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Inspired Books for Performing Arts Teachers

Posted by Team APATA | Nov 10, 2022

Okay so the holidays are fast approaching! This time last year we put together a list of gifts for your teacher friends so we thought, since we’ve been sharing lots of books lately that we would  list some good reads!

There is something for everyone. From those looking for inspired teaching practices to genre’ defining rock chicks and prompts to push your creative buttons.

What will you be reading theses holidays?

The Music Advantage

By: Dr Anita Collins – Link

Ground-breaking music educator Dr Anita Collins draws on the latest international neurological research to reveal the extraordinary and often surprising benefits of learning music for children from newborns to teenagers.

Brain research has revealed something extraordinary: learning music and listening to music can grow and repair our brains at any age.

Simply clapping in time can assist a young child who is struggling with reading. Learning an instrument can help children of all ages dramatically improve their ability to focus on schoolwork, enhance their memory and improve behaviour.

Playing in an orchestra develops children’s social skills. Learning music can give every child an advantage, whether they are not coping at school or are doing well already.

Dr Anita Collins has visited the labs of leading neuro-musical researchers around the world and trialled their techniques herself. With real examples from home and school along with practical strategies, The Music Advantage shows how parents and teachers can support children’s development with music from birth to the teenage years.

‘Dr Anita Collins’ insights highlight the irreplaceable role music plays in the full education of a child.’
– Benjamin Northey, Principal Conductor in Residence of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra


What Great Teachers Do Differently

By: Todd Whitaker – Link

What are the beliefs and behaviors that set great teachers apart? In this internationally renowned bestseller, Todd Whitaker reveals 19 keys to becoming more effective in the classroom.

This essential third edition features new sections on why it’s about more than relationships, how to focus on a consistent, engaging learning environment, and the importance of choosing the right mode–business, parent, child–to improve your classroom management.

Perfect for educators at any level of experience, for independent reading or for schoolwide book studies, this practical book will leave you feeling inspired and ready to do the things that matter most for the people who matter most-your students.


Make Good Art

By: Neil Gaiman – Link

A must for any fan of the storytelling genius that is Neil Gaiman, author of the acclaimed novel American Gods and the highly anticipated new novel for adults, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane.

In May 2012, Neil Gaiman delivered the commencement address at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, in which he shared his thoughts about creativity, bravery, and strength. He encouraged the fledgling painters, musicians, writers, and dreamers to break rules and think outside the box. Most of all, he urged them to make good art. The book Make Good Art, designed by renowned graphic artist Chip Kidd, contains the full text of Gaiman’s inspiring speech.

About the Author

Neil Gaiman has spent his adult life making things up and writing them down. He lives more in America than he does anywhere else. He has written books and films and children’s books and television. He’s won more than his fair share of literary awards, was voted twenty-first equal on a recent poll of Great British Authors and has no idea where he put his keys.


The Primary Drama Handbook

By: Patrice Baldwin – Link

This book helps professionals to understand the importance and potential of drama for learning and offers step by step, practical examples of how drama can work in schools across a range of curriculum subjects.

Drama motivates children and is a powerful way of building skills such as speaking and listening, enhancing children’s self-esteem, and connecting learning creatively across the curriculum. The book presents information, advice and a range of practical material that helps to explain drama skills and strategies at an introductory level. It also contains a sample drama unit for each year group.

Covering a wealth of topics, including: – What do we mean by drama? – Playing, players and plays – Where is drama in the curriculum? – Why is drama important ? – Where and when can drama happen in schools? – What is the role of the adult? – How can we start drama? – Agreeing a Drama Contract – Introducing some basic drama strategies – How to plan a drama lesson – and – What happens if?- A section that gives short answers to common questions asked by those who are new to working with classes of children doing drama.

The book is ideal for primary NQTs and teaching assistants, as well as those more experienced teachers who are not yet confident using drama techniques and whole class drama.

Patrice Baldwin is Adviser for Arts Development and Improvement, with Norfolk County Council Children’s Services and Chair of National Drama and director of Drama for Learning.


In Teachers We Trust

By: Timothy D. Walker, Pasi Sahlberg, Andy Hargreaves – Link

Seven key principles from Finland for building a culture of trust in schools around the world.

