Designing Instruction for Effective Teaching and Learning

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

How I Teach Improvisation

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

We’re Back…Now What?

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?

Virtues of “Old School” Teaching May Be Needed Now

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

Navigating Conflict with Conversations

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

Rethinking How We Teach Chorus

Chorus in many ways is the perfect means for providig music making opportunities to non-musicians. After all, except in rare cases, we all have voices and we all can use those voices to sing. Actual inability to sing in tune is extremely rare, and most people in a safe environment free from judgement and negative … Continue reading Rethinking How We Teach Chorus

Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy and Beginning Music Students

Often, teachers ask how Bloom's taxonomy can be used with beginning students. Because this taxonomy is usually taught to teachers in the context of teaching high order, critical thinking skills, it is easy to suppose that using Bloom's taxonomy involves only cognitive skill that beginners or young students simply do not possess. But the taxonomy … Continue reading Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy and Beginning Music Students

How Do Children Choose An Instrument to Play, and How We Can Help?

If you have ever taught beginning instrumental music, then you have seen children get very excited about choosing and receiving their instrument. Often, the music teacher will demo instruments at an assembly, and then distribute paperwork to take home and return to parents with the parent's permission to begin lessons, and the child's instrument choice. … Continue reading How Do Children Choose An Instrument to Play, and How We Can Help?