In the U.S., the music education curriculum has remained the same. It is easy for music educators to set themselves teaching within a box filled with the expected music curriculum, therefore make their own decisions in their classroom, instead of having students mindfully review and think critically. As a future music educator, I strongly believe it is my responsibility to enrich the development of musical knowledge through different directions and challenge my students to think critically through discussion, the quality of repertoire, adaptive learning, and construct a safe environment and community within my classroom. While always keeping in my mind that my students come from different backgrounds, therefore may learn differently.
While attending high school, I was involved in the choral program. I enjoyed the class because I made music. However, looking back the routine was attend class, grab my music, sit down, listen to my music teacher play my part on the piano and memorize the music that she played for us, voil? a perfect grade for show choir, concert choir, and a cappella. She was not challenging me to expand on my knowledge or creativity as musician and I later understood that when I attended community college. Sadly, my experience in how I learned music is how many other student continues to learn music. The teachers are transmitters feeding information to their students and the students are synapses collecting that information. As if their minds were blank canvases ready to absorb the dashes of paint and preserve them. The curriculum is structured so that students are given the same experience as everyone else and therefore constructs a growth restriction in musical abilities. As a future educator, my belief to prevent the factory model within a classroom is by showing my students how what they are being taught and are learning applies to their past or current lives. I think it is up to us as music educators to help develop self-support in every music student in the classroom. Teaching students how to efficiently read music and giving them the opportunity to independently act on the music given to them helps them develop self-support. It is my duty to behave as an aid and a teammate in education instead of a reference of information. Guiding my students to unravel answers on their own instead of notifying them of what they should know. Asking questions toward my students helps them construct answers based on experiences and what they know, and helps me develop lesson plans for my classroom. Through constructivism they create a bridge connecting what they already know with what they are learning.
As the music educator, it is important to choose repertoire to supply a great number of purposes not because it sounds pretty or to gloat to peers about your choir performing certain pieces. Repertoire should be chosen to help build vocal technique within the rightful vocal range of students, build aural skills based on the students’ musical skills to read music. It should also vary in style to expand the interest in students. If a variety of music is utilized to teach in a classroom the tendency of interest, attention, motivation and learning arises. Choosing music culturally adequate for my class is also important to keep in mind. As an educator, it is important to elaborate on the chosen pieces of music and involve my students to give their independent impute of the music. To challenge them to think critically about the meaning behind the lyrics and music as their own entity and then both together. I’d also share my opinion of the pieces after they share their opinions. I think it is very important that as an educator you share your experiences that are relevant and opinions as well. This tie back with showing your students that not only am I an aid in music education but your partner as well.
It is vital that educators understand that all students learn differently and come from a variety of cultural backgrounds portrayed by different characteristics like gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and economic stance. Teaching in one specific style does not apply to all students to learn the given information. As an educator, I need to get familiarized with my students’ learning styles and inclinations. Observing my students interact with one another, work with one another, and answer questions can help me gather information about my students’ individual attributes. Then by gathering that information I can apply my observations toward planning activity work, group work, choosing music and setting instructions. I can also utilize student-center teaching philosophy to place myself in my students’ shoes and experience the instructions through their eyes this way I can focus on acquiring my student’s needs. Even more so, to be an effective music educator, I believe it is important to acquire four skill sets: personal skills, pedagogical skills, administrative skills and musical skills. Personal skill is required to be an impactful music teacher because it includes coping skills, time management, leadership skills, planning skills, all together help me, as a music educator, create an environment in which the students can learn in a given space most effectively. Pedagogical skills are needed to be an impactful music teacher because it helps run the class effectively and deliver information properly. Administrative skills help achieve demands given from inside and outside the classroom. Lastly, musical skills are needed to be a strong impactful educator able to deliver the material affectively, to transfer musical ideas to the students correctly.
Constructing an inclusive environment arises with the educator, to make students feel safe, physically comfortable, loved, and recognized to effectively learn. Dewey constructed the idea that students should be encouraged to express their feelings, be creative and think critically because what is learned is learned through experience and not entirely through scientific inquiries from students to fully understand music. An opportunity to develop creative abilities in a classroom is if I gave music to my students and asked someone to read the piece and explain what it means to them. Music, like a piece of art, can be interpreted as one may see, feel, and think the meaning within the text and music. Another way to construct a safe and comfortable environment is by delivering enthusiasm toward my students, which gain a positive affect in learning (Kelley & Gorham, 1988, p. 265) on-task behaviors (Bettencourt, Gillett, & Hull, 1983, p. 266) and intrinsic motivation (Patric, Hisley, & Kempler, 200, p. 266). Going back to observing interactions amongst students can give great insight on their behavioral makeup, gathering information and applying it to creating the best environment to teach. For instance if I come to notice that a student has difficulties learning by listening I could then modify my lessons by providing visual boards, utilizing flashcards, and have the student close their eyes and visualize the information to help them learn the material.
The knowledge that one human being believes in you, helps push them to believe in themselves. The support of a teacher can influence to mold an entire future. As an educator, it is my obligation to go that extra mile to help my students achieve their maximum potential not only as musicians but as human beings. Understanding my students’ goals and experiences will help me do more for them. Demonstrating how what they are learning can be applied to their current lives. Help them discover their strength and weaknesses and aid them to strengthen their weaknesses. My goal as a music educator is to inspire passion and spirits in my students not only to learn music but to learn in general.
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