Author Archives: Andrea Henderson Music Education Blog

Teaching at Internship

Lesson Plan

Materials:

●  Sheet​ ​music

●  Pencil

●  Instruments

●  Baton

●  A​ ​Joyous​ ​Christmas

Objectives/Assessments:

  • Students​ ​will​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​work​ ​through​ ​mm.​ ​5-15​ ​of​ ​‘A​ ​Joyous​ ​Christmas’​ ​by​ ​finding sections​ ​where​ ​they​ ​are​ ​having​ ​difficulty​ ​and​ ​bring​ ​out​ ​the​ ​melody
    • NOV.PE.P.4.b:​ ​Use​ ​repertoire​ ​to​ ​demonstrate​ ​a​ ​developing​ ​understanding​ ​of various​ ​musical​ ​structure​ ​and​ ​context​ ​in​ ​repertoire​ ​performed.
    • INT.PE.P.5.a:​ ​Develop​ ​strategies​ ​to​ ​address​ ​technical​ ​challenges​ ​in​ ​a​ ​varied repertoire​ ​of​ ​music.
  • Students​ ​will​ ​demonstrate​ ​proper​ ​playing​ ​technique​ ​by​ ​playing​ ​and​ ​blending​ ​with​ ​an ensemble​ ​led​ ​by​ ​conductor
    • NOV.PE.PFS-AI.4-6.e/INT.PE.PFS-AI.4-6.e:​ ​Respond​ ​to​ ​basic​ ​conducting​ ​cues (e.g.​ ​tempo,​ ​dynamics)
    • NOV.PE.PFS-AI.4-6.d:​ ​Perform​ ​independent​ ​parts​ ​while​ ​others​ ​play​ ​contrasting parts

Personal​ ​Objective:
I​ ​will​ ​give​ ​clear​ ​instructions​ ​and​ ​gestures​ ​for​ ​students​ ​to​ ​stay​ ​on​ ​task​ ​and​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to follow

Warm Up/Introduction:

Mentor teacher will run at the beginning of class

Procedure:

  1. Start at the end, to get used to the class and as a beginning to the piece
  2. Work on any sections that come up as a problem or requested by IMT

Closure:

Remember to practice…

Remind them of anything that they need to work on

Reflection:

At my internship I only got a few chances to work with these students, as a full class, and this was the lesson I got to teach on my last day.  I think that this was a very good experience for me, because I was able to work on this entire piece with them and had the experience of memorizing an entire score.  I did not have a full lesson plan developed with a detailed procedure because my mentor teacher just asked me to run the piece down with them and fix anything that I thought we could accomplish.  He would run the class through their normal warm ups (some lip slurs and scales) because their bell schedule on these days was very short.  They also did not run through this piece every day leading up to this teaching because they were working on memorizing some music for a parade they had coming up.  I just tried to work with what I had, and took a lot of comments from him based on my last couple of times working with the students and just went through the few minutes that I had with them.  I started at the end because I thought they would benefit from getting a chance to think about it and so when we ran through the entire piece they would be able to improve on it and end the class on a good note.  It was very beneficial to be able to run through a short rehearsal, especially before I went to South Valley Junior High for my Final Teaching of the semester.

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Final Teaching at SVJH

 

Andrea Henderson

MUE 481

Final Lesson Plan: Voodoo Dance (7th grade brass only)

Materials Needed

  • Sheet Music, Score
  • Instrument
  • Pencil
  • White Board/Markers
  • Baton

Concepts:

  • Rhythm patterns:
    • 4/4 |Q-EE-Q-Q|EE-Q-Q-Q|
    • 4/4 |Q-EE-Q-Q|EE-Q-EE-Q|
    • 4/4 |EE-EE-Q-Q|Q-EE-EE-Q|
  • Follow the conductor

Objective/Assessment/State Standards:

