Dr. McCall's Visit
Original Post 9/25/18
Last week we were able to meet Dr. Joyce McCall, from Indiana University,who came and gave us several lectures over the course of a few days. She came to our music education class and we talked about a case study of two different students growing up and their opportunities. Listening to her talk, made me reflect on my own experiences. I learned that my experience was unique. I had support from band directors, my private teachers, and my family. Although my family didn't have a lot, they always found a way to get me what I needed to succeed in music, and they attended every performance, no matter how small. I learned that my experience was different from some of my peers who didn't have the same classes, or performance opportunities than I did. This is similar to Tonya and Dahlia's because they both ended up successful in music, yet they had different experiences since childhood, because of their family situations and where they came from.
On Friday I had the opportunity to observe an orchestra class, and it was an eye opening experience for me. For example, the school was not big in size, but a good percentage of the students who attended the school, were in one of the orchestras/bands. The teacher was not given very much money from the school. However, that being said, the classroom still thrived. The teacher had the student's attention, she was able to work individually with students, while keeping the rest of the class engaged. I observed the 7th grade class, who had only been playing for a year, and they were already memorizing music, and playing scales two octaves. This shows that no matter what the circumstances are, students will still be able to thrive if they have the right instructor. This relates to Dr. McCall because her case studies describe two different people who had teachers that were crucial to their success. I believe there are many factors that determine whether or not you are successful, and Dr. McCall's presentations last week helped demonstrate how people are able to succeed no matter where they come from.
Throughout my time at James Madison University, I've seen various programs and size classes that have broadened my understanding of many different sized classes and challenges/advantages that accompany them. I believe that as teachers a number of factors can affect a student's experience. I have been able to observe classes where the teacher wasn't given very many resources, but was still able to create an environment where her students were able to engage in music making with each other. I've also seen classrooms where the school is well funded and students were able to collaborate and record songs together. In both experiences, the students learned a lot from the teacher and looked like they were having fun engaging in music.
As instructors it is our responsibility to give our student's the best experience so they can learn a lot, feel comfortable and included in our classroom. I believe that what I learned from Dr. McCall's visit is still incredibly relevant because it is my job as an educator to give my students the best experience and environment to thrive in no matter the circumstances I may be given.
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