During my guided internship in spring of 2012, I am interested in accomplishing the following goals:
- I want to explore and test my interest in working with middle and/or high school aged musicians.
- I want to gain a better understanding of how to teach student musicians how to use their ears for various purposes (improvisation, learning music and musical properties, composition, etc.)
- I want to gain more experience in conducting a lesson or rehearsal in an efficient and focused, yet lighthearted and enjoyable manner.
I believe that in my efforts to meet these objectives, I will be putting past and concurrent courses to practical use. I have taken Educational Psychology as an undergraduate at the University of Miami and I am currently taking Models for Teaching and Learning here at NEC. Along with my internship next semester I will be taking Improvisation in Music Education, which will provide me with great insight in how to work with my students.
In my own experience, I’ve found that it is very important to have a solid foundation in both reading music and in using one’s ears. Although there are exceptions, I’ve found that students are generally more likely to rely more heavily on written music and less likely to be able to use and trust their ears to learn music, improvise, or compose. I believe that this is due to several possible factors, the most noticeable being:
- Students can feel bashful or vulnerable performing music in this way.
- Students don’t really know what to listen for because they haven’t immersed themselves enough in the music they are studying. These observations are based on my own private teaching of high school jazz students in my hometown of Gainesville, Florida, as well as my experience with other students while playing in middle and high school ensembles.
My goal as a teacher would be to help my students grow into musicians who play their instrument(s) with good fundamentals, have solid reading and written-music skills, and can use their ears for improvisation and learning music aurally.
Some of the most important questions I would like to explore during this coming semester are:
- How do beginning improvisers first get comfortable with playing what is not on the page?
- How can an improviser transition from “plugging in licks” to playing in a more spontaneous way?
- How to students learn material by ear rather than with written music?
All of these questions are inspired by my desire to understand more about how students can learn to train their ears. In my experience, I know that being able to hear intervals and also doing extensive listening to the type of music that one wants to play are two crucial aspects of developing the ears, but I would like to develop more specific answers and more specific techniques in this matter. Based on past experiences, my concern for the ability to transfer this information gives me question, “How do I use effective language and communication to better explain musical concepts, and how does this change from student to student?”
To record the contents of my internship, I will update on the MIE blog as well as add to my portfolio. My specific ideas for recording these experiences include at least 5 video recordings of my teaching practice as well as a written account of each time I go to my internship. This will include the events of the day, what techniques were used, and an evaluation of what went well, what didn’t go well, and why.The Artist-Teacher-Scholar model very accurately represents my long-term goals as a professional musician. As an artist, I plan to continue to play and write music my whole career, and continue to grow and evolve from my musical experiences. While I consider myself a jazz musician, I have no intentions of limiting myself to a specific genre and I want to have the most fulfilling musical experience as possible, regardless of genre. As a teacher, I want to pass on my knowledge and my musically diverse spirit to young students, helping them develop into inspired, eclectic, multi-faceted musicians. My specific interests would be more in small group and private studio interaction. I would be interested in teaching primarily in the late middle school and high school levels, but eventually, I would be interested in teaching at the college level as well. As a scholar, I am interested in continuing to research, listen to music, and try to elevate human understanding of music as much as possible, which would help me as both an artist and a teacher. It is my hope that this internship proves to be a valuable learning experience, giving me a promising launching point into the life of being a teaching artist.