  • The students will be able to play mm. 34-43 in Voodoo Dance and put it into context.  They will be able to identify where else in the piece they have similar parts and be able to start at m. 34 and take the Coda.
    • PE.PFS-AI.4-6.b: Utilize musical symbols (e.g. fermata, repeat signs, double bar lines, note names)
    • PE.PFS-AI.4-6.c: Perform fluently with key signature and accidental encountered in the repertoire
  • The students will be able to verbalize and play the following patterns in 4/4 as a class:  4/4 |Q-EE-Q-Q|EE-Q-Q-Q|, 4/4 |Q-EE-Q-Q|EE-Q-EE-Q|, 4/4 |EE-EE-Q-Q|Q-EE-EE-Q|
    • PE.PFS-AI.4-6.a: Maintain a steady beat, with auditory assistance, while playing individually and with others the following note and rest values: whole, half, quarter, eighth, in simple meters
  • The students will be able to follow the conductor and keep a steady tempo
    • PE.PFS-AI.4-6.e: Respond to basic conducting cues (tempo)

Personal objective: I will give clear instructions and conducting patterns to keep students focused and engaged

Introduction:
1. Good morning everyone my name is Andrea Henderson and I am a clarinet player and a student at ASU, learning how to be a music teacher, so thank you for helping me out today.  We are still working on Voodoo Dance, and we are going to start with some vocal echoing, so put your instruments down and repeat after me [aural]

*Whenever I ask a question from now on we are going to answer by giving me a thumbs up or down as yes or no, this will be how we answer, okay (thumbs up or down)?*

  1. Verbalize on ‘da’ while patting quarter notes varying patterns and adding accents:

4/4 |Q-Q-Q-Q|               4/4 |Q-EE-Q-Q|             4/4 |EE-Q-Q-Q| 4/4 |Q-Q-QR-QR|

This one’s going to be twice as long: 4/4 |Q-EE-Q-Q|EE-Q-Q-Q|

  1. Do you recognize what rhythm this is? Show me by giving me a number on your chest (rhythms written on board prior to class)
  2. Let’s verbalize this while looking at it [rhythm]
    -Guide on board, then conduct

Procedure

  1. Now let’s try these rhythms:

4/4 |Q-EE-Q-Q|EE-Q-EE-Q|                   4/4 |EE-EE-Q-Q|Q-EE-EE-Q|
2. Let’s look at our music starting at mm. 34-43. How many of you have these rhythms or at least part of one?

-Everyone should

  1. I am going to play the Trumpet 2 part at m. 38, and we’re going to have everyone finger along with your parts [tonal]
  2. Now let’s try playing this together.  Find your starting pitches, does anyone need help? (everyone should have a concert Bb or Eb) [combining]
    -Conduct the rest of the lesson with baton

-Play through under tempo fixing anything along the way, until comfortable

  1. Now let’s go back to m. 34 and practice this whole section together, remembering to put in those accents and not rushing those rests

-Briefly discuss accents if necessary or have time
6. EXTRA TIME: Now let’s practice transition into the Coda
-D.S., or Dal Segno, means “from the sign.” It directs the player to return to a spot earlier in the score that’s marked by the symbol. If the marking says D.S. al Coda, then the player is supposed to play from the to a “To Coda” marking, then jump to a coda section at the end of the music.
-Practice until the end of the lesson, running all the way through both sections, until playing at tempo
Closure:

  • That was a good read-through of the section
  • I really appreciate your participation in the activities that we did
  • Let’s remember to try and keep a steady pulse every time we play that because it is the main beat of the piece, and keep an eye out for the D. S. al Coda

Self Assessment:

After watching my video, I think that the junior high class was successful in achieving my objectives: they (mostly) played their parts correctly from measures 34-43 and the Coda, they were able to stay together and with the conductor once it was established, and they were able to verbalize the rhythms on the board and put them into the context of the piece.  What I meant by putting the measures into context was to be able to play similar parts from measures 34-43 throughout the piece, and they were able to do so in the Coda.  They did a good job with following my conducting cues, and whenever they played together they kept the pulse steady.  I say that they played their parts mostly correct because there were a few wrong notes throughout the ensemble, but my main focus was getting them to stay together.  When thinking of a plan, I wanted to find something that might be a problem, and when I came across this unison section with some rests I thought it would be appropriate.  One of the students said at the end that they were happy that I wanted to focus on staying together because it was a problem sometimes for them.  In terms of my personal objective I think that I have made a lot of progress towards it because the students were with me almost the entire time and there was only one time where the students were confused by something that I said.  Overall I think that I talked less than I have in the past, at least in terms of “telling isn’t teaching”, which is one of my biggest issues.

