Assorted Links for Monday, May 16, 2022

  1. Free sound effects for you to use in school projects from the fine folks at the BBC
  2. Explordle – watch a video clip and guess where the video was taken. Great for identifying context clues and environments
  3. Relationship Building with Dialogue Journals
  4. Three videos about the black hole at the center of the Milky Way