Monday, June 29, 2015

Special Freebies and Sale July 1-4

The summer fun continues in the music teacher's stores on TPT!

Here are the details:

July 1:  Lesson One of the S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing program will be FREE to download.  It's normally $30!  Click the picture to download it!

July 2:  Lesson 2 of S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing Program will be marked down to $4.  It's normally $30.  So, if you participate on July 1 and July 2, you can try both lessons for only $4.  That's a huge deal!
To see what the other music sellers on TPT have marked down to $4, click the image below and then type the TPT search words listed in the image into the search area:

July 3 and July 4:

I am marking my entire store down 20%!  This includes every bundle and every individual lesson of the S-Cubed program!  Click here!

Many other TPT music sellers are participating and most are marking down their stores 20%, so make sure you check out their stores!

Check out my blog!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Shop Hop Giveaway

I hope you are having an awesome summer!

Everyone likes a gift card!  Want to earn one to spend anyway you like on TPT?  

Here is how:

A group of 19 music sellers are coming together to offer you not one, but TWO $50 gift cards to TpT!   This giveaway is so fun!   Start here and grab the letter at the top of my page - you will want to write this letter down!.  Click on each letter to go to the next store and along the way, follow our stores, and check out the amazing things everyone has to offer!  Once you have the code, come back here and enter our secret message!  Hint:  The code has something to do with music history!  Good luck and thanks for all the support you give!

Start by going to my store!

You can enter the rafflecopter below from 
June 25 through June 27.  Winners will be announced right here on my blog on June 28.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Check out my blog!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

How do I use a Purchase Order on TPT to purchase S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing Program?

Thank you so much for your interest in S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing program!

Here are the links that will help you answer all of your questions regarding using a purchase order to purchase S-Cubed and any other product on TPT!

How do I use Purchase Orders to buy products on TPT?

Why can't I select the Purchase Order option at checkout?

How long does it take to process purchase orders?

We want to buy from TpT, but our purchasing rules require that Sellers first sign a Sole Source Affidavit. Can we still buy with TpT?

If you need me to sign a Sole Source Affidavit, please send it to me with the attachment and with the instructions in your email.  Send it to  I will return it promptly.

If, after reading the above links, you still have questions, please send me an email or Contact TPT directly, and we will get all of your questions answered so you can start using S-Cubed in your classroom!

Thank you!

Check out my blog!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Middle School Chorus Teachers: What to do with Summer?

My last day of school with my middle school chorus students was Friday, May 22nd.  

I love my students, but I was one happy man when the last group left my room... were they!

We all need and deserve this moment to breathe, and we should seize it.

We need to make sure that we are happy and rejuvenated when our little darlings return to school in early August! 

It's time to....

Having just completed my 23rd year of teaching this age group, friends of mine have often said to me "I wish I had summers off!"

My immediate response is, "You can!  Become a teacher!"

They look at me with total bewilderment and often they say something along these lines: "Are you kidding?  I could never tolerate middle school children...and I need to make more money than teachers make."  

Ok!  That's fine!  

We teachers have made our decision to teach, and we are not going to feel guilty about enjoying the summer!

In face, I believe we must!

At the end of the year, I definitely feel like this:

When the school year begins, for me, it feels like I press the gas pedal all the way down to the floor and keep it there without pause until they leave on the last day.   

Thank goodness for summer!

I am so grateful that in the state of Georgia, our salary is broken up into 12 installments, and I am also thankful to be able to take the time to truly stop.  Not all teachers are fortunate enough to be able to take the time off, but if you can, I hope that you will.  At a minimum, we have to dial is back a few notches.