In the spring of 2018, thousands of teachers across the United States—in states like Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Arizona—walked off their jobs while calling for higher wages and better working conditions. Ultimately, these American educators trumpeted a simple request: treat us like professionals. Teachers in many other countries feel the same way as their US counterparts.

In Teachers We Trust presents a compelling vision, offering practical ideas for educators and school leaders wishing to develop teacher-powered education systems. It reveals why teachers in Finland hold high status and shows what the country’s trust- based school system looks like in action.

Pasi Sahlberg and Timothy D. Walker suggest seven key principles for building a culture of trust in schools, from offering clinical training for future teachers to encouraging student agency to fostering a collaborative professionalism among educators. In Teachers We Trust is essential reading for all teachers, administrators, and parents who entrust their children to American schools.


Teaching The Arts: Early Childhood and Primary Education

By: David Roy, William Baker, Amy Hamilton – Link

Teaching the Arts: Early Childhood and Primary Education foregrounds the importance of Arts education to children’s development and learning while connecting each Arts area to the Australian Curriculum. The third edition provides comprehensive coverage and an exciting introduction to Arts education in Australia, with updated content and new, interactive features.

The book covers the key areas of Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music and Visual Arts, full of teacher tips, spotlights on arts education, and downloadable lesson plans.

This new edition includes interactive eBook content:

  • Interactive questions and answers throughout each chapter
  • Example videos of Arts activities accompanying lesson plans and teacher tips
  • Weblinks to further content to support students in their learning
  • Draws important links to the finalised Australian Curriculum: the Arts, the New Zealand Curriculum, the Early Years Learning Framework and Te Whāriki


The School

By: Brendan James Murray – Link

The School presents a year in the life of a single high school from the point of view of a school teacher. Drawing on Murray’s own experiences in the classroom, this is an important and timely book on the subject of education and disadvantage.

The students we encounter in The School are kids who are often marginalised in media depictions. Here, we hear their voices and see them interact with each other and their teacher in the ecology of the school. This book is also a considerable literary achievement. It’s rare to encounter a work of immersive narrative non-fiction that is so poised and assured.


What She Said – The Art of Inspiring Action Through Speech 

By: Monica Lunin – Link

Learn how spoken words can change a mind, a community and the world with this collection of remarkable speeches by women

What She Said is an inspiring collection of speeches from passionate and persuasive women from around the world and throughout history. The included speakers come from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, ages, and education levels, demonstrating how women from all walks of life can use the power of speech to bring change.

Author Monica Lunin has curated and analysed 40 of the greatest speeches made by strong and empowering women from all around the world. From Queen Elizabeth I to Maya Angelou, Greta Thunberg, Julia Gillard, and Michelle Obama, What She Said shows not only what was said but also how the speech worked and why it was effective.

In this insightful exploration of female wit, persuasion, and leadership, you’ll find an extract of the speech, a biography of the speaker and a breakdown of the qualities that made it so remarkable.

You’ll learn how these women:

  • inspired, moved, and persuaded an audience
  • understood and empathised with a crowd
  • effectively argued a position
  • opened hearts and minds
  • shared thoughts and insights.


Slam Your Poetry – Write A Revolution

By: Miles Merrill and Narcisa Nozica – Link

Written by Miles Merrill, the poet who brought slams down under, and award-winning high school teacher Narcisa Nozica, Slam Your Poetry is part manifesto, part how-to and all finger-snapping-applause-grabbing-diy-community-building-light-it-on-fire, throw it through the man’s window poetry revolution.

About the Authors

Miles Merrill is a performing writer who regularly appears at festivals and events worldwide. He is the founder of Australian Poetry Slam, an international performing writers’ program, which sees up to 1000 writers performing in over 80 events across Asia-Pacific every year. Miles has hosted an ABC TV special on poetry slams, performed solo at the Sydney Opera House and published award-winning poetry in print, audio and video. As creative director of the literary arts organisation, Word Travels, he focuses on empowering people from diverse and marginalised communities to share their stories and poems with the world. Narcisa Nozica is a high school English teacher in southern Sydney. In 2016, she won a NSW Premier’s English Teachers Association Scholarship to study how spoken-word poetry can be used in schools. She has presented at conferences and worked with teachers and students to help young people find their poetic voice.

