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Mariana Yern 1 Intro to Music Ed

My Philosophy of Music Education


I believe that teaching music is primarily about instilling and developing life-long skills that surpass musical elements, although the latter are also important. Music education should empower, inspire and transcend the classroom. It should evolve with society in order to better meet students needs, while still keeping the values that have transcended from generation to generation. James Comer, a renowned educator, states that no significant learning occurs without a significant relationship, and I agree. Students do not want to learn from someone who does not believe in them, does not respect them, or does not support them when they need help. If we want music education to be successful, we are to be friends, educators and performers. Students need to know and see in us the same disposition, confidence, respect and commitment that we want to see in them. Yes, we are our students role models in the classroom; we might even be the only role models our students will ever have. Whatever we say or do can change a students life. As the saying goes, great power comes with great responsibility. I think that music education should establish a balance between conservatories strict instruction and public schools music classrooms. I was trained to be a professional musician at a conservatory setting in Cuba, which was strict and inspiring at the same time. The skills I learned there allowed me to continue music once I arrived here, and my teachers inspired me to take music outside of the classroom. Many teachers in public school today are not giving students the tools they need to continue music if they wish to do so, or to simply have a great appreciation for it. Therefore, I believe that music can be taught in creative, interactive, practical ways while still providing students with musical skills and knowledge that will be part of them forever. Some ways we can put these ideas into practice are by making jam sessions part of instruction, using technology to present information and teach musical concepts, and incorporating activities that create the need to know attitude in students. As Thibeault states, we need a way to move forward so students and teachers can construct music education where music making and music learning go hand in hand. One of the things I realized about my musical upbringing was that teachers did not allow students to have a voice. Instruction was teacher centered most of the time, and we did not engage in discussions where we could express our opinions. I think that instruction should be both teacher centered and student centered. There is a time for everything during a class; time for the teacher to lead, and time for the students to lead with the supervision of the teacher. Giving students a voice is extremely important because it makes them part of the learning process, which results in them taking responsibility for their individual learning. Some ways teachers can incorporate students in the learning process is by bringing their interests into the classroom. An example of this is using popular music to show students that the musical

Mariana Yern 2 Intro to Music Ed

elements found in these pieces come from the past, and that music can be understood regardless of its time period because it is all about human emotions. Therefore, popular music is the bridge to connect students with Classical music, as Lucy Green talks about in her article. Music Education is facing many challenges and limitations today. Music teachers do not have a voice in educational reforms, budget cuts, teacher certificate mandates, curricular mandates, legal laws, and students assessments that restrict our freedom as teachers. Therefore, teachers feel powerless when faced with the high expectation our principals, colleagues and government have of them, when the resources they work with do not facilitate the requirements they have to meet. Many times, schools schedules do not work for music teachers, so they need to find after school time to accomplish the high - stake concerts the principals want. Also, most schools do not give music programs any budget, making music teachers responsible to raise the necessary funds. All of these challenges involve extra time and effort that they do not get paid for, and after years of trying to make it on their own, they simply quit their position. All of these challenges can be overcome if teachers unite to discuss these issues and support each other. Developing successful music education programs cannot be done in isolation, but only if all music teachers collaborate, and keep learning from each other on a regular basis. It is also important to involve the community by hosting community concerts, creating community awareness and support, and developing community music programs. As teachers, we should be advocates of our profession in our communities and schools. We should enrich our communities by introducing them to different styles of music. As R. Jorgensen said, we are in a position to imbue lived life with imaginative thought and practice and nourish the hearts, minds, souls, and bodies of young and old alike. My vision as a future professional is to be a music teacher at any level I am given, and to meet my students needs above everything else. I envision music education programs that inspire students to become musicians in the future, and that will educate students to appreciate and support music. I also visualize music education to teach the values and morals that do not evolve, but that transcend generations. Even though the fruit of our effort might not be immediate, I know that our grain of salt will become a mountain that will change a generation. We can be our kids champions because we were born to make a difference. As Jorgensen said, we can take heart in the long-term consequences of, and our responsibilities for, musical instruction in schools, colleges, and universities that are manifest in the rich and diverse musical life of this nation.