I came across a very interesting article this afternoon about was reflecting on the idea of "engagement". There is no doubt that our educational climate is geared towards students being engaged - but what about the place and need of solitude in the learning process?
It is an interesting article that raises some questions. Give it a read here on the website "The Music Parent's Guide". I find they have some interesting (although sometimes formulaic) thoughts to share now and then.
A Lost Art: The Power of Solitude Through Music Instruction in Schools
I was fortunate to be able to attend the Wisconsin Music Educators Association annual state conference this last week. I'm thankful that our school district and administration recognize the benefit for teachers to gather and learn from experts in our field.
One of the sessions I attended was on motivation by Chris Gleason, a respected band director in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. In this session he highlighted some of the great research that has been done about motivation and how we might be able to apply these findings to our students.
This TED talk by Daniel Pink is a great summary of the ideas that Chris Gleason references. Go ahead and watch it (it is worth every minute) and then read on.
The danger of me going to a great conference like the one in Madison is that I have a tendency to return to the classroom and want to immediately incorporate the hundreds of new ideas I picked up.
Rather than falling into that trap, I decided to ask the students what motivated them. I prefaced it by asking them "not to be funny" and write down answers like "Food" or "Whips and chains", though some of them still did. I have to admit that the results of this anonymous activity really point to the caliber of student we have in our school. Take a look at the answers - I think they speak for themselves.
As our small ensemble lessons are now underway at the high school, I'd like to share some information about private lessons for interested students, or for students and families who are on the fence.
There really is nothing better for developing as a musician and a technical performer than individual (or "private") lessons. We have long known that one-on-one feedback is among the best methods for instruction. The customization that is possible when learning from a top-notch instructor in a one-on-one environment allows for students to learn more efficiently.
Daniel Mattix has a private music studio in Chicago. He lists several benefits of studying with a private teacher. It must be noted that as a private teacher he has a vested interest in encouraging students to take lessons, but I know that I echo the sentiment of many teachers throughout the country that for students who are interested in taking their music education to "the next level" or just becoming more proficient on their instrument, private lessons are the way to go.
In the Chippewa Valley, with help from professors at UWEC, we have developed a list of the best private teachers. Please reach out if you would like help finding a private lesson teacher.
It should also be noted that as your student's instrumental music teacher I am available for lessons before, during, and after school. I am happy to help students prepare for auditions, State Honors, or study their instrument. There is, though, no substitute for studying with a master of your own instrument.
A few more pieces of information:
This blog is intended to serve as a collection of announcements and information for current students and their families.