You teach because you love music. Not because you love keeping detailed budgets, organizing your repertoire library, or monitoring instrument rentals. As tedious as that work can be, it’s vital to the success of your program. Fortunately, with the right knowledge, you don’t have to spend all your time on it.
The idea of teaching improvisation in the music classroom intimidates many music educators, and for good reason. When young musicians struggle to read music on the page it seems like a ridiculous leap to have them create music spontaneously!
In practice it’s easy, really.
Nobody lands in a career teaching music on accident. At least nobody I know. You don’t sign on to wrangle a squawking flock of beginner clarinetists without a deeply held desire to help them learn and grow.
Yet, somehow, many of us still spend loads of time nagging students to stack chairs and stands, count rests, and keep a pencil handy during class.
If you’ve ever taught middle school students, you know what a truly unique challenge they can be. Opinionated, smelly, a little wild in the eyes . . . shockingly similar to my two Australian Shepherds, Cooper and Pip. And the similarities certainly don’t end there.
In a previous blog post, I shared how errorless learning (a positive reinforcement technique in dog training) can be applied to form better practice habits in the music classroom.
Sometimes it takes looking at something in a different way to truly understand it. More than a decade of private tuba lessons, symphony concerts, brass quintet rehearsals, and a music degree taught me a lot about music. But, surprisingly, it taught me less about learning than training two hyperactive Australian Shepherds did.
Explore what SmartMusic repertoire gets played the most, on a state-by-state basis, with this interactive Piktochart:
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