Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Adapting Excellence

One of the best pieces of advice I received from my mentor, Sheryn Malm, when student teaching was: "Don't reinvent the wheel." She was a master Orff teacher and was so much of the reason I experienced success early in my career teaching classroom music. She was a big believer in sharing the wealth, and although she came up with plenty of impressive lessons and techniques herself, much of what she did was learned from others... and she encouraged me to do the same, without any guilt of thinking of it as 'stealing' an idea. She ingrained in my mind that all good teachers have taken their ideas from others...it's a communal art.

So, in the spirit of keeping that wheel rolling, rather than inventing it from scratch, I am adapting some exciting contemporary ideas from "Musical Futures" for use in my high school guitar class. Specifically, the ideas of 'aural copying' and 'friendship groups'.

(Modelling Aural Learning...)

This video shows teachers modeling riffs from a given song that they have recorded for the students, but I will let students try to pull out these excerpts on their own, as my students are older (and some with prior guitar experience and skills). Also, I will do some modeling and large group jam sessions in the beginning of the year to give them skills in learning by rote. And I will rotate between the groups to offer help, if needed, but would like my students to do more of the deconstructing and problem solving on their own.

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