MER: Unit 1: Argument

MER: Unit 1: Argument

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For my Fall II 2018 course in my doctoral program, I am taking Introduction to Music Education Research. For our first unit, we looked at the structure of good argument. Specifically, we were asked to read two books (A Rulebook for Arguments and Zen and the Art of Writing) and two journal articles (Performance Stress and the Very Young Musician and “Knowing Their World”: Urban Choral Music Educators’ Knowledge of Context). Our assignment over this two week period was to analyze the “Knowing Their World” article in the context of the rules put forth in A Rulebook for Arguments. The online modules provided a sample analysis of the Performance Stress article, and our professor paired us up to exchange rough drafts of our analyses. Here is the prompt:

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Thoughts on Apple

Thoughts on Apple

Photo by Medhat Dawoud on Unsplash.

I have been thinking a lot about Apple in the past few weeks. There have been announcements of new MacBook Pros, iPhones, Mac minis, MacBook Airs, and iPad Pros, not to mention the releases of iOS 12 and macOS Mojave. I’m also curious about the upcoming 2019 Mac Pro based off the recent iMac Pro, as well as the rumors of what got put off for iOS 13 or what’s coming with Marzipan. I’m not really interested in the Apple Watch or watchOS, but we do own a few AppleTVs and HomeKit devices. The future, in my view at least, is both bright and scary at the same time.

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Introduction to Music Education Research

Introduction to Music Education Research

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Yesterday (Tuesday, October 30), was the first day of my second doctoral course, Introduction to Music Education Research. Unlike my previous course, Foundations of Music Education I: Philosophy and History, this course is structured in three broad units that each have a project to complete by a certain deadline. FME1 had a set of readings and discussions due each week with Live Classrooms and papers sprinkled throughout the term. This blog post will serve as an overview of the course.

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Timeless Learning: How Imagination, Observation, and Zero-Based Thinking Change Schools

Timeless Learning: How Imagination, Observation, and Zero-Based Thinking Change Schools

In my week off between courses in my DMA program, I began reading Timeless Learning: How Imagination, Observation, and Zero-Based Thinking Change Schools by Ira Socol, Pam Moran, and Chad Ratliff. Little did I know that the work these three are doing is just down the road from me! Ira is the former Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, and Pam is the former Superintendent for Albemarle County Public Schools. Both spearheaded the creation of Albemarle Tech: The Center for Creativity and Invention which opened to seniors this year. Chad is the current principal of Albemarle Lab Schools. Their book seeks to answer the question, how do people best learn? And in light of the answers, looks to transform how we think of and do school to best support lifelong learning in our students.

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FME1: Week 7: Putting It All Together and Moving Forward

FME1: Week 7: Putting It All Together and Moving Forward

Photo by Anna Utochkina on Unsplash

For our final week of this course, our articles focused on the changes music education scholars believe we need to see moving forward. Our discussion board also focused around the idea of changes we believe need to happen in music education. Finally, we also had to complete a paper, which I will post separately, analyzing our current teaching practices in light of what we have learned in this course.

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FME1: Week 6: Ethics and Music Education

FME1: Week 6: Ethics and Music Education

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When I first read the title for this week, I thought we would be continuing down the path of Week 4 and Week 5 with social justice issues. Instead, we looked more at the “why” of music education. Why do we teach the things we do? Why do we teach in the ways that we do? How might the what and how we teach be excluding other students? There were points raised in some of our early readings this week (Jorgensen and Mantie & Tucker) that really resonated with me, but left me with some unresolved internal conflicts about my own philosophies of music education. Both of Regelski’s articles helped to clarify some of my thinking around those points, which you can read about below.

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FME1: Week 5: Music Education Topics that Need our Attention Now!

FME1: Week 5: Music Education Topics that Need our Attention Now!

