Hourigan, R. M. (2009). The invisible student: Understanding social identity construction within performing ensembles. Music Educators Journal, 34-38.
A review of: Toward Convergence, Adapting Music Education to Contemporary Society and Participatory Culture
Tobias, E. S. (2013). Toward Convergence Adapting Music Education to Contemporary Society and Participatory Culture. Music Educators Journal, 99(4), 29-36.
Tobias’ article, Toward Convergence speaks of the value of incorporating a more traditional style of learning music with contemporary methods of making music. Tobias believes that mixing the two forms are essential in order to adapt our current music education system and to benefit a modern-day student.
I think the curriculum of our school’s music courses should be inspired by the students who are taking the course; thus, ever changing. Through practising this principle of teaching, the students will experience a custom education that is tailored for them. In addition, I believe that this will provide students with the motivation and the determination to practice and further refine their skills. Unfortunately, I believe that Tobias’ recommendation’s will do the opposite. I think students will be demotivated to work for the following reasons,
The article argues that converging these two mediums of teaching music will increase the student’s motivation to learn, however as mentioned previously, I think that it will do the opposite. In Scenario 3, Tobias proposes that students can deepen their understanding of the music’s source material by extending the storyline in a creative writing assignment. I think this could be an interesting assignment in an English class, however I think that this is an inappropriate assignment for a music class. I think understanding the source material is important in order to perform the piece, however I don’t think creative writing skills are essential for a music classroom. The purpose of a music class is to improve the students musical abilities in an enjoyable environment, these targets are not being met if the students time is being divided into writing and practising. Therefore, I don’t think these assignments will encourage the students to pursue music.
Next, Tobias mentions that there are eleven ways that students can engage with music. Thus, giving the students the idea that these are the only ways to listen, participate in or make music. I don’t think that there is a need to provide labels to the practice methods, instead I think teacher’s should allow students to organically engage with music. Finally, I think that teaching these practice techniques individually will confuse the students. I think these labels could scare students from music-making in the future because they may not feel that their composition is legitimate music as it does not fulfill the requirements of one of the practise techniques. In order to encourage the students best I think that Tobias’ recommendations should not be put into practise.
I decided to interview four people, each of these students attended Western, however only one of the students is a member of the music faculty currently. I was interested to receive opinions from a variety of students from different educational backgrounds. I geared the questions towards the student’s views on music, this was done in order to discover their past history in music as well as to understand how they incorporate music in their lives today. I asked each of the student’s the following questions,
First Interview: Nicole
The first person that I interviewed was my sister, Nicole. She is a recent Western graduate and recently chose to continue studying to earn a masters degree in physiotherapy. My sister responded to the first question by stating that she had a lead role in her school’s production of Annie, had participated in a small production of a musical named Ever After and, took private piano lessons for five years. She told me that she enjoyed participating in all these activities, however she felt they were very time consuming. This deterred her to continue to participate because she felt that what she valued most and what she received from the programs did not align. Nicole enjoyed the fulfillment of the final product, however found regular practice challenging. Next, I then continued to ask if these experiences had any affect on her musical preferences today. She said that they most likely did not, however, she considered that subconsciously she may prefer acoustic music because of her work playing the piano.
Nicole said that she did not feel she was a musician and she used the example of taking piano lessons to justify her point. She said that because she did not practise enough she did not feel a connection to the music she was playing; Nicole practised to complete the song, however she did not find any enjoyment in playing. With this in mind, she said that she would be interested in revisiting instruments by attempting to learn how to play the guitar. She said that she would be more motivated to practice because she wouldn’t feel the constraint to work. Nicole said that she was first influenced to learn to play the guitar through listening to some of her favourite songs, she found that most of these songs were accompanied by an acoustic guitar and that she would like the chance to play the music. To finish, Nicole told me that she does not wish to pursue playing the guitar in any professional sense, however, she would like to learn how to play the guitar for her own pleasure.
