How does the old fit in with the new? Does it? As a techie wanna be, the question for me is also, “How do I incorporate the good ideas from the past with new technology?”
I’ve heard ideas recently on Twitter (follow me if you’d like: @mrsbrownmusic) and at conferences about teaching music in a “new” way. Sometimes it makes perfect sense and other times I’m not sure. I’ve taught music for a total of over 16 years, general music, band, and even choir during my first three years. Two years ago, I earned my Orff Level 1 certification. It transformed my teaching. Now I’m trying to figure out how to incorporate those ideas using Web 2.0 technology. I’m overwhelmed! Technology is moving so fast, and I’m behind the times. However, that’s not an excuse for me. I have to keep working at it.
I want to be careful not to forget that I teach music first. I want my students to become the best musicians they can, at whatever level they are capable. I’m using recorders (the old fashioned kind) in grades third through fifth grades at my current elementary job. Students learn the basic concepts of phrasing and good tone production. Third grade and the beginning of fourth grade sound pretty scary, but beginning band and orchestra do too! Does that mean I should scrap the recorders? I don’t think so? The recorder is still a good beginning for students to learn left-hand on top, eye-hand coordination, basic notation, and musicianship. Will they all continue in band and orchestra? Absolutely not. However, I still find the recorders useful in teaching musical concepts at the elementary level.
I also use Orff instruments and some Kodaly methodology (although I’m not Kodaly certified). As I’ve written in previous posts, I’m learning how to use those methods in teaching audiation, musical organization, notation, etc. Then I heard the idea recently that notation isn’t as important as we’ve made it out to be. What do music educators mean by that statement? How does the idea fit? Does it?
As you can probably tell by now, this post isn’t about giving answers. It’s about asking questions. My questions come from the basic idea that new technology is a tool, just like the Orff instruments are a tool for teaching children musical ideas and skills. What are your answers to these questions? Please share. I want to learn from you!