Archive for the ‘Careers in Music’ Category

Collegiate Leadership Academy at MENC’s Music Ed Week

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

By Andy Zweibel
Republished with permission from Music Ed Major

mew_logo2010MENC has been planning for it’s 2010 Music Education Weekin Washington, D.C. since last year’s event concluded. Music Ed Week is a week of advocacy, networknig, and professional development in the heart of the nation’s capital. I had the opportunity to attend last year, and was extremely pleased with my experience. The professional development portion of the week was done through “academies” in different concentrations (music technology, performance, jazz, research). The specialized academies were a wonderful way to separate the fantastic sessions that were presented.

The preparations for Music Ed Week 2010 (June 24-29, 2010) have begun in earnest over the past few weeks. MENC recently announced that housing and registration for the conference is open, and on Tuesday, they sent information out regarding a new academy for this year’s event, the “Collegiate Leadership Academy.” This academy is geared specifically towards collegiate members of MENC, and has sessions geared specifically towards future music educators. The (tentative) list of sessions includes:

  • “Hero Training: How to Harness Your Super Powers” with Milt Allen, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston
  • “Policy and Practice: What Does this Mean and Why Should I Care?” with Lynn Brinckmeyer, Texas State University, San Marcos
  • “Nine Liberating Habits of Change” with Scott Shuler (president, MENC), Connecticut Department of Education, Hartford
  • “Using Technology to Keep Sane” with Jim Frankel, SoundTree, Melville, NY
  • “Can I Do This for Thirty Years?” with Jack Elgin, Oscar Smith High School, Chesapeake, VA

Additionally, registration for Music Ed Week grants you admission to many other fantastic concerts and advocacy events over the course of the week. The other academies that are being offered this year are:

  • Choral
  • General Music K-12 Technology (keynote by Amy Burns)
  • Instrumental, “IN-Ovations” (Teaching techniques and opportunities for teachers of non-traditional curricula)
  • Jazz
  • Marching Music (registration includes ticket to DCI Show)
  • NACWPI (National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors)
  • New Teachers

Student-centered pedagogy

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

By Leah Coutts
Republished with permission from Music Teacher’s Helper

The term student-centered pedagogy alludes to the student being the teacher’s main priority, rather than the music that is being taught. It’s main objective is for teachers to become increasingly dispensable to students by developing them as independent learners. So what can teachers do to achieve this?

Allow students to become active participants of their musical education

The philosophy behind student-centered pedagogy is that students learn through three stages:

* First by hearing
* Then by doing
* Lastly by conceptual understanding – seeing the music, knowing the name, and understanding the theory

Rather than telling a student what you want them to know, allow them to experience it first. This could be through movement, playing on the piano, creative activities or singing. The student’s and your imagination are the only limitations.

Understand that new knowledge is built upon that which already exists within the students

Rather than telling the student a new concept by its name straight away, allow the student time to come up with their own metaphor that is relevant to them. A great example of this is ’staccato’. The student may call it ‘bouncy’ or ’short’ or anything else that makes sense to them. This gives them links to their prior knowledge and makes sense of this new concept in their own minds.

Knowing how something is put together is worth a thousand facts about it

Takes scales for example. If we teach each scale as a new sequence of notes, then each scale becomes something to memorise and learn. If we teach the patterns behind the scale though, the student is then able to discover the notes of any scale using its pattern. This leads to independence from the teacher, which is what student-centered pedagogy is all about!

This also allows students to problem-solve to further their own knowledge. For example, if students know and understand Binary form, and you would like to introduce Ternary form, they could work out the structure based on what they already know about form.

Creativity is highly motivating

Let’s face it, if students are not motivated, they are not going to stay for the long haul. If they are not motivated, it doesn’t matter how independent they become, they still won’t use what they know. Being active, as mentioned above, is one way to increase motivation. Another way is creativity.

