First published on May 11, 2020 This has been a rough, rough 2-3 months for the world. And, in the United States, citizens had to adapt in a myriad of ways in order to protect themselves and their loved ones from the coronovirus Covid-19. As you know, teachers have had to immediately learn how to provide instruction remotely, adapting on the fly, while they and their students stayed at home during the social/physical distancing requirements. For music teachers in particular, the challenge was augmented because of the performance aspect of the discipline. It was not easy for students to "musick" over Zoom or other platforms. And, according to the CDC  guidlines, re-entry into the school building does not mean that life is "back to normal". I want to share some thoughts that, although maybe a little jumbled, reflect what I would be thinking if I was still teaching. I definitely think these in my new position as a church music director. One item of particular conc...
     As I write this, the United States is going through the Covid-19 uproar. Schools are closed, and teachers are delivering instruction remotely. Many businesses and social venues are closed. People are nervous about their health and the health of their loved ones. Honestly, it's a scary time. As a music teacher, you are probably scrambling to find relevant online sources to provide your students with the best opportunities to "music", or experience music as a verb. It's not easy. But, we know as musicians, our art is a human necessity for emotional outlets during stress.  But go back to your life "before" corona. It was probably made up of ensemble or program rehearsals, faculty meetings, making lesson plans, attending professional development, and tending to your own family.      Now think back to the first time you just knew you were going into music somehow. For me, it was eighth grade. Band was my jam. I loved that it gave me someone that was...
I'm pretty sure you know all about COVID-19, a viral disease that is pretty well turning the lives of citizens of the globe upside down.  The strongest, and most logical, advice given to prevent the spread is to thoroughly wash hands and avoid crowds. Unfortunately, the testing system for the virus is still, at this writing, not catching up with those who are carrying it. Sports events, concerts, local events, places of worship....all are canceling until further notice. One of the most obvious germ-collecting areas, of course, are schools. Not only are there students who get sent to school with a fever because a parent or guardian cannot afford to take a day off, but there are students with conditions that cause them to be immunosuppressed. For the protection of everyone, many states are calling off school after spring breaks to allow those who might be infected to be quarantined, preventing the illness from spreading further.  But, pathogens that cause pandemics aren't t...
Our students are dealing with so much in their lives. The Annie Casey Foundation  website states that more than one in five children experience multiple adverse experiences.  You probably have children whose parents knowingly or unknowingly provide negative feedback, sometimes within earshot of other people. Other parents (and teachers!) can have unrealistically high expectations of their students. Quite a few students are  bullied . Other students have difficulty with standard learning and test taking. All of these situations can contribute to a closed mindset. What is a closed mindset? According to Dr.Diana Allan of Missouri Southern State Univ ersity, a mindset is "the lens through which we view our world". (Source, clinic at Missouri Music Educators Conference). People with closed mindsets: Avoid challenges Give up easily See efforts as fruitless Ignore useful negative feedback Are threatened by the success of others  On the other hand, people wit...
       I was excited to get into my new music room this week. I knew it had a large closet from my interview tour, even though I really didn't get to investigate it all that much. I knew that my position, a second music teacher, had been filled by a full-term substitute who wasn't a certified music teacher, but a preschool teacher. I knew she had only taught PreK-2 music. And it's all good! I had experience starting from scratch, with little to no music equipment. And I knew that the other music teacher in the building had taught 3-5, so she had the instruments and the piano. I was already primed to write grants, do Donors Choose, and to put my "Orff without instruments" and my Kodàly training to good use without relying on lots of money. However, when I saw the closet: Actually, I wasn't terrified. There were "dumpsters on wheels" in the hall. The principal, however, was astounded at the non-musical things in the closet. (She is ne...
Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks: Going into a New Position After Years in a Previous One First of all, it's been more than a year since I have posted in my blog or kept up with my store. But the good news is: I have finally completed my Ph.D.! It was a terrific, terrifying, rewarding, and revealing process for me, one about which I will blog later. As I was working on my dissertation, many other things had to take a back burner, and that's OK! So, 2018-2019 has brought quite a few changes for my family. My oldest daughter and her husband will be moving closer to home. My youngest got married in fall, 2018 (so I cheat on the year a little). We adopted an adorable 2-year-old mama dog in 2018. I completed my  Kodály  Level III in 2019. AND, I graduated with my Ph.D. AND retired! Well, maybe not..... The game plan my husband and I developed for me several years ago was to get my Ph.D., work three years, and then retire with that nice bump in retirement salary (our three ...