Empowering Music Students at the Beginning of the Year

This blog post has been a few weeks in the making – back-to-school this year was an exciting yet exhausting experience. Whether you are a few weeks into your school year or a few months, hopefully this post will provide you with simple ways to empower music students. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that you can only empower music students later in the school year. That you must wait until X, … Continue reading “Empowering Music Students at the Beginning of the Year”

Flipgrid Updates for Music Teachers

This post was updated August 2020 Flipgrid is one tech tool I can’t imagine teaching without. As an instrumental music teacher, I have found countless ways to use Flipgrid in my classroom. Each year Flipgrid comes out with new updates that make this tool even more powerful and fun to use. This post will cover some of the most recent updates, and some other features music teachers will enjoy.  If you haven’t read my original … Continue reading “Flipgrid Updates for Music Teachers”

Five More Ideas to Try After a Concert

Last year around this time I shared five ideas to try after a concert. That post was one of the top-read in 2018, inspiring me to add five more fun activities. While the title says “after a concert,” in reality, you do not have to wait. They would be great for anytime you need something different to do – before a break, during testing time, you name it. Here are five more ideas to try … Continue reading “Five More Ideas to Try After a Concert”

Student-Centered Performances

In a performance-based class it may seem challenging to empower students and create a learner-centered environment. Musical ensembles are director-let by nature. Shifting focus to the students is not impossible, but it requires an open mind and careful planning to make it happen! Here are four ways you can create student-centered ensembles and performances. Student Choice in Repertoire I don’t know if others are like this, but one of my favorite things is programming repertoire! I love … Continue reading “Student-Centered Performances”

Connected Music Students: Skype With a Composer

I’ve written before about how I believe empowered music students should be connected. The word connect, as opposed to collaborate, is intentional. I agree that it’s important for students to collaborate; it is a skill necessary for the 21st-century. But too often people hear the word collaborate and assume that means just with peers. Students working with other students. While this is something I advocate for, I don’t think it can be the end. Students … Continue reading “Connected Music Students: Skype With a Composer”

MIOSM for Empowered Music Students

Music in Our Schools Month (MIOSM®) 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”

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 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”