The Qualities of an Empowered Music Student

The Qualities of an Empowered Music Student

Wow, it’s been 6 years since Kathryn Finch and I originally wrote this! It’s amazing to think about how far this work has come in that time…a book…and podcast…what’s next?  For a long time, our focus was on engaging the learners and making sure students were “actively engaged” in music making in my classroom. But…

Strategies to Mix Things Up During Rehearsal
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Strategies to Mix Things Up During Rehearsal

We’ve hit the time of year where many of us have settled into routines and (probably) feel pretty comfortable with what we’re doing. This is often when we ask, how can I make rehearsal more interesting? How can I ensure the students are engaged? How can I mix things up? While there is comfort in…

Using Student-Created How-To Videos for Skills Assessment
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Using Student-Created How-To Videos for Skills Assessment

By 2022, most adults have probably watched a how-to video at some point in their lives. Maybe it involved cooking techniques, home repair, or even craft projects. It’s also very likely that students have watched this type of video as well. In fact, there were many days when students would come to class, proud to…

Creativity With Composing Pieces
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Creativity With Composing Pieces

This was post was originally published in July 2021, but has been updated now in September 2022. As the new school year is about to start, remember how important it is to include students in the creative process. Even though my project was completed during hybrid learning, the concepts can definitely transfer now that we’re…

Another Way to Think About Creativity in Music
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Another Way to Think About Creativity in Music

For many music teachers, the creativity standards are the most elusive and sometimes challenging to incorporate. When the National Core Arts Standards were released in 2014, there was a noticeable change in the format and language included in the standards. What were nine simple statements turned into a multi-page document with numerous subsections. The difference…

Empowering Music Students at the Beginning of the Year
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Empowering Music Students at the Beginning of the Year

August 2022: This blog post has gotten a much-needed update! Whether you are about to start the school year or a few weeks in, hopefully it will provide you with simple ways to empower your music students. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that you can only empower music students later in…

How an “Almost Ready” Performance Gives Students Ownership
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How an “Almost Ready” Performance Gives Students Ownership

As musicians, we’ve all been there. It’s the week before a performance and we wonder, am I really ready for this? Ready to get in front of an audience? Do I know the music well enough? Did I prepare everything thoroughly? We add a whole other layer to this when we ask the same questions…

Teach the Students In Front of You
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Teach the Students In Front of You

I’ve heard many people lamenting recently about students musicians who are weak players, behind, or not performing up to expectations. I’m sure this is true in the eyes of the educator, but there are several things we must put into perspective. The last two years have been something else. No one teaching has ever experienced…