The students said that they liked that I was confident, and my talking style, that they got to play a lot, and tat the aural exercises were short, and that the entire lesson seemed very organized.  I think that the strongest point of my lesson was being able to go back and repeat a lot of things that allowed the students to get used to what we were doing, like in my “feels like sounds like” part that opened the lesson (1:09-2:03).  I was able to get the students to fall into the beat together and stay with each other and eventually with the conductor to emphasize my objective of staying in tempo.  I think that one of the best things from my lesson was my conducting, because I think that I was giving a clear pattern that they followed, and I was working on giving them breath cues so that they could come in together.  I think that this is one of my biggest growths over the semester, that came from the practice in class and at my internship.  I think that having my lesson organized and almost timed out right for the class was what made is successful, and even the students noticed that it went smoothly so that we could get a lot of playing in.

I think that teaching this lesson felt comfortable for me because I was able to work out a lot of things that would and wouldn’t work, and also I was able to think more about what students would want and how they would respond to how I would explain everything.  It was very different teaching my peers than actual students because I am comfortable with my peers and they can already anticipate the direction that I am going in, and they were sight reading a piece that the junior high was actually working on.  It was easier to plan for a piece knowing that the students were going to know their parts, and when teaching it, it went a lot faster because they weren’t having to go back and look at the notes (on a secondary instrument) and they could just play, and I was actually able to accomplish things.  It was helpful to practice the sequencing of my lesson and they were able to respond honestly to my conducting and instructions, and the feedback that they gave was very helpful.  I ended up changing the section that I wanted to work on because the class that I taught was only brass, and I wanted to be able to get more playing in because I noticed in my internship that with pieces like this tempo maintenance is hard when there isn’t a lot of opportunity for rest and breaths.  I did feel more comfortable teaching the junior high students because I think that the teacher in me was able to come out more, it felt a lot more natural than teaching my peers.  I found myself using more simple and honest directions and feedback and adapting to my environment more.  I think that the students felt this as well because they seemed very comfortable as the lesson went on.

This is one of the main things that I have been working on throughout the semester and in my internship.  The biggest thing that I was able to really put into practice was the “telling isn’t teaching” idea that I hear a lot.  When teaching in class, my peers all kind of know what they are doing, and are already anticipating what is coming next, so I feel that I can talk however is comfortable for me, but when I get in front of actual students I quickly adjust how I talk to fit the environment.  I have improved a lot with having more personality, in terms of smiling more and being more confident in what I am doing, and being able to make a lot of eye contact.  My lessons have become more efficient, from my Do It! lesson where I only got one run-through of the music to this final teaching where I was able to get over half of the lesson where the students were making music.  My directions have become louder, and clearer, and a bit shorter, though this is something that still needs to be worked on.  I realize that there are still moments where I ask questions at the end of my sentences/directions that do not require any sort of answer, but I think that I have made a lot of progress with this and having the students give me the “thumbs up/down” thing really helped keep me in check this lesson.  I think that my conducting has gotten a lot better as well, with my pattern being clearer and being able to use the baton, and really working on a section of music.  I think that there is still a lot that I need to work on, but I am happy with the growth that I have had this semester.  The main thing I want to work on for next semester in terms of teaching is not asking so many questions, it is just a habit of mine that I need to get out of.  In terms of conducting, I want to continue to work on my patterns and cues, and be able to listen critically to the ensemble rather than just trying to get through the lesson.

