Monthly Archives: March 2016

In-Class Teaching Episode #2

Percussion Improvisation Circle (Day 2) Lesson Plan: 29 March 2016

Rationale:

The Percussion Improvisation Circle is an exercise to teach students some basic rhythms, encourage musical creativity, and get them comfortable performing for a group. The goal of the Circle is to expand students’ musical understanding and experience, getting them to improvise a rhythm while moving (some kind of simple dance).  By getting each student to successfully improvise a rhythm, the main concept I will be addressing is risk-taking, because they are doing something new and as individuals.  This activity also addresses unity and variety, and groove.

Materials:

  • Various non-pitch percussion instruments for each person (wood blocks, tambourine, sticks, etc.)
  • Open space

Procedure:

  1. Introduce the different rhythm sets (quarter notes, eighth notes, groove: boom-clap-boom-clap-clap-clap) first as demonstration then add the students in, having them copy each one

-should take about a minute

  1. Introduce a simple dance, moving side-to-side every two beats, to internalize the beat

-students with larger instruments do not have to do the dance

-take no more than 30 seconds

  1. Assign students a non-pitch percussion instrument, they do not have to have one if they do not wish to (mostly if they want to do the groove rhythm)

-take less than a minute

  1. Assign groups to each rhythm set, based on students’ abilities and instrument types (larger instruments should have quarters, smaller instruments should have eighths, any instrument can take the groove)

-take no more than 30 seconds or so

  1. Set up the groups in a collective circle, with rhythm groups together,

-take no more than 30 seconds

  1. Put it all together as a group, starting with quarters, then adding eighths, then the groove

-take no more than a couple of measures

  1. Once a steady pulse and groove are established, teacher will begin the improvisation rotation, indicating which student will start and cue them: each student will have eight measures or so to complete their improvisation, with a couple bars between each student

-take the rest of the time

Assessment:

Each student will be given the chance to improvise, and will be evaluated based on ability to complete the activity successfully, both their improvisation and their participation in the basic rhythms.  When students perform their improvisation they will be using their new understandings of rhythms, showing their creativity, and be more comfortable performing on an instrument.

Extension:

To extend this experience, students will be given non-pitch instruments again, and a dance will be introduced. The new dance will be based on the groove and allow students to be completely involved in the activity and music.

Reflection:

With this teaching some things that I felt went well were everyone’s ability to follow the directions and complete the activity with little-to-no difficulty.  Everyone was able to successfully complete their improvisations both times that we went around the circle, and there were no awkward stop-and-start moments when transitioning.  Some things that could have gone better were my general instruction, and having better instrumentation.  I began to go out of order with the steps (00:40, 00:55, 2:02) because as I was instructing I felt that the plan that I had wasn’t the best way to proceed.  The activity did not go as long as planned (5:23) because there weren’t as many people as I was expecting, and it was because of the smaller group that the instrumentation wasn’t that diverse.  The instrumentation should have been more diverse because the instruments didn’t all blend well together.  Some instruments were louder than others, and it was because of this that some of the improvisations weren’t very clear or heard over the group (5:08, 5:15).  Going forward I think that I should think my plan over a little more and practice it more so that in the middle of teaching I am not changing what I am supposed to be doing. For next time I would like to pick better instruments and assign them rather than do a free-for-all (2:08).  I also think that next time it would be beneficial to take more time in-between the steps and directions to transition smoother and allow the group to process what is happening as we move forward.  I would like next time to focus more on the movement and pulse to keep everyone together, and really encourage people to be more free in their improvisations, making them longer and more creative with the different instruments.

Community Project

 

Reflection

Communities are usually based on something that people have in common, a group of people identifying and interacting with each other because of an interest, an activity, a goal, or simply being in the same area.  Often communities are formed of diverse people, but the differences are not an issue, especially when the community has strong leaders.  Community leaders are the ones that constantly make people feel involved in where they are and what they do.  They constantly have to strive to create harmony and work to make the community thrive, either as a single person or a group of people.  Leaders have to be invested in their community as a whole, and also the individuals that form that community, and what the community stands for.  This level of investment is required because they are at the center of the community, the one that everyone looks to as an example.  In a way the entire community revolves around them because communities can’t function without leaders, people who embody what exactly the community is about.  They have to be really invested in the community and what it does or stands for because it motivates others to become invested in it.  Without invested and motivating leaders, a community can’t function or get anyone interested and truly become a part of it.  Leaders are what pull a community together because they know exactly what they stand for and how to get things done.  They know how to get people interested in something and how to make them a part of it, to make them feel like they belong.

