What makes a melody beautiful? I’m intentionally not asking what makes music beautiful, because there are many different kinds of music and with them, different kinds of beauty. But the beautiful melody is much more likely to transcend genres; it’s properties are more universal, so it seems most tenable to ask, “what makes a melody … Continue reading What Makes A Melody Beautiful?
With the political winds that have already begun to shift in the United States, one of the changes that we see is a greater concern for the environment, and the political will to do something about it. Concern for the environment is not new; it has a long history. But often, it has been at … Continue reading Songs and the Environment
As we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic with a balance of remote learning and bringing students back into physical school campuses, many are taking the opportunity to evaluate how the models upon which we teach our children can be improved. While much progress has been made in the last forty years, many of those advances … Continue reading Teachers as Mentors to Students
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, verbal communication had fallen into a degree of disfavor. With social media ever popular, written communication had already replaced spoken word in many settings. With the the need for schools to resort to distance learning and for us all to suspend much of our social calendars to avoid … Continue reading Teaching Success and Active Listening
Many people begin a new year by making a resolution. Usually, it is a stated intent to exchange an undesired behavior for a desired one. We resolve to improve our eating habits, go faithfully to the gym, or embark on some self improvement plan or other. Somehow, the idea of a new year seems to … Continue reading Resolutions
I have written elsewhere in this blog, and most educators agree, that the best learning takes place when instruction is, among other things, planned, intentional, and measurable. One of the most useful models for planning instruction is Understanding by Design (UbD). One of the authors, Jay McTighe, explains UbD in this video. In this article, … Continue reading Designing Instruction for Effective Teaching and Learning
In my article, "We're Back... Now What?" I relied heavily on using improvisation as a vehicle for getting students back into the habit of making music. I chose improvisation because it affords students the most freedom and stress free environment for quickly making music. But it is only free and relaxed if it is not … Continue reading How I Teach Improvisation
Some school districts in the United States have announced that they are re-opening for in-person instruction 5 days a week beginning in January. While some parents will choose to continue some remote learning, many will welcome the return of sending their children to school. In my area, a recent survey found that sixty percent of … Continue reading We’re Back…Now What?
The pandemic has highlighted a problem we all knew about before, but too frequently had not solved: that of the "education gap." This refers to the disparity of opportunities and achievement between districts that serve children from advantaged communities, where needed resources are provided and numbers of disadvantaged children tends to be lower, and those … Continue reading Virtues of “Old School” Teaching May Be Needed Now
I'm sure we have all experienced being sidetracked in our lessons by students' emotional flareups. Sometimes they come without warning, other times we see the knarled brow and clenched fists from the moment a child enters our classroom, communicating to the observant teacher that the child's emotional condition is volatile and that the child could … Continue reading Navigating Conflict with Conversations