Original Post 9/12/16
While reading the book Remixing the Classroom the author, Randall Everett Allsup, used several examples to explain what music education is like today. I think the most important take away from this is that music education can dampen students' ability to be creative if we let it. These examples talk about how specific teachers/masters/instructors get. It described how the masters are the one's who create "laws" that all students have to follow. For example, with Jiro Ono you had to completely master one ability to Ono's exact specifications before they can move onto anything else. In this situation he is the master making the laws, and there is no room for any creativity by the student. This is the same as with Kafka. He spent all this time asking to be let into to heaven because he believed someone else had the power to decide when he was allowed to be let past the gates. This is exactly like music education because we spend our time trying to achieve the ultimate praise from our teachers, which seems to never happen. We are continually told, no matter how much we practice, that it isn't good enough, and we start to believe we are not good enough. This can make our students feel trapped and unable to meet the high expectations of their teachers. However, the last story about Dapper Dan is what happens when you don't follow the norms. He created clothing that was new, and unconventional, but worked for the time he created it in. This shows that if we allow students to have some creativity in and out of the classroom, they'll create amazing new forms of music, compositions, and ways of looking at music. We just have to let go of the "laws" and give our students more breathing room. In addition, we have to be willing to adjust to the changing times. Methods and strategies that worked 20 years ago might not fit the norms of classrooms today.
Three years later and i've gained a lot of experience and knowledge on ways I can engage students and find ways for them to be creative. In our classes we have discussed how to not teach for assessment and to teach to the student and their needs/interests. By engaging the students and providing them opportunities to create their own music and engage with others we can help them find ways to be creative. Instead of focusing on the end result, whether that be a concert or assessment, we focus on the journey and our students so they can get something meaningful out of participating in our class. Something i've learned a lot about since I wrote this post two years ago is that if we just take the time to think about our student's and their needs in addition to the next concert we can make classes more meaningful to them. The main thing i've learned since this reading is how to foster experiences where the students just aren't playing an instrument, or singing and dancing, but actually participating in the music making experience. Often times just sitting in your class and playing music can feel mind numbing, so by finding ways to involve students will help them feel more involved and invested in our classes.
Carl Orff was a successful composer and conductor. Born in Munich, he was a conductor of many opera houses. In addition he is know for some of his most famous works, "Carmina Burana," "Der Mond," and "Die Kluge." Orff's work can be characterized by strong rhythms from rich material and it's interplay with the melody. Orff's schoolwork was first developed at the Guntherschule in Munich, a school for young adult women. With Dorethee Gunther, Orff was able to realize how incorporate his ideas of improvised music with actual percussion instruments and recorders.
Through Orff's compositions students are able to explore rhythm and melody using singing, instruments, speech, and movement. Through this approach students are able to learn and improvise their own melodies. Orff's strategies allow students to access and use their creativity to create new musical ideas. By using Orff's approach we are able to translate knowledge into other aspects of student's learning. For example, this approach can help develop student's social, intellectual, and emotional growth.
American Orff-Schulwerk Association (2018). Carl Orff & Gunild Keetman. Retrieved from https://aosa.org/about/orff-keetman/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
American Orff-Schulwerk Association (2018). More on Orff Schulwerk. Retrieved from https://aosa.org/about/more-on-orff-schulwerk/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Hammel, A. M., Hickox, R. A., & Hourigan, R. A. (2016). Winding it back: A framework for inclusive music education. In A. M. Hammel, R. A. Hickox, & R. M. Hourigan (Eds.), Winding It back: Teaching to individual differences in music classroom and ensemble settings. New York: Oxford University.
This chapter in "Winding it Back" describes what winding is and why it is important in music education settings. When we talk about Winding we mean adjusting our expectations and requirements to meet each student's needs. winding can either be forward or backward depending on the student and the situation. Winding is backward would might mean that a student is having trouble meeting the same goals as the rest of the class, so you as the teacher can adjust the goals so the student is still reaching the goals and they don't feel like they have been left behind. You can also wind things forward. If a student starts to get bored because they reached the goal earlier than everyone, you can create new and harder objectives/goals for the student so they can continue to be engaged just like their peers.
The goal with winding is to keep every single engaged all the time. Often, as teachers we try to think of students as by their grade level. We focus on those specific objectives and while that works for most kids, it doesn't work for all of them. By including winding in your classroom, you can give yourself the opportunity to include all of your students. In addition, by including winding in your classroom, you can create an individualized plan for each student that helps you track their progress. Lastly, this approach takes away the approach takes away the needs for labels because each student has an individualized model. Including winding in you classroom can help make sure that every student is always be engaged and challenged in class.