Teaching a Line

Do It! Sight reading Lesson Plan:

Andrea Henderson

Materials:

  • “DO IT” books pg. 9, #1, Au Claire de la Lune (minor tonality)
  • Instruments
  • White board
  • White board markers

Objectives/Assessments:

  • Aural objective: The students will be able to sing the song using “du” as a class
  • Rhythmic objective: The students will read the rhythms on the board and will be able to find the rhythms within their music.
  • Tonal objective: The students will sing the note names as they finger/air bow along.
  • Combining tonal and rhythmic objective: The students will airplay while fingering the pitches.
  • Sight Reading: Students will be able to play through the piece as a class.

Personal Objective:

  • I will focus on giving clear enough instructions to keep students focused and engaged in activities.

Introduction:

  1. “Good morning everyone”
  2. “Keep your instruments in resting position and get ready to sing”

Procedures:

Aural objective:

  1. “Echo me, sing what I play”
  2. I play on instrument first note of Au Claire de la Lune (minor), students sing/match pitch
  3. I repeat note, articulating, students sing on “du”
  4. I play note 3 times, then move up whole step, students echo
  5. I play first 3 notes (do-re-me) in a row ascending, students echo
  6. I play 1-3 (do-me), students echo
  7. I play first 3 notes (me-re-do) descending, students echo
  8. I play do-me-re-do, students echo

Rhythmic Objective:

  1. “Open Do It! Books to page 9 and look at number 1, Au Claire de la Lune”
  2. (Have this written out before class starts) Point to the first rhythm set (first two measures) and the second rhythm set (third and fourth measure) on the board.
  3. Students will count the first rhythm using the number system (1-2-3-4) or du-de’s (ask for preference) as a class as I point to the rhythm on the board (then instruct accenting the articulations on long notes).
  4. Students will see if they can locate the first rhythm in their book.
  5. Students will count the second rhythm as a class as I point to the board (then instruct accenting the articulations on long notes).
  6. Students will see if they can locate the second rhythm in their book.

Tonal Objective:

  1. I give starting pitch, students match.
  2. Students will sing note names while fingering the notes.

Combining Tonal and Rhythmic Objective:

  1. I play the first line of the tune and students airplay while fingering the pitches

Sight Reading Objective:

  1. Everyone plays the beginning pitch to check correct fingering and partial.
  2. The students will sight read notation, playing the correct rhythm and pitches.

Closure

I really like how you…

One thing to keep in mind or work on…

Reflection:

Timeline

_____0:31______ Ear-training experience (without notation, focusing on melodic or rhythmic).

_____1:43______ Rhythm experience (reading notation)

______3:36_____ Tonal experience (reading notation)

_____3:56______ Practice with melodic and rhythmic components together (reading notation)

_____4:45______ Sight reading on instruments (reading notation)

______5:16_____ Appropriate closure

How successful was the plan in helping the class meet the objectives the teacher planned?

The plan was very successful, it was sequenced in a way that kept the students engaged and also gave them the tools to play the song correctly, or as correctly as they could, because this was a sight reading lesson.

Refinement (one thing to improve for next time):

Work on being more engaging and confident, using more active words and not things like “cool” as an assessment or reinforcement.  Try to be more familiar with the plan so there are no moments where things aren’t happening, and keep eye contact with the students.

Feels Like Sounds Like Looks Like

Reflection

Watch the video of your teaching. Rate yourself on each element. Circle both Y and N if you were successful some, but not all, of the time.

Aural/Oral – Feels like (Movement)

(Y)   N         I modeled basic patterns that the class could easily follow.

(Y)   N         I changed patterns with the musical phrases.

(Y)   N         I chose appropriate music (no text, clear pulse, clear phrases, few harmonic implications).

(Y)   N         I used facial gestures to forecast a change in patterns and encourage the class.

Verbal Association – Sounds like (Movement and syllables)

      (Y)   N         I had the class echo me singing each pattern.

