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
Have you ever said, in the middle of a bad day, "I can't get out of my own way?" In situations like that, it seems the harder we try to get on track, the worse it gets. The more effort we expend, the worse are the outcomes. Then there are other days when everything seems … Continue reading Natural Learning
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
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
It's time for the new school year to begin. That usually means students and teachers return to their buildings, exchange stories of an enjoyable summer, and except for light hearted complaints about how the summer break was too short, everyone is generally glad to be back, able to see their friends again and get back … Continue reading This Year, How To Begin
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?