The Future of Music Education
What’s It Going to Look Like?
By NAfME Member Meghan Cabral
We do not know. As educators, we are planners, we want to know what the next step is. We want to know how we can plan. Music educators may be even greater planners. We want to be able to plan out our year, our music, our curriculum. When we do not know what our classroom will look like, or what our school building will look like, or even when we will return to school, knowing how to plan becomes a task that seems overwhelming or impossible. However, we can attempt to come up with some different approaches, and flipping your classroom, in my own opinion, seems to be one of the educational approaches that we all may need to begin looking at.
Why the Flipped Classroom?
I’ve written many articles and done lots of research on the flipped classroom model. It is something that I have been utilizing in my own classroom now for years. With districts exploring and using Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Edmodo, and so many other platforms, classroom flipping for music educators has become much easier and more attainable.
“With districts exploring and using Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Edmodo, and so many other platforms, classroom flipping for music educators has become much easier and more attainable.”
Through classroom flipping, just like through this distance learning time, we are not trying to reinvent education, but rather enhance education. For years, many teachers were hesitant to flip their classroom in fear that their jobs would not be deemed as important. For years the research has told us that, while flipping the classroom, our jobs are even MORE important, and so many educators, families, districts, and communities are experiencing the importance of in-person education now that so many of us are distance learning.
As many districts are beginning to look at re-entry plans for September, music educators will be looking to see how they can fit our curriculum, our classes, our ensembles into this new plan. Discussions about not allowing large group ensembles, not allowing more than “x” number of students into a classroom, discussions about whether singing is going to be even allowed are happening all over the country. We will need to find ways to change our focus, change our approach, and adapt to this changing world.
So How Do We Adapt?
Let’s utilize this time right now to look at this flipped model. Let’s take the following scenario—your district has decided that they will allow half of the building to come in at a time, so half the grade levels are in one day, and then the next day you swap. How will you make up for that lost time with the other students?
We should look towards classroom flipping videos to be able to enhance our curriculum for when the students are not in school. The great thing about classroom flipped videos is that once you make them, you do not have to remake them. We are talking about teaching concepts and ideas that do not change—rhythms, theory, instrument specific techniques. You can begin to build a library of videos that you can use for all of your students now, as well as into the future.
If you’ve never flipped your classroom until distance learning forced you to, you should take a look through some of the resources provided here. The flipped classroom teaches students an idea or concept in a short video and then has the students demonstrate that concept. These videos would be great for the “off” days when students might not be in school, but they would also be great for when we return to whatever “normal” might be again. Think of using these videos during your “normal” classroom and ensemble. Instead of spending time teaching particular concepts and ideas during class, the students would learn the concepts prior to coming to class, and then during class, you reinforce the concept and ideas.
Take a look at an example: Circle of 5ths
While all educators are trying to find ways to reach their students through distance learning right now, we should capitalize on this time that we have to begin to focus on creating resources for ourselves that we are not only going to apply now in this time, but also use moving forward.
- A New Band Approach
- How to Flip Your Classroom: Technology Ideas for Your Music Program and Rehearsals
- Flip Learning
- Flipping the Ensemble Classroom
- Flipping the Musical Classroom, Part 1: The Ultimate Guide to Flipped Learning
- Strategies for Flipped Music Classrooms
- Flipped Classrooms Put Students and Learning First
- Flippin’ the Band Room
- Curated Resources for Remote Teaching
About the author:
NAfME member Meghan Cabral teaches middle school band in Carmel, New York. Meghan is a GRAMMY-nominated Music Educator Award™ quarterfinalist for 2017. She has written for many music publications including The Instrumentalist, NAfME’s Teaching Music, Music Educators Journal, NYSBDA’s Band Stand, as well as NYSSMA’s School Music News. Meghan is an active guest conductor as well as clinician for music departments and at state conferences. You can follow Meghan by visiting her website. Meghan’s new publication, “A New Band Approach,” was just released that includes flipped classroom videos starting on Day 1 of Beginning Band as well as more advanced flipped classroom videos on enharmonics, whole vs. half steps, circle of 5ths and more. You can follow Meghan on Twitter @band_mcabral, or Instagram @band_cabral
The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides a number of forums for the sharing of information and opinion, including blogs and postings on our website, articles and columns in our magazines and journals, and postings to our Amplify member portal. Unless specifically noted, the views expressed in these media do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Association, its officers, or its employees.