Research and Resources

Articles:

  1. Andrew S. Paney and Nathan O. Buoniviri, Teaching Melodic Dictation in Advanced Placement Music Theory, Journal of Research in Music Education. Principles: Innovative Practitioner.  Abstract: In this study approaches to teaching melodic dictation skills used by Advanced Placement (AP) Music Theory teachers were examined. Twelve high school teachers from four states were interviewed. Four themes emerged from the interview transcripts: cognitive frameworks, processing strategies, rhythm, and course design. Participants generally confirmed established understandings of aural skills pedagogy, particularly in areas of pattern instruction, connecting aural and written theory, connecting sight-singing and dictation, incorporating scale degree function, targeting melodic “bookends,” focusing on the big picture, sequencing curricula, and incorporating familiar melodies. Unique to the findings of this study were participants’ positive attitudes toward a standardized test and their concern for the students’ psychological barriers inherent in learning aural skills. A general indifference to rhythm counting systems and a common acknowledgment of students’ difficulties with rhythmic notation also were found. Recommendations for further research include a large-scale survey of melodic dictation strategies taught by AP Music Theory teachers, empirical investigation of the efficacy of specific counting systems, comparison of students’ reported dictation strategies and their success with dictation on the AP exam, and exploration of the influence of psychological fortitude on the dictation process.  Rationale: This article can address the Innovative Practitioner principle because it describes a way of teaching, and from it teachers can draw ideas from the study and apply them to their own classroom or adapt new ideas from the methods.
  2. Warren Haston and Joshua A. Russell, Turning into Teachers Influences of Authentic Context Learning Experiences On Occupational Identity Development of Preservice Music Teachers, Journal of Research in Music Education. Principles: Inquisitive Thinker. Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the occupational identity development of undergraduate music education majors as they participated in a yearlong authentic context learning (ACL) experience situated within a professional development school (PDS). Five undergraduate music education majors enrolled in either a string pedagogy class or an instrumental methods class were required to teach in the band or string projects at the PDS. The authors utilized a multiple case study method and collected data from interviews, observations, and participant written reflections. The transformation of data included transcribing interviews and indexing student reflections. The authors identified four emergent themes: the development of general pedagogical knowledge, knowledge of self, performer/teacher symbiotic outcomes, and professional perspectives. The impact of the perceived positive or negative ACL experiences as well as interactions with peers was mediated by either adaptive or maladaptive participant responses to ACL experiences. Participants’ descriptions fit the framework of an extended apprenticeship of what the authors labeled a critical apprenticeship of observation. Based on these findings, they developed a conceptual diagram in order to describe the impact of the ACL experiences on teacher occupational identity development.  Rationale: This article addresses the Inquisitive Thinker principle because it offers a way to analyze different aspects of a teacher, and apply that to one’s own identity as a teacher.
  3. Franscesca Comas Rubi, Xavier Motilla-Salas, and Bernat Suerda-Garcia, Pedagogical innovation and music education in Spain: Introducing the Dalcroze method in Catalonia, Pedagogica Historica. Principles: Innovative Practitioner.  Abstract: The aim of this paper is to analyse how the Dalcroze method was introduced to Spain and became known there, more specifically in the Catalonia of theNoucentismemovement, and why it made the greatest impact and was more widely disseminated in this particular region of Spain. Following a summary of Dalcroze’s contributions to music education, an outline is given of how the Junta para la Ampliación de Estudios or Committee for Extended Studies (the JAE, in Spanish) became a springboard for the method’s introduction in Catalonia through a grant awarded to Catalan musician and teacher Joan Llongueras Badía, even though the JAE had not shown much interest in its diffusion. It goes on to explain how the method’s use spread in Catalonia, partly thanks to the efforts of Joan Llongueras and his Institute for Rhythmic Gymnastics and partly as a result of the support that these efforts received in the political, philosophical, moral and aesthetic context of theNoucentismemovement – which, the paper argues, explains why the method’s impact was much greater in Catalonia than in the rest of Spain.  Rationale: This article addresses the Innovative Practitioner principle because it is about a method from one place being applied to another, something that teachers are always doing.  It shows the method, how it was introduced, and effects from the experiment, and teachers can either try this exactly or they can use the way it was done with other methods.
  4. Heidi Partti and Sidsel Karlsen, Reconceptualising musical learning: new media, identity and community in music education, Music Education Research. Principles: Innovative Practitioner, Flexible Musicianship, Community Leader.  Abstract: Societal and technological progresses have created a multitude of new ways for people to engage with music, and as a result music can nowadays be learned from an ever-expanding variety of sources. In this article, we engage in a theoretical exploration of the underpinning societal forces that have enabled this expansion, as well as its significance for the development of musical identity and knowledge. The exploration proceeds through sociological theories of modernity and theories of sociocultural learning. Examples from a recent ethnographic study of the Finnish online music community Mikseri provide insight into how musical identities can be constructed and maintained in web-based reality, as well as how online music sites may function as communities of practice where the members, through sharing and discussing their own music, develop music-related knowledge. A discussion about the implications of the current media-musical situation for music education practice and research is provided.  Rationale: This article addresses the principles of Flexible Musician, Innovative Practitioner, and Community Leader because it shows how technology can be applied to music communities and how knowledge of and exposure to different musics affect those communities.

