What Are Your 2020 Resolutions for Your Music Classroom?
Three NAfME Members Respond
Music Teacher, Great Valley Academy, Modesto, California
All musicians—regardless of age or musical proficiency—need opportunities to create music. I make a purposeful effort to push
my students to get creative with whatever concept, song, or project we are working on. Once my beginning band learns their first note, they write out a rhythm with that note. Voilà! Their first composition. With every new chord my ukulele students learn, they create a simple sequence of chords to challenge their friends to perform. Student enthusiasm rises tremendously when they create their own music, even if it is simple and easy.
“Student enthusiasm rises tremendously when they create their own music, even if it is simple and easy.”
I let students in on my own musical journey—sharing my own discoveries, struggles, and breakthroughs. I say, “Let me play you a song I am starting to work on,” and then I keep them updated. Let them hear you make mistakes. Perform it for them again once you master it. Ask their opinion on dynamics, phrasing, etc.
I introduce my older students to new music. Play songs they have never heard or a genre they aren’t used to. Highlight a new musician, composer, or band every month—try the Beatles, Louis Armstrong, or Mozart.
Music Teacher, Oakville Elementary School, South St. Louis, Missouri
Be mindful of the whole child. Take into consideration the students’ personality, mental health, physical health, mood, trauma history, and everything else that makes them human beings, not just student musicians.
Practice self-care. Continue to fund and participate in professional development events that are relevant. Read non-music education books. Go for walks outside. Apply lotion. Drink tea. Breathe.
Be a good mentor to my student teacher and my part-time first-year teacher. Remember what it was like to be new to the profession. Impart wisdom, and be encouraging.
“Remember that this may be just another performance for me, but for my students, it may be the only one.”
Recognize the value of preparing for a performance, not just the end product. Take time to teach all the bits and pieces of the curriculum that are embedded in the concert material. Remember that this may be just another performance for me, but for my students, it may be the only one.
Christina DeCarbo said, “Don’t forget to have fun with your students. Dance. Sing. Act. Dress up. Be silly. Laugh. Remember, they are only little once.”
Choir and Orchestra Director, Brentwood Middle School, Greeley, Colorado
As an oboe player, it was quite the learning curve beginning to teach middle school orchestra, choir, and mariachi. That is why
one of my 2020 resolutions as a second-year teacher is to expose myself to more master educators. This means bringing in clinicians to work with my students and attending content-specific clinics and master classes.
“One of my 2020 resolutions as a second-year teacher is to expose myself to more master educators.”
I am also focused on raising money to replace very old string instruments, which are falling apart on a near-daily basis. Some of my orchestra students even share their instruments with up to three other people. Through organizations like Donors Choose and local grants, I have slowly but surely started to replace and expand our inventory.
Another 2020 resolution is to continue to develop my beginner mariachi club—the first ever in our district! Although starting the club has come with its own challenges, I have an incredible group of students who are willing to work hard and learn about this wonderful music. I cannot wait to see what will come of this new group!
What are your 2020 resolutions for your music program? Share them with fellow music educators on Amplify today.
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