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.
Week 1: Historical Rationales for Music and Music Education: background for the course and looking at history as a narrative
Week 2: What is Philosophy? What is History? What is Research?: looking to answer the questions from the title, also included first Live Classroom
Previous Philosophies of Music Education: outside of the course, I reflected on previous philosophies I had written
Week 3: What is Music? Ways of Viewing the World: two seminal philosophies—aesthetic (Reimer) and praxial (Elliott)
Paper 1: Analysis of the Teaching of Music Fundamentals: analyzing how I taught the non-AP music theory course in light of my learning so far in the course
Week 4: Music Education and Social Justice: Equity and Diversity: reading Jonathon Kozol’s Savage Inequalities to look at inequities in schools and communities
Week 5: Music Education Topics that need our attention now!: looking at further social justice issues in music education
Paper 2: Standards-Based Grading: A Necessity in Future Assessment Practices: responding to a topic that could affect music education as a whole
Week 6: Ethics in Music Education: answering the “why” of music education
Week 7: Putting It All Together and Moving Forward: what needs to change in music education?
Paper 3: My Current and Future Teaching Practices: analyzing my teaching practices in light of all my learning in this course
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.
Unit 1: Argument: focused on crafting a strong argument. We were asked to read Anthony Weston’s A Rulebook for Arguments and Ray Bradbury’s Zen and the Art of Writing, using the rules and suggestions to analyze how a researcher structured their argument in a journal article.
Unit 2: What’s the Problem? Maker-Centered Music: writing a research proposal. Originally, when I entered the doctoral program, I was interested in researching effective practice (think Hattie or Marzano) in large ensembles. As my learning progressed in the Philosophy & History course, reading Timeless Learning, and conversing with progressive educators, my research interests have shifted to the intersection of maker-centered learning experiences and music.
Unit 3: Research Traditions Overview: make an annotated bibliography and write a critique of a variety of different qualitative and quantitative research related to our proposed topic.
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!