How does a music educator introduce their ensemble to a new piece? Perhaps it goes something like this. The school ensemble conductor passes out the new music, maybe plays a demonstration recording, maybe gives a verbal summary of the main sections of the piece, and then optimistically begins to lead the ensemble in sight reading … Continue reading What Are Some Good Score Study Habits?
As the restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic have stayed with us for over a year now, it is strikingly apparent how important those things I can still do are, now that many things I used to do are no longer available. Large group rehearsals, community theater, even dining out with friends who are … Continue reading Creativity Is Getting Us Through
Collaborations between arts organizations, universities, and local public school districts have at times been wildly successful and mutually beneficial. College students often find enriching rewards in working with younger pupils, and the latter benefit immensely from being mentored by their senior. Likewise, arts organizations such as symphony orchestras that go into the schools with relevant … Continue reading OAE’s Exciting Collaboration
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