Category Archives: Community Leader

20160427_185724

Flexible Musician

How do you deal with different levels of musicians within an ensemble?

Every ensemble is going to have a gap in the experience and abilities of the members, and as a director it is your job to be able to deal with that.  Green said that “Having clear focus and discipline is essential” (Green, 2003, p. 68), and this is applicable to both the students and the director because they have to work together to make the progress that they need.  Students often are not able to bridge the gaps between them on their own, so it is best to be able to address these issues in a large ensemble setting and give them the tools to be able to work on the gaps.  Ways to do this are to get different types and levels of repertoire, enough to challenge the students with lower abilities but also at a good level for the students with higher abilities.  Having a balance with the repertoire is important because it shows the students that you care about them building their skills, and also shows that you are helping them get the most out of their musical experience. Ayers said that “The root word of “evaluation” is “value,” and authentic assessment includes understanding what students value and building from there” (Ayers & Alexander-Tanner, 2010, p. 81), and I think that this ties in with different levels of musicians because you are helping them build a balance between their music and their skills.

Innovative Practitioner

How do you incorporate theory into ensemble classes and also show students the benefit of it?

In order to successfully incorporate theory into an ensemble setting, the students must be taught the very basics from the beginning.  This can be done in the first few minutes of class every day, for repetition, and should be applied to repertoire as much as possible.  Once the students begin to recognize and understand the basics in the context of the repertoire then you can move onto things that are slightly more complicated.  In a study, “Eleven participants described progressing methodically from simple to complex in classroom instruction” (Paney & Buoniviri, 2013, p. 407) when teaching melodic dictation to their AP Music Theory classes, and this approach can be applied to any teaching of music theory.  This approach would work well with the basics, especially when put into certain contexts, because it worked well when teaching students to listen to and dictate both rhythms and notes, and even at a complex level, when they had little to no experience.  Approaching theory like this, or any music in general, and putting it into a context is when students will begin to comprehend, and see the importance in what they are learning.  Being able to understand the mechanics behind music will make them better musicians, because they will be doing more than just playing the notes on their page, they will be actively engaged and finding exactly how they and their part fit into and function as part of the whole ensemble.

Inquisitive Thinker

How do I know that I am teaching well? That I am comfortable with the way that I teach?

I think that at some point every teacher will begin to question whether they are doing things the right way, and they need to be able to think objectively about what they are doing in order to evaluate themselves.  It is important to look at both the teacher and the students.  One thing that might get in the way is a teacher’s unwillingness to change simply because they themselves are comfortable the way things are, even if the students are not.  Teachers need to be able to think critically about themselves, and this can be done by first observing others teach.  In a study, undergraduate students began teaching and “soon found themselves not only observing other teachers but critically analyzing the teaching methods and outcomes they observed in order to assess what strategies were effective and what teacher actions they may later integrate into their teaching” (Haston & Russell, 2011, p. 386).  This is something that every teacher should do, because by observing others objectively and then turning around and doing the same thing to yourself you can begin to see what direction you want to go from there.  Another way to evaluate your own teaching style is to simply look at the students and see how they react to your teaching style, see how much progress they have achieved since you started teaching them.  This can be done after observing other teachers and their students, and compare the way their students react versus your own.

Community Leader

How do you keep students motivated when music gets more difficult and they might feel discouraged?

Barry Green (2003) said that “Music is one of the most powerful sources of truth that we have: it has the power to change lives” (p. 271) and this is something that teachers and students need to remind themselves of when things get hard.  When students are struggling with something, it is important that both the student and the teacher take the time to address the problem and approach it carefully.  There are people that shut down when they don’t understand something or begin to have problems, and teachers have to be able to deal with them.  Sometimes it is as simple as slowing things down in ensemble rehearsal, not singling anyone out, but working things out as a group in the hopes that the student will catch on or those around them will help.  Sometimes students require more focused or individual attention, like working with a particular section or pulling them to the side and focusing solely on them until they start making progress.  When I have problems, I simply remind myself that “All musicians have bad days” (Green, 2003, p. 275) and that because music is so important I should work hard to keep it a part of me, and this is something to remind students of.

References

Ayers, W., & Alexander-Tanner, R. (2010). To teach: The journey, in comics. New York: Teachers College Press.

Green, B. (2003). The mastery of music: Ten pathways to true artistry. New York: Broadway Books.

