Thursday, June 04, 2009

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely High School Band

Now this is a project: Band Director Brian Rabuse, of the Central Berkshire Regional School District, led the Wahconah High School Band And Chorus in a performance of the entirety of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band!

Catch recordings of these amazing performances here. For my money, 'When I'm 64' has never sounded better.

This is a clear demonstration of a teacher and his students 'getting it'.

Why 'getting it'?

Well, I think it's a matter of collaboration merging with vision. It fundamentally underlines exactly the sort of practice that we strive for in our classrooms.

But, you counter, isn't this exactly the sort of project that undermines all your ed tech wonkiness? After all, you don't need computers and Internets to sing and perform music!

Yes. You are absolutely right. I don't need anything but my heart and lungs to sing music.

But think about this, perhaps, from the point of view of the listener.

I have no idea where Wahconah High School is. In a previous age, if I was ever going to have heard about the goings-on of Sgt. Pepper and the Wahconah Band, it would have had to have been through the medium of a proper broadcasting venue. Perhaps the local news would have done a story that was then picked up on by 60 minutes and was then shown as a two-minute clip at the end of a program. But, probably not.

Or perhaps the concerts might have been recorded and put out on CD; and the majority of these CDs would have wound up either in the hands of Wahconah Band's family members or the band director's basement. Probably, most definitely, they would not have made their way to me.

Instead, I get a Tweet around 10PM last night. It's a link to the audio blog of the project. I immediately listen to the concert in full as I blog about it and ReTweet the link out to my network of several hundred Twitterers.

I don't even know where it goes from there. Are you hearing about it (and hearing it) for the first time?

Just in terms of the idea of how this information was distributed, you have evidence of the power of our connected networks. And students can learn from that process just as well as having learned via the process of learning the music to begin with. This band project then becomes much more than even just the amazing concert experience it was. It becomes a lesson in how ideas get passed around the world.

Visit Wahconah and leave a comment. Let them know what it means to live in the global network. After all... it's Within You and Without You.

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