From the opening paragraph:

“This is how you change the world with your story. No props. No music. No costumes.

Just you, your words and a mic. You’ve got 2 minutes to make the crowd scream your name.

Listen to the distant rumble. The roar, getting closer. The cumulonimbus of people not being heard, people whose stories are not being told. The thunder-clap slam of poetry meets the electric light-flash of stage and cheering audience. This overpowering storm of ovations and raw solo manifestos – it’s no rock concert. This isn’t pop.

It’s you. Yes: Y-O-U.

You’re saying what’s on your mind with immediate access to an audience. This is poetry slam.”

Slam Your Poetry catapults you from writing to performing to gigging, teaching and kick-starting your own slam community.


Introducing Me Huda

By: Huda the Goddess – Link

Huda the Goddess is the current Australian Poetry Slam Champion and two-time QLD champ. Huda is a spoken word poet, educator, mental health advocate, dancer and workshop facilitator. She describes poetry as one of her senses that allows her to turn her experiences into art and this is her first poetry collection.

As a proud African-Muslim woman it is important to her that young women from her community are represented and their stories are shared. Poetry is her connection to communities, land and her people.

Having the chance to make people feel something will always be her goal as an artist.


This Is What It Sounds Like

By: Susan Rogers and Ogi Ogas – Link

This Is What It Sounds Like is a journey into the science and soul of music that reveals the secrets of why your favourite songs move you. But it’s also a story of a musical trailblazer who began as a humble audio tech in Los Angeles, rose to become Prince’s chief engineer for Purple Rain, and then created other No. 1 hits, including Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week,” as one of the most successful female record producers of all time.

Now an award-winning professor of cognitive neuroscience, Susan Rogers leads readers to musical self-awareness. She explains that we each possess a unique “listener profile” based on our brain’s natural response to seven key dimensions of any song.

Are you someone who prefers lyrics or melody? Do you like music “above the neck” (intellectually stimulating), or “below the neck” (instinctual and rhythmic)? Whether your taste is esoteric or mainstream, Rogers guides readers to recognise their musical personality, and offers language to describe one’s own unique taste.

Like most of us, Rogers is not a musician, but she shows that all of us can be musical-simply by being an active, passionate listener.

While exploring the science of music and the brain, Rogers also takes us behind the scenes of record-making, using her insider’s ear to illuminate the music of Prince, Frank Sinatra, Kanye West, Lana Del Rey, and many others. She shares records that changed her life, contrasts them with those that appeal to her co-author and students, and encourages you to think about the records that define your own identity.

Told in a lively and inclusive style, This Is What It Sounds Like will refresh your playlists, deepen your connection to your favourite artists, and change the way you listen to music.


Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia

Edited by Dr Anita Heiss – Link

What is it like to grow up Aboriginal in Australia? This anthology, compiled by award-winning author Anita Heiss, attempts to showcase as many diverse voices, experiences and stories as possible in order to answer that question. Each account reveals, to some degree, the impacts of invasion and colonisation – on language, on country, on ways of life, and on how people are treated daily in the community, the education system, the workplace and friendship groups.

Accounts from well-known authors and high-profile identities sit alongside newly discovered voices of all ages, with experiences spanning coastal and desert regions, cities and remote communities. All of them speak to the heart – sometimes calling for empathy, oftentimes challenging stereotypes, always demanding respect.

This groundbreaking anthology aims to enlighten, inspire and educate about the lives of Aboriginal people in Australia today.

Contributors include: Tony Birch, Deborah Cheetham, Adam Goodes, Terri Janke, Patrick Johnson, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Jack Latimore, Celeste Liddle, Amy McQuire, Kerry Reed-Gilbert, Miranda Tapsell, Jared Thomas, Aileen Walsh, Alexis West, Tara June Winch, and many, many more.

About this series

The acclaimed Black Inc. anthology series showcases Own Voices and explores what it is to grow up in Australia.

Other titles include: Growing Up Disabled in Australia; Growing up African in Australia; Growing Up Asian in Australia; Growing Up Queer in Australia; and Growing Up in Australia.


The Art of Gathering 

By: Priya Parker – Link

The Art of Gathering shows you how to bring people together to create transformative, breakthrough meetings and experiences.

