Abril, C. R., & Gault, B. M. (2016). Untangling general music education: Concepts, aims, and practice. In C. R. Abril & B. M. Gault (Eds.), Teaching General Music: Approaches, Issues, and Viewpoints (pp. 5-22). New York: Oxford University Press.
1. After reading the chapter there are several things I believe to problematic about general music. For example, a lot of people don't see the value of general music courses. "There is 'little consensus among school administrators and music educators about the value of general music courses for all students." (Abril and Gault, 8). A lot of the times people think of general music as singing and dancing and learning recorder. They don't see the value that taking general music courses has on students both in music and other aspects of their life. Also, I don't think people necessarily understand what general music is. I think we clump everything that isn't a traditional band, choral or orchestra ensemble into general music. Because of this, we don't know what is taught in general music courses, or necessarily a concrete definition of what general music is.
I think General music is challenging and awesome for many reasons. One thing I like about general music is how challenging it can be. As teachers we have to teach so many different aspects of music while keeping it engaging and challenging for all students. This can be difficult because you're teaching so many levels of learners in Elementary school. I also like that general music isn't just sitting in an ensemble and playing an instrument or singing. You can compose, dance, sing, and perform all in one class. It takes so many aspects of music and puts them together in one class.
2. I think there are several problems with using the words "approach" "Method" and "Eclecticism." First, using these words doesn't consider why we are doing this for students. Sometimes teachers will use a method because it worked for another class or group students in the past. I think we often use write experiences/lessons using methods that worked in the past, or approaches worked years ago but might not be relevant to students and classes now. By using a set method, there isn't much room for altering it during the lesson. As teachers we should be able to adapt while we are teaching based on what we see from students during the lesson, and sometimes using a set method/approach doesn't allow for much room to alter anything. As a music teacher I think it's important to consider "what was" and "what is" to help pave the way for the future students and classes. We should consider what worked in the past for students, and compare it to how students learn today to help determine what we can do in the future so students can be successful. To be an efficient and effective general music teacher I think you need to willing to adapt to constantly changing times and your constantly changing students. I also think you need to consider that when you write lessons and experiences it's ok to alter the plan to fit the students in front of you. As teacher we can use methods that worked in the past while altering them so they can cater to students in our class today. I think this can make us more effective and efficient teachers.
3. Why is general music so important in Elementary School? (Other than creating a basis knowledge of music)
How do we bridge the gap between catering to students who are presently in our class, while still using traditional methods (Orff, Kodaly) that worked in the past but might not be as relevant today?
Over the course of my undergraduate career my classes, jobs, and other experiences have influenced the way I think, plan, and teach music to various groups of people. I have learned how to play brass, woodwind, string and percussion instruments, as well as the proper singing technique. Through these classes I have learned how to instruct beginners to play these instruments. In addition I have learned how to teach vocal warm ups and songs by ear. Throughout all these instrumental and vocal technique classes I have learned how to teach small groups of instruments Folk songs, song I arranged, or band literature. These experiences have helped me feel more comfortable teaching instruments I’m not comfortable playing, as well as giving more concise feedback so students retain more.
In my music education courses we have had a lot of discussions about sequencing lessons and curriculum. When I write lesson plans now I think about how I can sequence my objectives and curriculum so everything builds off each other. I also think about how my objectives can connect to one another so students retain more. In groups we have created and designed curriculums for several different mediums such as: Ukulele, recording technology, and high school instrumental courses (http://alexisannejohnson.weebly.com/leadership). This has taught me how to create broad objectives for students and then design lessons for those objectives.
I have also learned how to wind our lessons forward and backwards for students who are moving ahead or having trouble keeping up. This has helped me make sure that when I write lesson plans they accessible to all types of students at all different levels. In all of my music education classes I have written various lesson plans for a number of different ensembles. In addition I have learned how to adapt my lesson plans for those who play non-traditional instruments like Ukulele. This has made it so I can make music accessible to more students. My courses have also explored using different technology platforms to create music. I have designed lessons using the Makey Makey, Groove Pizza, and several apps that make music accessible to students who may not want to play an instrument. I have observed classes where the students were collaborating to write songs and this gave me insight into how to teach a class without using band, orchestra, or string instruments.
In my earlier music education courses we have explored various developmental theories.. This has helped me understand how students develop at different stages and life, and therefore how I can teach in a way that is most effective for them.
