Cello There: The Funny Side of Music Education

Music Education has a whimsical side to it. Music teachers and student musicians get to see the funny in class and rehearsals. Cello There takes all of this and puts it in one place where we can see a new set of Music Education Funnies every weekday by Gregory Pavliv and MusicTeachingGuru.com

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The average music curriculum doesn’t address cooperative learning despite the fact music education is almost entirely based on working together to learn and perform as a group. With the rise of music technology classrooms, we are seeing a lower number of peer-to-peer activities. Students are locking into their monitors and primarily working alone. So how do engage students in cooperative learning when trying to use music technology? Turn to piano lessons! In piano lessons, students must learn and practice alone, right? And they have to have the goal of performing alone, on stage, to show just how good their piano lessons were, right? Wrong!

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While the culture of today’s generation is much faster paced than others with the additions to technology and the increases in social activity, music educators must commit with the now-stronger-than-ever sports world (Robinson, 2007). Several newer theories have been implemented to prevent the extinction of the musical classroom from today’s education system.

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While a history or social studies class could focus on a the impact of a people or a culture, only the most experienced of educators can parlay this into a cooperative learning moment where students can explore cultures other than their own. And even in those circumstances, it would require a lot of planning and coordination with resources that may not be available (though I truly hope it is being done).

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…when I reminisce about school experiences in sports and music, I always think of both fondly. But I use what I learned while playing in ensembles, every day.

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There is no smoking gun that will immediately fix this. It has to first be acknowledged as being a real problem. Then it has to be addressed using the amazingly appropriate vehicle of music education. And then, one classroom and one student at a time, we can begin to remove stereotypes. Here is one of my favorite Buddhist proverbs that better explains the process, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The music classroom can be utilized as a school strategy to empower cross-cultural understanding.

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There are indelible cultural links that run deeply in urban communities that transcend faith, geography, and circumstance which are all explicitly linked to music. When I was teaching inner-city schools in New Jersey, every class had students with several different races and nationalities. I decided to create an informal case study, tracking the progress of my classes as they guide me through the cultures of the school. Over the period of about one month I asked students, parents, aides and teachers, what type of music they listened to on a regular basis. I was humbled.

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What follows is an experiment for you to complete that can give some perspective about the importance of music education.One of the many benefits of physical education is the aspect of cooperative learning. This is when students learn together, in groups, while fostering peer-to-peer relationships. More experienced students help less experienced students and teams work together to achieve common goals in the different learning scenarios. In sports, this is accepted as one of the great defenses for its importance. People proudly talk about their sports experiences on different teams they played for whether for a middle school Basketball team or an NCAA football team.

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