Second Interview: Pars
The second person that I interviewed was Pars. Pars is a first year student in Western’s pop program. Pars grew up in Turkey, so he was able to receive a much more diverse musical education through his connections to Western and Eastern music; this provided him with a broader collection of music to pull inspiration from for compositional purposes and when playing with friends. This type of music education opened possibilities for him to be able to use both musical styles in an inventive manner. Through talking with Pars I discovered that Turkish people receive a lot of exposure to Western music and therefore have easy access to learn about Western music. He told me that he grew a fondness for both musical styles when listening to the radio’s diverse selection. Pars said that he did consider himself a musician because he could fluently play an instrument and felt comfortable creating an unique arrangement from a song. He said that if you have a passion to make music, a strong sense of musicianship will come naturally.
Pars said that he felt his musical education did indeed affect his choice to attend music at university. He said the he “want[s] to change the world” and he feels that music provides him with the best opportunity to achieve that goal. He also said that music is a powerful tool that can truly affect a person’s life and he believes that music is the channel designed for him to make a difference in someone’s life. Finally, Pars said that his ultimate goal following university is “to play as many gigs as possible, get a record deal, go on a lot of tours, see a million faces and rock them all.” Pars’ dream is much more abstract than the other student’s however the end goal is obvious and definitive.
Third Interview: Matt
The third person that I interviewed was a first year student in Kinesiology, Matt. Matt took piano lessons for eight years with a teacher. Through his lessons and regularly practising Matt was able to receive his Grade 8 RCM certification. In addition to playing piano Matt also learned to play clarinet in his high school, in the following years, Matt was chosen to play on their school’s senior band. He said that he worked hard to earn his spot in the high school band and used that determination throughout the year to motivate him to practise and grow as a musician. Although he did enjoy playing and performing he did not consider music as a career option for himself. He said that he always really enjoyed ‘music-making’ in his extra-cirricular activities, however whenever he was placed in a situation where he was forced to play for marks he would completely lose his desire to practise.
Matt said that he did identify as a musician, he was very confident to say that he felt comfortable playing the piano. He added to his answer by saying that he would feel confident playing in front of a group of people; he felt that this was the signature quality to define a successful musician. Matt almost exclusively listens to country music so he said that his past experiences did not have any affect on his musical preferences today. The majority of music that he played in lessons was classical-based. He said that he did not enjoy listening to recording of a classical piece, however he enjoyed the process of working through a challenging song. Finally, he said that following university he would like to work with athletes as a physiotherapist. He plans on applying for a masters program in physiotherapy once he has completed his undergrad. He said that he would pursue music if he could find time, however it is not a priority for him at the moment.
Fourth Interview: Harrison
The last person that I chose to interview was my brother, Harrison. Similar to my sister, Harrison also had the same music teacher growing up in elementary school. So, they have a similar education to base their experiences off of. Similarly to Nicole, Harrison said that it was not in school where he formed his desire to play the guitar, but at summer camp. At summer camp Harrison noticed a trend, campers tended to work with one another to help each other become a stronger guitarist. This environment fostered a natural culture where campers would often collaborate on guitar with each other, guitar almost became an embedded part of the social culture at camp. Harrison wanted to become a strong guitarist, so following his session at camp he bought a guitar and began taking lessons. Harrison told me that he was most interested in playing popular songs from a lead book because he received a sense of fulfillment when he was able to play and sing along to the song accurately.
Harrison said that he did not feel like he was a musician. He said that he did not progress enough in guitar to confidently play a melody without practising; this was what he believed a true musician could accomplish. He said that he sometimes found the guitar discouraging because he never felt as advanced as his friends. Preceding this he felt confident teaching himself different skills, however he never felt like he was succeeding when he was learning to play the guitar. With that in mind, Harrison said that he prefers listening to rock classics, with a heavy bass that is audible. He didn’t really know if this was because he once played the guitar or if this was because of his natural musical tendencies. Finally, Harrison said that since graduating he has taken the CFSA exam and is currently working on completing their second course. He said that his sense of determination is the biggest motivator in his life. He enjoys performing to his greatest potential and wants to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible in order to learn more and progress. Currently, he does not have any plans to pursue music. He told me that he enjoys listening to music, however he is not interested in relearning to play the guitar at the moment. I asked him if his hesitancy to play the guitar is due to his musical past, however he told me that it was due to not having enough spare time in his busy work schedule.
