Saturday, April 26, 2008

What is "comprehensive?"

What must be included in a comprehensive public school music program? This is the question that I want to explore with this blog. I feel that my own music education has been blessed in many many ways, not the least of which is the fact that I have had some of the best teachers music education can find, but also that in not having a marching band experience, I was able to delve into jazz and chamber music more than I feel was allowed to my peers. So, was my own music education really "comprehensive" by not having a marching band experience? If I were to have had that, could I have experienced jazz and chamber music in the same way, budget aside? That is to ask, would there have been enough time?

And so, with my own future students, how am I supposed to strike a balance between what administrators, parents, other educators, and the students themselves want to accomplish within the band program? I leave this as a question until I can write more, as there is one week left until summer break, and I have, at my last count, six papers due (well, two of them are actually compositions, but one has a paper that has to go along with it) : what programs/labs/opportunities would you wish to have available to your students if you could have only 4?

My own list at this time would be, in no particular order,
1) concert band
2) jazz band
3) music technology lab
4) student-run chamber groups

Hope all's well,

Edit: that is to say, the program at whatever level you teach. If we were talking the entire K-12 program here, that would be another story altogether.


Dan Leeman said...

I'm excited to have a friend join the world of Music Education blogging!

I agree that chamber music has extreme advantages for developing musicians. In my own experience, I have had more individual growth in a brass quintet than many other large ensembles. As to the marching band bit, I think it has its ups and downs (just like any musical experience). I know many colleagues who emphasize foundational musical and physiological habits that help contribute to the "comprehensive" musical experience. On the other hand, I can think of a number of band programs that are led a bit astray by the competetive and visual aspects of the medium. As in any situation, we can strive to provide a healthy, positive musical environment in which students learn regardless of the ensemble.

Kudos on the first blog post!

Stengel99 said...

Hi Greg,

Nice work on the blog. I looked for some sort of "About Greg" page but didn't find anything. What stage of your career are you in? It sounds like pretty early on?

I would be curious to know about any incongruencies you may have found between your formal education and your early teaching experiences. In other words, what did you experience in teaching that no one had told you about, or was different than you expected? What situations in teaching took you by surprise?

I am about 9 years into my teaching career, so some of those issues are still fresh in my mind, but in many ways I've become accustomed to the "real world" of teaching.

Greg Albing said...

Hi, Mr. Engel; thanks a lot for reading and commenting!

I've got a little "about me" thing at the top of the page above Dr. Pisano's ME Blogger logo - too inconspicuous?

I am in fact still a student, although I have the privilege of taking on many of the real duties of a teacher for a summer band camp. So, much of my education thus far has been dealing with into-to-education type classes, and a lot of the things they teach us there, if I can see that it's obviously oriented towards a traditional classroom setting, either passes right through or gets stuffed way in the back with a little tag on it.

The largest thing that's struck me so far is this kind of "old-world" thinking that seems to be taught - when we talk about technology in teaching, for example, it's focused on the students' goals, not the teachers'. Conversely, when we talk about how to improve yourself as a teacher, most of it was on personal reflection and reading journal articles, not to sound like I'm slighting them at all, but rarely was mentioned any kind of collaborative or web-based methods.

I'm sure I'll think up more later, but if I get enough to warrant a post, I'll keep you in touch!