I believe that a good balance of challenging and familiar music, good community, and good student teacher relationships will lead to continuity and student retention. – @LindsayMorelli
In general having kids play for and with each other when you can is perhaps the best recruitment strategy we can use. Students inspire each other the most. -@rizzrazz
“We find that small group opportunities strengthen our large ensembles tenfold. So worth the time.” – @theresawhite
The #MusEdChat held on May 24th, 2010 discussed the importance of chamber ensembles in the music curriculum. The chat was broken into two different parts: “What is the importance of adding chamber groups to the curriculum?”, and “How can we facilitate these opportunities for our students?” [Read more...]
The #MusEdChat on 3/29/2010 focused on making music relevant. The topic for the chat was twofold: “Are traditional ‘band festivals’ outdated?” and “How can we make music more relevant to students’ daily lives?” The discussion on this topic was very in-depth, and quite a few other topics were touched upon as well.
The definition of festivals was given early in the chat as a group that performs in front of judges and is assessed and/or ranked. Many thoughts and concerns were discussed about this type of competing. One concern was raised by @pisanojm. He stated that many groups will go and compete/perform, but won’t stick around to watch other ensembles perform. Most of the chat participants were against this, citing much support for ensembles watching their peers perform. From the teacher’s perspective, @mrsafrit states,”As educators we see the festivals as a way to get feedback on musical areas that we may have missed, if done right.”
The impact of festivals on students was also discussed. A variety of opinions were stated on whether or how festivals help students. Some participants use festivals to motivate students to learn and perform well. @ArnoldJason stated,”There’s nothing wrong with competition, standards and excellence.” On the other hand, many participants were not fond of the idea of ensemble festivals. While some thought that competition takes away from the learning experience, others stated that the real fulfillment of performing comes from community support. Still others stated that students are harder on themselves than judges generally are. There was also much to be said about the publishing of results to the public. Many participants saw this as being generally unhelpful, especially to schools who did not do as well as others but did not necessarily perform poorly.
As the #MusEdChat continued, participants offered alternatives to competition. Collaboration was the most popular suggestion. For example, @brandtschneider suggested,”What if we had ‘Flat Classroom Festival’ and performed for each other–critique–etc? We could set up ning, post videos, etc.” The use of Skype was also suggested for collaboration between ensembles.
Making Music Relevant to Students’ Lives
The chat then moved to the second part of the topic which was, “How do we make music relevant to students’ everyday lives?” Multiple answers were given to this part of the topic. Some participants stated that teachers need to make music fun while also teaching. One way that was suggested to achieve this was to let students choose the music they perform. While this would definitely capture students’ attention, @Zweibz7 posed the argument,”Not sure I entirely agree. The teacher knows what repertoire has educational value.” @thomasjwest also suggested to have a balance between music that will make students learn and music that they choose. Others suggested having small ensembles who perform regularly replace the traditional concert band. Music educators suggested that students learn more effectively and perform more often in small ensembles. @mrsafrit gave a great suggestion for showing students the relevance of music in their lives. She suggested,”Your students want to play a new song you dont have in your library? Make them arrange it. They dont know how? Teach them.”
Join in the #MusEdChat
Chats like this happen every week on Twitter at 8:00 pm. This offers a great opportunity for music teachers and undergrads alike to collaborate on their area of expertise. If you would like to join in but are not familiar with Twitter, learn how to navigate the chat here! We are always open to your suggestions for topics. If you have a suggestion of what to discuss in a #MusEdChat submit it, and don’t forget to vote for what you want to tweet about in the next chat!