I’m really glad that I had the opportunity to interview these four people. I think these interviews provided me with a better sense of their motivators and their future goals. I think musical preferences is a very exposing question that tells a lot about a person’s nature. That said, I was not very surprised by the student’s general answers, however their justifications sometimes caught me off guard. I will watch for the student’s future achievements and see if they align with what they described in the interview.
For my student-teacher interview I chose to interview my voice teacher of nine years, Mark DuBois. Mark has served as an inspiration for me to want to become a stronger singer and a better musician. Over the nine years Mark has watched me grow up and mature. Throughout the years Mark used his position to encourage me to work harder and expand on his own teachings independently. Mark currently has retired from performance and instead has opened a studio in his house. He works part-time as a choir conductor at a church nearby.
It was a strange experience speaking to Mark and asking him questions about his teaching style. I was really nervous moments before I spoke to him because I had no expectation of how the interview would go, however once we began talking I felt more comfortable. I feel like I was able to learn a lot of interesting information about Mark in this interview. I think these details would of been helpful to know during the lessons because I would at least be able to understanding the purpose of each component of the lesson. I think if I become a teacher in any respect, I will ensure that I communicate transparently with my students to ensure that they understand the ‘why’. With that said, I’m glad I had the chance to speak to Mark openly about his teaching beliefs.
Question: What do you think the most fundamental skill that teacher’s should possess is.
Mark told me that he believes a teacher’s most fundamental skill is possessing flexibility. He said this skill is especially crucial when working with kids. In his current studio he has a wide range of ages that he is working with. He said each of the 19 students require something different from me and it is his job to make adjustments so that each of the students leave happy. He said that he grew up with a vocal coach that was very successful with him and his voice, however, she was extremely strict with Mark and very specific with her instructions. Mark said that he appreciated that style of teaching for himself, however he said that he thinks a more compassionate style of teaching lends itself more naturally to teaching today’s students. He said that through his experience students today are not as responsive to people with brash personalities. Mark said knowing how to act in today’s climate is the biggest hurdle teacher’s face. However, once you are familiar with how to adjust with different personalities the teaching really works. He said that the big thing he learned while teaching a studio is that the teacher’s potential to teach is not what students are looking for, students want to work with a teacher that understands their style of learning. He said that once he figured that out teaching students became really rewarding and fun.
I was really excited to hear Mark’s response to this question because I truly did not know how he would respond to it. I was actually quite surprised when he said flexibility because to me Mark was always the same person. However, the trait flexibility does make sense. I remember before concerts we would each rehearse our song to check the balance of the microphones in the room. I was always interested to watch Mark and see how he reacted to each of the student’s songs. Looking back, when I watched him listen I was able to see his more serious side and his lighter side, etc. I truly did see a spectrum of techniques coming from Mark that was different for each of the students. Similarly, when I watched the students perform during the concert I was able to see and hear a really interesting and unique performance from each of the students. That said, each of us used a strong technique, however we all took differently to the technique due to Mark’s flexible description of terms.
Question: What would you define music-making as?
Mark was a little confused by the term “music-making”, so I explained to him that it constitutes any sort of performing and creating of music. He first began talking about how music-making is defined as singing and working with good technique, however part way through the conversation he changed his mind and said that “if you are having fun you are singing well”. He said that he would not have pursued singing if he did not receive any sort of enjoyment from it. Mark went on to say that his big philosophy was to demonstrate to his students what it is like to have fun singing. He believed that if people enjoyed the process of learning a song, and working to improve that song, then they would be motivated to work harder to perfect the piece. Mark told me that the reason that he allowed us to choose our own songs was give us a reason to practise. He believed if we liked the song he wouldn’t have to push to get us to work on the repertoire.
