Category Archives: Music

Stones

Sometimes it’s the simplest stories that have the most meaningful impact. I outlined the fledging collaborative project that has begun with some SLA students in Zach Chase’s class in Philadelphia in the letter I wrote them.  A look at the comments could prove useful for context of this post. As promised, I have taken the nuggets of poetry from their comments on my Flickr Set and set them to song.

Here you go SLA, my song to you. What will you do with it? Download it. Remix it. Add your voice to it. Set it to images. Create a video. Rap it. This version is only a draft and is not even close to being “done.” Tear it up!

Stones by intrepidflame

Here is another version by a teacher in Canada:

Stones by Bryanjack

Looks like NoiseProfessor in California has added his take to the mix. Take a listen here.

The nature of art in the twenty first century is that it never ends and doesn’t belong to any one artist. We are in this together…your move!

stones

sometimes I wonder how many stones
there are in the world.
i found a light in your simple “Hello”
like the way grass dances in the breeze
Choosing between clashing vibrancies
she sings ohh how she sings

i can erase what i choose to forget
we fear the pen because it leaves a stain
like the lives of rocks and flower,
that tell the story of the world.

These are the years in which life is beautiful.
Each and every day a miracle.
A tiny person in a large world
filled with intrigue and wonder.

a warm orange flower rests against my skin
sweet serenity full and wide
I grab the spoon of your smile and dig
in these moments we forget ourselves
we breathe the ecstasy of golden silence
heaven has not been that far off after all
we just had to open our eyes
we just had to be open

These are the years in which life is beautiful.
Each and every day a miracle.
A tiny person in a large world
filled with intrigue and wonder.

I don’t watch television much anymore
but whenever I do I can feel it on my hands
the dusty residue
from carrying fistfuls of stones.

lonely I lay flat
Among dull gray stones
I want to go home

I want to go home

lonely I lay flat
Among dull gray stones
I want to go home

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Of Course

Last week, despite the fact that I am juggling way too many personal art projects right now, I decided to push the envelope a bit more. I asked people on Twitter and friends on Facebook to send me requests for songs to cover. I mentioned that I would try to do this once a week. I received about ten requests that spanned genres. There was everything from Notorious B.I.G to Nirvana. I need a better way of keeping track of requests, but this week I just chose one and ran with it.

I started this project because I feel that The Daily Shoot is forcing me to push my skills in photography and as a result I am looking at the world differently. I was hoping to have something similar to music. I don’t think I will be able to create anything fantastic, but it is in the process of attempting to create these covers that I hope to learn and push myself musically. I played it a bit safe this week, choosing to go with a genre and bad I know and love. I chose the song Of Course by Jane’s Addiction.

Singing and recording is not easy at my house. There are only selected times when I am alone or have the space to let it rip. I would have liked some more time to take a few cracks at it, but that is not the point. I simply want to stretch my musical chops and see if any of these covers lure anybody else to look at a song more closely for collaboration. With the addition of the #ds106 peeps anything is possible.

Of Course by intrepidflame

That chimpanzee by the way is my daughter asking to be picked up in the middle of my take. She was not being tortured. Well, unless you considering my screeching trying to hit some Perry Ferrel notes. Week one. All requests from last week will be removed and I am open to some new ideas…What would you like to hear?

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Far From Home On A Dark Night

Last week a friend sent me this link to a video of the late night breakdown by one of the pioneers of blogging Justin Hall. I had never heard of him, and still no little about his story. The clip has haunted me for a few days, as I have watched it several times, but it wasn’t until tonight that I heard my remix. Throughout this week, I have also been obsessed with the latest single form the new Iron and Wine album Kiss Each Other Clean. I had mentioned before that the song makes me feel like flying. I strummed it on the guitar today and felt very empowered, but back to tonight- I was listening to one and thinking about the other, cant remember which was which, when I realized that they mirror each other well. There is a sense of hope and desperation in both pieces of art, and I wanted to capture that juxtaposition. I felt a sudden sense of urgency to get this project done. I hope to re-do in a few days, with perhaps me singing the song instead of the recorded track, but will see how that turns out, or if I run out of energy.

