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
Participants of the #MusEdChat held on April 12, 2010 discussed the topic, “How can we keep music programs successful through grades K-12? How can we create smooth transitions between schools?” Great thoughts were shared by a lot of people on thoughts related directly to this topic, and to things affected by this topic. With 43 contributers and 687 tweets, this was our largest chat to date!
Levels in K-12 Program
The chat started by participants distinguishing multiple ways that K-12 music programs are broken up in terms of grade level. It seemed as though most programs had grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. @Zweibz7 then challenged everyone to think about whether one level of a program should have a priority over the others. Most of the chat participants agreed that no level should necessarily have priority over another, but music teachers agree that all of the teachers in their department, from elementary through high school, need to be on the same page in regard to curriculum. Multiple teachers also tweeted that having a department supervisor makes curriculum challenges much easier to overcome. In addition to this, music teachers shared how often their departments meet, and what they talk about in these meetings. The frequency of department meetings ranged anywhere from never to once every seven school days. Topics covered include curriculum, attrition, retention and instrumentation among others. Music teachers also discussed how to deal with other teachers in the department who don’t cooperate in department meetings. Many suggestions were made, including the importance of compromise and the involvement of administrators.
Recruitment and Retention
The participants then shifted to talking about how to get students to get involved with band chorus and orchestra, and strategies to keep them involved. Many participants cited collaboration between older and younger students as being a successful recruitment and retention technique. Many music teachers recommended taking older ensembles to perform for elementary ensembles. This seems to be a great way for students to feel more comfortable moving up into ensembles when they switch schools or grades. @NeutronGirl proposed an idea for retention : “How to retain students over difficult middle years? Let them play as much as possible. Give them musical confidence.” Others take older students to talk with younger students, which works well for recruitment. As stated by
@Zweibz7, ” It’s vital that students from different levels interact with each other. Middle School students need to know that being in High School band is FUN!”
Significance of Elementary Music
Elementary music was another topic that came up in the #MusEdChat. Most of the teachers and undergrads agreed that elementary music is vital to the complete education of students. But participants sought to define why music education is important at this level. Everybody who commented on this specific topic agreed that the most important goal in teaching music to these students is to foster a love of music in them. If this is achieved, students will want to move on to other ensembles and performing opportunities later. In addition to this main objective, others were suggested including music literacy and preparation for future ensembles.
Near the end of this #MusEdChat, the music teachers and undergrads tweeted about the lack of class time for music classes. So @Doremigirl posed the question, “So how do bring everyone together in a school district? How do we prepare our students well within limited class time?” Responses to this all revolved around teacher organization. Music teachers need to know exactly what they want to accomplish during their class time, and have a plan of how to accomplish it within the time constraints.
At the end of this #MusEdChat, @pisanojm offered a quote that needs to be considered in every aspect of curriculum development an execution. He stated, “No Joy = No Fun = No Kids = No FUNding.”
I encourage you explore all of the fantastic ideas from many people by checking out the transcript of this chat.
Join in the Chat!
The #MusEdChat is held every Monday evening at 8:00 pm EST on Twitter. If you aren’t familiar with Twitter, refer to the #MusEdChat page to learn more about it. Hope to see you at the next chat!