The Class of 2020 virtually graduated this past Friday evening. I’ve never been a delight at commencement ceremonies (have tissues, will travel). Our underclassmen/women started their final exams today. In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our little corner of the world, my mind is focused on wrapping up their grades while finishing my own dissertation. The pandemic and its impact on higher education institutions has impacted my work in that so many conductors were doing their best to figure out how the heck they were going to keep their ensembles in performance mode. As most of them have wrapped up their spring semester, they’re now looking ahead to what Fall 2020 is going to look like. To be honest with you, we are all doing the same.
Keeping an eye on the “What” vs. the “How.” This week…the “What.”
Sitting in my “teacher seat,” I can’t help but worry about how we will be able to honor the art form framed by ensemble performance. Fortunately, professional organizations such as the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the College Band Directors Association (CBDNA), and the College Orchestra Association (CODA) have been proactive in their efforts to investigate best practice for students and teachers. We can only hope that our State Departments of Education, along with the U.S. Department of Education will recognize the necessity for including us in the dialogue. We represent such a diverse constituency: local school systems, private vs. public, operating budgets…you name it, we have are “it,” and will not do well with cookie cutter strategies.
Most would say the “What” is easy to identify. Teacher.org lists what we do as being:
“…responsible for sharing music and musical knowledge with his or her students. In lower grades, this may simply mean singing on key, keeping tempo, and learning new songs, but older grades may mean teaching range, how to play an instrument, or helping prepare for college level musical pieces. A music teacher will also be responsible for the same duties as regular education teachers. These teachers will be expected to keep grades, meet with parents, share progress notes, and perform lunch, bus, and/or hallway monitoring.”
I actually found this page to be quite interesting and somewhat amusing, especially in the brief description of what music teachers in higher grades do.
In the meantime…
#MusicEducation #COVID19 #MusicEnsembles