This is my Summer Anthem for 2019. Awesome musicians (including my favorite Daddy Yankee), catchy chorus, and infectious beat. Love the blending of pop rock, Latin, and Caribbean sounds. Fun and colorful video.

Short, 200 – 300 word response:

Popular music and the way it is often learned, created, and produced should be taught to students, along with Western art music, music literacy, and traditional music skills. How popular music and Western art music are balanced will depend on the specific class and its goals. The best example of authentic popular music learning in my orchestra class is the “Senior Song” in which The Priory orchestra seniors perform as a group at the end of the year concerts and ceremonies. If they want to do a medley of popular songs, which is most often the case, they must arrange it themselves and generate parts and a score using notation software (if they prefer to use sheet music). In addition to this, they must schedule rehearsals, working on their own, as well as with me.

There are times in which they struggle, including learning how to arrange for their specific group, playing their part with confidence, or finding time for everyone to rehearse. As Tony Wagner states in his TEDx Talk, Play, Passion, Purpose, we learn a lot, if not more, through our struggles and failures, rather than the successes.

Motivation to practice classical music can often be difficult for kids. I often tell them that their favorite piece of music should be the one that is in front of you right now. This helps them to connect with the music and express its character, mood, or feeling. If students only practice music that they are used to listening to, then they will not expand their outlook on life. I agree with Richard Gill, who in the Module 2 video of Coursera’s the The Place of Music in the 21st Century states, “Children should have a wide range of music… It’s about learning stuff you don’t know…” The music teacher’s role is to help expand students’ minds. Music and the other arts are wonderful places to do this.

*Assignment for Week 2 in Coursera’s The Place of Music in the 21st Century Education.

Technology permeates our world and everyday lives. In Music Learning Today: Digital Pedagogy for Creating, Performing, and Responding to Music, William Bauer states that technology is “flattening” (4) the world, reducing and eliminating geographical and financial limits and constraints. Online learning through programs like Coursera serve people from around the world who may not have the opportunity to attend a university. While it may seem at first that online learning is a highly independent and solitary activity, Daphne Koller, one of the founders of Coursera, states in her TedTalk the importance of peer discussion and grading in the online learning platform, allowing students to interact with and learn from each other.This idea of learning through social interaction is also championed by David Price in his talk “Open Learning Revolution.” He states that the success of a business depends on the depth of engagement with employees and customers. Deep engagement occurs through social interactions.

In a music ensemble class, students, with the guidance of a teacher, must work together and be highly engaged in order to perform music well. Despite the prevalence of electronic instruments and technology in today’s music scene, “traditional” ensemble classes with acoustic instruments such as band, orchestra, or choir are still a valued part of music education. As seen in the Module 1 videos for Coursera’s the The Place of Music in 21st Century Education, Steiner Education schools continue to use Orff xylophones and percussion instruments in their music classes. Another example of a more “traditional” focus to learning can be seen in the design of Takaharu Tezuka’s kindergarten building. At this school, there is a strong emphasis on play as students connect with nature (building built around trees, spaces with open air), engage in physical activity (run on the circular roof, climb through various levels built around a tree), and learn through social interaction (no walls in classrooms, activities that encourage them to help each other).

In music classrooms where learning is done on acoustic instruments, technology is often used as a tool to help students learn to perform their instruments better. Tools may include digital tuners, programs that assess a student performance for errors, or music theory apps. Music technology should not only be considered a tool, but also as media and even as a legitimate musical instrument, according to Andrew Brown in Music Technology and Education: Amplifying Musicality. “Seeing computational devices from multiple perspectives, rather than from a single perspective, opens up a broader range of musical applications” (6). The modern day dj uses the computer as his or her musical instrument. The art of dj-ing could be taught in a school music class. The Northern Beaches Christian School (NBCS) in Australia exhibits this broader perspective of technology and music in its classes. As seen in the Module 1 videos for Coursera’s The Place of Music in 21st Century Education, the NBCS music students work together in bands, on both acoustic and electric instruments, and must perform and produce their music. Again, there is a lot of collaboration and social interaction happening, keeping the students deeply engaged. Price’s Six Imperatives for “Open Learning”:

  1. Do it yourself (Autonomy)
  2. Do it now (Immediacy)
  3. Do it with friends (Collegiality)
  4. Do unto others (Generosity)
  5. Do it for fun (Playfulness)
  6. Do it for the world to see (High Visibility)

are clearly present in the school’s design with its open spaces inviting collaboration, clear doors and many windows to watch everyone at work, and displays of student projects throughout the building.

As there is a variety of music, there are also a variety of approaches to learning music. Music teachers should keep an open mind, and continually examine what is best for students. Bauer states that “successful teachers are subject matter experts and have a deep knowledge of pedagogy” (11). A good music teacher continues to practice his or her instrument or work on their craft regularly as students will likely be more inspired and excited about music when they have a teacher who is also deeply engaged with music.

*Assignment for Week 1 of Coursera’s The Place of Music in 21st Century Education.




EDM Slide!

I love this remix of the Cha Cha Slide by the duo Arius. They capture the spirit of the original line dance but update it with the electronic bits and beats of today’s EDM. I also love how they cut out the accompanying track at times to highlight the voice and to make the re-entrance of the electronic beats even more banging. As an amateur dj, I’m always looking around and listening for fun remixes of songs.

The Motivation…

Motivated to start this blog because of an online course I am taking through Coursera. The class is called The Place of Music in 21st century Education, and is taught by Dr. James Humberstone from the University of Sydney. I’m looking forward to reflecting about music and music learning in this course, sharing my ideas with the world, and learning from others and a variety of online sources.