In a world that is hungry for new technology and greater efficiency, creative minds are an essential resource. Creativity is where the vision of tomorrow’s technology is created and how the bridge between what exists now and what will exist tomorrow is crossed. President Barack Obama said, “The future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create.” Music education, particularly, fosters the creativity businesses and employers are seeking. Bill Clinton stated the need for music education perfectly when he said, “Music is about communication, creativity, and cooperation, and by studying music in schools, students have the opportunity to build on these skills, enrich their lives, and experience the world from a new perspective.
Since my first experience with choral music in junior high, I have wanted to teach music. At that age, I didn’t fit into a well defined social “mold” and usually felt somewhat outcast by my peers. The exception to this was in my choir classes. There, I thrived. I felt a part of something that was greater than myself. I want to teach music to instill confidence in my students, produce high art, serve the community, and assist to shape well-rounded, creative minds that will promulgate human compassion and consonant citizenship throughout their lives.
I believe that all music teaching, whether it is theory, sight singing, or pedagogy should point towards creating fine art. I teach rhythm, pitch, music literacy, expression, and structure with the goal of creating rich and beautiful music. The role of teacher in a music classroom should be to guide students to making connections between the pedagogy and the art. To accomplish art in music, several classroom methods will be employed. Sectionals, for those who work better in a smaller group and an effective place for assessment. Personal at-home practice with sight singing and theory for the individual learner. Group instruction and singing to encourage and develop aural skills and blend.
Community Service, Partnerships, and Involvement
I have worked with many community groups and have seen the positive effects that involved citizens can have in the community - no matter their age. As the director of choral activities, I will always be seeking for innovative ways to safely and effectively involve the community. Students and teachers can show how music can influence the community in positive ways. Combining forces with local orchestras or other choirs, seeking charities that can benefit from our efforts, and showing the students opportunities for better citizenship are all elements I will foster in and out of my classroom. This will also create a sense of comradery and student purpose within the groups as they see the results of their service to patrons and organizations.
Student Leadership and Opportunity
As a former student of business administration, I see many growth opportunities for students as they are entrusted with elements of leadership for the musical organizations they belong to. It is important that these positions not become a popularity contest or be about who has the most friends to vote for them. I believe that a teacher-chosen leadership team through a student submitted resume or application and an interview process are an effective way to find hidden talents of organization or leadership skills by individuals that might feel that a political type election would be fruitless. This allows for the students to feel ownership in the program and feel responsibility for its outcome. I also believe that students should be given opportunities for career exploration in the music field. To this end, I will encourage student composition and conducting in a way that they will feel encouraged to develop their potential skills
Cultural Diversity and Awareness
My music program will include units on music from cultures of the world. Students will listen to and recreate music from across the globe. Cultural awareness and diversity sensitivity is very important to a student’s education. This aspect of education will be strengthened as students experience music from different viewpoints and see values expressed differently both in texture and lyric. This cultural component will be significantly enhanced if there is a prevalent or influential culture in the area where I am teaching. Students will be given opportunity to express music that they find valuable and draw connections between the music they enjoy and historically significant music, thereby exploring history and structure of music. Shinichi Suzuki sums up how I feel about music education very well when he said, “Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens. If children hear fine music...and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline, and endurance. They get a beautiful heart.”