Thursday, June 28, 2012


Pop died today. I need to write it. To keep on saying it. 101 years is such a long time - and yet, still a flash.

We got the news - I was with my sister in Rockhampton - and I had to leave very soon afterwards to pick Andrew up from the airport and keep driving north.

Silly time to have planned a holiday.

Andrew got into the car and I started looking at the clock. Just one hour ago and he was still breathing! He was close to us still - just a few minutes away! But time keeps moving. It's night now. We're 500kms further north and he's 8 hours further away. And getting swept further back into the past. What does it matter if he lived for more than a century? Time is a rip.

Please pray for my grandmother. After a marriage of 75 years, she is alone.

Three months ago I had 3 living grandparents. Now I'm down to one.

George Hohl. 1911-2012.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My 101 year old grandfather is very ill.

Holiday plans may be about to change.

car trip sound track

I'm looking for stuff to listen to. All up, we'll be doing 40 hours of driving in the next 11 days + extra because of roadwork.

Buying more music today. Suggestions?

Don't assume any suggestion is too old or too obvious. Forty hours is a lot.

thoughts on music etc

My thoughts on music, gender, styles etc. are coming along nicely. Don't want to post too much here in case I spoil things for the three people coming to the conference.

I have 2 hours for my seminar. How does this sound? Does it sound like something you'd like to come to?

Hour 1: Music and personality theory
Doing a personality test and marking it (15 minutes) (need to do this before I explain any more - otherwise will get skewed results)
The song choice dilemma
The nfc, nfe theory
Application to music at church
The song quadrant
Classifying songs - activity
Choosing songs for church

Hour 2: Four practical tips for giving a song broader appeal
Hands on - people will play/lead/introduce/sing a couple of songs. We'll try to make them sound good and have wider/different appeal.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Feeling Melancholy

Yesterday I drove up the mountain to Toowoomba. Today I drove back down.

I listened to Tim Freedman most of the time in the car.

Didn't want the trips to end.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Fantastic Day.

1. I got Joel's WISC scores back. He no longer has a learning disability! Amazing! His lowest results jumped significantly - Processing speed went from the 16th percentile (3.5 years ago) to the 42nd percentile now (almost normal!). Working memory went from the 42nd percentile to the 91st percentile!!!! His highest - verbal comprehension - went from the 98th percentile to the 97.7th! These numbers aren't meant to move much so we're not sure what's going on... but we're happy. These new numbers have made me rethink our spelling strategy for the future. My current theory is that Joel can't spell because he was taught all the spelling rules at a stage when he wasn't able to learn them (he couldn't even read then. At all.) Now he is in a position to learn so I need to go back to year 2 and teach him the basics.

2. My classroom got lovely ash coloured blinds fitted. They look great.

3. I did 3 hours of supply during which time I made a lovely necklace, played dominoes, watched Mao's Last Dancer, and had a nice morning tea.

4. At midnight I worked out some stuff about congregational music and personality that I've been thinking about for the last couple of months. I've found some psych research that gives the perfect approach to think about it and language to talk about it - preferences etc. I want to write it up properly... You'll hear more.

5. Just had lunch out with Andrew.

6. About to go and buy holiday reading books for the kids.

7. My parents-in-law are coming over for dinner.

8. Holidays start this afternoon!


Hope you are all having good days too.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

More blog silence.

I feel like I haven't written an interesting post for about 12 months. Thinking about lots of stuff, much of which can't be shared - though I'd love to.

Yesterday was recorder concert day for my year 4s. I set my classroom up with a stage area and chairs and sent invites to parents. Each kid had to play a song from one of their books - they got to choose how hard a piece to play. I accompanied them on piano. Out of 100+ kids, I only had about 10 Lucy Lockets and a handful of Hot Cross Buns. Some kids played really impressive stuff. Only one child refused to play (but he refuses to do most things). Only one other couldn't play her song. It was all pretty bearable and each concert was over within half an hour. A great way of getting kids to practice. Last week I was despairing over them.

Today, my junior choir (year 2-3, plus a couple of brilliant year ones) performed the Gingerbread Man mini-musical. It was fun. They were great. The thing about working with primary aged kids (particularly at my school) is that they'll do stuff. No nerves or embarrassment issues to work through. It's cool because I say it is. Standing up in front of 400 people with a microphone and singing a solo is just what you do.

I have the best job.

Hopefully blog on something else soon.

Monday, June 18, 2012

sing anything audio

I wrote this with my year 7s last week - each class did a verse. Recorded it up with a student at lunch time today. It's slow and boring but her voice is pretty in spots.

What do you think?