Lastly, I have learned more about the administrative side of being a teacher. I have written trip handbook that include classroom expectations and grading policies. I have also written a trip proposal that includes itineraries, transportation, housing options, and a budget. My marching band procedures class has taught me how to write these proposers as well as how band booster programs are run. In addition we have learned about teaching marching percussion and color guard, and writing drill. This class has taught me about the other side of being a teacher besides just writing lesson plans and teaching repertoire.
Through all of my courses I have learned how to make music accessible to all types of students with all types of abilities. I have learned how to teach various different instruments and voice to students. I am grateful for all the opportunities I have had and will have in the future because they have made me a better educator.
Here is a paper I wrote in my beginning instrumental methods class on Dyslexia in Music Education, and how we can make music more accessible to other learners.
After reading different perspectives on learning and sequencing I have a better idea of several different techniques to use in my classroom in the future. I believe that by taking some of the ideas presented in each of the articles I can help my students succeed. I like the idea of sequencing that Duke introduces in his article. His idea for sequencing involves finding a goal for your student, and then coming up with a sequence of tasks for the student to reach it. I like this idea because then the student can feel successful by completing a series small tasks in order to reach a bigger goal. This also allows the student to go back each day and complete small tasks over until they have completely mastered all of them. I also like the idea of Rhizomes introduced by Brent Wilson. Put simply, he describes this as a bunch of different connections between subjects you may be learning. The important concept about Rhizomes is that if one connection is lost, it doesn't affect any of the other connections. This is similar to the concept introduced by Duke, whoever in Brent's case the connections are less sequenced so they can occur more naturally. I believe these are both strategies you can use in a classroom based on how structured you want to make a student's learning. I think Brent's rhizome allows the student more freedom to choose, and discover learning and concepts on their own. Another concept that was introduced, and that we've been focusing on a lot in class is known as Informal learning. This involves the student studying what they are interested in, and guiding their own learning. This strategy requires less involvement from the teacher. The student more or less gets to determine what they study based on their own interests. I think this could be something affective I use in my classroom, so my students can study and learn music they are interested in. Overall, I think as an instructor I can combine some of these ideas, and incorporate them into my own classroom. This way I can give my students a more comprehensive experience, and allow them to study more topics that they're interested in.
These chapters addressed Pedagogical aspects of teaching students with special needs, as well as social aspects to consider. These chapters were extremely thorough. Chapter 4 gave specific examples on accommodating students with IEP and 504s. I especially liked how involved the music teacher is to the student's learning. They suggest observing the student in his/her other classrooms so you get an idea of how to alter your lesson plans so they are more inclusive. They also mention how close you should be with the student's teachers, paraprofessionals, etc. so that you make sure each student gets the attention/help they need to be most successful in the classroom. I had the opportunity to observe a self-contained music classroom, and the teacher used a lot of the strategies that Hammel and Hourigan mention in this book. It was very interesting to see some of these strategies put into practice. For example, the 4th chapter explains the PECS (Picture Exchange Communication system), that uses pictures as a way of communication. The teacher I observed used pictures of different motions, instruments, songs, and asked students what they wanted to sing, and what dance motion they wanted to do during the song using these pictures she had created. This was very effective because several of the students weren't able to speak. I think it is important to provide several ways to communicate in addition to just talking, so everyone feels included in the classroom.
The other aspect of these chapters that was very interesting was when they brought up how isolated Students with Special Needs can feel. I believe that it is very important for the teacher to help everyone feel included. There were some good examples given that will help feel everyone feel included, such as seating students next to someone different each class, so they get to know different people. One important thing this chapter addressed is how Students with Special Needs can feel isolated because other students don't feel comfortable enough to interact with them, so they don't really have the opportunity to make friends. I think it is important for teachers to set the examples and make everyone feel included, so that students see how important it is for everyone to feel welcome, and to provide ways for all students to interact with each other. These chapters were extremely helpful and provided a lot of information for teachers who have students with special needs in their classrooms. They went into a lot of detail about IEPS, 504, including all students in the learning process, and ensuring everyone feels welcome. This a great tool for teachers who have Students with Special Needs in their classrooms.
These chapters offered both perspectives on informal learning, the positives and negatives. For instance, this is good because it gets students thinking and talking about music in an environment where they feel more comfortable to share their thoughts. They were more open to singing in front of the class, and trying new instruments. However, when students were introduced to new instruments in the study, they had had no previously knowledge and therefore it took a lot longer for them to learn how to match pitches. I think it would be helpful if they had some base knowledge of percussion instruments, guitars, etc. before they were given this task.