(Y)   N         I sang on an appropriate pitch.

(Y)   N         I used syllables that help students accurately read the rhythms.

Symbolic Association – Looks like (Flash cards)

(Y)   N         I sang each pattern with syllables (no flash card), and then the class sang the rhythm while I flashed the card and pointed on the beats, repeating each card twice.

(Y)   N         I flashed each pattern in rhythm, then put it down while the class sang it.

(Y)   N         I flashed each pattern in rhythm without stopping (lightning round).

(Y)   N         My flashcards could be seen by the entire class.

General Presentation Skills

(Y)   N         I showed good energy in my face, voice, and movements.

(Y)   N         My voice could be heard and it was commanding.

(Y)   N         My voice and movements provided a good musical model.

(Y)   N         I made eye contact with each class member.

(Y)   N         I monitored the class and repeated patterns they had trouble with.

(Y)   N         I recovered and kept going even if I made a mistake!

(Y)   N         I had an appropriate closure to my lesson.

Best aspects of the lesson:

I tried to pay attention to each student, and was mostly successful in seeing when they were doing well or struggling. I was also able to quickly transition between sections of the teaching, which I feel was one reason why the whole class was successful and engaged the whole time. I was a lot louder and more confident than last time, because I chose to sing an octave up, even if it was not completely comfortable for me. I was also able to come up with good closing comments from my observations.

Aspects to improve:

I need to think more ahead about my setup so that I am not having to make adjustments during the teaching, I had to move the stand because I realized some people could not see my hands. I would like to be more efficient in showing the cards during the echo portion, by either moving back or moving the card around. I
also need to work on my singing voice, becoming comfortable in a range that I am not used to, because it carries better. I would also like to find something that I can have the students “work on” for next time, or just something to think about to improve in some way.

Reflection on Aural Skills Development

Your initial ideas: What are your ideas on this topic? What do you already think about it? What have you learned from your own experience as a student? What have you learned from other sources, such as teachers, parents, friends, or research? Explain your reasoning.

I was never encouraged to learn how to play by ear; all of my instruction when I first began was all by reading off of a page, so at first I was mostly against playing by ear and developing aural skills as an instrumentalist.  I did not enjoy music theory at first because I had to rely on my ears and I had to sing, but I started to have more respect for the practice once I started to apply what I was learning to how I played and learned pieces.  I was always afraid of doing things by ear because I couldn’t be completely correct right from the start, but once I started developing the skills I needed I began to be more comfortable with it and now I do a lot of practice with playing by ear and trying to listen more.  Looking back, I definitely wish that I could have started aural instruction at the beginning because I now feel like I was missing something that could have helped me a lot.

I did not like the idea of teaching by ear when we were first introduced to it, because I have seen some musicians that won’t really learn how to read a staff or their note names because they can just get by through looking at those around them and just matching their pitch.  I have a lot of respect for those that can develop those skills so quickly, because it is still something that I struggle with, but I think that these skills should be learned at roughly the same time.  I would personally not like to just have students learn how rhythms and notes “feel” because once it comes time to reading a piece, they need to be able to know how things look.  I think that the skills can complement each other, and it is important to be comfortable with both because they help with being a good musician.  From taking this class and paying attention to students in my internship, I have learned that it is okay to start with learning by ear, because once the ear is trained, it is much easier to look at a page of music and already know what it sounds like.

The voice of authority: This will help you clarify what so-called “experts” have to say on this topic. You do not have to agree with their viewpoints, but you need to be sure that you understand them clearly. What do you know from classes or from research about this topic? In the last section, “Your voice,” you are encouraged to disagree with any of these “authorities;” in this section, try to simply report what they say.