My year 6s had their turn today. Their song has grunt. Here are the lyrics:


1. Ev’ry day I’m wakin’
To the greasy smell of bacon
Ev’ry second waitin’
For a slice of scrumptious bacon
Bacon, Bacon
The taste can’t be mistaken
Bacon, Bacon
I love it, I’m not fakin’
2. I like it when it’s hot
Still oinking on the plate
Eat it all yourself
Or share it with a mate
3. Cook it up with eggs
Add tomato sauce
A food fit for the gods
Eat with no remorse
Bacon, Bacon
It’s even got a minecraft mod

Friday, June 15, 2012

Church Song Preferences - Help me out?

Before you read any further - think up your top 5 church songs. Write them down so you don't forget.

Have you done that?


Read on.


classifying congregational songs: creedal vs devotional

I'm trying to work out some robust ways to classify congregational songs. Not in order to dis or ditch... Just trying to understand better how they work and ultimately see if people have patterns of preference.

Here are two categories: Creedal and Devotional. Most hymns and contemporary church songs fit clearly into one category or the other. With a couple of songs, different verses work differently.

Creedal Songs primarily state truth. God's people are singing stuff about God. They may use either first person singular or first person plural pronouns (I, Me, My, Us, We, Our) but they always refer to God in third person terms: God, Jesus, the King, Him etc. because they are singing about God rather than directly to God. At best, a creedal song will be a powerful statement of the gospel that moves us and calls us to trust in and live for Jesus. At worst, a creedal song will feel like a stilted setting of the New Bible Dictionary.

Devotional Songs differ from creedal songs in that they are sung directly to God. They refer to God as 'you'. Devotional songs may be prayers, songs of response (stating how the singer feels about God) or aspiration (saying what the singer is going to do for God) or they may be songs that state truth about God - but declare it to God rather than to others. They tend to follow the form of the current day love song. At best, a devotional song will be a moving response to the gospel. At worst, it will be as wet and shallow as 1D.

Hymns fit into both categories. Creedal hymns include And Can It Be, Jesus the Name High Over All, Hark The Herald Angels Sing, My Song Is Love Unknown, Before the Throne of God Above, and When I Survey (except possibly v2). Devotional Hymns include Be Thou My Vision, Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah, and How Great Thou Art.

On the chart below I've categorised the top 20 or so CCLI songs.

Song Classification
How Great Is Our God
Song leader will often turn the bridge devotional ‘You’re the name above all names...” 
In Christ Alone
Mighty To Save
First verse and chorus possibly creedal, second verse devotional.
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
How Deep The Father's Love For Us
Blessed Be Your Name
Devotional - Prayer.
Here I Am To Worship
Shout To The Lord
For All You've Done
Lord I Lift Your Name On High
The Power Of Your Love
This Is Our God
Desert Song
Open The Eyes Of My Heart
Devotional - Prayer.
What The Lord Has Done In Me
My Redeemer Lives
Creedal. Bridge devotional.
Shine Jesus Shine
Happy Day
There Is A Redeemer
Verse creedal, Chorus devotional.
The Stand

You get the idea. So...

1. Go back to your top 5 songs. How many are creedal? How many are devotional?

2. Generally, do you prefer one type over another?

3. Try to remember what you sang in church on Sunday. What was the balance?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Contraceptive fail.

Not us.

Some friends.

Got me thinking, though. It could happen. I think I'd be excited if it did. (In an Oh my! Life and finances are about to get a lot more complicated kind of a way!)


Ephesians 4 and Psalm 68 (take two)

 I'll hit 'Publish' after I've written the content this time!

'Don't try this at home' is sometimes good advice when looking at Paul's use of the OT. Of course what Paul says is right because he's inspired and all. But let's face it, his application of many passages is... well... imaginative.

I've always been stumped by Paul's use of Psalm 68 in Ephesians 4. The context is a discussion on Christian unity - particularly between Jews and Gentiles:

 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,
“ When He ascended on high,
He led captive a host of captives,
And He gave gifts to men.”
(Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascendedfar above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12  for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; ...

The quote comes from Psalm 68. Psalm 68 is a Davidic psalm with a strong us and them thing happening. God will protect, provide prosperity, and carry the burdens of his people. His enemies however, will perish, melt like wax, get smashed up etc. Half way through, there's a picture of a victorious king marching home with a pile of captives from whom he receives treasures - tributes. Everyone gives him gifts - even those who hate him.

You have ascended on high, You have led captive Your captives;
You have received gifts among men,

This is the verse that Paul quotes. Notice the difference? David says 'He received gifts.' Paul says 'He gave gifts.' Kinda different.

Here's a theory. Paul knew what the original said and (at least some) of his readers would have too. He wasn't trying to deceive. He changed it intentionally to highlight the difference between then and now. Post cross, it's no longer an us vs them situation. Christ's ascension as victorious king is good news for the nations! They don't need to resentfully pay taxes to this new ruler. He makes them his own people, breaks down the walls of hostility between them and others in his kingdom. He showers themwith gifts!

What do you think?

Ephesians 4 and Psalm 68

sing anything

I'm starting a songwriting unit with my year 6s and 7s. Each student has to write me a song with at least 2 verses and a chorus. We're looking at the different sections of a song and how they function. How chords and melodies work together, how chord progressions can create moods etc etc. Today I wrote this song with the year 7s as a sample. It was fun. Next week we'll record it up.

