Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I AM DRUMS chosen for the Illinois Reads 2017 Reading List

I've been sitting on this news for two months, so I'm excited to finally share that the Illinois Reading Council has chosen I AM DRUMS for its "Illinois Reads 2017" list!

"Illinois Reads" is a reading list comprised of six books for each age level. I AM DRUMS was chosen for grades 6-8.

I'll be attending the launch event in Wilmington in March. Until then, you can learn more about the Illinois Reads initiative here.

Hooray for reading lists that rock!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Gift I AM DRUMS this holiday with a signed postcard

Give the gift of super loud rock and roll literacy with I AM DRUMS this holiday season!

Plus, if you email me@mikegrossoauthor.com with proof of your purchase and mailing address and I'll send you a signed postcard and download code for "Songs for Samantha: the I AM DRUMS Soundtrack".

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

An Election Poem

A student asked who I was
voting for

I said
"I can't tell or
sway you
only provide tools
to cast your own when it's
your turn."

She was confused,
So I said

"Ask yourself my expectations as your teacher

Nice words
Kind hands
Constant learning
Complicated solutions
An open mind

I want for my country the same as my classroom
Nothing more. Nothing less.

Ask yourself which candidate would be most welcome here."

The student nodded and said

"I think I get your point."

Friday, November 4, 2016

Fearless Friday -- Breathing New Life Into a Blog Series

UPDATED 11/6/2016: It's been two days since I livestreamed "One Man Band" on Facebook, and the response was great!

You can view the live video here!


Authors (especially debut authors) spend a lot of time being scared. Of rejection. Of strangers reading our work. Of reviews. Of writing the next book. So facing our fears is a part of our process.

Before my first publisher closed down, I was a member of the Fearless Fifteeners debut author group (I still consider myself an honorary 15er, but that's another post).

During my time with the group, I got some of my fellow debuters to participate in a blog series called FEARLESS FRIDAYS, where one author on one Friday would face one of their fears.

We ended up with some pretty cool posts. An author read the worst line from their first unpublished manuscript. Another slept in a room with creepy dolls. Another sang in a video. And I walked out onto the Skydeck at Sears Tower (never Willis Tower) in this silly video to face my horrible fear of heights:

I loved hosting this blog series, and I want to try it again.

So I'm kickstarting it later this afternoon by Facebook Livestreaming a song, performed with multiple instruments, entirely by myself with the help of a JamMan looping station.

I may do well, or I may blow the whole thing. I'm afraid it will be the latter. But isn't that the point? I'm scared to do it, but I'm going to do it anyway.

Connect with me on FB at https://www.facebook.com/mike.grosso.12 and wait for the stream to start between 5:00 and 5:30 this afternoon, right before you enjoy your wonderful dinner.

Friday, October 28, 2016

I AM DRUMS Web Show Debut on LadyBird & Friends

A few weeks ago, I made my web show debut on LadyBird & Friends, hosted by rockstar librarian Betsy Bird!

The full show is up on YouTube, so watch and enjoy. Watch for our maraca and tennis ball jam during the credits.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

30 Days of Weird Instruments, Day 30 -- the Singing Tesla Coil

Our final weird instrument has many nicknames, my favorite being the Zeusaphone, as in the Greek God, Zeus.

The Singing Tesla Coil is a solid state Tesla coil that's been altered to make analog synth sounds and emit sparks of electricity based on the musical data it receives. MIDI data is sent in, converted to what's called a Pulse-width modulation (PWM) signal, which is then used to tell the Tesla coil what to do.

In simpler terms, it's a device that creates electrical pulses in sync with music. Imagine a musical performance where electricity is an audio-visual aspect of the experience.

Pay your respects to the people who made/make these things -- it takes a lot of talent and intelligence to pull this off.

The singing Tesla coil made its national television debut when the band ArcAttack performed on America's Got Talent.

That marks the finish line for 30 DAYS OF WEIRD INSTRUMENTS! I hope you've enjoyed this blog series half as much as I've enjoyed researching and writing it. I'm glad to have had you with me on this journey.

Please feel free to comment with additional weird instruments you've discovered, or send an email to me@mikegrossoauthor.com with your thoughts. I've also included the full list of posts for all 30 instruments below.

Thank you for reading!

Purchase I AM DRUMS!
Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Books A Million | Powell's 
Book Depository | HMH

Previous Weird Instruments:
Day 28 - The Singing, Ringing Tree 
Day 29 - The Harpitar
Day 30 - The Singing Tesla Coil