Do traditional ideas fit in a techie world?

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!

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4 responses to “Do traditional ideas fit in a techie world?

  1. I followed your twitter link to your blog. Although I am not a music specialist, it in interesting to read about the specific knowledge/objectives you impart/aim to impart to your learners. As a French specialist, I too encourage production (language production) at low levels of mastery but I do see the parallel as the language production / music becomes more beautiful over time… wish my own children’s music teachers were as expert as you!!! Great blog.

    • Thank you for reading! I like the parallel you made between language production and music…how they can both get more beautiful over time. I wonder how closely the listening involved for both language learning and music learning match? That would be an interesting topic to look into!

  2. Recorders teach a vast variety of material. I teach recorders to my 5th grade as a pre-band instrument. . . a means of putting together the music concepts that have been taught k–4. I say it is a pre-band instrument; however, I feel it benefits the vocal programs as well. It forces students to read what is on the page! Great questions–thx for posting.

    • Thanks for adding your comments! I almost added a question in the post questioning the relationship of recorders to orchestral instruments. However, even if the hand position concepts don’t exactly match, we can still teach listening and audiation concepts that transfer to any musical instrument, as you said, even the voice.

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