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An alternate title for this week’s content could have been: Music Education and Social Justice: Equity and Diversity, as one of our modules was titled. Our readings centered around the intersection of music education and topics of social justice like sexual orientation and women in music. A particular quote from our professor really resonated with me, “Perhaps the fundamental question you must ask yourself is if the teaching of music is about music or about people.” I’ve had colleagues share similar sentiments about the extramusical effects of music education: teaching students “how to human.”

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FME1: Week 4: Music Education and Social Justice: Equity and Diversity

FME1: Week 4: Music Education and Social Justice: Equity and Diversity

Photo by Subhakant Mishra on Unsplash.

This past week was tough, not only because we had family here for part of it and I got sick, but because of the reading. We were asked to read Jonathan Kozol’s Savage Inequalities and find two additional articles about music education that follow the same line of inquiry as Kozol. I read a dissertation on the California Music Project Teacher Training Program and an article from School Band & Orchestra about Dealing with Inequality in Your District. Most of this post will be focused on the content of those readings with a little bit of the weekly discussion at the end.

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FME1: Week 3: What is Music?/Ways of Viewing the World

FME1: Week 3: What is Music?/Ways of Viewing the World

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This week focused on reading about the two overarching philosophies for music education: aesthetic and praxial. We had a few introductory articles and then read the main chapters from the seminal works on the two philosophies. McCarthy and Goble’s article, Music Education Philosophy: Changing Times from the Music Educators Journal (2002, Volume 89, Issue 1), provided a great overview, definition, and history of the two philosophies. The two seminal works were Experiencing Art (Chapter 6 of Bennet Reimer’s A Philosophy of Music Education) and Toward a New Philosophy (Chapter 2 of David Elliott’s Music Matters: A New Philosophy of Music Education). Reimer’s philosophy of music education represents the aesthetic and Elliott’s philosophy represents the praxial.

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Previous Philosophies of Music Education

Previous Philosophies of Music Education

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As we have progressed through Week 1 and Week 2 of my first doctoral class, Foundations of Music Education I: Philosophy and History, I have found myself revisiting my prior philosophies of music education. At first, I was hesitant to share them because (1) I have not looked at or thought about them in quite some time, and (2) our learning in this class is more towards philosophy as an action. Here is a sampling from the prompt for our final paper:

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FME1: Week 2: What is Philosophy? What is History? What is Research?

FME1: Week 2: What is Philosophy? What is History? What is Research?

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This past week our topic was: What is Philosophy? What is History? What is Research?. I learned quite a bit from the online modules about the “tools” of being a philosopher, using different techniques to think and analyze. These modules drew from the works of George Knight (viewing philosophy as the intersection of content, attitudes, and activities), R.J. Hollingdale (philosophy is inquiry into logic, ontology, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics), and Fosl & Baggini (different tools to use in philosophy). Another piece that I learned is the following paragraph from one of our modules:

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Missing the First Day of School

Missing the First Day of School

Today, for the first time in twenty-seven years, I'm not having a first day of school! Yesterday was the first day for our surrounding schools, and today is Ankeny's first day back with students. I have yet to find a job within a reasonable (hour or less) driving distance from our house near Charlottesville. Most of the instrumental music jobs that have been posted have been around D.C. (2.5 hours) or Richmond (1.5 hours). I have applied to substitute teach in both the Charlottesville and Albemarle County school districts, and now I'm just waiting to hear back.

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Reflection: IBA 2018

This year's conference for me was bittersweet as it could be my last for quite some time. Unrelated to my departure, I found this conference to not hold a lot of very practical take-back-immediately kind of learning for me, but instead, learning that provoked a great deal of thinking. I wanted to get much of that thinking out quickly after the conference so I didn't lose it. Here is what my schedule looked like this year:

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Developing Small Ensembles

Developing Small Ensembles

A few years ago, we began implementing a student-run Ensemble Project for the time between the last concert and the last days of school. The linked blog post goes in-depth with the implementation of that particular project. As noted at the end of that post, I wanted to dig deeper into implementing our district's instructional framework, specifically focusing on the productive group work aspect of the Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR). This year, I used small ensembles throughout the year to help develop these skills.

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