McIntosh, P. (1988). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. Race, class, and gender in the United States, 6, 188-192.
DeCuir, J. T., & Dixson, A. D. (2004). "So when it comes out, they aren't that surprised that it is there": Using critical race theory as a tool of analysis of race and racism in education. Educational Researcher, 33(5), 26-31.
After reading the McIntosh article about white privilege, I started thinking about how this relates to music education. I realized the music that i've been exposed to in my own education has been very limited to Western classical. I was never really able to explore other areas of music. As a teacher I want to be able to allow students to explore other forms of music. In addition, I want to create an environment where all students feel like they're on the same level. When they walk into my classroom, no one gets special privileges or treatment. I think that the way Music education now we can see exactly what is said in the McIntosh article. You can compare several different programs, whether that is general music or a band classroom. You'll see that schools have more money, more supplies, and the arts are given more attention. Because of this these students get more out of their music education. This article opened my mind up to several problems that we don't talk about enough when it comes to education.
The second article uses examples to example what CRT (Critical Race theory) is. One of the biggest aspects of this is addressing racism in schools. Often times we just ignore racism that is there. When the issue is brought up, we aren't surprised because we know it happens all around us. Another portion of this theory is counter story telling. This involves allowing students to look into other people's shoes. If we put ourselves in other people's shoes, and imagine what they might be experience, we can truly start to understand other view points. Overall, this article allowed several different prospectives and examples of how prevalent racism still is in all school systems. As a teacher, I believe it is my job to try to address issues of racism in my classroom, lead discussions about it and allow students to think about ways we can make all students feel included.
Organization of American Kodály Educators (2018). The Kodály concept. Retrieved from https://www.oake.org/about-us/the-kodaly-concept/
mrfrederickmusic (2012, August, 3). Interview with Zoltan Kodály [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dow-m3BuuNk
J.I M (2015, July 7). Kodály summer school [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrTshUY1oko.
From the interview I watched between Kodály and the conductor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, I learned a lot about Kodaly's background and his approach to teaching. One of the things I learned was that his approach was based on Hungarian Folk songs because that is where he is from. He believed that if this was used in foreign countries that they should develop their own array of songs based on their own country and its traditions. This approach mainly focuses on singing, but Kodály also intended this to focus on some sort of improvisation because he believed that kids are able to take songs they've learned growing up and melodies they have heard and create their own music based on that. He knew that introducing singing would be easier for students because they had heard music and folk songs from their family growing up. The goal of this approach is to develop a well rounded student. Students begin with certain musical skills that continue to grow and build off of one another. This approach allowed teachers to reach a wider range of students because teachers use music that more students can relate to, besides just classical music. Something interested Kodály stated in his interview was that the folk songs of certain countries could easily translated into classical music. This means that his method could foster music making in other aspects like playing instruments. Something else I learned from this reading is that the Kodály approach uses a lot of selfege to develop students musical and listening skills. They are able to hear melodies, harmonies, and dictate them all. After watching the videos and reading the article I learned a lot about Kodály, why and how he created this approach, and how it can foster life long music making for all students.
Allsup, R. E., & Baxter, M. (2006). Talking about music: Better questions? Better discussions! Music Educators Journal, 91(2), 29-33.
In this chapter by Allssup and Baxter, the authors the use of several different questions and their role in engaging students in discussions during class.
Open questions are the most vague questions. These are the most general and can generate the most vague answers from students. Usually teachers will ask these questions before going more in depth. Some examples of this can include:
- What did you like about the song and moves?
- What is this song about?
guided questions are more targeted. They are usually given to elicit a specific response from students. They can also be geared towards what teachers want students to learn. Some examples of this can include:
-How did the moves we did change with the music?
- How do the lyrics correspond to the music?
Closed questions are ones that only produce one single answer. Some examples of this can include:
- how many counts were most of the phrases?
- Can you give the beat of this song?
analytical questions have to do with the elements of music. Some examples of this can include:
- How do the coordinated moves change with the lyrics of the music?
judicial questions help students react to the music. These questions ask more about how students feel rather than specific questions about phrasing. Some examples of this can include:
-What did you like most about this song? What do you feel when you listen to this song?
Creative questions use all the other types of questions and what students learn from that discussion, and allow them the opportunity to put it in context.Some examples of this can include:
- What moves could we use in the chorus of this song to display the lyrics?
