Thursday, November 8, 2012

What I didn't learn in school

I am sure by the title you know where I am going with this post. I am going to discuss all of those things that were not covered in any of my music education courses or in any of my masters classes. Over the past two weeks I have had the privileged to speak with some of the fine music educators in central Indiana. The goal of my meetings was simple. It was to help find ways to improve ICC's regional programs and better support the work of the music teachers in those communities. What I walked away with was some wonderful insight into the communities that surround Indianapolis and how they work. I also walked away with the the reminder that there is a lot that they did not teach me in school.

Recruitment 101. I wish there had been a class about recruitment in school. Yes, we discussed it in secondary methods and all the ways we could get people to sign up for our class. Become a coach, eat with the kids at lunch, and so many more. But what about someone who has a community choir? This past year I went to a workshop on recruitment and walked away with more questions than answers. I think that is why they don't offer a class in this. There is no one solution. It is a combination of so many ideas that create a great recruitment plan. The key is to have a plan!

Artistic Quality. This week I realized that we are all in the numbers game. We want everyone to be able to sing and experience the joy of singing. However, does that compromise our artistic quality? I think not. If a student is very talented and works hard then then progress up the ranks into the top ensembles. Those students that just enjoy singing can still take part, but can choose to stay in a less advanced choir. One of the proudest accomplishments I had while teaching public school was that the choir at my school was a non auditioned ensemble and I took everyone that wanted to sing. I think that is why we all became educators. Specifically music educators, because everyone can have a place to belong. A place that can match their ability and commitment level. I don't think that being inclusive should effect our artistic quality. No matter the level, the singers that are there want to be their best and to be challenged.

Never assume. This week I was reminded that you should never assume. I was speaking with new teachers at the IMEA Beginning Teacher Workshop and we discussed several issues they were having in their classrooms and most of the issues boiled down to assuming to much. Too often we think our students have made connections that have not been made and we need to stop and fill in the blanks. When I met with teachers from around the area I found that we were treating each community like another and we were not meeting the needs of those families. Never assume!

Its all about PEOPLE! When we are in school, everything revolves around the music. It is all about the music and the product. However, once you leave school, there is a shift from all music to a combination of music and people. Our job is to work with our colleagues and fine young students and still create great music. We have to be administrators, collaborators, cheerleaders, coaches, motivator, comedian, teacher, and musician. It is all about the connection we make with the people. We need a PEOPLE 101 course.

So here were just some of the things I realized that I did not learn in school and that I need to work at mastering. Life is a journey full of lessons and I am enjoying the learning experience.

Here is to always learning and growing!

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