Books:

  1. Barry Green, The Mastery of Music: Ten Pathways to True Artistry. Principles: Flexible Musicianship, Community Leader.  Abstract: Barry Green turns his expert hand to the artistic qualities that make an extraordinary musician. Culling advice from dozens of interviews with legends including Joshua Bell, Dave Brubeck, Jeffrey Kahane, Bobby McFerrin, Christopher Parkening, Doc Severinsen, Frederica von Stade, the Harlem Boys Choir, and the Turtle Island String Quartet, he reveals that it’s not enough to have a cerebral and emotional connection to the notes. Green shows how musical excellence, exhibited by true virtuosos, requires a mastery of ten unique qualities of the soul and the human spirit, such as confidence, passion, discipline, creativity, and relaxed concentration, and he discusses specific ways in which all musicians, composers, and conductors can take their skills to higher levels. He carefully incorporates all instruments and techniques in his rejuvenating discussions, inspiring the stifled student to have fun again and the over-rehearsed performer to rediscover the joy of passionate expression.  Rationale: This book addresses the principles of Flexible Musician and Community Leader because it offers ways for musicians to grow, and includes something for all instruments so that all musicians can grow and this is a book that both teachers and students can refer to.
  2. William Ayers and Ryan Alexander-Tanner. To Teach: The Journey in Comics.  Principles: Community Leader, Inquisitive Thinking, Innovative Practitioner.  Abstract: To Teach is a vivid, honest portrayal of the everyday magic of teaching, and what it means to be a “good” teacher—debunking myths perpetuated on film and other starry-eyed hero/teacher fictions. Illuminated by the evocative and wry drawings of Ryan Alexander-Tanner, this graphic version of To Teach will engage while it instructs. It is a much-needed reminder of how curiosity, a sense of adventure, and a healthy dose of reflection can guide us all to learn the most from this world as we educate the next generation. Teacher educators and professional developers will want to use this dynamic graphic novel alongside the traditional text for a unique teaching and learning experience.  Rationale: This book addresses the principles Innovative Practitioner, Inquisitive Thinker and Community Leader because it is all about how to run a classroom.  It shows the different roles of a teacher and new ways to teach.
  3. Hildegard Froelich and Carol Frierson-Campbell, Inquiry in Music Education: Concepts and Methods for the Beginning Researcher. Principles: Innovative Practitioner, Inquisitive Thinker.  Abstract: This textbook covers topic formulation, information literacy, reading and evaluating research studies, and planning and conducting original studies within accepted guidelines, based on research conventions in music, the other arts, education, and the humanities… Skills in research and scholarship introduce students to the language and protocols by which to succeed in today’s competitive market of grant writing, arts advocacy, and public outreach as a contributing member of the community of music educators.  Following the legacy begun by Rainbow and Froehlich in Research in Music Education, published in 1987, the objectives of this book are:  to expand what is meant by music education and research, to help students find their niche in those definitions, and to teach tangible skills that are useful for music educators with diverse instructional goals and career aspirations.  Rationale: This book addresses the principles Innovative Practitioner and Inquisitive Thinker because it shows people the importance of learning new things about the field and teaches new skills.
  4. Margaret S. Barrett, Collaborative Creative Thought and Practice in Music. Principles: Innovative Practitioner, Inquisitive Thinker, Community Leader, Flexible Musician. Abstract: Focusing on the domain of music, the approach taken in this book falls into three sections: investigations of the people, processes, products, and places of collaborative creativity in compositional thought and practice; explorations of the ways in which creative collaboration provides a means of crossing boundaries between disciplines such as music performance and musicology; and studies of the emergence of creative thought and practice in educational contexts including that of the composer and the classroom. The volume concludes with an extended chapter that reflects on the ways in which the studies reported advance understandings of creative thought and practice. The book provides new perspectives to our understandings of the role of collaborative thought and processes in creative work across the domain of music including: composition, musicology, performance, music education and music psychology.  Rationale: This book addresses all of the principles because it is about collaborating, learning new things, and being creative.