Using questions in the class can be helpful to guide students to the answer instead of just teaching concepts and lessons directly. It can also get students to learn how to think critically on their own about participate in discussions and go deeper than just whether or not they liked the music. However, one problem with questions can be more difficult than just giving instruction. It can take up more time, and some students can take longer to grasp concepts than others. While using questions in class can take more time, it is a valuable tool to use to get students to start thinking critically.
Frego, R, J. D. (n.d.). The approach of Emily Jacques-Dalcroze [blog post]. On the Alliance for Active Music Making. Retrieved from: https://www.allianceamm.org/resources/dalcroze/
Through the readings and videos on Dalcroze and Eurhythmics I have learned a lot about the philosophy behind it and how to apply it in the classroom. From the essay I learned that Eurhythmics is bringing together mind, body and emotions and placing them all at the forefront of learning. There are several ways to use this in a classroom. You can have incorporate movement into solfege exercises so students can combine movement and singing. This particular way of learning alters students from just thinking about music to thinking and actively participating in it using all parts of their brains and body. This way we can get students to start thinking about the intellectual aspects of music instead of just singing and learning solfege.
In this blog there are several components of Dalcroze's method that are mentioned. The first is rhythmic solfege. "Students develop sensitivity to pitches, their relation to each other, and to the tonal framework (Frego, n.d.). The second component is improvisation. This can mean creating movement when given a melody, or improvising some sort of melody through singing. This can then translate to student's instruments. The last component is Eurhythmics. This means having good rhythm, symmetry, and proportion. These three components all work together, and therefore must all be taught together because they reinforce each other.
Through these readings I've learned about what Dalcroze's approach is, the three components of this approach, as well as several ways I can use it in a classroom. This will be really helpful when I have to create lesson plans for general music classes.
Abril, C. R. & Kelly-McHale, J. (2016). Thinking about and responding to culture in general music. In C. R. Abril & B. M. Gault (Eds.), Teaching General Music: Approaches, Issues, and Viewpoints (pp. 241-263). New York: Oxford University Press.
In Abril and Gault's book visible culture is "the aspects of culture that we most readily notice when traveling to an unfamiliar country" (243). This can be clothing, food, hair, etc. Invisible culture "includes values, attitudes, beliefs, and thought patterns" (243). In my personal life the visible culture is what I let everyone see. For example, my favorite foods, clothes I wear often, and basic knowledge about what movies and music I like. My invisible culture is everything beneath the surface. It's my struggles and everything I have been through that not everyone can see. Lastly, I think within my own cultural there's many things we don't notice about other people. There are some things that we don't notice about other people within our own culture, like their beliefs, or what they might be going through in their own personal life.
In this chapter the authors describe what culture guiding pedagogy means. This means that no student's culture is inaccessible to a teacher. This can mean "Reinventing curriculum, aligning with students experiences and knowledge" (10). By acknowledging and taking the time to learn and understand the student's cultures you can be more informed as a teacher. In addition you can gear your instruction and lesson towards the students in your classes. Something else this chapter describes is how curriculum follows culture. "Instead of asking what song or what culture to teach, we might ask, what does the culture need and what educational goals will help to meet those needs?" (15). This approach focuses on the culture and backgrounds of students. One way you can do this is to have students create their own musical projects because then they are able to share their own culture with the rest of the class. The third thing we learned about in this chapter is called Multicultural learning space. The "teacher provides the information or knowledge to students in an efficient and effective sequence for the majority of students" (17). With this concept students are able to voice their opinions, ideas and concerns to the teacher. If the teacher plans a lesson with music that makes students uncomfortable then they are able to voice that opinion to the teacher.
This chapter also mentions cultural competency. Cultural competency is important for several reasons. I think it's important to learn and understand other cultures so that we can be more informed when we teach and interact with different students. We can incorporate the different cultures of our students into our lessons so everyone is able to become invested in what we're learning. I think it is also important to be informed of everything you're teaching so you know why you're doing something instead of just picking something you think is culturally relevant, but not why it is relevant.
After reading this chapter, I believe there are several ways we can respond to culture in our own class. One way is to have a discussion about it. I think if we are aware of differences in culture, and have an open mind, we become more aware of different cultures and where we all come from. I think we can also consider and discuss how to incorporate other cultures into our classes when we teach. That way when we teach we can incorporate students and their backgrounds/cultures when we have our own classes.
I will share reflective essays, and philosophical documents on this page.