I was once under the impression that my lack of musical experiences was a significant weakness as an educator. I felt a little bit panicked when hearing my peers discuss memories of piano or guitar lessons, none of which I could relate to. Once EDCI 306A classes commenced, I was accumulating brand new knowledge quickly. That’s not to say it was easy. Most ideas were challenging for me to comprehend, and sometimes it was mentally draining. However, my perspective shifted during this process. Now I believe that my greatest professional strength as an educator who will teach music is my ability to connect with my students. I’ll be able to relate to them and truly understand the frustration they feel when they’re struggling since I too am learning. I can use this strength to break down difficult musical concepts. Moreover, present new information in simplest terms so all my students can understand no matter their skill-level. Even when I’m teaching, I’ll still consider myself a lifelong learner, and during music lessons I’ll be investigating collaboratively with my students.
When I think about
myself as a future educator teaching music, I feel excited! I have learned
so much about the fundamentals of instrument playing and musical technique that
I simply can’t wait to share my knowledge with others. I was introduced to many
wonderful ways of incorporating music into the classroom and it was a blast. EDCI
306A classes were often filled with smiles and laughter, something that is missing
in other curriculum and instruction classes. Children are naturally curious
learners and I’m eager to use music as a medium to spark creativity and
imagination. As we discussed at the beginning of the year, there are numerous scientific
reasons why we should teach music to children in school. The benefits of music
education are undeniable and sadly children are being deprived of those cognitive
benefits in classrooms. However, I’m very enthusiastic about nurturing my students’
brains with music.
My greatest area of
growth during the year/course has been in the area of confidence. Before completing
EDCI 306A, I was truly terrified about teaching music to students. Music is the
only elementary-level subject that was unfamiliar to me; the thought of
teaching music made me feel worried and anxious. But I realized that confidence
is contagious. Learning from a confident professor fostered my inner confidence
and made me feel capable. In addition, I was able to seek support from peers
who motivated me along the way. Having a network of confident people contributed
significantly to my own confidence development. Moreover, I think my confidence
will continue to grow once I’m teaching and encouraging my students to become
experts as well. Overall, by surrounding myself with confident people and seeking
support when necessary, I now have the confidence to make others feel the same way
I’ve finally reached the end of Alfred’s Basic Piano Lesson Book – Level 1A! I feel proud but also sad to be done, it’s bittersweet. These 61 pages haven’t been easy and at times I’ve become so frustrated that I actually removed the keyboard from my room just so I didn’t have to look at it. However, looking back at these humorous moments makes completing the book feel that much more rewarding.
Since my mid-term post, I have covered a wide-variety of new material. Just like anything else, the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. I was introduced to melodic & harmonic intervals, legato, intervallic reading in C & G positions, sharps & flats, and staccato. Whenever I started to feel overwhelmed, I would just take a break and pick up where I left off the following day. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much information I actually retained over these breaks. Sometimes I would start-off significantly better than I was the day before.
What I found most accomplishing was transitioning from one-handed playing to using both hands. I never thought I would reach this point considering some of the difficulties I faced with the one-handed songs. But.. I did it! In comparison to other courses I’ve taken in the Bachelor of Education program, I felt most ill-equipped for Music considering I had little to no prior experience. But I realized that it’s truly never too late to learn something new. I now feel confident and prepared to incorporate music into my future classrooms!
I hope you like the following video of myself playing the book’s final piece (pages 60 and 61). It took me a few days to be able to play this song in full smoothly, but now I feel totally comfortable. Even though I still need to write the notes onto the staff, I was so impressed with myself that I had my ten-year-old sister film it for me. Enjoy!
On Tuesday, we gathered in groups and created a lesson plan based on the following chant:
Pitter, Patter, Splitter, Splatter, Raindrops fall, What does it matter? Drip, Drop Drip, Drop. Raining, raining my it’s raining. (x2)
I wasn’t totally familiar with chants until Inez encouraged us to think about chants as rap; I liked that interpretation. My group had a lot of thoughts about how we wanted to present our ideas in class, however, we decided to focus on differentiating between dynamics (volume) and pitch.
I thought that the lesson went pretty well considering it was taught by six aspiring teachers. We all took turns teaching and demonstrating various concepts. I liked how we did examples with the class before setting them loose to create their own variations of the chant. We worked our way from soft dynamics to loud dynamics, and low pitch to high pitch. I can see how these concepts can be confusing for young students since we often refer to volume using words like low and high. I think presenting both concepts in the same lesson was beneficial for learners.
If we could re-do the lesson, I would make more of an effort to acknowledge student voice and thought. It would have been beneficial for students to give their classmates feedback after their presentations. For example, “I liked how you….” This also would have helped with checking who understands what (aka assessment).
Overall, it was a fun and beneficial learning experience. I feel prepared for my upcoming graded teaching!
Over the course of the semester I’ve been following my musical growth plan. According to my plan, I was supposed to reach and complete page #33 (introduction of the Grand Staff) of Alfred’s Lesson Book – Level 1A. I’ve accomplished that goal, which means I’m on track to finish my musical growth plan on time! Learning the keyboard has been very challenging for me considering I’ve never played an instrument outside of my elementary classrooms. However, so long as I take my time and follow each step laid out by the book, it all makes sense eventually. I really like how the book has eased me into reading music off the Grand Staff. I started off by numbering my fingers and then playing the black keys accordingly. Next, I learned the Middle C and could then play the rest of the white keys. Now, I write the white key names (A, B, C, D, E, F, G) in the staff to help me remember while I play the short musical pieces. Included in the rest of this blogpost is sheet music and video footage of my progress leading up to and completing page #33. Enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed viewing and listening to my progress. These videos were an excellent way for me to reflect on my learning journey. Until next time!