Teaching middle school tends to be “the road less traveled” for many new music educators. Sometimes this can be due to a lack of targeted training for middle school music, but more often it’s a fear of not knowing how to work with the physical and psychological changes experienced by this age group. Thankfully, there are experienced mentors like Cristi Miller who are more than willing to help other teachers develop skills that work for their classrooms. Miller is a frequent clinician at choral workshops such as the Joy of Singing, and Pepper was able to sit down with her to talk about teaching, composing, and inspiring the next generation.
Sight reading is a wonderful assessment of musical literacy, but it can take time for students to learn this skill. This is why I advocate for having an organized and methodical plan to give students sight reading opportunities throughout the year. Over the course of my 26 years of teaching music in Texas, I have found that focusing time on sight reading each week has really paid off. First, the amount of preparation time for our formal concert literature has been reduced. Secondly, our performance quality has improved, providing a much deeper musical experience for the audience.
Most people know Leonard Bernstein as a world-renowned composer and conductor whose contributions to music and culture can be heard in concert halls around the world. Less known are his contributions to education, but they are no less impactful. Since the 1990s more than 250,000 students have been exposed to an educational method Bernstein created called Artful Learning®.
Over a period of two years, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has strengthened its partnership with an exciting program that is building connections between music educators. American Young Voices hosts the largest school choral concerts in the world in five cities for music students in grades 2 through 8 and their teachers.
Clinician, conductor, and composer Michael John Trotta is one of the bright young minds of modern choral music. His work has been performed at Carnegie Hall and featured at several national conferences, with recordings of his compositions broadcast worldwide. Pepper had the opportunity to sit down with Trotta to discuss his background, inspiration, views on education, and some of his most successful works. Continue Reading…
There’s an old joke that just about every musician has heard that starts, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The punch line, of course, is simply, “practice.” You are probably rolling your eyes at the moment, having known that joke for decades, but you also know that the truth is often said in jest – even if it’s not a particularly good jest.
This past summer, Pepper had the pleasure of hosting four of the nation’s top clinicians for a recent Joy of Singing workshop. While they were here, we brought them together to discuss their experiences with teaching, focusing especially on middle school. Before you watch the video, here’s some background on each clinician as well as a glimpse at their thoughts on working with middle school students:
There are many moving parts involved in managing music ensembles. Between keeping track of inventory, communicating with students and parents, coordinating volunteers, planning trips, and keeping track of finances, music teachers often need a variety of tools to keep their groups running smoothly.
A dedicated music tech lab is a terrific way to supplement and reinforce the learning that is happening in the classroom and through ensemble work. A dedicated music tech lab allows students to:
Like many other teachers, I have been exposed to learning management systems (LMSs) through professional development, online courses and even some face-to-face coursework. Early LMSs were a neat new technology and they certainly piqued our interest, but they were also fairly clunky and difficult to use in the early stages. A new LMS called MusicFirst is about to change that!