Hi, it’s Richard with PlayTheGroove!
Music education is always changing … especially during this past school year!
We all deserve medals for showing up, staying committed, and improvising new approaches to keep the momentum going for our students in our totally unfamiliar environment 2020 put us in. (Our students deserve a big shout out too!)
We all know that when the new school year kicks off, everything will change all over again. The surest way to be comfortable with it all is to stay curious and stay ahead of the curve.
Remember, it’s you, as a teacher, who has the tremendous opportunity and challenge to make every student’s music education experience spectacular, whether or not there’s a global pandemic or worse. You solve problems and improve the learning process for the students because you believe in the impact music can make in their lives.
So, are you open to some ideas on how to get ahead of the curve and stay there? Check out these common challenges and the easy solutions that you can start to implement immediately. I’d love to know your thoughts: Do you agree or disagree?
Challenge #1: Students learn differently today. They embrace technology as part of their learning in ways that didn’t exist for any previous generation.
Solution: Find 2 or 3 ways to bring technology into a lesson. Assign the students to bring in an app or find a site, and show you how the tech works and what they can do with it. Suggestions might be a simple recording and editing platform, sampling apps, listening apps, apps to make music with a mobile phone.
Challenge #2: Students have a wide range of musical interests, knowledge, and playing experience.
Solution: Ask your students to bring in their favorite music — hang out with them at lunch, give them access to the playback music system. Challenge students to learn songs they like on their own and demonstrate their version for the class.
Challenge #3: Young musicians want to engage with current music by living artists.
Solution: Look for “current jazz” artists when selecting music to try. Have them seek for world/global grooves too. Find a source where students can choose music they really like, could possibly be played in their ensemble, and that also meets your teaching needs and criteria.
Challenge #4: Teaching music is more than the final performance!
Solution: Our 21st Century learning objectives (standards) in music education also embrace Social Emotional Learning (SEL), and 21st Century Life Skills. You can always use your music assignments to teach toward these goals. When this is part of your consciousness, every step your students take in choosing, learning, interpreting, and performing a song can help you achieve broader teaching goals.
Challenge #5: Students today want to lead, and learn by leading.
Solution: Give students more chances to display initiative and their learning will be enhanced. Consider options that could allow one or more students to assume responsibility for leading (arranging and/or conducting) a performance.
Challenge #6: Students are curious to know what living musicians like them are creating in other parts of the world.
Solution: Locate original music that is well suited for your students to learn, and will challenge and excite them with new ideas they’ve never experienced. The music that is originating in India, Ghana, Guinea, Finland, Chile, and every state in the U.S. is really exciting and it’s fun to compare similarities and differences in the genres.
Challenge #7: Shorter attention spans mean that certain instrument players with fewer notes and players can feel left out of many arrangements.
Solution: Let everyone play the melody!! And then, let everyone play the rhythm!! New studies have proven that students are more engaged when they have arrangements where they have more to do… that’s not surprising. But how do you make pieces that you didn’t arrange more flexible for today’s young musicians?
If you’ve been experiencing these challenges, you’re not alone! These are the issues I’ve been hearing about from my network of teachers across the country.
As a hyphenate myself — a professional jazz musician who became a music educator and entrepreneur — I knew there had to be a way to help all of us stay ahead of the curve and spend more of our time creating great results for our students. And I’m so glad to tell you that PlayTheGroove.com (PTG) is here to help you make the most of every one of these situations.
Currently, PTG’s focus is on rhythm-section-based ensembles, aka “jazz bands,” and we are championing current jazz and world jams. However, the concepts expand into Concert Band (beta is in process) and other disciplines.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can use our ground-breaking, modular, instrumental approach or just energize your ensemble in general, PlayTheGroove is here to help. Please schedule a free call with a music education expert who can show you how the system works and help you get started.
Click here to schedule a Zoom meeting or call/text us at (818) 514-4784.
Alternatively, if you’re curious, we do have a special offer on a fun, current-jazz arrangement and package which comes with sheet music, recordings, teacher guides, and complimentary coaching, to give you and your students a new experience. This approach is specially designed to bring all of the above points into practice without losing sight of the final performance.
If you want to make your next year the best one yet, you absolutely can. And because you’re you, I know you will!
I know you’re busy, so thanks for taking the time to hang out and talk PlayTheGroove with me.