Planning With Not For: Involving Students in Concert Preparations

It’s almost that time of year: concert season! For some music teachers, this could be the first live performance in two years. There might be safety measures in place, or maybe there isn’t an audience in-person. For other teachers, this could be an opportunity to try something new, or a return to a much loved tradition. Whatever the case, I encourage you to think about one thing this concert season: how can you plan with … Continue reading “Planning With Not For: Involving Students in Concert Preparations”

Getting Started with Google Jamboard

October 2021 – this post has gotten an update! Check out these Jamboard updates and some new ideas for how to use it in music classes. I see the irony that my last post was about understanding your WHY in the classroom prior to determining your WHAT, and today I am starting another series on specific tech tools. However, with the school year beginning soon in many parts of the US, I know getting information … Continue reading “Getting Started with Google Jamboard”

Podcasting in the Music Room

I’ve always been one to try new things in the classroom. I like to experiment and I’m not afraid to take a risk. However, student musicianship is always at the center of each of these experiments. I want students creating music and learning about music in a way that’s meaningful to them. Last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our ability to make music together was limited. When the students returned to the classroom in … Continue reading “Podcasting in the Music Room”

Creativity With Composing Pieces

At the beginning of last school year I knew regardless of the teaching modality – virtual, hybrid, or some combination of the two – I wanted to expose my students to a variety of diverse music and composers. I also knew that incorporating student creativity was very important. After some research I found Jodie Blackshaw’s piece, 13 Moons, which fit both categories perfectly. 13 Moons: Four Composing Pieces for Wind Bands of All Ages was … Continue reading “Creativity With Composing Pieces”

Use Student Leaders to Empower Your Musicians

Many music teachers look back at their own school music experience and have fond memories of being a student leader. They may have been a section leader, a drum major, or a concertmaster. Typically, leadership roles are given to the most experienced musicians, and it’s an honor to hold the title. While these positions are important for many reasons, musical and otherwise, it’s important to remember that student leaders can exist outside the high school … Continue reading “Use Student Leaders to Empower Your Musicians”

Top Five Blog Posts of 2020

Each December I like to look back at the blog to reflect on the year. Which posts were the most read? When was I most consistent in publishing? Were there any noticeable themes? Given the events of the year, it’s no surprise that a big focus was technology and almost all blog posts incorporated that in some way! Many music teachers were looking for ideas and support in this area as instruction was forced online. … Continue reading “Top Five Blog Posts of 2020”

Increase Ownership Through Score Study

As a band director, I love studying new pieces of music. It was one of my favorite things while working towards my master’s degree in instrumental wind conducting. I enjoy digging into a new piece to discover its nuances and details. Dedicating time to score study increases my capacity to teach the piece to my students effectively and efficiently. Score study often comes to mind as I think about how my middle school band students … Continue reading “Increase Ownership Through Score Study”

Don’t Ask What, Ask Why

Last week my school district made what I’m sure was a tough decision: we will start the year virtually. While I know there are many viewpoints on this subject, I’m not here to debate them, I feel relieved that I can now make plans for this upcoming, unprecedented, school year. A lot of the content on social media related to virtual and distance learning has to do with the latest and greatest tools. And this … Continue reading “Don’t Ask What, Ask Why”

Playing an Infinite Game

One of my favorite things in the summer is to catch up on all the books I purchased during the school year and didn’t have time to read. I buy them with the best intentions, but it will often take weeks or even months to finish reading one book. In March, right before the world locked down for COVID-19, I saw Simon Sinek speak in Washington D.C. Simon Sinek is the author of several well-known … Continue reading “Playing an Infinite Game”

From a Distance: Let Students Create

Over the last few weeks I’ve said several times that trying to recreate our classrooms while distance learning isn’t where we should put our energy. The two aren’t the same, especially considering the fact that this isn’t exactly “distance learning” – it’s attempting education during a pandemic. Instead, we should Focus on What We Can Do right now. We can try new things, experiment, and give students the opportunity to take ownership of their music … Continue reading “From a Distance: Let Students Create”