Here are some ideas that I plan to do in the summer to stay connected with teaching:

1)  Do online research to improve my ability to use technology in my classroom.
2)  Listen to new music for next year.
3)  Develop the outline for S-Cubed Level 2 Middle School Sight Singing Program so I can hit the ground running as I teach it to my new students in August and share it with folks who've completed the original beginning S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing System.   Level 2 will start becoming available during the second or third week of August one lesson at a time.  Keep an eye on my Facebook page, my YouTube Channel, and my TPT store to stay up to date about releases.  Also, to get all updates about S-Cubed, including the lesson-by-lesson releases of S-Cubed Level 2, make sure you subscribe to my email list.  Just send an email to and write "Subscribe" in the subject line.  
4)  I also plan to reflect on all of the positives and negatives of last school year so I can keep the good and remove the bad.
5)  Work with our new principal to make sure I am actively advocating for my choral program.

To nourish and replenish my personal and physical well-being, I plan to:

1)  Take leisurely walks every day.
2)  Get a new puppy, go to training classes with him and get to know him.  Can't wait!

3)  Entertain my family when they visit and soak up the time with them.  Looking so forward to seeing my 77 year old father and my brother when they are here.
4)  Plug into my "hobby on steroids", Aerobic Gymnastics.  I've been involved with the sport for over 25 years, first as an athlete, coach and choreographer, and now as an International Judge.  I'll head to San Diego in July to judge an International Competition.  I went to Japan and to Canada to judge and coach the sport in April right in the middle of the production of the musical, and I have to say, I was WAY overbooked!  Since May 22, I've been exhaling for sure!
5)  Exercise vigorously a minimum of one hour daily.
6)  Spend time with my 25 year old bird.  She was a rescue who was only supposed to live 15 years, so every moment is precious.
7)  Watch movies.
8)  Work in my garden.
9)  Spend time with friends.  Perhaps I'll get crazy and stay up past 9:30!  
10)  Play with my kitty!
...and much more!

Note that the second list is twice as long as the first list.  ...On purpose!

It's what I believe we must do as teachers to help us be the best we can be when we return.  

Do what makes your heart feel great.  Do it because you love it.  

If you've got notes and cards that you received from your students about how much your teaching and your class meant to them, go back and read them.  

Soak it in. 

Remember why you teach.

Rejuvenate your spirit so you can knock it out of the park next year!

Check out my blog!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Rafflecopter Giveaway and SALE of S-Cubed Middle School Singing Program

Starts May 26 at 12:01 AM Eastern and ends May 28 at 11:59 PM Eastern.  By entering, you are eligible to win one of the three products:

a)  Complete S-Cubed Sight Singing Bundle.  $199 value
b) Lessons 1-5 of the S-Cubed Sight Singing Program.  $110 value
c)  Lesson 1 of the S-Cubed Sight Singing Program.  $30 value

Use the rafflecopter below to enter!  It becomes "live" when the giveaway begins!

Four ways to enter.  Do all four and get more points toward winning!
1)   Follow my store on TPT.
2)   Subscribe to my YouTube Channel
3)   Visit and Like and Comment on a post on my Facebook page.  Do it daily if you like!
4)   Comment on a blog post.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Already purchased the program?  Here's a giveaway for you!

Earn FREE S-Cubed Level TWO products:
For those who’ve completed S-Cubed already…S-Cubed Level TWO is coming beginning in August 2015.  It will be released on TPT one lesson at a time and bundled in spring of 2016.  Want to be kept up to date on releases?  Subscribe to my email list.  Just email me at and type “Subscribe” in the subject.  I’ll let you know about each lesson release as it occurs.


How about earning some free lessons from S-Cubed Level TWO?
Here is how:
*Post video or pictures of your children using the first level of S-Cubed on these three Facebook Groups and talk about how S-Cubed has helped your children and you.  Send me a link to, and I’ll put you on the list to receive Lesson 1 of S-Cubed Level 2 for free as soon as it is released!  Here are links to the groups to post on:

Comment about S-Cubed on any sight singing post on Facebook or other social media and send me the link at

Create a sight singing post about S-Cubed in any national or state wide music teacher group and send me the link at

You will earn lesson one of S-Cubed Level 2 for free.  I will email it to you by the fourth week of August and possibly sooner!

