High-Quality Music Teaching, Part 6

“Infuse your teaching with responsibility, respect, leadership, cooperation, compassion, integrity, loyalty, and service,” says Alfred S. Townsend.

“Your music program will benefit from students who contribute positively as artist-citizens of a global society,” Townsend adds.

To help your students develop character and avoid being self-absorbed and disengaged, Townsend suggests:

  • Make it clear through your words and deeds that character counts and that your students’ commitment to excellence in all areas is expected and appreciated.
  • Never ask students to work harder than you do.  This includes their schoolwork, but more so, the way they treat themselves and others. You are the model for the future.
  • Consistently create a culture of character.  In your classrooms and rehearsals, make sure all students are treated (by you and all students) with respect and dignity.

“The field of education is tailor-made to build character,” Townsend says. As a music teacher, you deal with a central aspect of the human spirit. “Lift your students beyond the ordinary.”

“You are the expert driver of quality,” Townsend concludes, “and it is you who will put music education in the front seat to take your students to new destinations of depth, discernment, and fulfillment.”

This six-part series is adapted from “Driving Music Education: Who’s at the Wheel?” a Lectern column by Alfred S. Townsend printed in the August 2008 issue of Teaching Music.

MENC member Alfred S. Townsend is the first appointee to the F. Ludwig Diehn Endowed Chair in Instrumental Music Education in the music department of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate music education courses. His current research includes developing a research-based philosophy of teaching and learning, and connecting parents with learning what their children are studying in music classrooms.

–Ella Wilcox, Feb. 2, 2011, © National Association for Music Education (www.nafme.org)