I think one thing that really resonated with me in this reading was that progress doesn't show as a little improvement each time you play. Sometime progress involves trial and error. Students should be given the opportunity to figure out what does, and doesn't, work (especially in this type of project) without teacher interference. In the case of the study described most students were able to figure out what instrumentation and rhythms didn't work with their song, on their own. The same could go for band or other musical classes. Instead of just spoon feeding rhythms and notes, we can let students figure some of it on their own.
These chapters also mentioned using technology, to create music, and I think this could be effective in a classroom. We live in an age where technology is extremely prevalent and it would be unwise not to use it in the classroom. This would provide a way to create music other than just classical. Instead of just putting a piece of music in front of students, you can allow them to create their own piece using notation software or garageband. I understand that it would be difficult to incorporate this when in most instrumental classrooms you are preparing for some kind of assessment, or concert, but finding time for students to do a project where they create their own work could be very beneficial to students.
However, I do believe there are some drawbacks to informal learning. For one, students won't learn the technical terms associated with music. They'll be able to play but not know what they are playing exactly. This explains why student's may be unresponsive when asked specific music questions by a teacher. There have to be classes and lessons where the teacher instructs, otherwise students wouldn't have the information and definitions they need to discuss what they are doing.
I think informal learning is something that would be helpful to introduce in classrooms because it allows students to make music, mistakes, and learn in an environment where they feel comfortable. This reading emphasized how well the students worked with their peers, technology, and minimal teacher interruption. While i don't think this should completely replace the traditional classroom, I believe this is a good base point to use if we're going to implement informal learning in our classroom.
After finishing the reading I find myself going back and reflecting on my own educational experience. I found that, especially in Elementary school, my teachers used some form of informal teaching. I realize that some of the more informal lessons i've had were the experiences i remember the most. Instead of just spoon feeding me all the information I need, they allowed me to come to my own conclusions and figure it out myself. To me, this is more helpful for the type of learner that I am. While I know this doesn't work for everyone, I think teachers should find some way to incorporate informal learning in their classrooms, alongside the curriculum.
While I know it would be difficult to incorporate this in a band classroom, I think it would be affective to let students work and figure music out on their own instead of always giving us the answers. This would be different from just practicing on their own because they would work with groups and figure out the music, (rhythms, styles, etc.) within their groups. To clarify, this wouldn't completely replace a traditional music classroom, this would just offer students new and different ways to learn. I really enjoyed this reading because it allowed me to reflect on my own teaching experience, and think of ways I can incorporate this into my classroom.
Listed below is a paper I wrote after my Sophomore Year at JMU. Included is my philosophy of Education. While, a lot of what I say in the paper is true, a lot of my views have expanded over the last few years because of all my experiences, class readings, and reflections. I believe that all students have a right to a fair and equal education. As teachers it is our duty to provide that for every single one of our students no matter their background, race, learning ability, and attitude.
Hammel and Hourigan Reading
3. What are the six principles of IDEA and how does each apply in the music classroom?The first principle of IDEA is known as Zero Reject. This states that a student can’t be excluded from a classroom because he/she has a disability. Even in the case of a music classroom, students with disabilities can’t be excluded from a music class. The second principle is called Non-discriminatory Evaluation. This process involves several professionals who evaluate and observe a student. They uses this assessment to determine the appropriate provisions, accommodation, educational settings, and services for that student. As a music teacher you should discuss any concerns you have the general teacher for a student with disabilities. The third provision is Free and Appropriate Education. This is the part of the process where they determine the education placement for the student. They create an IEP (Individualized Education Program). As a music teacher it is our job to study all the students with special needs who will be in our classrooms. The fourth provision is called the LRE (Least Restrictive Environment). This states that students with disabilities will be included the maximum amount possible in a classroom with students who aren’t disabled. This can include music classrooms. Teachers can create lesson plans are inclusive for students with disabilities. The last two provisions are Due Process and Parental Involvement. If a parent doesn’t agree with where their child was placed they can request a change of placement, services, or teacher.
4.Describe “least restrictive environment” and state how this may be achieved in the music classroom (at least three examples).Least Restrictive Environment means that students with disabilities will be educated with students without disabilities to the greatest extent that is appropriate. In a music classroom this can be creating a lesson plan that makes it easier for a student to engage with the rest of the class. For example, in a general music class that might be using a simpler song to sing, so that a student with a disability is able to sings, and even creating some kind of movement that every student can do. In a band setting it could be writing a part along with the piece, so the student with a disability can play along, or giving them an easier part you know they’ll be able to play. Another example might be pairing them with a student without a disability who helps guide them through the lesson. This might make them feel more included if it was a student helping them rather than a teacher.