This specific offer is good from now until June 15, 2015.

I don’t advertise in a traditional fashion, so anytime you can comment or post on social media about S-Cubed, the word will spread.  I want people to find this resource because I truly believe it will help them in their classrooms with this tough age group.

To see what S-Cubed can do for you and your beginners, Click here!

Thank you for your support!

Dale Duncan

Creator of S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing Program

Check out my blog!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cell Phones Prohibited in the Middle School Choral Classroom! Seriously? It's 2015!

Times have changed.  

I'm old.  I've been teaching middle school choral music for 23 years, but I recognize that if we don't move and change with the times, we become stale and uninteresting to our students... many ways as harsh as it sounds...


When I see this sign on the door of one of my colleagues...

...I know they won't be around much longer, and if they stay, they'll be so mean to the kids that they'll be bitter for most of the time they stay past their "sell by" date. 

That doesn't serve anyone well.

There are two Broadway songs that pretty much sum it up:

I'll take Spamalot for $500 please Alex!

...A culture reference that may well fly over the heads of folks under 30.

Here is how I see it...Change is constant in everything in our lives. We can move with it and continue to learn and grow, or we can constantly harken back to the 1950's when our home phones were all on "party lines".  I mean, at some point, wasn't television "new"?   My guess is that some people resisted TV too.  

Can you imagine your classroom without access to visual media like television?

I certainly cannot.

How can you use technologies in your 21st century classroom to involve and engage your middle school children?  Comment below with your ideas!  

Here are a couple of ways I've used them with my 300 non-auditioned students, and specifically, a way I use technology at the end of the school year.


I created an Instagram page.  Here is the link.  I follow them.  They follow me.  It's professional not personal.  This is their "Facebook".  
Middle school students wanted to fly under the radar of their parents about 5 years ago, and this age group stopped doing Facebook.  It'll be something new in a couple of years, but for now, this is it. When it changes, so must we.

We do a spring musical each year.  This year, I created an HMS Musical Instagram page.  We posted rehearsal videos, and we generated excitement about the work we do...on their turf.  New kids decide they want to join chorus.  

It's a new way to recruit students!


Now, at the end of the school year, I tell them to bring their cell phones to my room.


So they can create their end of the year project.

After our spring musical revue, I ask them to create "musical parodies".  I teach them what a parody is.  I show them great parody artists from Saturday Night Live, and I use the internet to find examples of parodies like many of those created by the folks at Forbidden Broadway.  Then, for the next three class periods, I let them work in groups to come up with ideas to parody songs from our most recent musical revue.

They use their phones to videotape.  The most advanced kids use their phones to edit.  The less technologically advanced kids take it home to edit on their laptops.  

They absolutely love doing this project.  

For the students who aren't as comfortable with technology or who don't have smartphones, I allow them to present "live" so everyone is engaged.  

We discuss how tricky comedy can be, and how I want them to dig deep to find "smart humor".  They need role models, so I came up with two ideas.  I asked if they know who David Letterman is and most just stared at me...even with his pending retirement and the media blitz that is happening right now.    Then, I asked if they knew who Jon Stewart was, and their hands flew up in the air. With his retirement planned for August, that will change too...

I also encourage students who aren't comfortable using iMovie or other editing apps to explore other options for the parody that utilize both their personal talents and current technologies that are available.  

I ask questions like this:  

Do you draw?  Can you make a cartoon online?  

Let your brain go even further as you offer your children opportunities to share their personal talents while using technology.

Technology is moving so fast that each year I do the project with the students, I have to be flexible enough to be open to new ways of allowing them to present it.

The biggest goal is to engage at the end of the year and to allow them to develop and share their own individual talents and unique sense of humor.

Everyone loves to laugh!

I learn.  They help me stay current, and the best part...they get to have fun using the latest technologies about which they are passionate.  