As well as students enjoying the composition/improvisation/movement tasks, etc, it also gives students the opportunity to apply learned concepts on their own. This gives teachers a great indication of how much the student has grasped.

The teacher as facilitator

Student-centered pedagogy aims to change the role of the teacher to that of facilitator. Their role is to discover and build on students’ experiences and prior knowledge, and to help them develop their own understanding. This quote, taken from Rhodes and Bellamy (1999, p. 21) sums it up nicely:

“A teacher tells, a facilitator asks; a teacher lectures from the front, a facilitator supports fromt he back; a teacher gives answers according to a set curriculum, a facilitator provides guidelines and creates the environment for the learner to arrive at his or her own conclusions; a teacher mostly gives a monologue, a facilitator is in continuous dialogue with the learners.”

Thus, facilitators ask questions

Not just any type of question though. If a teacher asks a question that only has one answer, then the student is being asked to recall a fact. The student could learn answers by rote quite easily without actually understanding what it is that they are saying. Asking questions that require comprehension, application, or analysis to produce an answer promotes critical thinking and helps students to apply concepts learned to answers given.

Getting out of the seat

Another thing to remember is that even though we may teach specific instruments, we are all also responsible for teaching music as a language as well. Don’t feel the student needs to remain glude to their chair, or even their instrument over the cours of the lesson. By moving and changing focus regularly, the student is more likely to stay alert, have fun, and remain active music-makers in the long-run.

I hope there have been some useful tips here for you. Please share any others that spring to mind.

Look out for future blogs on students as individuals, catering to different personality types, and ways to find out who your students actually are!

Minute for Marketing: Review for Philip Johnston’s Promoting Your Teaching Studio

Friday, September 25th, 2009

practicespot1By Laura Lowe

Republished with permission from the Piano Studio

No series on marketing the independent teaching studio would be complete without a review of Philip Johnston’s book The PracticeSpot Guide To Promoting Your Teaching Studio.

In general, I think this book’s a worthwhile read. It will help you launch and maintain a full-fledged advertising campaign, as opposed to utilizing a few isolated marketing efforts here and there. Especially since most of us have spent more time learning how to play and teach well than how to advertise effectively, it provides a valuable education in how to think like a marketer. It’s one of the only books about marketing geared specifically for piano teachers. The ideas range from yellow pages ads to community involvement.

Most reviews of this book praise it for the many ideas it presents for advertising the teaching studio. I think the book’s greatest strength is not in the individual tips, but in the marketing theory which is woven throughout the book and which you’ll assimilate without even realizing it as you read. Most of us could think up those practical marketing ideas – we see other businesses using those techniques all the time! But, I think we fail to realize that we can do the same things, or even need to do those things. By the time you finish Johnston’s book, you’ll be thinking of your teaching studio as a business that needs a marketing plan just like any other business, and you’ll some good practical ideas for how to put your plan to work.

I do have a couple of criticisms. First, the book fails to address how to prioritize marketing efforts according to cost-effectiveness. Most of us have very limited advertising budgets. I think this should have been a major point, and it will be the subject of my next Minute for Marketing post.

My second criticism is that, even when it was copyrighted in 2006, the book was limited in its discussion of online advertising. The last chapter of the book, Using the Power of the Internet, is an advertisement for Johnston’s own web service for teachers, PracticeSpot’s webvertisements. While I don’t blame him a bit for doing this (he’s a savvy marketer and after all, the book’s title is The PracticeSpot Guide to…), it does prevent the book from being complete as a guide to marketing the teaching studio. Even in 2006, the power of the internet for music teachers was certainly not limited to PracticeSpot. For instance, there’s no mention of blogging, a medium alive and healthy in ‘06. By now, the book is sorely outdated where internet marketing is concerned as social networking, social bookmarking, and other dynamic applications are changing the game in a big way.

In short, I like the book and would recommend it to anyone looking for ways to grow a teaching studio, especially new teachers and especially those who are opening a large community facility. Just keep in mind that it’s incomplete.