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Showing posts from April, 2012

The 10 Commandments for New Music Teachers

The writing of this post has lead to many interesting conversations with my friends and colleagues.  The commandments are not in order of importance.  Breaking any of them will land you in a circle of educational Hell!  These commandments represent over 100 years of teachers' experience.  Ignore them at your peril.  

I  Thou shalt have sub plans ready the first day of school
No matter what, you WILL get sick, hard and often, during the first weeks of school.  You are entering a petri dish of disease.  Students are not known for religious hand washing, infection control, or staying home from school when their siblings are ill.  They attend school when they are most contagious.  They touch all the door knobs, window latches, pencils, papers, and instruments.  They hug you and you really can't stop them from holding your hand during games.

Since your kids have not learned repertoire yet, have some videos ready for them to enjoy.  Fantasia, Wynton Marsalis' jazz series, and eve…

Artist in Residence

My school is hosting a musical artist in residence this semester.  Michael Wingfield will be arriving in May.  Our art teacher does a residency in Maine each year and has a long-standing friendship and artistic relationship with Michael.  She suggested Michael as  an artist in residence to the interim headmistress who thought it a wonderful idea and hired him.

Hiring an artist in residence
Having an artist in residence will disrupt the normal flow of your school, especially if he or she is working with all the students in the school, creates lots of noise, disrupts the use of large rooms or spaces, or otherwise rocks the normal way of doing things.  As such, the faculty needs to be consulted, informed, and listened to, every step of the way.  An immersion experience for the school should be planned a good year in advance.  The arts faculty, some of the regular classroom teachers, and the administration should be on board with the concept of the idea before the faculty is consulted!

Adm…