Music Education and Social Justice: Equity and Diversity

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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Analysis of the Teaching of Music Fundamentals

Analysis of the Teaching of Music Fundamentals

Photo by Elijah O'Donell on Unsplash.

For our Foundations of Music Education I: Philosophy and History course, we have to write three papers. Because I am currently procrastinating doing my reading for this week, I’ll share a bit about my paper with you. The prompt was as follows:

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What is Music? Ways of Viewing the World

What is Music? Ways of Viewing the World

Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash.

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

Photo by Giammarco Boscaro on Unsplash

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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What is Philosophy? What is History? What is Research?

What is Philosophy? What is History? What is Research?

Photo by Jordan Mixson on Unsplash

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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Historical Rationales for Music and Music Education

Historical Rationales for Music and Music Education

Photo by Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash

Last week was considered Week 1 of my first doctoral class through BU, Foundations of Music Education I: Philosophy and History. My first thoughts were, “Wow! I have not had to read like this in a long time!” Let me tell you a little bit about how it is all setup.

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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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Thinking About Standards

I just got back from an excellent conversation about education with a colleague and friend, and I want to capture my thoughts both "on paper" and "out there" in the world. A lot of our conversation comes from the experiences we have been having teaching this year. Personally, it is a lot of different things coming to a head for me. Whether it is leaving next here, missing out on the curriculum review process, and thinking about my legacy at Centennial, or the professional learning we are doing as a staff and district, or the new beginnings I will have in Charlottesville and as a DMA student in music education at Boston University. I guess you could call this a more evolved version of my "philosophy of music education." Here goes:

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Multi-Tiered System of Supports in Instrumental Music

Multi-Tiered System of Supports in Instrumental Music

As part of my school's professional learning this year, we have been looking at integrating a Work Habits tool into our instruction. As part of our district's transition to standards-referenced grading, we have removed behavior from the academic grade. The Work Habits tool is a means of assessing behavior. Our staff's learning around the science of behavior, collecting and analyzing behavior data, and responding to behaviors has been fascinating to me. Specifically, we have been looking at how our academic AND behavior standards fit into the MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports) framework.

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Starting a New Adventure

Well, we told the students today, so I guess that makes it "official"... This year will be my last at Centennial High School. This past Spring, my wife completed her PhD program in mechanical engineering at Iowa State University and accepted a tenure track professorship at the University of Virginia! We moved her out there at the beginning of November, where she is doing some contracted work with NASA Langley before beginning at UVA in February. I have not yet found a job out in the Charlottesville area yet, but it is still pretty early in the process. I see three options moving forward: a teaching gig in Virginia, getting really good at riding my bike to all of the establishments, or a doctoral program in music education. Someone has to train the future music eduactors to be the funniest band directors in the tri-state area!

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Reflection: PLC at Work Institute

This past week, I attended the PLC at Work Institute in St. Charles, Missouri with many Ankeny teachers. This is the same institute that I attended in June 2014. That post has a lot of the background on professional learning communities, the structure of the conference, and how our vertical PLC was implementing practices at the time. I wanted to spend some time reflecting to better ingrain what I learned this past week. I feel like the previous institute I attended was much more focused on the fundamentals of PLC work, but that may have just been where I was in my learning at the time. This year's conference, I was able to better target my learning with the breakout sessions I attended, and have some great ideas for moving forward in our work. Throughout I took notes and tweeted pictures of slides and quotes I heard throughout.

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A Standards-Referenced Instrumental Music Program: Prioritizing Standards

Those previous four posts have been setting up the background for our answer to Question 1 of the four essential questions for a PLC: what do we want students to learn/know/be able to do? The answer that our K-12 music teachers came up with during the 2011-2012 school year was the following:

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Iowa Fine Arts Standards Adoption

As I updated in a previous blog post, the Iowa Department of Education announced a team to develop fine arts standards for schools. This Fine Arts Standards Adoption Team has been meeting almost monthly to:

  1. Examine all relevant Fine Arts Standards
  2. Create and/or recommend statewide recommended Fine Arts Standards in Visual Arts, General Music, Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Theater, Dance, and Media Arts.
  3. Write recommendations about implementation of the standards through
    1. Professional learning
    2. Materials and resources
    3. Offer final recommendations to the State Board of Education

More recently, they put out a call for feedback from teachers, administrators, community members, and students on the National Core Arts Standards.

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An Update on Vertical Teaching

As I have been working on blog posts and a website for our 2017 IBA presentation, How-To: A Standards-Referenced Instrumental Music Program, I realized a lot has changed in the how of our vertical teaching program. I wrote about it a long time ago (April 11, 2014), so lets revisit. As of the 2016-2017 school year, Ankeny has two high schools, each with its own 6-7 middle school, 8-9 middle school, and five K-5 elementary schools:

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Spring Break Reflections

As I have been avoiding my Nintendo Switch over Spring Break, I came across a sheet of paper I had scribbled things on during a professional development day earlier this year. I want to save those thoughts for later, so I can flesh them out. Specifically that morning, we were working on two different areas: our district's instructional framework (gradual release of responsibility/productive group work) and teaching behavior. Here are my notes:

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