5. How would you respond to a teacher who wants to keep a student from attending your class to take part in remediation to meet AYP under NCLB? What data demonstrating the effectiveness and applicability of your instruction would you be able to cite?If another teacher wanted to keep a student from attending my class I would tell them how important music can be in both academic and other areas of a students education. I would explain how it is more important that a student have a well-rounded education, then to just learn specific subjects they need for a test. It would use data from this book, as well as other research to demonstrate the importance of music to education.
6.What are some ways you, as the music teacher, could participate as part of the RTI system at your school? As teacher I could monitor students in my classroom for early intervention. I can observe behavior in students that might hint at some sort of learning disability. By learning earlier, I can modify curriculum for students on what the research-based screenings show. I could also work with other teachers, or instructors, to provide the best instruction for all students.
7. What are the advantages or disadvantages of fieldwork in a special needs setting?By completing fieldwork in a special needs setting instructors are able to see different approaches to teaching that are more inclusive. By observing a classroom with special needs future teachers are able to work with paraprofessionals to learn more about techniques they can use in a musical classroom. Professionals can help music educators by explaining some language or content to implement the classroom to make it easier for students with disabilities to understand. However, depending on the type of classroom you are placed in you might not get a full picture of classes with various students with disabilities.
8. Discuss the steps mentioned in this chapter and how you plan to implement each step in your future fieldwork.I think it would be beneficial in my fieldwork if I could observe students with disabilities in a classroom setting. I would then meet with their paraprofessionals and teachers to learn more about each individual, especially if they’re going to be in my classroom. This chapter mentions different settings that educators can observe, so they can become more prepared for working with students with special disabilities. There are both inclusive and self-contained classrooms, as well as opportunities to observe music therapists. I will use the student’s IEP and other information I have to plan instruction that ensures they get the most out of each lesson.
9. Discuss your experiences (if you have had them) in each type of special education environment. I have had the opportunity to observe both an inclusive and self-contained classroom setting. What I liked about the inclusive classroom is that the teacher provided opportunities for the student with disabilities to participate just like everyone else. The instructor also paired her up with someone in the class, so they helped her through all the activities the class was going through. I also had the chance to observe 2 self-inclusive general music classes. I was surprised because they each only lasted 15 minutes. However, the lesson plan was pretty much the same every week so the students were able to get into a routine. They had a song that started every class, so the students would know they were in music class. The teacher went up to each student and interacted with him or her, so they would get that personal connection. The teacher used visuals as alternatives to speaking, and the students seemed to respond to that better. The instructor would also communicate with paraprofessionals so she would know how to treat each of the students on a day-to-day basis.
10. Pose 3 questions informed by your reading that you could ask Dr. Hammel and/or the class to encourage discussion
Hammel, A. M., & Hourigan, R. M. (2011). Chapter 3: Preparing to teach fieldwork and engagement opportunities in special education for pre-service and in-service music educators. In Teaching music to students with special needs: A label-free approach (pp. 45-57). New York: Oxford University Press.
Bowlby's Attachment Theory
This theory describes the types of attachments that we form at birth, and how the effect our development. He states that babies need attachment for survival. When they are first born they need someone to feed, bathe, an clothe them. Aspects such as crying, or smiling, show parents what their child need. This helps them survive by being able to communicate what they want. He believes that the most important attachment is to ones mother. He states that if students aren't able to make these attachments they can become aggressive, depressed, and even unable to express affection.
Vygotsky's Social Development Theory
Lee Vygotsky believes that most people get their cognitive skills from social environments. By watching how adults act and their habits children discover what is right and wrong. They also learn these skills from interaction in the environment. He states that students learn social skills before cognitive skills, so it's important that a child develops so they don't have trouble later in life with their cognitive skills. Part of Vygotsky's theory is the zone of proximal development. This means that students can determine when they need help, and when they are able to work something out on their own.
David Kolb's learning theory
Kola's theory can be described in 2 parts, the Experimental Learning Cycle and the four learning styles. The Experimental Learning cycle is the process where knowledge comes from reflection and analysis of experience. There are four stages; Concrete experience, Reflective observation, Abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation. He believe that students learn through repetition of these four stages. The second part of the theory is the four learning styles; Diverging, assimilating, converging, and accommodating. The important part about this portion of the theory is that learn differently, using a combination of these different styles.
I will share reflective essays, and philosophical documents on this page.