Today I observed the 2nd grade music class of Mrs. Sharon Bell. It was fast-pace and engaging to the students. The classroom was filled with brightly-colored information posters that covered subjects from sol fege to note values. I’ve included a rough sketch of the classroom layout. The activities of the classroom involved prepping for the upcoming program in March. Before each song, they recited the lyrics of each song, and practiced the accompanying movements. The songs they sang were “Party Hat Song”, “Hatless Hanna”, “Perfect Hat for Me”, “Sports at Song”, and “Uncle Sam”. Mrs. Bell had the class take break after “Perfect Hat for Me” and had the students share something nice they had done for someone that day. To finish out the lessons she presented the expectations for the next class, singing without the words on the cd. The behavorial object for the activities of the day was to perform learned material without having the lyrics on the board.
I think the class’s favorite activity was anything involving movements. The students loved to dance and move around, and and were very excited when she allowed them a freestyle section during the songs.
Internship and graduation are finally falling into view for me, and as the days get closer the more I realize I haven’t thought a lot of where I want to Intern, much less what I want to do after graduation. I know for my internship I would prefer a small school. Atkins or Dover would probably be best for me. It wouldn’t be overwhelming and I know the teachers are very good at what they do. After graduation I know I want to take a break from school for at least a couple months. I’m getting married right after I’m finished with internship, so I know I will be at least looking for jobs by then. I’m interested in applying for Teach for America and work with them for a couple of years and experience life outside of Arkansas for while. I’m interested in working a urban schools as an elementary or middle school music teacher, but I would also love to work out of a private studio teaching piano and voice.
The three sessions I visited at the ArkMEA conference was the exhibits, and two Elementary sessions presented by Cynthia Crump Taggart.
The exhibits sessions included multiple exhibits dedicated to products for music education or courses for an individual to continue their personal education. One particularly fun exhibit was the Dancing Drum. It is a company that provides schools with books, lessons, and drum packages for students to learn how to use different kinds of drums, have drum ensembles, and create music with drums. Another exhibit was the J&B Music Sales. It has a wonderful selection of books for elementary education usage including one particular one that talked about how to incorporate math and english literature into the music common core curriculum.
The first sessions I attended of Cynthia Taggart’s was “Developing Critical Thinkers in Elementary General Music”. She made several notable points one being that it is important to balance performance and education, not just focusing on one. Taggart presented teaching methods I had never thought about. Macro singing was one. It is where you sing the song and the students sing the bass note of the harmonic fuction (sticking mostly with I and V sometimes IV). She also provided a listening map for the song “Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks”.
Here she talked about how it’s okay to leave things incomplete or have things missing in your lessons. Have your students fix your “mistakes” and find their own answers to things.
The second session of Taggart’s was “Helping Students Develop Part-Singing Skills. Her most important point was the idea of audiation vs. imitation. It is really important for students to be able to hear the music in their heads for them to grow as musicians, rather than just imitating you or other musicians. To do this you must actually step back and let the students sing without you. Instruct them, but make them hear and find the melody individually as well as a group. Students need to be able to Audiate tonic and dominate before part singing and have an sense of meter, steady beat, and consistent tempo. Taggart showed us “partner songs” (songs with the same harmonic structures) and how the can be used as a stepping stones to harder part-singing such as rounds.
Singing- Halloween Sight-reading, Dem Bones
Listening– for dancing: Monster Mash, The Monster’s hop, Grim’s Grinning Ghosts, Boris the Spider
Instruments– Using recorders play the Halloween songs we sang
Creating– our own 50’s and 60’s inspired dance moves, compose a creepy crawly halloween song
Drama– acting like monsters during Monster Mash. i.e. zombies, werewolves, vampires.
Moving– Learn dance moves from the periods of the music. Examples are the The Stroll, The Twist, and The Mashed Potato.
How to do the Stroll, Twist Diagram, The Bunny Hop, The Mashed Potato
Art and Literature–
19th century Halloween poem:A soul! a soul! a soul-cake!
Please good Missis, a soul-cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul
Three for Him who made us all.
Taylor, R. (2015, September). Rethinking music education in the 21st Segue, 28-30
“Rethinking Music Education in the 21st Century”, written by R. Taylor in September 2015, argues the viability of current teachings methods in music.
- In music there are no beginners
- Encourage students in their current knowledge and to utilize in the music they are learning now
- Have students participate in their own instruction
- Have students use their own music and experiences to learn
- Music education should privilege playing, not just practicing
- Have students PLAY music, they will learn just as well or better than practice
- Above all listen
- Have students listen for other band instruments or voice parts.
- Important for the ensembles as a whole to work together
- As a teacher, we must embrace becoming a leader in teaching music
- Constantly improve how you teach, and question yourself on what you’re doing
In this article, I found myself questioning a lot of the teaching methods I have been taught since beginning to learn music. A few of the points that Taylor made really struck home, and I wish I had been taught that way. Having students participate in their own instruction is so valuable, and more impacting to the students. The other point “music education should privilege playing, not just practicing” is something I feel is lacking in a lot of music education classrooms, and I hope to work into my future lessons as a teacher.
- “In music there is no beginners” pg 29. “Music education should privilege playing, not just practicing”. Pg 29