In the face of societal shifts and the COVID-19 pandemic, music teachers have realized the need to address issues surrounding access, equity and inclusion more intentionally in music education.
After students, instruments are the most valuable asset in teaching instrumental music. I teach at Lexington Junior High in California, and every day I trust adolescents with these expensive and fragile items with very little supervision.
I think of extroverts and introverts in terms of batteries. True extroverts recharge their energy reserve — their batteries — by interacting with other people. They thrive in the spotlight, on meeting new people, on social engagement.
Hundreds of elementary, middle and high school musicians eagerly look out over the crowd of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, home of the Nashville Symphony. These students have spent months preparing for this day and their hard work is about to pay off.
Curricular guitar and ukulele courses have gained traction in both elementary and secondary education, and for good reason! Traditional ensembles (band, orchestra and choir) still play a vital role in music education, but guitar and ukulele instruction help us engage a wider range of students in the joys and benefits of making music.
A musician’s daily diet or daily drill provides all the necessary basics for performing on an instrument successfully. While it’s not a perfect formula, at Claudia Taylor Johnson High School, we stick to our daily drill in the same way that we brush our teeth or get dressed for school each day — we make it a part of our routine.
Knock on wood — COVID protocols are being rolled back even more as we prepare for the 2023-2024 school year. Although masks are becoming optional, there are some COVID safety rules that I plan to maintain in my music classroom at Robert and Sandy Ellis Elementary School because they create a stronger learning environment where students are conscious of their germs and surroundings.
Musicians know that having the right tools can make all the difference when learning a new concept or practicing your instrument. Whether you're just starting out or you're a seasoned pro, there's no denying that great music software can help take your skills to the next level.
Congratulations on your new job! Whether you are entering your first year of teaching or first year in a new position, it is an exciting time in your life. Just as athletes train and prepare for big events, teachers also need to prepare for our big event known as the first year.
I had an identity crisis during my first few years of teaching. I had to wade through the stressors of a new job, getting an ensemble ready for a performance within days of school starting, and trying to balance a personal life. I had an idea of who I wanted to be, but I wasn't exactly sure of who I was at that particular moment.
On a muggy Texas evening in May 2020 during the height of the pandemic, I sat in the Diffee family’s driveway out in the country with a group of smiling new faces — the Forney (Texas) High School Band boosters.
Are you a band director with so many flutes that you often joke that they’re “a dime a dozen”? Starting a flute choir might be the answer to this problem.
Every fall, band director Joel Pohland starts fielding the same question — “When is jazz night?” — from excited members of his community in Pierz, Minnesota. Even though jazz night, which takes place in April, may be at least six months away, it’s still on everyone’s mind.
Every day, I feel blessed to go to work, excited to make music with my students. These kids are some of the most humble, diligent and talented young people from some of the most selfless and genuine families I have ever met. There is no group of students I would rather teach or no community in which I would rather serve … but my job is sometimes far from perfect.
I am the music education coordinator at Tennessee State University (TSU), a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Nashville. I oversee the curricular development, instructional delivery, staffing, clinical placement and academic advising for our vocal and instrumental music education students. Annually, we prepare nearly 200 music majors for careers in music, and we offer a variety of degree pathways with several concentrations.
In 2018, Amanda Schoolland moved to the small community of Metlakatla, Alaska, to be the music director at Metlakatla High School. Although she was new to the area, she noticed that many of her students faced a similar issue as those at her former schools in Colorado — a lack of time or space to practice at home.
When Heather Taylor became the band director at Lakeshore Elementary School in Rochester, New York, in 2018, she had an $80 annual budget.
To really tell the story behind every piece of music, students must know the “why” as well as the “how.” A common example is when students play what the music says because it says to do so. When we ask them, “Why are you playing loudly there?” they’ll likely respond, “Because it’s marked forte.”
In her memoir “Becoming,” Michelle Obama writes, “Even if we didn’t know the context, we were instructed to remember that context existed. Everyone on earth, they’d tell us, was carrying around an unseen history, and that alone deserved some tolerance.”