Haston, W., & Russell, J. A. (2011). Turning Into Teachers: Influences of Authentic Context

Learning Experiences on Occupational Identity Development of Preservice Music Teachers. Journal of Research in Music Education, 59(4), 369-392. doi:10.1177/0022429411414716

Paney, A. S., & Buonviri, N. O. (2013). Teaching Melodic Dictation in Advanced Placement Music

Theory. Journal of Research in Music Education, 61(4), 396-414. doi:10.1177/0022429413508411

Final Paper and Poster

20160427_185724Final Paper (Intro)

Flexible Musician

How do you deal with different levels of musicians within an ensemble?

Every ensemble is going to have a gap in the experience and abilities of the members, and as a director it is your job to be able to deal with that.  Green said that “Having clear focus and discipline is essential” (Green, 2003, p. 68), and this is applicable to both the students and the director because they have to work together to make the progress that they need.  Students often are not able to bridge the gaps between them on their own, so it is best to be able to address these issues in a large ensemble setting and give them the tools to be able to work on the gaps.  Ways to do this are to get different types and levels of repertoire, enough to challenge the students with lower abilities but also at a good level for the students with higher abilities.  Having a balance with the repertoire is important because it shows the students that you care about them building their skills, and also shows that you are helping them get the most out of their musical experience. Ayers said that “The root word of “evaluation” is “value,” and authentic assessment includes understanding what students value and building from there” (Ayers & Alexander-Tanner, 2010, p. 81), and I think that this ties in with different levels of musicians because you are helping them build a balance between their music and their skills.

Innovative Practitioner

How do you incorporate theory into ensemble classes and also show students the benefit of it?

In order to successfully incorporate theory into an ensemble setting, the students must be taught the very basics from the beginning.  This can be done in the first few minutes of class every day, for repetition, and should be applied to repertoire as much as possible.  Once the students begin to recognize and understand the basics in the context of the repertoire then you can move onto things that are slightly more complicated.  In a study, “Eleven participants described progressing methodically from simple to complex in classroom instruction” (Paney & Buoniviri, 2013, p. 407) when teaching melodic dictation to their AP Music Theory classes, and this approach can be applied to any teaching of music theory.  This approach would work well with the basics, especially when put into certain contexts, because it worked well when teaching students to listen to and dictate both rhythms and notes, and even at a complex level, when they had little to no experience.  Approaching theory like this, or any music in general, and putting it into a context is when students will begin to comprehend, and see the importance in what they are learning.  Being able to understand the mechanics behind music will make them better musicians, because they will be doing more than just playing the notes on their page, they will be actively engaged and finding exactly how they and their part fit into and function as part of the whole ensemble.

Inquisitive Thinker

How do I know that I am teaching well? That I am comfortable with the way that I teach?

I think that at some point every teacher will begin to question whether they are doing things the right way, and they need to be able to think objectively about what they are doing in order to evaluate themselves.  It is important to look at both the teacher and the students.  One thing that might get in the way is a teacher’s unwillingness to change simply because they themselves are comfortable the way things are, even if the students are not.  Teachers need to be able to think critically about themselves, and this can be done by first observing others teach.  In a study, undergraduate students began teaching and “soon found themselves not only observing other teachers but critically analyzing the teaching methods and outcomes they observed in order to assess what strategies were effective and what teacher actions they may later integrate into their teaching” (Haston & Russell, 2011, p. 386).  This is something that every teacher should do, because by observing others objectively and then turning around and doing the same thing to yourself you can begin to see what direction you want to go from there.  Another way to evaluate your own teaching style is to simply look at the students and see how they react to your teaching style, see how much progress they have achieved since you started teaching them.  This can be done after observing other teachers and their students, and compare the way their students react versus your own.

Community Leader

How do you keep students motivated when music gets more difficult and they might feel discouraged?

Barry Green (2003) said that “Music is one of the most powerful sources of truth that we have: it has the power to change lives” (p. 271) and this is something that teachers and students need to remind themselves of when things get hard.  When students are struggling with something, it is important that both the student and the teacher take the time to address the problem and approach it carefully.  There are people that shut down when they don’t understand something or begin to have problems, and teachers have to be able to deal with them.  Sometimes it is as simple as slowing things down in ensemble rehearsal, not singling anyone out, but working things out as a group in the hopes that the student will catch on or those around them will help.  Sometimes students require more focused or individual attention, like working with a particular section or pulling them to the side and focusing solely on them until they start making progress.  When I have problems, I simply remind myself that “All musicians have bad days” (Green, 2003, p. 275) and that because music is so important I should work hard to keep it a part of me, and this is something to remind students of.

References

Ayers, W., & Alexander-Tanner, R. (2010). To teach: The journey, in comics. New York: Teachers College Press.

Green, B. (2003). The mastery of music: Ten pathways to true artistry. New York: Broadway Books.

