Here is a video where I talk about practicing and my philosophy behind it.
The teachers role in education is to guide students by setting the curriculum and introducing ideas, then step back and let the students think and create.
Last semester I was able to take a class on teaching in the private studio. During this class I attempted to write out a teaching philosophy. After a lot of thought and discussion I came up with three main ideas that I want to introduce to the students that I teach
1) Question and explore the past in order to discover what can be learned from those who came before us. 2) Find what works for each individual 3) Diversity and a broader mindset is key to success and understanding, especially in the percussion community
The most important thing for any student is exploration and experimentation.
A rough outline of what this means to me can be found here.
Click on my picture for more about me.
Ideas on the Philosophies of Education
As an educator I am interested in learning more about myself and my teaching style. Part of this is comes from learning about the philosophies of education. There are 5 main philosophies of education: Essentialism, Perennialism, Progressivism, Social Reconstructionism, and Existentialism. Essentialism and Perennialism are teacher centered philosophies, whereas the other three are student centered philosophies. Teacher centered philosophies present the idea that the teacher decides what should be taught and how the students are taught. Student centered philosophies present the idea that students should decide what they are taught and how.
After a couple of years of teaching privately, I would consider myself a progressivist. Progressivist teachers came about during the 1920’s and obtained their ideas from John Dewey (who modeled Progressivism after early European schools). Dewey saw that the United States was becoming a safe place for people from all over the world to immigrate to. With all kinds of people coming from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds social issues began to present themselves. Dewey believed that schools have the opportunity to fix and change these social issues. Progressivists believe that schools are supposed to teach life skills in order to improve the quality of family and community. In order to accomplish this, curriculum should be altered to be hands on. For example, teachers should be actively helping students become part of the US culture without losing the culture they were already a part of. Progressivist most important belief is that the student has a say in what they are taught. This is the most limited student centered idea because students must pick something to learn that is practical and has value. Progressivist question the past and do not accept anything blindly. They question by experimenting (through taking field trips and playing games) - by doing. With emphasis on the natural and social sciences through problem solving students are most likely to be grouped by interest and abilities.
This philosophy appeals to me because I want to emphasize the importance of exploration and experimentation. One of the many unique aspects of a music classroom is that the teacher takes the lead while the student has to decide to make make progress and learn. As a teacher, I can only present an idea/piece of music, guide the learning process, and encourage my students. The rest is up to the students - they have to learn their notes, practice, and perform. It's hard not to have a student centered classroom while teaching the arts. Everything must be hands on - even the tasks that student may find boring or uninteresting, such as theory, require fun hands on activities to keep students engaged (I personally do not find theory uninteresting but it is hard and that can lead to disinterest). I also believe that music students need to go out into the world to experience music. Throughout my musical career I have learned more at concerts, recitals, guest artist presentations, and conventions then I could possibly have learned inside an ensemble or practice room. Musicians must question past information and techniques by developing their own techniques through writing and/or performing new music. As an instructor, I will choose to take my students to conventions and concerts, introduce them to new techniques, and encourage them to learn, while creating a space for them to progress their abilities and become musicians how they want to.
Real World examples of how I will utilize the ideas of Progressivism:
Planning: I will allow students to have a say in whether we play a piece that we have been working on or choose a different piece. While working on a piece of music students can lose enthusiasm for the music and stop taking the initiative to become better. In these kinds of situations I will allow the students to attempt a different piece, or at the very least ask to try something new. If a student doesn’t enjoy it, I cannot help them learn a piece or guide them through it.
Instructional Strategies: I will take students out into the community (when performances and conventions are happening again) to see real musicians and learn from other artists. In this way I am presenting the students with real world experiences as well as hands on experiences within the curriculum. This allows students to question what they know and learn new things about their instruments/being a musician along the way.
Assessment: Assessment is a very hard thing to allow students to dictate and determine in a music classroom because assessment in music is subjective. Only the performer and the listener can determine whether the music sounds good or is correct - even things such as fingerings are different depending on who you ask. With that said my hope, as a Progressive teacher who wants their classroom to be student centered, is to allow the students to participate in their assessments. I will accomplish that by asking for the students feedback on how they did on their test - if it was a good run of the piece, what could they do better, how will they prepare to make the next one better, etc - in order to create a better and more beneficial assessment.