MUSIC EDUCATION, simplified.       


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Let's create a sample student named Bobby. One day, in general music class, the teacher introduces the students to the music of The Beatles. All of a sudden something happened to Bobby. He’s now changed, forever and says “That's what I want to do with my life.” Let's say that Bobby is eight years old and for the next two years of his life, he spends a fair amount of his time playing video games like guitar hero or rock band. He also listens to classic rock recordings trying to hear exactly what the electric guitarist is playing, and he feels...
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A music teacher could easily highlight character pillars or character building virtues so that students become aware of their actions. In my own music classroom, I did a small social experiment. My choir displayed exemplary conduct and demonstrated character while in my classroom. Not by accident, I did this by design. But I wanted to see if they exhibited the same virtues outside of my classroom during the rest of the school day.   I had a very simple rewards and acknowledgment system based on the above highlighting of the character traits and virtues instilled in my music room. There was...
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One of the many byproducts of music education is character development. Schools are justifying paying tens of thousands of dollars to bring in specialized consultants on how to bring ‘character’ to students who attend difficult inner city schools. And yes, these types of character development programs do have a positive albeit limited affect. Other school districts have adopted character development programs that have a centralized theme shared either amongst the classrooms or in creating a school culture. Again, these are great. But while they have a longer term effect than a consultant, these districts are overlooking the obvious. We can develop...
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Not every student who enjoys science or does well in science class is being groomed to become a scientist. Nor is every student that excels in math going to become an engineer or a mathematician. The goal of physical education is not to create an army of professional athletes. So why would it be acceptable to assume that music education exists only to educate musicians? Music is an experience. It molds leaders and develops characters. Music unfolds the mind in ways we are only just beginning to understand. It somehow allows us to experience emotion and then gives us a vehicle...
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Posted by on in Ideas in Music Education
When I was about eight years old, my grandfather had been teaching me how to play one of his favorite Ukranian dance songs on his mandolin, “Hopak”. As I finally played it all the way through, I heard my grandmother let out a cry in the kitchen. Almost by reflex, my grandfather gently put down his guitar, politely excused himself and went to see her. He came back in about a minute and taught me a new song. One with words that I sadly cannot recall as it was so brief. But as we played, my grandmother, who I called "Mema",...
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