Haston, W., & Russell, J. A. (2011). Turning Into Teachers: Influences of Authentic Context

Learning Experiences on Occupational Identity Development of Preservice Music Teachers. Journal of Research in Music Education, 59(4), 369-392. doi:10.1177/0022429411414716

Paney, A. S., & Buonviri, N. O. (2013). Teaching Melodic Dictation in Advanced Placement Music

Theory. Journal of Research in Music Education, 61(4), 396-414. doi:10.1177/0022429413508411

Professional Development Seminar

Christina Soper’s seminar “Crawl, Walk, Run: Prioritizing Your Beginning Instrumental Curriculum” at AMEA was all about curricular pacing: having to slow down and give them the tools that they need in order to build a good foundation as performers.  Beginning band directors have to make sure that by the time their students graduate from their program and move to higher levels of music classes that their students are able to do what they need to, and that they do it well.  Building good foundations is what helps musicians in the long-run.  Instilling good playing habits and literacy increases their success as musicians, and it all starts at the beginning.  Beginning band directors have the responsibility of recruitment, their success in this affects junior high and high school band programs, and they have the responsibility of giving the students all of the tools for success.  These tools include finding the right instrument (what the student is most suited to play), establishing procedures (both in the classroom and taking proper care of their instruments), teaching rhythms and music, and how to read them and how to articulate.  Most people don’t recognize the important job that beginning band directors have, their programs affect a student’s entire musical experience, and the programs of other schools for which their school is a feeder.  Going to this seminar really improved my views on and respect for beginning band directors, because Ms. Soper highlighted all of their responsibilities and showed their importance.

Thinking As A Professional

1.) Yelling:

What do you do when a classroom teacher is a yeller and that is the only way the kids listen? I hate raising my voice but these kids are out of control. I have a quiet sign and a quiet bell. My lesson is age appropriate and interactive. Kids are just so so loud.

-A lot of the responses revolved around changing the way that the classroom is run, having different signals and methods of getting the attention of the students, or having a consequence system for those that don’t listen and follow directions.

-In this situation I would sit down with the students (whole class) and have a talk about classroom expectations, the difference between the way that their regular teacher and music teacher run their classroom.  I might explain that I don’t want to have to yell, and that if I do I would implement some kind of consequence system for the students that refuse to listen.

 

2.) Kindergarten Class:

I have one K class that for the life of me I can’t get to sing as a group. When we do solo stuff and improvised patterns/songs, almost all of them are singing at least part of the time with a singing voice. But, whole group singing just doesn’t happen with this particular class (it’s only one class). Pleasant kids and happy to be there, but they just look back at me and don’t sing. Anyone experience this? Ideas?

-Most of the responses were suggestions for different ways to do the singing activity, breaking up the groups or doing more echo and call-and-response songs to increase participation and give more help to the students that need it.  There were also suggestions of separating the students according to different levels and/or turning the activity into a competition of sorts with the teacher.

-I would break the class up into groups, according to skill level and get them to help each other to encourage more participation.  If they still don’t participate then I would try and change the activity to something that they would enjoy more or make some slight changes about things that they may not like about it.

 

3.) Disruptions:

Does any one have extreme anxiety over one class they see? This is my first year teaching and I have one group of fifth graders that I am struggling with. I’ve done bucket drums, boom whackers, and recorders this year so far. I have about 5 students that continue to disrupt the class and I feel like I don’t have much support. Any lesson ideas that I could do to help with this?

-A lot of the responses had to do with consequences, like calling students out in class or calling home, some had suggestions for different types activities that the students might enjoy more, and there was one that suggested that the teacher take a different approach with the class.

-In this situation I would start with talking to the class, not specifically calling anyone out, just say that some of them are causing problems and that it needs to stop or there will be consequences.  In the case that this approach fails, I would then call them out or talk to them separately and find out why they are causing problems and see if there was a way that we could work together to solve this issue.

 

4.) Discipline:

OK…here we are at the end of the year and I have a question for you. This year I have encountered several students who are just plain discipline problems and disrespectful to my face. Have any of you ever asked a student to not be in band the following year due to their behavior problems? I feel like I may be sacrificing the success of my band if I keep these type of students in my band just for the sake of numbers…just wondering what you guys think….

-There were different types of responses to this question, one was to look into the cause of the behavior, ask the student and/or call home to see why they act that way and maybe find a way to deal with it, and another was to kick the students out of the class.

-Personally I would talk to the students first about their behavior and explain that it is affecting everyone, not just them, and see if there was anything that we could work out for them to start behaving themselves.  If that didn’t work then I would contact home and see if there was anything on that end that would get them to be better in class.

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.