of Music Education
My personal definition of "Art" is "sophisticated communication."
From this, we get language arts (the spoken and written word), visual art, kinesthetic art (dance), aural art (music), and others. The heart of all of these
endeavors is a striving to communicate ideas, either simple or complex, from one human being to another.
Schools today are putting the brunt of their resources into teaching reading, writing, math, and science. These core subjects are very important. However, if
students are not able to express the rote knowledge they have learned, their studies in these areas can be fruitless. My goal is to use the Arts, focusing on music,
to teach students how to express and connect ideas, often switching between media.
For example, a student might have an idea, but not be able to clearly define it in words. In my classes, students will practice changing ideas between music and pictures,
pictures and words, music and movement, movement and words, etc. Over time, the ability to transfer ideas through different media will allow students to realize their
ideas into words and media that they can express in other classrooms and in the world around them. It will also help them make connections between ideas that they might
not have otherwise seen because of a change in media.
All art needs some kind of instrument, whether it is words, paints, etc. I teach music, which means most of the specific instruments we learn are those for music.
When working in pictures, words, and movement, we will use what comes most readily. We can use crayons and markers for drawing, use developmentally appropriate vocabulary,
and employ movement that is not outside the range of daily childhood activities. However, we will be paying more attention to how and when we do these things. Special
music instruments (depending on availability at the school) can include recorders, xylophones and other mallet instruments, unpitched percussion, and the singing voice.
I set high and appropriate performance goals for my students. This allows the students to discover more sophisticated ideas and make more connections with the world at large.
While creating connections within the student's mind is the primary goal, another exceedingly important goal is connecting them to the world at large. Music appears in
all cultures around the world, and places in history. As with all arts and sciences, context is key. Students in my class will learn about the cultural and historical
context of the music they learn, and discover their own context in the world at large.
Students in my classroom will know that it is a safe place for the expression of ideas. Everyone must respect the classroom rules. This includes respecting the ideas
of others, even if they don't understand them. This helps students build the ideas of confidence, ingenuity, tolerance, and respect.
Without the ability to express ideas, a child cannot excel in any subject. Without understanding cultural and historical context, a child cannot find their place in the
world. Without key social skills, a child will not thrive in society. These are all things that I offer in my classroom as a music teacher.