MUSIC EDUCATION, simplified.       

MUSIC EDUCATION SIMPLIFIED.
 

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In 1981, the accomplished cellist and conductor, Mstislav Rostropovich, had a performance at United Nations Headquarters in New York City for an event on behalf of UNICEF. Guest performers and young music students from the city were invited to perform with the orchestra. The Maestro was a product of Soviet Russian culture where children were selected to be introduced to music education based on completely random decisions (look, speech, posture, politeness) and he had limited expectations. But something magical happened. Members of the U.N. congregation asked the students to improvise on randomly given melodies. They performed masterfully and were rewarded with...
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Bringing music education theory into practice is often easier than in other subject areas because music isn’t part of the standardized testing movement. Because of this, we can make changes with slightly less effort. I had put together a theory examining the identification of stereotypes in elementary music classrooms and hypothesized on ways of removing them as I put the action research into effect in my classroom. Since the research began with fairly innocuous questionnaires completed by both parents and students, it was a simple implementation. But from the surveys,  I was able to derive anonymous percentages identifying numbers of students...
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By Vivien L. Li: Parental involvement in a child's musical education is more important than before. Usually, the age when children normally begin learning musical instruments is the age when they need lots of encouragement and approval. Parental involvement can help foster their children's growth and at the same time see rapid results. Read further for the seven key ways you can be involved in your child's progress: 1. Be supportive of their choice of musical instrument. OK, you've never been very fond of loud noise, so it might be a little uncomfortable when your child tells you he wants to...
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Posted by on in Ideas in Music Education
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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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Posted by on in Ideas in Music Education
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Parents want the best for their children. That’s why the billion dollar industry of private education and professional tutoring has become such a profitable endeavor. But investing money in a child’s education doesn’t guarantee their success nor is such a gamble available to everyone. We know, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The vast majority of people rely on public education to prepare their children for the world. And many parents move to and often find work in surrounding areas of those school districts they feel best educate their children. If this is indeed the case, wouldn’t we, as parents, want...
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A fact that shocked me in my early years as a music teacher in the public schools was that parents wanted to know what was happening in music class. I had been told in school that when parents sit around the dinner table and ask how the school day was, it only concerns ‘core subjects’. One day, a parent came to me and thanked me for the stories their child was sharing every night at dinner about what they heard and discovered in music class. She was happy that someone was able to make her son excited to go to school....
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Music education can create communities within school districts. This is an invaluable fact we should all embrace. But it begins with communities of music teachers working together. Teaching cohorts provide the professional support needed to identify and share best practices while empowering music educators with a feeling of community and security. It’s within these cohorts that teachers can identify needs, address budgeting concerns and band together for change creating an overall more positive experience. Our community provides inspirations for the individual music teacher to defend, advocate and secure their position, all of the information is exponentially more powerful when executed as...
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Posted by on in Ideas in Music Education
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I was fortunate enough to work with Jim Sheeley, in Newark Public Schools, NJ. He became my Supervisor of Fine Arts when I was a music teacher for the district. As a boss, he entrusted his music teachers to know what was best for their students. This gave the communities freedom to have the type of musical offering that best served the children. There was no mandate, no requirement, no obligation. It was simply a charge to serve the family and students of the school through music. Now, he couldn’t make miracles happen so there were no windfalls of budgets or...
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