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”

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”

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”

Personalized Learning – a Year in Review

Now that the year is over I have been trying to analyze how things went and begin plans for next year. I had several goals, as there were many new things I wanted to try. Personalized learning was at the center of everything, and I wrote about it here several times. If you haven’t read my other posts about personalized learning, check them out first: Personalized Learning: Part 1, Personalized Learning: Part 2, Personalized Learning: Part 3, How it … Continue reading “Personalized Learning – a Year in Review”

Five Ideas to Try After a Concert

This is the time of year where we see posts on social media about what to do after a concert, what to do during testing, and even, what to do when your students can’t to play because of noise during testing! So, whether any of these scenarios resonate with you, or if you are looking for something different to try, here are five ideas that will motivate learners, tap into creativity, and help you move towards … Continue reading “Five Ideas to Try After a Concert”