We spend our lives gathering – first in classrooms and then in meetings, weddings, conferences and away days. Yet so many of us spend this time in underwhelming moments that fail to engage us, inspire us, or connect us. We’ve all sat in meetings where people talk past each other or go through the motions and others which galvanize a team and remind everyone why they first took the job.

We’ve been to weddings that were deeply moving and others that were run-of-the-mill and simply faded away. Why do some moments take off and others fizzle? What’s the difference between the gatherings that inspire you and the ones that don’t?

In The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker gets to the heart of these questions and reveals how to design a transformative gathering. An expert on organising successful gatherings whether in conference centres or her living room, Parker shows us how to create moving, magical, mind-changing experiences – even in spaces where we’ve come to expect little.


Songlines: The Power and Promise

By: Margo Neale and Lynne Kelly  – Link

‘Let this series begin the discussion.’ – Bruce Pascoe

Songlines are an archive for powerful knowledges that ensured Australia’s many Indigenous cultures flourished for over 60,000 years.

Much more than a navigational path in the cartographic sense, these vast and robust stores of information are encoded through song, story, dance, art, and ceremony, rather than simply recorded in writing.

Weaving deeply personal storytelling with extensive research on mnemonics, Songlines: The Power and Promise offers unique insights into Indigenous traditional knowledges, how they apply today and how they could help all peoples thrive into the future.

This book invites readers to understand a remarkable way for storing knowledge in memory by adapting song, art, and most importantly, Country, into their lives.

About the series:

Each book is a collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous writers and editors; the series is edited by Margo Neale, senior Indigenous curator at the National Museum of Australia.

Other existing and forthcoming titles include: Design by Alison Page & Paul Memmott (2021); Country by Bill Gammage & Bruce Pascoe (2021); Medicine & Plants (2022); Astronomy (2022); Law (2023).


Girl in a Band

By: Kim Gordon – Link

A new edition, part of the Faber Social’s Greatest Hits series: books that have taken writing about music in new and exciting directions for the twenty-first century.

In Girl in a Band Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth and role model for a generation of women, tells her story. She writes frankly about her route from girl to woman and pioneering icon within the music and art scene of New York City in the 1980s and 90s as well as marriage, motherhood, and independence.

Filled with the sights and sounds of a changing world and a remarkable life, Girl in a Band is a moving, evocative chronicle of an extraordinary artist.

About the Author

Kim Gordon is a musician, vocalist, visual artist, record producer, video director, fashion designer, and actress. She rose to prominence as the bassist, guitarist, and vocalist of alternative rock band Sonic Youth, which she formed with Thurston Moore in 1981. In 2012, after the breakup of Sonic Youth, Gordon formed Body/Head with friend Bill Nace. She has appeared in several films, as well as episodes of Gossip Girl and Girls. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, New York, and Los Angeles.


Clothes Music Boys

By: Viv Albertine – Link

In 1975, Viv Albertine was obsessed with music but it never occurred to her she could be in a band as she couldn’t play an instrument and she’d never seen a girl play electric guitar.

A year later, she was the guitarist in the hugely influential all-girl band the Slits, who fearlessly took on the male-dominated music scene and became part of a movement that changed music.

A raw, thrilling story of life on the frontiers and a candid account of Viv’s life post-punk – taking in a career in film, the pain of IVF, illness and divorce and the triumph of making music again – Clothes Music Boys is a remarkable memoir.


The Art of Movement – NYC Dance Project

By: Ken Browar, Deborah Ory – Link

A stunning celebration of movement and dance in hundreds of breathtaking photographs of more than 60 dancers from American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Martha Graham Dance Company, Boston Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, the Royal Ballet, and many more.

The Art Of Movement is an exquisitely designed, beautifully produced book that captures the movement, flow, energy, and grace of many of the most accomplished dancers in the world. These are the artists, from all walks of life, who are defining dance today. Here they are frozen in time in the most exquisite poses, and yet there’s a feeling of movement in every photograph that makes the appear to be dancing across the pages. Accompanying the photographs are intimate and inspiring words from the dancers, as well as from choreographers and artistic directors, on what dance means to them.

Dance is experiencing an unprecedented moment in popular culture. The Art Of Movement is the perfect book for newly avid fans, as well as long-time lovers of dance.

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