January has always been my favorite time in the school year. By then, my students have given their winter concert and are playing and singing well enough to dig into more challenging repertoire than I typically do with them in the fall. This is the time of year I find most conducive to really work … Continue reading The Spring Semester Is A Great Time For Chamber Music
When scheduling my winter concert, I prefer to select a date that is at least one week before the winter recess. This avoids the last minute mayhem that can develop in the final days of school, the conflicts with classroom parties, and the possibility of loosing students to early withdrawals for family travel that precedes … Continue reading Our Concert Is Over; Now What?
With December upon us, many of you will soon go into high gear with concert preparation. While you are well along in rehearsals, there is still much to do, and with each passing day, it can begin to seem like time is running out on you. With may directors, it is almost cliche to say … Continue reading Concert Season is Here: How to Stay Calm and Not Drive Your Students Crazy
By now, rehearsals for winter concerts are well under way. Typically, these rehearsals progress in stages which begin with sight reading, continue through error correction to musicality and expression, and finally on to "polishing" as the concert date draws near. If all goes as intended, everything comes together in time for the concert. If we … Continue reading When Is A Performance Ready to Present?
Is music an object or an experience, or both? All views have filled pages of scholarly writing, and the answer that any music educator settles on will perhaps influence how s/he teaches music more than anything else can. If you believe that music is an object, then you will teach about music, and have your … Continue reading Views of Music
Every year as I prepared to return to school, the foremost thing on my mind was what my schedule was going to look like. A schedule can make or break and entire year. I've had schedules in which for one or two days, I've taught seven classes straight through with only a lunch break, I've … Continue reading Working the Scheduling Kinks Out
For many years of my career, my instructional manager (principal) used my concerts as my teacher evaluation. As far as she was concerned, that is what I did, and how well my students performed was a reasonable measure of the quality of my work. Because my concerts were consistently of high quality, and honestly because … Continue reading Concerts as Assessments
Learning is a process of inquiry, thought, and discovery. A person is faced with an unknown, which begins a line of questioning and searching. Thoughts, ideas, and hypotheses are formed from thinking through the questions, and further searching and thinking leads to discovering new knowledge. The searching and thinking includes exploring similarities and differences between … Continue reading Language in Music Teaching
We have all encountered teachers who began some music course or other by asking "What Is Music?" Leonard Bernstein, paraphrasing this often posed question, I suppose, asked "What Does Music Mean?" Many answers have been proposed to the former question, and Bernstein's answer to the latter, after an interesting lecture, was that music doesn't mean … Continue reading How Does Music Work?
Recently, I offered suggestions for Preparing to interview for a Teaching Position. If you are looking for a teaching job, you can follow the link to read that article. Today I would like to follow up on that post and discuss how best to proceed once you are hired. When you begin in your new … Continue reading Starting Out In A New School