Teaching Success and Active Listening

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

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?

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

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?

Black Classical Music Composers That Matter

It takes little effort to realize that the standard classical music fare one finds in orchestral concert halls and, though to a lesser extent, in the catalogues of recorded music, is and has been markedly deficit in black composers. While there have been notable recordings of music by black composers, more attention to this music … Continue reading Black Classical Music Composers That Matter

What Will It Take To Allow Children to Return to School During The Pandemic?

As the COVID-19 pandemic persists into the next school year, most districts are facing the question of whether or not they should re-open schools, and if so, how to accomplish a re-opening that is safe for students, their families, and teachers. An examination of this issue raises many questions, all of which are difficult to … Continue reading What Will It Take To Allow Children to Return to School During The Pandemic?

A New Normal for Music Education

In every circumstance, whether we view it as positive or negative, freeing or restrictive, there is an opportunity to enter into something better. As educators now are afforded the summer months to reflect, research, examine and revise how music education is delivered to students, music educators will do well to take that opportunity to prepare … Continue reading A New Normal for Music Education