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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These online music trivia games for kids can be assigned as homework, completed in music class or used as part of a technology lab / computer lab class period. All are safe for school and most have links to additional quizzes. But as always, it’s always a good idea to test them yourself before unleashing your music students onto them.

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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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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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Imagine giving a child that one reason, that single motivation, the admirable courage to go to school each and every day. What happens to attendance? Let's take a look at dropout rates. What makes a student want to give up on their education and quit? There is a disconnection from the importance of their education, as it pertains to their individual success, and they become lost in the system.

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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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Check out our pair of music education t shirts:

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Is it ever a bad thing to learn a musical instrument? That all depends on your perspective. Consider if a young music student has only one experience making music and they happen to be taking violin lessons. What’s the best case scenario? Do you find a prodigy? What’s the worst case? The student figures out their not a prodigy.

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As music teachers, we inspire. Often that leads to aspiring young teachers in our programs wanting to become music educators. But why study music? It’s a huge decision, as you know, and there are countless pro’s and con’s to doing what we love to do with our lives. And while we can share our infinite wisdom (cough-cough), sometimes it’s better to let students read on the journey ahead of them on their own. Here are five to choose from:

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There is a significant amount of attention and pressure begin placed on marching band programs in the wake of several events in the news stemming from both negligence and improprieties. As a music teacher involved in marching band in any capacity, it is our duty to create and maintain a safe environment.

To that end, I was trying to find free resources to share with the MusicTeaching.Guru community that would help Marching Band Directors address these concerns...

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While the average general music class may be driven by a text book, there are ways to increase interest and participation. Think about how many students currently receive or would like to start guitar lessons. The guitar is an instantly accessible instrument and it can be leveraged into a classroom ensemble. This doesn’t mean you have to start guitar lessons in class, it just means it may be time to consider adding the guitar to your music lesson plans.

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