Sing Anything

My mind is blank
My thoughts have sank
There’s nothing in my head at all
I’ve hit a brick wall.

I don’t know what words to sing 
So I’ll just sing anything 
I don’t know what words to sing 
So I’ll just sing anything. 

This is verse two
Nothing to do
Never written a song till now
Someone tell me how

I don’t know what words to sing...

What’s this I hear?
Within my ear
Could it be that I’ve a written a song?
Three verses long?

I don’t know what words to sing 
So I’ll just sing anything 
I don’t know what words to sing 
So I’ll just sing anything. 



sar + yr 7 2012.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

viola update

Today I tried out violas. I'm borrowing one from a friend at the moment, but want to get my own later on in the year. The ones I played ranged in price from $700 to $2600. It's amazing how different they all felt and sounded. Unsurprisingly, my favourite is not the $700 model. The one I want is big and dark sounding. And expensive.

I came home motivated to practice more. Alas, my current viola just didn't sound as good... Oh well.

Good news. After 11 days, my new bow still works! I like it a lot and hope I get another few weeks out of it. Or months. Please?

Friday, June 8, 2012

musical set 1

I may have done some of this while I was doing supply work today.

Silent reading anyone?

This is three canvases that will be hinges together.

A very kind and able mum is doing up one with the Old Woman Who Lived in  a Shoe's house.

We had a working bee today after school. 16 sheep outfits were made.

I still need a haystack (for Little Boy Blue), a wall (for Humpty) and some trees for Little Bo Peep's sheep to hide behind.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

work work work

work work work work.

It's all I ever do.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

today in RE...

... I just read out the bible. Exodus 11-14 (not all of it). To 200+ kids at a time. No props, no pics, not much prep.

I only had to stop once because someone was talking.

The bible holds them. It's a gripping story.

junior choir mini musical

So I've written this little musical for my little kids about the gingerbread man. Okay. Written might be too strong a word. Pieced together. Typed up. Basic story? A little old man and a little old woman bake a gingerbread man who runs away from them. In his travels he meets a truckload of nursery rhyme characters, all of whom sing a song before finding that they can't catch him. Finally he meets a fox who sings a song and does catch him. The story is a tragedy.

The aim of the whole thing was to include as many songs as possible and as many parts as possible with as few lines to remember as possible. There a ten soloists, a narrator, a bunch of sheep (belonging to Bo Peep), a crowd of naughty children (belonging to the Old Woman Who Lived In a Shoe), a troop of soldiers (The Grand Old Duke's 'Men'), and a few random animals to muck around in Boy Blue's corn. Parts for about 50 kids in all.

For sets I've bought 5 canvases which Andrew will hinge together in sets of two and three. I got them on special at the shops and felt pretty good about it until I got home and realised that being able to draw a 1.5x2cm biro sketch on my church notice sheet is not the same as being able to paint five big canvases. I'm having a prop making working bee after school on Thursday. Need to source some talent before then.

Here's part of my fox song. The tune is a minor version of 'this old man'.

I’m a fox, sleek and smart
A cunning mind, an ice cold heart
When I decide what I would like for lunch - 
A flick, a snap and gobble, crunch!
I look around, what do I see?
A gingerbread man just right for me!
with a flick, a snap, a gobble and a crunch
I will eat him for my lunch.

sar 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

Deb has a blog! Go read it!

My speechie friend's report on me.

"Simone Richardson was referred for speech and language assessment due to concerns over her inability to cease conversation when delivering a lecture to a room full of women. She attended the assessment by herself. She was easy to engage and was notably verbose throughout the session. She was observed to interact with the test items briefly, until distracted by something else. Despite this, she displays excellent expressive and receptive language skills. Her social skills are well above average however she would benefit from referral to the specialised course 'Let Go of the Microphone'. No further intervention is necessary."

just so everyone knows....

Developing means not yet developed. Fine on a prep report. Not good on a year 7 report.

Developing well, however, is goodish. We're not yet entirely there, but I'm pleased with the direction in which things are moving. Hopeful that we'll arrive in good time for... Next year's report? Adulthood?

For me, basic is a variant of limited or developing.

Some means not much.

An example:

Roy can perform C major and minor scales, maintaining some level of accuracy. His duet, "Lightly Row", was performed to a basic standard. His sight reading skills are developing. Roy has demonstrated a limited understanding of music theory.

So what does Roy get overall?

Sorry for the silence. I'm exhausted.

- Choir competitions.

- Report writing.

- Extra work.

- Rat hiding under the fridge.
Dog obsessing over it, barking all night.
Me grossed out.
Husband concerned about my 'phobia'

- 4 broken viola bows
I am cursed. Beginning to be really concerned. Man in the shop thinks an exorcism is needed.