A lifetime of reflection about my work and still looking at ways to capture a bit of what feels important in the net of language. In a course with high school music teachers here in Singapore, I shared this little summary of the four things I think we’re intending to teach.
• Memorable Material: Which pieces/ songs/ styles/ dances are best suited for your particular situation? Pay attention to:
- Cultural relevancy and inclusion
- Quality literature that will pass (or has passed) the test of time
- Inspiring or poetic or funny or relevant text
- Music you love
• Musical Process: How do you teach the material? Pay attention to:
- The class flowing like a piece of music
- Engaging the children and keep them active and involved
- Developing step by step so they feel successful
- Challenging them, but not overwhelming them
- Educating their whole self: hand, head, hearing and heart
• A Child Who Needs to Feel Valued: Do you feel the class as an opportunity for each
child to feel known and welcomed? Pay attention to:
- Belief in each child’s generalmusicality, look for each child’s specific musicality.
- Give them opportunities to share their interests.
- Look for moments of a breakthrough in understanding or mastery.
- Praise their actions and accomplishments, not their general personality.
• A Connected Community: What might music class offer the school community as
a whole that helps unify the mission?
- Look to unite the school with a shared song repertoire.
- Look for ways to add life and color to school events and ceremonies.
- Educate colleagues and parents as to how music helps cultivate the intelligence, imagination and humanitarian promise of each child and the community as a whole.
That’s a lot of things asking for our attention. But if can unite our intention and attention, the rewards are… well, simply marvelous.