As owner of Dr. Stafford's Musical Cures , I support Black Lives Matter and stands in solidarity with Black friends, colleagues, students and loved ones. The treatment of Black people in relation to white people is a travesty. I am is dedicated to providing resources and information on racism and recognizing the white privilege with which I live. Additionally, I pledge to help fight against any police brutality, support officers who are making a positive difference. As a member of AOSA  , OAKE , and NAfME, I also stand by their pledges to support their Black members. And I will continue to provide resources and information on teaching music, a way to help the world heal. A Little Bit about White Privilege and Teaching In the midst of a pandemic, learning online teaching, figuring out where to get masks, whether not we listen to the advice of the CDC, WHO, or our friends' memes..........amid all that confusion......... A man was killed. Maybe he passed a counterfeit bill. May...
For many of you, the "school year" (as it was) is winding down. However, you aren't sure what the fall will bring. Will you be in the classroom? Will you be teaching remotely again? Will you be doing a combination of both? It makes it difficult to plan. One possible strategy is utilizing as many online sources as possible that can be introduced fairly simply in the classroom, makes great class assignments, can be utilized as independent learning tools, and be ready at a notice to be utilized for home learning. Enter Boom Learning ℠, which is utilized with Boom Cards™. Boom Cards™ are literally decks of interactive cards that can be assigned either through student IDs or through a process called Fast Play. With Fast Play, students can work in groups or you can use an interactive board. You do not need a paid account to access Fast Play. However, you cannot collect student data. With one of the paid programs on Boom Learning℠, you can collect student data, assign car...
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...