I thought this response was very refreshing, not because I believed it wasn’t the truth but because I was glad that that’s where his motivations lied all this time. When you are a 9-year-old kid working with an adult the tendency is to do what they said because adults are always right. Mark stuck to a very consistent schedule during lessons throughout the nine years, I just sort of accepted this schedule as common practice. However, I’m glad to know that during each of the lessons Mark had this philosophy in mind. Looking back on my lessons I can see how he tried to make it an enjoyable experience for both him and me.
Question: I feel like we got to know each other well over the years during our lessons. Do you think building a personal relationship with your student's is an important component of teaching?
Mark told me that he does believe that building a personal relationship is helpful in learning the singer better. He told me that if you have a personal relationship with the person then you can see if they are becoming uncomfortable sooner than you would if you were simply listening to the sound. He said you can identify many possible issues by first just noticing their mood that day. For example, “you may be able to tell if the person is tired, or irritated, etc.” He said taking these traits into account this may lead me to decide to work a different song today or maybe adapt the way I teach that day to better suit the students.
He said that during the days he performed his mood drove his warm up routine for that day. He said that when he was tired he would often lead a warm up that would wake him up by moving around more. Mark believed that adapting to your circumstance was apart of performing and that all smart performers should be able to adapt to a new situation. To back up his claim from the second question he said that knowing the person makes the process more fun. If you know the person you are able to share jokes and have a conversation that is not limited to simply talking about music, sharing jokes and talking can truly be a mood altering activity. He said that you not only sing better when you are happy and are in a good mood but the time also goes by extremely quickly.
Mark told me of an example to prove that building personal relationships does help with singing. Mark said that he was working with a student on getting a richer head voice. However, she got very anxious easily, so she would often just give up part way through the process because she felt her anxiety building. The problem was that the student was following the music and felt like she was going to crack on the highest note of the song. To remedy this Mark told me that he had her memorize the song section by section. He would then play an altered arrangement on the piano or played the actual song faster to throw off the vocalist and to trick her into singing the note without realizing.
I was really interested to hear Mark’s answer to this question. I remember joking with Mark all the time during our lessons and I always wondered whether it was just something that we did or if he joked around with all of his students. I guess my answer to the question is “it depends”. Like in the example he gave me with his student Mark can be serious and determined at times and more relaxed at other times. I always really enjoyed this aspect of Mark, I have found that most music teacher’s are very goal-based, in contrast, I think Mark is more interested in getting to know you, getting you to learn the technique and seeing where that goes. I think this style of teaching lends itself to much more natural growth from the students and allows the students the time to really get to know their instruments.
Lastly, I am really happy that I got the chance to talk with Mark and ask him these questions about his teaching philosophy. I feel that I have been able to learn a lot about my past music education in this interview. I think this interview will affect the way that I teach students in the future.
Williams, D. A. (2014). Another Perspective The iPad Is a REAL Musical Instrument. Music Educators Journal, 101(1), 93-98.
I like the idea of incorporating new instruments in the classroom. I think this would help to excite the students and will make them more motivated to work on compositions they enjoy. A lot of today’s pop music is electronically altered, and would likely be created with a similar process to how the students would make music on the iPads. I think demonstrating this process to music students would be very beneficial to them. They will receive a greater understanding of how producers make music. In addition, I think integrating iPad music making in the classroom will serve as a great tool to inspire students to take a fresh-look at a modern-day music class.
Secondly, I think this program would help students become stronger sight singers and composers. This is because by nature the students will be tasked to have to hear the segments of the melody before playing it. These skills are fundamental to creating and building strong musicians. These skills would be great for instrumentalists to learn from too. That said, this program could be seen as a complimentary class to another instrumentalist class within the school. If accomplished students could potentially collaborate with themselves through utilizing both types of music making: iPad and instrumental. This would provide the students with a broader range of flexibility when composing and/or working with instruments.
