For this project we designed a thirty minute experience that could be entered and exited by students at any point. It can be adapted for a wide variety of learners of any age. This particular experience design involved creating, improvising and performing various rhythms on a number of drums.
When we put our experience design into practice it was a lot different than we had planned for. We had a lot less participants than we planned for so it made the experience a lot more personal. In addition, we tried to get the students who were there to improvise their own rhythms but they were too shy and just wanted to follow along with the rhythms we were playing. Overall, I think we could've planned even more activities and songs for them to play. We attempted to add vocals to some of the rhythms we were playing but we weren't able to get students to sing along because they were really shy. Through our experience students and parents were able to explore various percussion instruments, play and match several rhythms, and even improvise their own rhythms. They were able to
This experience taught me to be extremely flexible and how to adjust to various learners of many ages. In the future I will plan even more carefully to be able to adjust more learners. I will wind the lesson forward and backwards so I can accommodate even more learners. Finally, I would include a song, or some other music, to add another activity students can engage with instead of just the drums.
My lesson plan was geared towards a Pre-K general music class. The teacher gave me a copy of the song that I learned and created a very short lesson for. The goal of this lesson was to teach the song to the students because they had never heard it before. In addition the would learn how to keep steady beat.
Overall, my portion of the lesson went well. The students really seemed to like the song. In addition, I think the pacing of the lesson went well. The students were able to hear the song several times before I asked them to sing along. In addiction, each time I asked them to focus on something so that they had to listen to the lyrics. When I asked them to start telling me other parts of the body they could keep the beat in, they kept the beat in the area of their head, so I could have led them to other parts of the body like their knees, or feet so they could have gotten up and moved around. By the end, most of the students were singing and moving along to the beat. I think the lesson went well, and I was able to complete most of my objectives.
This semester I had the opportunity to observe and teach a concert band and music theory class. This experience was eye opening to me because I got a look into what it is like to be a teacher. Over the course of my time in the high school I got to observe one single teacher and ask them questions about classroom management, planning, student teaching, and running a music program. The classroom I watched was an accurate depiction of what my first job might be like. The students in the band would talk consistently during class. Even when the teacher would call them out, they would continue to talk. I learned a lot about classroom management, what works and what doesn't, by observing this teach. In addition I have learned a lot about lesson plans and using warm ups and method books to teach certain concepts like dynamics, phrasing, scales, that I can apply to repertoire I select for my future ensembles. This also gave me the opportunity to observe class that wasn't band, orchestra, or choir. The class I observed had a few students who had never read music, and I got to see how the instructor engaged both those with no experience reading music and those with a lot of experience. They used recorders and finale to students learn how to read and notate music. This also allowed the teacher to design activities for students who were more advanced. During a few of my visits I was able to teach, whether that was a small sectional or the entire band. When I taught the whole band I realized how comfortable I was in front of a large group of people. I also realized I still have a lot to learn about engaging students in a lesson before I actually get my own class. Below is the lesson plan I wrote for this class. Reflecting on the time I spent working on Rough Riders march I realized that I became focused on notes and rhythms in the Trio that I didn't get to my original objectives. It made me think about how I can structure lesson plans in the future to incorporate both my own objectives, and other stuff I need to work on during class.
This semesters practicum has allowed a lot self reflection on my courses at JMU and on my own individual teaching. It has allowed me to apply what I learned in class to actual students. Lastly, I have been able to observe certain classroom management, planning, and teaching techniques of one instructor over the course of several months.