Websites:

  1. Band Director.com, http://www.banddirector.com. Principles: Innovative Practitioner, Community Leader. Description: This website offers teaching resources, fundraising sources, and ways for music educators to connect with each other.  Rationale: This website addresses the principles Innovative Practitioner and Community Leader because it gives resources to teaching methods and also connects teachers to the community of music education.
  2. K-12 Resources for Music Educators, https://sites.google.com/site/k12musicresources/. Principles: Innovative Practitioner. Description:  This website is a resource center for both music educators and students of any area and education level.  It has resources ranging from places for sheet music to fingering charts to articles, a large variety.  Rationale: This website addresses the Innovative Practitioner principle because it offers resources to teachers that are looking for something that they need for their classroom.
  3. Band World, http://www.bandworld.org. Principles: Innovative Practitioner, Flexible Musicianship. Description: This website offers different resources for band directors, like access to magazines, information about clinics, teaching resources, and computer software.  Rationale: This website addresses the principles Flexible Musician and Innovative Practitioner because it is a teaching resource for both teachers and students, and offers resources to different types of music and instruction methods.
  4. National Association for Music Education, http://www.nafme.org. Principles: Innovative Practitioner, Community Leader. Description: This website offers teaching resources, fundraising sources, and ways for music educators to connect with each other.  Rationale: This website addresses the principles Innovative Practitioner and Community Leader because it gives resources to teaching methods and also connects teachers to the community of music education.

 

 

In-Class Teaching Episode #1

Percussion Improvisation Circle Lesson Plan: 1 March 2016 

 Rationale:

The Percussion Improvisation Circle is an exercise to teach students some basic rhythms, encourage musical creativity, and get them comfortable performing for a group. The goal of the Circle is to expand students’ musical understanding and experience.  By getting each student to successfully improvise a rhythm, the main concept I will be addressing is risk-taking, because they are doing something new and as individuals.  This activity also addresses unity and variety and groove.

Materials:

  • Pens or pencils (optional)
  • Flat surface (table or desk)

Procedure:

  1. Introduce the different rhythm sets (quarter notes, eighth notes, groove) in 4/4 meter first as demonstration then add the students in, having them copy each one

-should take about a minute

  1. Assign groups to each rhythm set, based on students’ abilities (assess and ask for preference of group if everyone can successfully duplicate all rhythms)

-take no more than 30 seconds or so

  1. Set up the groups in a collective circle, with rhythm groups together,

-take no more than 30 seconds

  1. Put it all together as a group, starting with quarters, then adding eighths, then the groove

-take no more than a couple of measures

  1. Once a steady pulse and groove are established, teacher will begin the improvisation rotation, as a demonstration: each student will have eight measures or so to complete their improvisation, with a couple bars between each student

-take the rest of the time, about three minutes

Assessment:

Each student will be given the chance to improvise, and will be evaluated based on ability to complete the activity successfully, both their improvisation and their participation in the basic rhythms.  When students perform their improvisation they will be using their new understandings of rhythms, showing their creativity, and be more comfortable performing.

Extension:

To extend this experience, students would be given access to non-pitch percussion instruments, to apply the more musical aspects of the activity.  Practicing this activity on instruments will allow students to get a more musical experience, and using different instruments will help in their risk-taking and also further their creativity.

Reflection:

The overall activity was completed successfully, everyone got their chance to improvise and did it successfully, and there were no awkward moments where someone got lost or got off of the beat.  I feel that there were a few moments of confusion in the instruction (0:09, 2:19) and that perhaps kept people from doing exactly what they wanted (1:00).  I would have liked to have done a more “my turn, your turn” approach when teaching the rhythm groups (0:08, 0:15, 0:26) in order to make the process flow easier and avoid confusion of what they were supposed to be doing when I was demonstrating.  Even though there was confusion in the beginning instruction I feel that they were still able to understand the big picture and know what they were supposed to do.  I should have guided them a little more in how the activity was supposed to flow, so there was no “figuring it out as they went along,” so they would be more confident right from the start.  It was a little too loud, the groove beat was covered up and some improvisations weren’t heard over the rhythms (3:00-3:02), and the improvisations were not all the same length like I had planned (2:02-2:05): some were proportionally longer than others.  Perhaps the different lengths were due to confusion over the placement of the groove rhythm, because the other groups were so much louder.  In the future I would like to try and use more “my turn, your turn” instructions to increase comprehension and participation, and be more clear and concise in my instructions.