My main concern before starting an iPad ensemble would be to decide whether the students would be gaining a skill by performing music on an iPad or if it would just be a way to waste time. People working in the business would typically use a higher grade software that would be run on a computer. So the skills learned by the students would be somewhat transferrable, however would not serve as a direct path to creating electronic music. This is important because if we are providing the kids with an education, I think we should be able to justify whether that student is truly able to gain something from the program or if they are simply passing time.
I think working with iPads in music classrooms has the potential to be extremely successful with the students. I think this new style of composition and performance will benefit the students who are very familiar with participating in a “standard music class”.
Hourigan, R. M. (2009). The invisible student: Understanding social identity construction within performing ensembles. Music Educators Journal, 34-38.
Serres, D. Think Everything’s “Normal?” Then It’s Time To Reconsider And Promote A New Narrative Of Disability. Retrieved from http://organizingchange.org/think-everythings-normal-then-its-time-to-reconsider-and-promote-a-new-narrative-of-disability/
Invisible students will likely fall under one of the following two; a gap in communication between the student and their peers and/or a student’s lack of motivation to socialize. It is beneficial to note that not all students who embody the “invisible student” traits want to socialize with other students, they may actually feel more comfortable working on their own. However, if you allow these students to work separately and give them special privileges the other students may not be in full support. Instead, by taking these students out of their comfort zones and encouraging them to work with other students in the class you will be able to unify the lesson and hopefully will provide this student with a different experience.
I think a music class can be a very intimidating place for many students. Taking from experience, I know most students in my instrumental music class dreaded test days because they were forced to play for the entire class. Unlike a written paper that you can keep private, everything in a music class is very public. The fact is, unless you have many years of instrumental training you will sound inexperienced, however, no one puts that into account. Instead, student’s feel almost humiliated when they play poorly for the class. I think this is a key reason why teacher’s have to be vigilant about watching students in a music class, to encourage them, give them constructive criticism and positive reinforcement. I think there is a tendency for “non-musical” students to become invisible in a music class in order to shield themselves from humiliation. This could be a reason why a student may prefer to become invisible in a classroom.
Adapting a lesson plan to suit student’s needs best should always be done. In the case of Serre’s article and closing the gap in communication, one section in particular stood out to me. The section reads, “Puts emphasis on people to “overcome a disability” rather than seeking societal changes”. This section looks into detail at the changes which should be made by society to become inclusive instead of placing the responsibility to adapt on the person with disabilities shoulders. Each lesson plan should be changed depending on the class to include activities that all students will be able to participate in. This will lead to a smooth and uninterrupted class. This new concept of teaching will allow all students to work with one-another well.
In my music class in elementary school our teacher was very transparent with who he liked and who represented the rest of the class. Fortunately for those students, they received a lot of opportunities to play a small solo or an interesting instrument during our school concerts. However, for the rest of us we were stuck playing the chorus recorder line. Through favouriting some students and showing little to no interest in the rest in the class our teacher subconsciously formed a distinction in our minds of who is musical and who is not. This style of teaching can be extremely damaging to a group of young children as it teaches them that things are given to some people however may not be earned. This type of teaching could easily lend itself to create “invisible students” out of multiple students in the class. In this case, I found it frustrating to participate in my class because my communication skills were not developed enough for me to comfortably talk with the teacher about the issue I was experiencing.
The tendency of the invisible student will always be to shy away from opportunities to communicate, however, if the teacher is watchful and reacts to what they see this could possibly open up opportunities for the “invisible student” to communicate. It is not the teacher’s job to create student-student relationships, but it is their job to make the students feel welcome and comfortable in the space. The traits of an “invisible student” varies so much from case to case so there is no specific technique to use with all students. However, from reading these articles I have understood that each student requires a share of the teacher’s attention and deserves for the teacher to treat them always with the best interest in mind.