That's why I created S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing Program for Beginners.  Sight Singing books are a dime a dozen. I've bought them and used them.  They helped a bit, but now, we have more modern means available.  We can actually WATCH a teacher in a real public school classroom teaching the curriculum.
We can actually watch video teaching tips for specific lessons so we might have a chance to be more successful as we teach the new material for the first time.

It's a new day.  It's good to move with it. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Notes that Nourish the Spirit of the Middle School Choir Teacher

I found this note in my inbox this morning from a parent...four days after our spring musical revue.  Made my day.  We don't get paid huge salaries.  We give our hearts to our endeavors in our classrooms.  So, when we receive a letter like this one after pouring ourselves into the production of a musical revue for 300 children...well...the timing is perfect.

Dear Mr. Duncan,

I suppose you may get a lot of notes like this but I hope you don’t mind
one more.  

You are awesome.  You bring out the best in every life you touch.  Your
students love you.  That is apparent by the dedication they have to the

Chorus program at Henderson Middle School.  You inspire young people on
and off stage to persevere through the often-awkward first years as
teens.  Their minds are expanded through more challenging curriculum,
their bodies are challenged through growth spurts and releases of
hormones, and their hearts are captivated by a man who shares his passion
for music with them.

My daughter, Joy, played trumpet for a bit at Briarlake (both of her
uncles and both grandfathers and her great-grandfather played or continue
to play trumpet—no pressure, huh?).  She was patient with us as we
nudged her and tried to nurture her talent.  My wife and I (and all our
family) LOVE to sing.  That is how we met—in a bar where she worked and
I played.  I eventually played upright bass in a bluegrass band and I was
in a production of Cotton Patch Gospel by Harry Chapin and Tom Key with
the Theatrical Outfit in 1999 at the Rialto in Atlanta.  For Joy, singing
won out over trumpet when it came time to choose which track to pursue at

I credit her participation in chorus with preserving her interest in
school over all.  When asked about her day, she skips over the core
classes and goes into excited, extended explanations of what is going on
with Chorus and more specifically the Musical. 

You and the students, along with those who assisted with choreography and
directing, put on a great show again this year.  It was thoroughly
impressive and enjoyable.  You exposed me to some new favorites that I
can’t stop humming (Superboy and the Invisible Girl, Crazier than You,
and Revolting Children) and reminded me of some old favorites that moved
me to tears.  The way each song was staged and executed demonstrated a
level of professionalism that is rare even among paid performers.  The
solos, duets, trios and the chorus transformed the HMS gym into a musical
wonderland that I did not want to end.

Please, take a moment to let it go to your head.  You deserve it.  OK,
now back to reality.  Have a great summer!
Paul Carpenter (Joy's dad)

And one more:

Kim Speece 
Fri 5/8/2015 9:56 PM

Dale Duncan (Henderson Middle);

Thank you for what we believe was the best show yet! The talent you are able to pull out of these kids each year is amazing. Please keep doing what you are doing because you are making a huge impact on these kids' lives - an impact that goes way beyond the stage. You have taught them the importance of hard work, dedication, team work and pure grit. All of these are lessons that typically don't come from a classroom unless that classroom has Dale Duncan as the teacher.
Tonight, Kenley said she wanted to do the show one more time just because she does not want the whole experience to be over. As a parent, I thank you.

Sent from my iPhone

Middle School Choral Teachers...keep going.  Keep giving your hearts to the kids and sharing your passions.  Keep organizing parents to support you and help you so that it isn't all up to you. Ask administrators for the support you need.  When they say no, ask again 6 months later.  Be tenacious.  Be positive.  Look for solutions.  Keep striving to create the program you've envisioned in your heart and brain so that every day, you are working toward its ultimate birth.

It all pays off.

Here are some pictures from out spring show.

Go to "YouTube" to see our rendition of "You Can't Stop the Beat".
Link to "Carry the Banner" opener 2015.

Check out my blog!
Creator of the S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing Program for Beginners

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...