Blogging the Standards

Today’s students are “digital natives,” says NAfME member Kathleen Kerstetter. She uses blogging to give students an audience and an authentic reason to write about music and music experiences, and blogging satisfies requirements for increased written communication and technology literacy.

Here are some of Kerstetter’s suggestions for using blogs in general music (from her article “Instructional Blogging in the General Music Room,” General Music Today, October 2010).

Listening Log (Nation Standard 6):

Ask students to respond to a listening lesson via a blog about the Song of the Day. To meet benchmarks for Standard 6 (a), students can describe specific music events in a given aural example using appropriate terminology.

Evaluating Music (National Standard 7):

Ask students to evaluate a shared music experience (such as a concert), or embed a video performance as a blog prompt. Try linking to secure sites (TeacherTube or SchoolTube) so students can view performances from around the world. They can discuss and create evaluation criteria for two different performances of the same repertoire.

Vote on the Grammys (National Standard 9):

Take advantage of all the categories in the Grammy awards to ask students to describe distinguishing characteristics of music genres using music from their daily lives. Students can also discuss the varied roles in the music profession.

Personal Music Experience:

Help students understand the many facets of music in their lives by encouraging them to blog about their music experiences outside school. Prompt them to think how they use music for emotional expression, communication, entertainment, physical response, etc.

Reflective Practice:

Ask students to reflect on a composition or arranging project they’ve just completed.

Kerstetter provides a sample blog prompt for each of these activities. She also suggests blog-hosting sites, cautioning against sites that require external student e-mail addresses. She defines blogs and gives examples of educational foundations for blogging, such as scaffolding, the social component of learning, and guided discovery.

Read the full article in the October 2010 issue of General Music Today.

Kathleen Kerstetter is an assistant professor and the coordinator of music education at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.

—Linda C. Brown, originally posted October 20, 2010, © National Association for Music Education (