Bad Teacher: The Trunchbull, Matilda
The Trunchbull is an example of a terrible teacher for the following reasons, she is impatient with the children, she abuses her power and uses intimidation to make the students fearful. I chose this clip because I just recently saw the musical version of Matilda in Toronto and thought her character would be a perfect fit for this assignment. The Trunchbull embodies every trait of a horrible teacher and is obviously extremely unfit to be working with young children. I used this clip to show the contrast of teaching styles between Ms. Gruwell in Freedom Writers and The Trunchbull.
The Trunchbull’s teaching methods are centred around gaining power over the students. It is unclear whether the Trunchbull’s ultimate goal is to teach the students or to punish them for her entertainment. If she is indeed wanting to teach the students she is not reacting well to serve the students needs best. Her unawareness for the student’s basic needs is interrupting them from learning. Such is seen when Miss Honey instructs her kids to not react to anything the Trunchbull says. With this in mind, during the trunchbull’s visit she taunts the kids and critiques how they look. In this moment, the students are powerless because they know if they act out they will be punished. She provides these students with no valuable information to teach them and instead uses this time to emphasize her power in the school. To the students, The Trunchbull has become a distraction in the school to avoid.
The Trunchbull tries to promote her sense of power and self-worth over the students through physical and verbal abuse. She runs her school like a prison and coincidently shares many stereotypical military traits, which in this circumstance can be very harmful to her audience. The Trunchbull uses her position of influence to remove any sense of power from the student’s and in doing so, she teaches the students to fear her - one of her goals. Unfortunately for the students the Trunchbull’s goals and the students needs do not coincide. The Trunchbull is obtaining her goal by providing her students with terrible conditions. This is the sign of a truly terrible teacher. If the teacher’s goals do not result in positive growth from the students I believe the teacher should reconsider their style of teaching.
Good Teacher: Erin Gruwell, Freedom Writers
The video that I used is called the Line Game. Erin Gruwell the teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School substitutes a class of teaching for a class of learning. Gruwell uses the Line Game as an opportunity for student’s to get to know each other. Erin identified that the students are divided into cliques; "self-segregated into racial groups within the classroom”. In the class, she posed questions that she thought many of the students could relate to. In answering these questions the students were effectively able to see how they have dealt with similar pain, loss and hardships. Through getting the students to participate in this activity the students were able to open up with one-another and received a more accurate idea of who they all are. Gruwell uses the line game as a way to unify her students and as a result successfully opens up a vessel for communication between the students. This class takes place at the start of the film, Gruwell believes that a unified classroom will result in more natural conversations and less tension between classmates. In addition, this provides the students with the opportunity to view Gruwell as a teacher that cares for their well-being.
I think a noticeable difference in Erin’s style of teaching is that she expects the students to respect her with as much respect as she gives her students. If successfully accomplished this means that the students will be more willingly to learn and work with her because she took the time to develop a dignified relationship with her class. An example of this teaching style comes from a line in the scene. Gruwell asks, “Has anyone gone to prison or Juvenile Hall”. Eva, a student in the class responds with, “Does a refugee camp count?” And Gruwell answers with, “You decide”. Gruwell gave Eva a choice instead of forcing an answer upon her. She provided the student with the respect to form an answer for herself to decide what she believes is the truth. I think the largest difference between Gruwell and the Trunchbull is that Erin Gruwell empowers her students by placing respect, dignity and compassion at the centre of all of her lessons. The students are very responsive to this style of teaching and as a result treat her with the same traits.
Wasiak, E. (2017). Unmasking the Hidden Curriculum in Canadian Music Education Canadian Music Educator.
I found this article provided me with some very interesting commentary on a taboo subject. Through firsthand experience I have found this article to share a very truthful message. Many teacher’s experience a tendency to stick to the status quo. However, as Wasiak wrote almost 20% of our country’s population was born outside of the country, in addition more than half of our country identifies as female or a member of the LGBT+ community. If such a great percentage of our nation identifies with the above groups should we celebrate our country’s diversity in the lessons taught in class?