This week I observed a concert band rehearsal. In addition I got teach part of the lesson. The instructor started off with a warm up. The band played a D major scale and altered the rhythms to make it more challenging as they go further into the lesson. After they finished their warm-up, they pulled out a long tone exercise from a method book for band. The teacher had them work on tuning and playing as an ensemble. I think this was a good idea because we are often so focused on learning notes and rhythms in pieces that we don't focus on things as small as playing as an ensemble. After this they worked on one of their pieces Don Ricardo. The instructor wrote out one of the main melodies for everyone in the class. They counted the different rhythms out loud, and isolated specific measures for those who were having trouble. The entire class seemed to know all the rhythms and notes. They put all this work into context. One of my peers led this portion of the class, and had the ensemble play the section with the melody they just worked on. However, once they put it into context they forgot some of the rhythms and notes and weren't playing confidently. As my peer was teaching the instructor went around and was counting for students so they could keep up. I think this is something students will begin to rely on, and therefore not bother learning the rhythms themselves because the teacher will give it to them. After they put all their work into context, they moved on to working on the march. The instructor started off by working on the style and differences between certain articulations. This is when I got up to teach the class. We worked on the trio section of the march. This experience allowed me to see what it was like to teach a class that wasn't comprised of my peers. I got my first taste of classroom management, and had to figure out how to be patient and wait for all the students to stop talking. In addition they would continue to play after I stopped conducting which was different than I was used to. Overall, I think my teaching went well and I was able to apply a lot of the concepts I had learned in other classes. After I stepped down the instructor finished the class by working on dynamics and blend for the third piece on their spring concert. The class continued to talk through most of the period and it didn't get better no matter what the instructor said. Observing this class today, in addition to teaching, gave me a good idea of what being a high school band teacher is like, as well as some ideas about classroom management.
This week I got to observe a music theory class. This was interesting because the teacher began instruction on guitar. The instructor started by drawing the different strings on a white board, and explaining what note corresponded with each string. She then explained the different notes on each string and drew them on her diagram on the board. I think this was effective because she was able to engage both auditory and visual learners. After she finished explaining it the students took a quiz she made through Musictheory.net This allowed her to design the number of questions the students got and see a complete report of every question they missed. As the students worked on the quiz she has two of the students who play guitar teach their peers, and allow them to play. This engaged the students who already knew how to play guitar, and allowed the other students to play around on the guitar. If students finished the quiz early she had them review what they worked on last class with key signatures. This ensured that none of the students were sitting there at all during the class, or working on homework for other subjects. After all students had a turn playing guitar, and finished the quiz the teacher had all the students work on rhythmic and melodic dictation. Since some of the students in this class had never read music before, she had to keep it pretty simple. She gave them all the rhythms included in each excerpt. She sang or clapped through the entire thing and then broke it down measure by measure to make sure everyone was able to keep up. A lot of the students were able to dictate each of the melodic and rhythmic dictations. Overall, i liked the way this class was run because there were activities that reached students of all abilities and kept everyone engaged throughout.
This week I had the opportunity to observe a Music Theory class. This was very interesting because most of my observations had been band or general music classes. The first thing the teacher had the class do was play recorder. Since some of the class has never played an instrument, she uses the recorder to teach rhythms and note reading to those students. It also presented something new to learn for those who had already learned an instrument. The teacher allowed us to play along with the class, so we got to learn along with class. After they went through several songs, the teacher had them do a little bit of listening. For every piece, or song they listened to they had to write down the tempo they thought it was, the style, why they liked it, and why they think the audience would like it. I really liked this activity because the students were engaged, and the teacher made sure that they knew that this was their opinion and there was no right answer. The last activity they did involved a chord progression they completed last week. This activity involved putting their chord progression into finale. This helped them learn what chords can go to wear, how to write out major and minor chords, and how to put all of this into Finale. I really enjoyed this class. The students were very respectful. In addition, because of the size of the class, the teacher was able to answer all individual questions, and they were able to have a lot of fun while learning. The instructor did a good job of planning out her class, and sequencing her activities so they built upon each other.
This week I had the opportunity to observe a concert band class for the third time. The instructor gave me the chance to teach a sectional during the class. The teacher had the class play scales at the beginning in the sixteenth note triple rhythm so they could apply it to the piece they were working on. After their warm up I had 15 minutes to work with the flute section on the beginning of one their pieces. Since I didn't have a lot of warning I had to come up with what to do as I was teaching. It was challenging because I was trying to explain rhythms they had never seen before, and I had never seen the piece prior to this. The section had a hard time grasping different rhythms so while some of them got it, a lot of them were just trying to follow along. Another reason it didn't go well was because some of the students didn't want to play. They would just stand there, and not listen when I asked them to play. It was frustrating because we could have gotten so much more done if the students just paid attention and played. However, we were still able to go over all the rhythms and notes we were supposed to. After the sectional, the instructor had the whole band play the sections we went over. Since, we had just worked on it, they were able to help the rest of the band who were reading it for the first time. The teacher ended the class by finishing reading their pieces for the spring concert. Some things I noticed during class was how many of them were inattentive. Some were on their phones/computers, eating candy, or talking over the instructor. The instructor would try to get their attention by shushing them, and it never really worked. She also continued to talk over them, which it didn't help the talking either. Overall, I think the class went and the sectional I taught went well. However, some of the student's inattentiveness and talking during class inhibited the amount they were able to do get done during their time together.
