Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the TI:ME National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky as a part of the first-ever TI:ME Leadership Academy. I was chosen as one of eight music education students to participate in this academy, and was blown away by the incredible ideas and conversations generated by participants and instructors alike.
- Ann Dorgan, Senior Music Education Major, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
- Matt Ercolani, Junior Music Education Major, Rowan University
- Brian Rivers, Junior Music Education Major, University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music
- Alyssa Hoffert, Senior Music Education Major, Case Western Reserve University/ Cleveland Institute of Music
- T.J. Wolfgram, Senior Music Education Major, University of Michigan
- Sophie Taft, Senior Music Education Major, Northwestern University
- Camden Ritchie, Master’s Student/Graduate Assistant, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
- Andrew Ritenour, Senior Music Education Major, Grove City College
- Rick Dammers, Chair of the Music Department, Rowan University
- Dave Williams, Professor Emeritus of Music and Arts Technology, Illinois State University
- V.J. Manzo, Music Technology Director, Montclair State University
The Other 80%
The participants and instructors of the 2012 TI:ME Leadership Academy discussed the research done concerning music education at the high school level referred to as The Other 80%. The research shows a pyramid effect, where there is a large number of students receiving a music education at the elementary grades. As grade levels increase, a smaller number of students are reached by music education with the largest drop occurring around the high school grades. This leaves the percentage of high school students receiving some kind of music instruction during the school day around 20%. Much of our discussion used this research as a starting point, exploring both the positive effects and concerns about changing curriculum to include these students. One of the biggest fears often expressed by teachers is that offering courses in music technology would take students away from traditional ensembles, causing numbers to drop. But research actually shows that this does not usually happen and in many cases, music technology courses recruit students to participate in traditional performing ensembles.
The Non-Traditional Music Student
Many great thoughts were shared on how to engage and reach this other 80% of students in high schools, referred to as the non-traditional music student. Making up the large majority of the student body, this student is not the typical band/chorus/orchestra/music theory student. Rather they are the students involved in rock bands or audio recording. The leadership academy discussed the fact that these students are at a severe disadvantage in our music education curriculum today as there are often no courses offered to help them create and perform music.
TI:ME Leadership Academy
The Leadership Academy brainstormed ways to reach the non-traditional music student using music technology. The participants were assigned the task to create a 3-lesson unit plan using music technology that would engage non-traditional music students and reach out to the other 80% of students who don’t participate in traditional performing ensembles. This task required quite a bit of out-of-the-box thinking and consideration of new software, hardware and web-based resources. Using software including GarageBand and Mixcraft, Audacity, Ableton Live, hardware like the Blue Snowball Mics and Zoom H4N Handheld Audio Recorders, and online resources like Aviary’s Myna, Tone Mantrix and Noteflight, the Leadership Academy participants created several effective plans to reach these students. Since non-traditional music students often can’t read music, notate rhythm or have basic music theory knowledge, these lesson plans involved quite a bit of differentiated instruction designed to scaffold each student from their individual level of understanding, to a platform where they could make and understand music.
Overall, the TI:ME Leadership Academy discussed and agreed upon the need for current music curriculum to be expanded to include music technology. Society and times are constantly changing. In order for music education to remain relevant to our society and to our students, our instruction must change and our curriculums must expand. While the core aspects and standards of our curriculum will remain the same, we must find a way to not only change the way we teach this curriculum, but broaden its to reach as many students as we can. Music technology offers many opportunities for music education to remain relevant in our students’ lives.
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A special thanks goes out to Dr. Rick Dammers, Dr. David Williams and V.J. Manzo for their outstanding teaching and inspiration! Check out other reflections from the Leadership Academy!
- 2012 TI:ME Leadership Academy Reflection
- Collegiate Leadership Academy at MENC’s Music Ed Week
- 2012 TI:ME/JEN Annual National Conference
- BREAKING: Select Academies FREE to CMENC Members
- #MusEdChat Recap – Student Leadership (7-12-2010)