5 Easy Ways to Develop Improvisation in Your Classroom

5 Easy Ways to Develop Improvisation in Your Classroom

We all know that teaching improvisation is important. Nevertheless, it is often set aside in favor of preparing notes and rests for upcoming concerts or festivals. However, if we fail to introduce improvisation as an integral part of jazz ensemble, then the jazz ensemble is not much more than a concert band with “swung” 8th notes.

Top 5 SmartMusic Blog Posts of 2017

Top 5 SmartMusic Blog Posts of 2017

The goal of the SmartMusic blog is to share actionable advice that music educators can put to use in the classroom. While we all have our personal favorites, these are the top five SmartMusic blog posts of 2017 according to you:

5. Considering the Hidden Curriculum in Music Classrooms

Hidden curriculum refers to the unwritten, unofficial, and often unintended lessons, values, and perspectives that students learn in school.

Music Ed Mentor Podcast #014: New Year’s Resolutions

Music Ed Mentor Podcast #014: New Year’s Resolutions

Making New Year’s resolutions is easy. Keeping them is hard. One key is to choose resolutions that make a tangible difference in your life. Resolutions are about more than “setting goals,” they’re about becoming a better person.

As regular listeners know, I’m a little obsessed with helping music educators have the best lifestyle they can.

Data Collection and Music Program Fundraising

Data Collection and Music Program Fundraising

Fundraising is a necessary “evil,” required for most of our programs to survive and flourish. Unfortunately, few music educators were also trained as accountants. Because sloppy accounting often looks very similar to mismanagement of funds, we all need to add careful data collection to the skills we use in the classroom each year.

Data and the Art of Student Progress

Data and the Art of Student Progress

I have heard the following comment many times, from many judges’ recordings, from many festivals:

“I hope my comments were helpful.”

In this context, this comment has always made me wonder. Why would anyone ever attend a festival without making changes that benefit their students?

Get Your Music Program What It Needs by Embracing Data

Get Your Music Program What It Needs by Embracing Data

Being a school music director involves so much more than teaching, assessing, and managing students. The tasks required to run a music program of any size can be daunting, and often, our preservice training doesn’t provide sufficient administrative background needed to navigate some of the biggest challenges of the job.

Preparing Future Music Educators

Preparing Future Music Educators

Many music educators can point to a specific mentor (or mentors) who made the idea of becoming a music educator seem like a real possibility to them. Encouraging students interested in music education, and providing them with related experiences, can be extremely rewarding. Not only can this encouragement produce very real long-term benefits to your program, it can play a significant role in shaping the future of a young person’s life.