From the time we have spent on this in class, I know that there are a lot of arguments for developing aural skills.  The time that we spent with the “Feels Like, Sounds Like, Looks Like” unit taught us that there are different ways of teaching aural skills, and that it is important to start off with getting students involved in their learning.  Having the ability to audiate is extremely helpful when sight reading, and being able to sing helps with listening and being more musical.  Being able to sing something and being confident in knowing what it sounds like helps with performance and having more control over musical decisions.  Feeling a piece of music helps with being able to connect more with the instrument, like playing a familiar piece and not having to focus on what the rhythms are and being able to audiate the pitches helps with being able to focus on the mechanics of the instrument.  It also helps when knowing if what you are doing is right or wrong, because you can feel it more, and you can listen to other sections and instruments to know how everything is supposed to fit.

Some of the readings we have had in class stress that being familiar with what music sounds like should precede what music looks like because the experience of music will help with understanding and being able to master and use musical concepts more.  When teaching aural skills, it is important to have a structure, and basing that structure off of a theory of learning and teaching styles, like the Gordon sequence, which starts with aural learning, following a series of steps that lead to being able to play and understand what is written on a page.

Learning to play an instrument is like learning a language: you start but listening, then imitating, then gradually go on to being able to read it.  Using this way of thinking, it is more beneficial to learn how to play the instrument and focus on that and gradually introduce reading rather than trying to learn how to play and read at the same time, because you have a strong foundation to build on and do not have to learn multiple things at the same time.  This approach also allows for more musical freedom because students will have the chance to express themselves and MBA aware of what they are playing rather than restricting themselves to trying to reproduce what is on a page.

Your initial observations: What do you notice in your field experience classroom that gives you hints about your mentor teacher’s ideas on this topic? Make your best guess about your mentor teacher’s ideas before you discuss the topic with him or her. Do you notice anything surprising or anything you didn’t expect?

My mentor teacher does not seem to put a lot of emphasis on aural skills, other than asking students to listen to each other for tuning. He seems to focus more in the mechanics of learning the instruments before anything, and uses written songs to help the students learn. His classes are so large and there are so many of them that he has to focus more on getting everyone to play, and I think that is why he structures his class this way. From what I’ve seen, he tries his best to incorporate aural skills, but there aren’t many opportunities to work on it. He also has somewhat of a discipline problem with some of his courses, not through any fault of his own. I think that his emphasis on literacy and learning the mechanics of the instruments is his way of dealing with this issue, and it seems to be effective. I wasn’t expecting him to work on aural skills starting out, because it is not something that I ever worked on.  I always thought that it is important to focus on instrument mechanics when first starting out rather than trying to teach aural skills and the mechanics at the same time, because that has been my experience with learning instruments.

Students’ voice: What does the behavior of students in the class suggest to you about this topic? How do the teacher’s words or behavior seem to affect the students? Or, if you are teaching, how do your words or behavior seem to affect the students? If you have time, ask one or two students their opinions on the topic, and record their responses. Does anything you observe fit with your own experience as a student, or are there differences? Is anything surprising to you?

I think that the students would like more emphasis on aural skills, especially the more advanced ones that catch on to actually playing the instrument fairly quickly. A lot of them struggle with reading the notes on the page and the music he has with the fingerings written out, and seem to get confused when they are having to focus on both playing the instrument and reading the notes. When I teach, I instruct them to think about the song that they are playing, and to sing it in their head before they play and while they are playing in order to make sure they are playing the right thing, and it seems to help most of the students. When I first started to say that, it looked like they had not ever heard that, and a lot of them began to improve. When I teach individuals, and I sing while they play and have them listen to what they are playing, they do a lot better, and whenever I ask them if they like it or if it helps, almost all of them say it does. As a beginner student, I did not have any sort of emphasis on aural training, and even now I don’t feel comfortable playing by ear because all of the skills that I have now are still being developed. The way that my mentor teacher runs his classroom is very similar to the way that my first band class was, so it seems very familiar to me and I don’t think that is it necessarily a wrong way to teach.

Mentor teacher’s voice: Ask your mentor teacher about his or her point of view on this topic. You do not have to agree with this viewpoint, you just have to respect his or her opinion. Is anything surprising to you? In your observations, do your mentor teacher’s practices seem to match his or her ideas? Why or why not? In the next section, “Your voice,” you are encouraged to disagree with your mentor teacher’s ideas; here, try to simply report his or her perspective.

