This session was an interactive session intended for any music teacher who wanted to reawaken their passion for music teaching. It included lots of paired discussion about feelings and burnout, as well as provided methods for self-care and a reminder that music teachers are making an impact.
I was a little skeptical of this session at first because it did not seem to contain any "meaty," pedagogical content. However, this session was just what I needed during VMEA - a chance to remind myself of why I want to teach, recognize and learn about different self-care techniques, and just breathe. My favorite part of this session was either at the beginning when we did a group stretch/exercise routine or at the end when we said a meditation chant as a group. I enjoyed the stretching routine because it got my blood flowing and reminded me that I need to be physically active to help keep my body healthy and be the "best me" I can be for my students. The meditation portion was extremely calming and the chant spoken was a good reminder of why our teaching is important and impactful.
In this session, the presenters shared best practices and lesson ideas based on their own experience teaching music classes for self-contained special education students and general education students. It also included group brainstorming and discussion on various musical, life skills, and IEP goals that students could learn in a music classroom.
I found it really helpful to have a special education teacher presenting alongside the music teacher because they could give insight into IEP goals and not only musical goals. It was also beneficial for me to hear concrete examples of musical goals, socThey presented a plethora of resources that I had not heard of before that I am excited to use in my future classroom.
During this session, the presenters explained one of their methods in teaching upper elementary students how to be creative and write their own songs by demonstrating how changing perspectives can affect everything in a story. They had participants re-imagine a familiar story from a different perspective to create an "I see" song.
I decided to go to this session because Michele Kaschub and Janice Smith were the presenters and I had referenced their research and work as part of my own research for my songwriting projects in Harrisonburg, VA and in China. I loved this session - it was engaging, helpful, and fun! It was helpful to hear how they ask questions to students to help them compose, as well as helpful for me to learn more about how they engage students using the five compositional capacities. I had a enjoyable time beginning to compose a song from a different perspective of a minor prop/character in a fairytale I was very familiar with. It reminded me of Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development where I was comfortable with a certain fairytale, but was pushed to think and compose in different ways with a different perspective.
This session demonstrated how to use mainstream technologies, such as electronic instruments and web-based interfaces, to help special learners make meaningful music. The presenters explained how teachers can create inclusive environments for special learners that address each student's individual needs.
I appreciated how the presenter showed us a variety of real-life situations of students with varying needs and how he was able to find different tools to help them create music in a way that was enjoyable and challenging to them. It was insightful to see the process that led up to the creation of a final product; it was a good reminder that final products start out as singing a simple "Hello" song every class period. The presenters also gave a great list of online resources that I had never heard of before such as Chrome Music Lab that are accessible and helpful for students.
In this session, participants engaged with the story Mama Don't Allow by Thacher Hurd using recorders and various auxiliary percussion instruments. The presenter demonstrated how to teach recorder through a storybook, as well as how to use repetition to help learners develop fine motor skills, reading notation skills, and improvisation skills.
At first, I was wary of this session because they gave me a free recorder sponsored by West Music and presentations with sponsored products are sometimes not as beneficial. However, this presentation was worthwhile for me to attend because I got to see some of the pedagogical principles and activities from my MUED 380 course being used by the presenter as they taught recorder through a storybook, rather than through just reading notation. The presenter also demonstrated ways for students to improvise while learning the notes and ways to wind the activities forward and backwards depending on the student's needs. I appreciated that the presenter explained that this process would occur over the course of several weeks for students to remember how to play and how to play well. I have a tendency to be amazed at the speed at which I learn these lessons at conferences and question how all this can be done in a classroom setting. However, with the reminder that it takes time and incremental, sequential steps, it seems more realistic.
This session included hands-on activities and ideas on how to teach music composition in the classroom. The presenter explained the need for developing creative thinking in students and helped us brainstorm questions to facilitate teaching composition. This session also provided many activities, such as media poems and soundscapes, to help learners to start composing.
I thought this session provided a plethora of activities and techniques that I could use in a general music classroom to engage my students in composition. I also appreciated how Adriana, the presenter, began her session with the reasons WHY composition was important to teach in a music classroom from the very start of a learner's musical journey. It was not simply activities - there was a pedagogical reason and flow to the activities she demonstrated. I also thought it was beneficial that she showed videos of the activities or had the people listening to the session try out the activities ourselves so that we knew exactly what she meant from her slides.
Music has been and will always be a way for me to connect with other people. I love sharing my meaningful experiences about music making, like a podcast I made or a song I wrote, and explaining how music can be a huge conduit for growth, and a connector within communities. During my time at JMU, I’ve learned to engage with others in interesting and accessible ways through music, and not just by teaching musical instruments or playing in an ensemble. One of these ways has been through a project I co-created in my MUS150 course called Draw Your Own Music. I have also gotten to work JMUke events and teach lessons at the Creative Kids Co-Op.
This past summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Wuhan, China to do research and co-teach at an international school. One of my biggest takeaways was that engaging with others means living life alongside them. It is discovering and participating in their interests and sharing your own. My time at JMU has shown me that I can engage with my music education community, but that I can and should use my musical connections as a way to participate in the JMU community and the greater Harrisonburg community. Engaging with others well requires intentionality, vulnerability, and participation.
Below is the final product of my Honors Capstone Project!
Here I will share experiences of my engagement in community.