This week I had the opportunity to observe a concert band for the second time. This is the first time in my practicum experience that I have been able to watch the same class more than once because I am able to see how the teacher adjusts to different situations. Since the band just performed at assessment they didn't have a lot to work on. There ended up being a guest who came in today to talk about music and playing after High School. They ended up going over some of the music they had just performed and he gave them feedback and going over some of the stylistic aspects of the pieces.
One thing I noticed throughout the class was how talkative the students were. Even with the guest talking there were groups that couldn't stop their conversations, and there were even ones who were sleeping. This made the instructor frustrated because no matter how many times she told them to stop talking, they continued their conversations. They played while she was talking, and they were on their phones constantly. To me, it made it seem that they didn't care and they didn't want to be there. If the students had put more effort in to pay attention and waited to have their conversations at the end then they would get much better. I also think the teacher needs to do more for her classroom management. Maybe setting expectations that students don't use their phone during class, or talk unless its pertinent to the music. I also think she needs to reinforce these expectations during class. Instead of just shushing the class, she should use other ways of communication to reinforce her expectations.
There were a lot of things the instructor did that I thought were effective. While students were playing, the teacher went around and listened to individuals and gave them feedback. This was good because she didn't call attention to individuals in front of the class. In addition, by putting herself in the ensemble instead of in front of it she shows herself as being approachable instead of the just someone giving all the instructions. Overall, I enjoyed this practicum because it gave me ideas for teaching and managing my own classroom.
Overall, I think our groups teaching went smoothly. However, there were several things we could have improved on. When we created our lesson plan I think we wrote it to be effective when there were more people in the class, so when we actually got to teaching we switched up the second part of our lesson plan and instead of breaking off into individual groups to learn melody, harmony, and rhythm, we just taught everyone all at once. I think we used good rehearsal techniques because the other group didn’t have a hard time learning the introduction and the main melody. They picked up each part of the song really quickly. We used the piano and a recording to help the students learn the song. I think playing the recording, singing it, then using the piano to figure out how to play on everyone’s instruments was a good way to sequence learning the song. It was effective because if someone was having trouble remembering the tune we could wind it back and play the recording. Something adaptive we used in our lesson was writing it out on the board so that the students who learn visually could have something to look at. Then because we have to continue our lesson next week we can just use this to review what we learned last week for those who are having trouble remembering what we talked about. We continued doing this throughout the lesson. The second part of the lesson involved learning the melody. I believed this part also went smoothly. The group didn’t have a hard time learning the tune, but they weren’t really feeling the music. We had them dance and move to the music without playing to get into the style of Funk. Then we added the instruments in again. I think this was affective because we addressed not only how to play the tune but also how to play in the style of the song. The next portion of the lesson was learning the harmony and rhythm. I think this portion was not prepared enough. I know we could have spent more time before the lesson preparing the harmony and rhythm we were going to teach. I think we could also have spent more time listening to the song to become more comfortable with it. If we were more solid ourselves then it would have been easier for the other group to understand. I think some things we could have done more of when planning was how to involve Jon more throughout the lesson. Since he already had all of the stems sequenced on his Gameboy he mostly sat there while everyone else learned their parts. While we did have him play the Gameboy along with other people, there was nothing to do before that. I think something else we could have done was create an activity for the group to do after we learned the aspects of the song. For example, we could have allowed the group to improv in between the introduction and first verse. Or we could have started with the rhythm and harmony after learning the introduction and had them improv before we learned the main melody. Overall, I think our lesson ran smoothly, however, there was more we could have done to prepare and involve more of the group.
Feedback for the other group:
I really liked the other group’s lesson plan. I enjoyed how they explored the different aspects of a song and had student’s explain each one to the other instead of them just talking to us. I also liked how they introduced us to different parts of the song by playing some various tunes and having us pick out different aspects of the song. I believe this led into the rest of their lesson well. However, I do think they could have applied what they taught more and had us play some of what they were teaching us instead of just explaining it.