My mentor teacher has a good opinion of aural skills, and sees the benefits of teaching them to beginner bands, but because of his class sizes and requirements, he doesn’t have a lot of opportunity to emphasize them. He tries to emphasize the mechanics of the instruments so that no one gets left behind on that, and wants to give the students a strong foundation.  Once he gets the students where he wants them in terms of technical ability, then he is comfortable moving on to echoing, starting with just rhythms then eventually multiple notes, but this takes a while.  With his second and third year band students he is more comfortable with exploring aural skills, like having the jazz band vocalizing rhythms mostly and incorporating different articulations.  Very few of his students feel comfortable singing anything while vocalizing rhythms, but with encouragement from teachers and peers they being experimenting with their singing voices and trying to have fun with what they are singing.  He tries to do a lot of “air playing” where he has them listen to him play a piece (either himself or a recording) and watches them finger along with rhythms so that they can hear what it is supposed to sound like before they play.

He does not have a lot of opportunity to work on aural skills with his very beginner students, and doesn’t introduce how rhythms feel before he puts them with notation.  Any echoing and instruction comes when they are looking at what they are playing.  He teaches them how to visualize, count, and play what is on the page right away, and does not explore feeling things until students have been playing for a while.  He used to focus more on “musical moments before teaching at his current school, and enjoyed it, but at this school he is more limited in what they can do and wants to focus more on getting down the mechanics of the instrument.  He tries to gradually incorporate listening and feeling (toe tapping) when he can to teach his students about internal and external beats.  My mentor teacher sees the value in teaching aural skills, but his teaching style does not reflect that because he is still trying to figure out a way to incorporate that and not fall behind his requirements for each class.

Your voice: Summarize what you think you know at this point about the topic, based on your observations and the different voices. When you are the teacher in the classroom, what will you do, and why will you do it that way? (It’s ok to choose to do something different than your mentor teachers or the course instructors, if you can explain your reasoning.)

I think that aural skills are very important to learn because of the benefits that they offer for musicians, especially beginners.  Teaching students how to listen, I think, prepares them more for when they are reading.  Since I have been working on training my ears, I have found that my sight reading skills are much improved, because now I can hear what something is supposed to sound like before I play it.  I also feel more comfortable with playing “musically” because I practice singing what I am trying to play, because it is really hard to sing something boring, and that transfers to playing.  From my internship, I can see that these things have helped my students, and because of all of these reasons, I have changed my opinion of teaching aural skills and playing by ear.  Before I got to ASU I did not give any thought to the value of learning these skills because they were never taught to me, and I was always resistant to singing because I am an instrumentalist, and I did not think that I had any reason to learn.  I was always afraid of trying to learn how to play by ear because I am a perfectionist and I do not like making any mistakes, especially when it comes to playing, so I always relied on what was concrete: the music in front of me.  I now play simple songs by ear and memory at least once a week and I have seen a lot of improvement in the way that I perform.

I am surprised that my mentor teacher doesn’t try to incorporate his ideas more into the classroom because I think that some of the things that he has talked with me about could actually help his students learn more quickly, and I think they would enjoy it more.  I think that once I am a teacher I would like to try incorporating aural skills right away, alongside literacy.  I think that it is important to work on these skills at the same time because I think that if just one is worked on, that students will begin to fall on one skill and rely on it to get them through the other.  I think that these skills should complement each other, so I think that I would use them mostly when sight reading like we have been in class.  I felt comfortable with organizing a lesson plan that started with aural skills, and when I applied some of that to students in my internship, they really caught on and felt more accomplished when they were able to successfully play something they might have been struggling with.  There are a lot of students that ask if we can sing through a piece before they play it because they like the way that they can get an idea of what it is supposed to sound like, and because it helps them with anything they might have been struggling with.