MIOSM for Empowered Music Students

Music in Our Schools Month (MIOSMĀ®) is a great time for educators to showcase the fantastic things happening within their music programs. Throughout March, music departments all over the country put extra effort into making music front and center in their districts. This year I’m going to ask you to take that one step further. During MIOSM, instead of just making sure your program is front and center, I want you to make sure your … Continue reading “MIOSM for Empowered Music Students”

Apps for Beginning Band and Orchestra

It’s no secret; I am a fan of technology in education! All of my 4th and 5th-grade students have school-issued iPads. I enjoy using the iPads in my elementary band and orchestra classes and have found several apps that work well in this setting. While I would never advocate for using technology exclusively in an instrumental music class (they need to play the instruments, right?) it can be a great supplement. Here are my favorite … Continue reading “Apps for Beginning Band and Orchestra”

Organizing Multiple Ensembles

Anyone who conducts multiple ensembles or prepares for multiple performances knows it can be challenging to keep track of every group. What was covered during rehearsal?  What sections need more work? When were run-throughs were executed? The list goes on. Personally, I teach four separate ensembles during the school week – 4th-grade band, 4th-grade orchestra, 5th-grade band, and 5th-grade orchestra. Also, this winter I am also directing the County Junior Honors Band, and I work … Continue reading “Organizing Multiple Ensembles”

Singing in the Band Room: Adventures in Conversational Solfege

Most band directors would agree that singing is an important part of instrumental music. Most band directors would also agree that this is easier said than done! It wasn’t until I began playing in collegiate ensembles that singing seemed like a natural (and effective) part of the band rehearsal. As a teacher, when asking my students to sing during rehearsal I often felt like something was missing. That we weren’t quite doing it right. The … Continue reading “Singing in the Band Room: Adventures in Conversational Solfege”

Student Jobs in Music Classes

As I work to empower my students, this year I added student jobs in band and orchestra. At the beginning of the year, we talked about responsibility. Everyone has a responsibility to themselves and to the group. With the addition of jobs, students now get to fulfill specific roles during instrumental lessons and rehearsals to help with functionality and team building. For each job, I created a badge with the title and job description and … Continue reading “Student Jobs in Music Classes”

Top Five Blog Posts of 2018

2018 marks the first full calendar year that I have been blogging, and what a year it’s been! I have found tremendous value in writing and looking back at the blog stats, others have too. Inspired by other “Top 5” posts, here are my five most-read blog posts from 2018. The Qualities of an Empowered Music Student This post was probably my favorite to write in 2018! Co-written with Kathryn Finch, we discuss six qualities … Continue reading “Top Five Blog Posts of 2018”

The Beginning Instrumental Informance

The first performance for beginning instrumentalists is a topic frequently debated. Some believe it should take place as soon as possible, in as little as eight weeks, while others think beginners should not perform until the end of the school year when the group is more “polished.” I can see the rationale in both approaches, but I don’t think it’s as simple as one being better than the other. Often it depends on the structure … Continue reading “The Beginning Instrumental Informance”

Nuggets from VMEA

Now that I am entering my third year as a Virginia resident and teacher I figured it was time to finally attend VMEA! To ensure it happened, I submitted three session proposals last spring. Two were accepted, which was excellent – attending the conference was meant to be. (Feel free to check out the presentations here.) I love learning and will do so at any opportunity. Additionally, there is so much value in stepping away from … Continue reading “Nuggets from VMEA”

The Empowered Music Student is Connected

Gone are the days of being isolated in the far corner of the school! With technology, music teachers have found a variety of ways to connect with other music teachers around the country and the world. We have discovered the value of a PLN, using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and everything in between. With it now being so easy, there is no excuse to not reach beyond the four walls of your classroom and connect students with … Continue reading “The Empowered Music Student is Connected”

Google Slides in Music

You may be aware that I love all things Google. There are so many fabulous tools for education, and they seem to get better every day. One of the most versatile tools is Google Slides! I taught a few PD workshops this summer on the topic and wanted to share some ideas here. As music teachers, our focus is the music. Technology is great, but only if it can support the music. And that is … Continue reading “Google Slides in Music”