2018 in Review

This was a hell of a year for my wife and I! Chloe and I started a new adventure in Virginia: buying a house, starting a tenure track position in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at the University of Virginia, going back to substitute teaching, and beginning a DMA in Music Education through Boston University! This post is a look back at what I wrote on the blog in 2018 as well as a reflection on my own learning and experiences over the year.

Teaching in Iowa

As I wrapped up my final year teaching in Ankeny, I wrote a lot about changes I thought our vertical team could make. One such change was implementing a Multi-Tiered System of Supports, trying to answer the question, how can we spend more time with students who need remediation or support? Because the K-12 music staff will be going through curriculum review in the 2018-2019 school year I wrote two posts about standards (April 25 and April 29) where I unpack what I would like to see for standards. During this year, I also implemented a flex band piece into each concert cycle to provide students the opportunity to develop their own small ensembles. I also attended the 2018 Iowa Bandmasters Association Conference and reflected on some reading and thinking I was doing at the end of the school year.

Foundations of Music Education I: Philosophy & History

As we began our adventure in Virginia, I wrote about missing the first day of school and some of our joys of home ownership: a leak leading us to rip up most of our first floor! My doctoral program started with Foundations of Music Education I: Philosophy and History on September 4, and followed a weekly schedule with three papers spread in between. Each week involved assigned readings and discussion board responses. Four weeks also involved Live Classroom discussions.

There was a week at the end of October between my first and second class where I read a new book, Timeless Learning: How Imagination, Observation, and Zero-Based Thinking Change Schools. This book was a monumental change for me, my learning, and my beliefs one education. Put in the context of completing my philosophy & history class and conversations with progressive educators, I have shifted a great deal in how I think schools should function.

Introduction to Music Education Research

My second course in my doctoral program was Introduction to Music Education Research. It was structured quite differently than Philosophy & History. Instead of having a progression of weekly readings and discussions, the course was divided into larger units that incorporated readings, larger projects, and weekly live classrooms.

Throughout the last few weeks of the year, I also shared some thoughts on Apple in light of all the products they released in 2018. I also reflected on attending my first Virginia Music Educators Association Professional Development Conference. While writing the research proposal for Unit 2 of the Music Education Research class, I began looking for a note taking application that could help me take and organize notes, eventually settling on the macOS/iOS app, Agenda.

Looking Forward to 2019

In my doctoral program, I will be taking Foundations of Music Education II: Sociology & Psychology, Community Music Perspectives, American Music, Analytical Techniques, and Problems, Theories, and Literature: Making a Contribution to the Field. We will be doing some updates to our house including painting, a new patio, and new windows. We want to go to Italy this summer, and we have already started looking into getting a dog! I am interested in learning more about progressive education and maker-centered learning—especially observing and learning from the educators in Albemarle County. We are definitely looking forward to 2019!


Burton Hable

Burton Hable is an instrumental music educator from Central Iowa. In 2013 he helped open Centennial High School in Ankeny, the first time in forty years that a school district in Iowa expanded to two high schools. He served there through 2018 as Assistant Director of Bands: conducting the 10th Grade Symphonic Band, directing the varsity Jazz Collective, co-directing the Centennial Marching and Pep Bands, teaching music theory, and providing individual and small group lessons to brass students in grades 6-12 at Prairie Ridge Middle School, Northview Middle School, and Centennial High School. During his tenure in Ankeny, enrollment in band grew from 450 to nearly 700, the jazz program expanded from four to seven ensembles, and ensembles under his direction were invited to perform at Iowa State University, Harper College, and the Veterans Day Parade in New York City.