Saturday, March 22, 2014

“Using the Common Chord to Encourage Student Leaders in the Music Classroom”

The leaders of tomorrow should be leading in their classrooms today. I encourage my students to be the best versions of themselves during the entire school day. I teach and live in a community where I get to see my students interact with each other and parents outside the classroom. I also make it a point to walk the halls of my school before school and during my conference period to visit with teachers and students as they are learning in their general classrooms. This “outside of the music classroom” interaction allows me to build relationships with the students and learn how they are developing as leaders in and out of the school setting. 

Students interact and behave differently when they are sitting behind a desk than they do when they have more freedom of their personal space as in P.E., Art, and Music classes. I understand that these specialty classes do have structured expectations of where to sit and how to enter the room or gym, but the environment is very different than the one with four walls and 25+ desks. I remind my students that I have the same expectations of their parents and other teachers have and that they should be the best version of themselves at all times. 

I have begun reminding my students to always put their best foot forward when interacting with each other and performing musical selections. I want them to understand that mistakes happen in music and that the most important part of a mistake is how they react to it. In music, as in life, we can learn from our mistakes and must continue to keep moving forward despite a fumbled rhythm or high pitched squeak. 

The difference is amazing when I ask for students to volunteer as leaders to direct the class or lead sections during folk songs that can be sung in canon. The students really focus on their peer leaders and hands fly up when I am seeking the next volunteer. I also allow students to tutor other students during class and before school when working on new songs on the recorder and chords on ukuleles.
                                        Be the best musician you can be! 
I tell my students that they are musicians and that they should always sing and play as if they are performing on stage and in front of an audience. I believe that the most important part of a musical experience is the process and not the outcome. The outcome will be successful if the time is taken to build common chords one note at a time and students are reminded that they are the leaders of today! 
"NCLB: Neoclassicism, Chopin, Lieder, Beethoven=My Music Room Policy"

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