It is this dialectical relationship and tension between hope and desperation I find so fascinating. This relationship is seen in everything we do: art, work, the web itself…

Far From Home On A Dark Night by intrepidflame

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We Are Echoes and Refections

Whenever I speak with people about openness and sharing, I feel the need to preface my philosophy by saying, “Well not everyone will feel comfortable sharing as much as I do.”  It is almost as if I am doing something wrong, and to be honest I am not sure if sharing my every thought on the Internet is the best idea. I too struggle with my own demons, and I am not so naive to think that I am impervious to a break down, much like this, at any time.

That’s the thing about all of this; we don’t really know where we are headed. Those who say they do, the experts, publish article after article presenting research to prove which ever side suits their argument best.  Each of us needs to take inventory of our  privacy and intimacy and weigh it against openness and community. Is what you consider to be private more or less valuable to you on the inside or on your sleeve? There is not right or wrong answer. All I know is that I have had some amazing experiences over the years by being open and having faith in the goodness of people and trusting in the power of creativity. I have written about the Heart of the Internet, Trust and Community,and Peaking Out From The Edges; I have spoken about Life as an Open Book; others have written about stalking me, or shared stories about my work at conferences. Even after all of this, the connections seem to be becoming more complex and sophisticated. After four years of living online, I am still surprised on an almost daily basis by the generosity of the human spirit and our need to be creative collectivity.

For every paranoid news story about the Internet that forces parents and teachers to cry privacy, I feel the need to populate the web with a story like this one- I recently discovered a great site called SoundCloud, which is a great portfolio for my music. I use the word portfolio, but my music is not anything that can be classified as professional, but it is mine and it makes me happy. Each song, like my photos, my films, my blog posts is an illustration of my journey. I am not concerned with value judgments like good or bad. Like I tell my students, learning is not about success or failure, it is about growth and change. Learning is at the heart of evolution. I suppose we could grow and learn and evolve in privacy and in isolation, but where is the fun in that. We could be scared or insecure to share any aspect of our creativity for fear of being judged, but I choose bravery instead.

Sorry. Back to the story, I have begun to upload my small catalog of recorded music. Why? Because experience has taught me that if you share yourself with honesty and passion and love, the universe will send back echoes and reflections that remind you that you are not a single lonely self, but a pixel in the larger picture of humanity. I don’t write too many original songs. I am not good at it, and I find it extremely difficult. I can take a decent photograph; I am getting better at turning a word or two, but when it comes to music- I am weighed down with doubt. I know what music does to my soul, and I know that my singing is awkward and insecure. I can hear the doubt and tension. I play with apprehension, which ironically is the opposite of what music should do.

Sorry. Back to the story, I upload music anyway. I guess in a way I want to set an example. If I ask my student to express themselves online, I cannot with a clear conscious not do the same. It takes a lot of guts to allow the world into your heart and by singing online, I am able to assuage my fear.

No words could express how amazing it feels when something that you put into the world so tenderly could sound like this:

Falling out of Cars by onepercentyellow

This is a song I wrote and sang a few years ago. I posted my version on SoundCloud a few days ago:

Falling Out Of Cars by intrepidflame

and Leslie took it and made it her own. I am not sure what this means. I am not sure I know. I am not sure if I can articulate it. I am not sure you need it explained, but there is magic in what has happened here. There is beauty in these acts. There is love. There is community.  This sharing and connection and creation brings me joy, and honestly that is all I have ever wanted. Please take these songs, the photos, the films, the text, the pieces of me and make them a part of you. We are echoes and refections posing as individuals.

Update: (This was written a few days after original post)

Of course this story didn’t end there. Once Keri Lee got wind of the project she added her own brand of loveliness.

Falling out of Cars 3 by klbeasley

Curious to see where it goes now. Take it and run….

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Peak Out From The Edges

There is a lot of talk these days on the Interwebs, and I suppose for many days before now, about the new ways in which people are communicating, collaborating, connecting, and creating online. Eager teachers are promoting the use of the web in almost zealot evangelical ways, trying to convince everyone that the world will fall apart if their students are not creating Glogsters instead of posters, or having  Skype calls with a class in India or Indiana.