Looking back, during December our elementary school would put on a concert for the student’s to present to our parents. The program of the concert that was entirely Christmas-based, however, not all student’s in our class celebrated Christmas. The teachers were given the task of picking the repertoire and allowed the student’s no opportunity to choose what we would be performing, and so, as a result the teachers nevertheless decided to present exclusively Christmas pieces. The unfortunate part of choosing repertoire for the student’s is that the teacher(s) will unknowingly manipulate the student’s ability to be creative. If the student’s do not enjoy performing a piece they will gain nothing useful from the experience.
I agree with the article’s point of view, as I have found our music curriculum to subconsciously exclude certain religions and cultures from our discussions in class and performances on stage. This style of teaching has the potential to be very alienating to some students, particularly those who identify with minority groups. Instead of the teacher’s making assumptions and choosing repertoire that is traditionally simple this article offers the idea of choosing music in an effort to start a discussion with students. Music poses as a great way for teachers to introduce students to a broader range of cultures. This can be accomplished through playing music and giving a brief explanation of their cultural practices, as well as through a number of different ways. This would provide the students with a general idea of how the culture or religion varies from their own. As the students continue to learn more about each of these groups they will have a small amount of knowledge they can use to help better understand the groups practices.
I agree with many of the opinions formed in this article, however I think Wasiak made a very problematic error when writing this paper. Wasiak assumed that the students from these countries, religions, cultures, etc. associate that style of music with their own identity. Furthermore, if we are attempting to appeal to modern-day students should we not construct our music class so that it is reflective of today’s society? I think the biggest problem today’s provincial music program is facing is not being flexible enough to appeal to millennial students. Would introducing historical music from different cultures have the same effect on students? In addition, I wonder what activities would the author initiate to allow the student’s an opportunity to learn more about other student’s identities.
Dawe, L. (2016). Fumbling Towards Vulnerability: Moving Out of the Familiar for Music Education’s Sake, Canadian Music Educator, (57) 2, pp.22-24.
Through reading the article I found it evident that Dawe was extremely committed to giving her students a great musical experience. In little time, Dawe was able to reconstruct the musical program in her school in order to better suit the desires of the students. Dawe structured the improved program around the student’s behaviour and their likes. By adapting her style of teaching Dawe was able to capture the student’s enjoyment and passion of music.
Through my experience with children at camp I know that giving a large group of kids too much freedom can result in a loss of respect. Therefore, I think this was very courageous of Dawe to share the responsibility of teaching with the students. I think this is what keeps so many teachers from straying from what is typical as Dawe stated, “It does not feel natural, and if we are honest with ourselves, it can be downright frightening”. This article provides me with hope that positive change can be made to enhance the student’s experience without changing the focus of the course.
Dawe highlighted that her student’s obviously enjoyed listening to music as she noticed them listening to songs on their phones in the hall. Through looking at the experience through the perspective of the student’s she was able to establish a more interactive environment in the classroom. Dawe used her position of power to benefit the students she taught and to encourage and inspire them to become more curious about music. The author noted examples of student’s showing her different, more complex skills that they taught themselves based on knowledge first gained in class. Furthermore, this demonstrates how interactive teaching can incite a greater sense of motivation in the student’s to practice and grow their foundation of knowledge. Through placing herself in an uncomfortable position Leslie was able to increase the student’s sense of fulfilment and motivation to learn.
When I was in elementary school I wish that I had a teacher as interested in student growth as Leslie. I think I would of become more motivated to learn from the teacher’s at my school if I was surrounded by music that I was interested in playing. Fortunately, I was able to sing music that I enjoyed in private music lessons; this is where I really began loving the process of making music. Had it not been for my private lessons I do not think I would of pursued music past high school.
Future teachers take note - motivating your students is as simple as giving them the chance to learn and play music that they like. At the end of the day, music making should be fun.