I agree, for the most part,  with the passion exhibited by these wide-eyed teachers.  It is clear that we are in the midst of a monumental shift in the way human beings not only communicate and share reality, but more importantly in the ways we create and share stories.  I am always asking myself, what does this all look like? Always the eager student (much more fun than being a teacher) I am always trying to push the ways I use my network. I want more form my PLN, Personal Learning Network ( I shudder at using those three letters, but can’t think of a better word yet.) than to troll through links to blog posts extolling the virtues of Web 2.0. I want my network to be a living breathing part of everything I do. I want to allow you into my spirit and see what comes out. I want to enter your reality and make a mess. I want to make you think. I want to rearrange your mental furniture. I want you to do the same for me. Nothing will be learned as long as we stay behind walls and peak out from the edges. If you really want to know what this web can do, come on out at play.

I don’t think this level of connection is possible without letting down my guard and being open to any and all opportunities to make as many connections as possible. This philosophy has opened so many strange doors for me in the last three years, that I can’t help but want to explore it further. Sure, I want to help expose my students to what it looks like to connect with people worldwide, but I am in the process of seeing what this looks like for myself.

These networks, this web has to be more than what we say it is. If there is more to the web, than what we have seen so far,  how powerful could it be?  How far can we push this idea of connectedness? Ultimately, I want to make authentic, lasting, powerful connections with the people I interact with online, but all that is theoretical mumbo jumbo. Let’s see what this looks like:

A few months ago I attended the Learning 2.010 conference in Shanghai where I met several people I had known quite well for a some time. These are people  I have worked with and met in “real” life.  I mention this only because apparently face-to-face meetings  make relationships more authentic.  The real reason I went to this conference, however,  was to meet the other people, the ones who I had never met. This post is meant to be about a song, so let me try and stay on course. Long story short, I met several people and we found ourselves sitting at a bar talking about life, the Internet, teaching, music, freedom, revolution etc…

Leslie was one of those random, (I mean random in the best use of the word), connections who had  joined our newly formed  cohort. For the sake of brevity, I will let her tell you the story from her point of view. She does a great job of writing about it here.

I think that brings us up to the song. Here is that story:  @onepercentyello, @klbeasley and I used Indaba to record a cover of Pearl Jam’s Nothingman. It was pretty simple really, I had known Keri Lee for almost a year through Twitter and our blogs. We hit it off really well when we finally met. That night in Shanghai @klbeasley gravitated toward @onepercentyello’s Ukulele and voice. I can’t remember exactly how we reconnected after we returned home, but there was surge in Tweets and someone mentioned that we should record a song together. I sent out the Indaba link and within days, @onepercentyello had laid a simple track with voice and Uke. I added my part a few days later and with a few gentle nudges @klbeasley added an amazing track with her voice.

The song could have been a bit more polished, and next time it just might be, but for our initial attempt it turned out pretty well. Once it was done, I couldn’t  help but think that it had a soul but no body. I wanted a way to get more people involved and find a way to present it back to the webs. I am trying to drive this web 2.0 as fast I can get it to go. So I wrote this quick post and waited:

Over the next few weeks I sent constant reminders and watched the photos come trickling in. Interesting that no one from my “real” friends on Facebook even acknowledged the project, but the following people from Twitter sent images:

@cogdog
@klbeasley
@marklukach
@onepercentyello
@MaryAnnReilly
@b_sheridan
@fceblog
@Cayusa
@moominsean

This is by no means a @zefrank project, but I feel it is special in it’s own way. Three people living in three different countries who had never met a few months ago made music together. Then another group of unrelated people felt a strong enough need to send images to a song many of them may have never even heard. I can write all night about the implications of a project like this, but I will let you do that in the comments. The important thing is the art we created. Without further adieu, nothing man:

So am I wrong? Is this not a big deal? What does a project like this mean to you and your classroom? What have we learned about ourselves, art, our new reality? I will wait to hear from you before I comment further.

But it is not over yet! What can you now do with this post, this song, this video? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. We are already talking about the next song ( I am leaning toward this one.) and maybe a name for the band. What do you think? Do you want to be involved? Leave it all in the comments where it belongs!

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