Teaching and Learning Philosophy
In my classroom, learning is stimulating, engaging and rigorous and fun. My teaching begins with developing an authentic understanding of all the students I teach and understanding the way they learn. Knowing my students allows me to unlock their potential, and create differentiated learning tasks to suit student’s abilities. As students develop their understandings and skills, I encourage students to apply these in real world situations making their learning relevant. As students develop their skills, they develop resilience and confidence, knowing that trying their best is often more important than the result they attain.
Through my years of experience teaching music, I have discovered that the way students learn music is akin to the way a child learns a spoken language (by immersion), and engaging all parts of the brain simultaneously: by listening, reading, writing, singing, playing and recreating music with increasing challenges. Music becomes naturally engaging and fun. Therefore students want to develop and hone their skills concurrently both individually and collaboratively with others, by setting realistic goals and constantly reflecting on their learning to succeed.
- Beginning in Year 7 (Form 1), students are taught the basics of musical literacy. Each of the following components are taught interchangibly rather than systematically:
- Performance: known and unknown songs, individual and group performance on keyboard and singing
- Composition: writing, performing by singing and on keyboard, evaluating process and making changes
- Theory: reading and writing musical symbols in short hand and on the staff
- Aural recognition of rhythms, melodies, intervals
- Now that the students have started the basics of reading and playing music, using the Kodaly methodology, students are introduced to more and more songs: some known, and others unknown.
- A song is placed on the board, which they sing in solfa and letter names. Whether or not they fully understand the notation is irrelevent here. Once they can understand the first note and the relationships of one note to another reading becomes easier.
- To assist with memory I ask that the students sing the song from memory, then write the song down in their books. I concentrate on accuracy of writing and periodically ask questions like "what note is that?" This song will then be played on the keyboard and later on an instrument they are learning (if applicable).
- Students are asked to recognise the skips and steps in the song, work out how many beats there are in the bar, the total number of beats, the time signature and what types of notes are used in the song. It is important that no mater what the age of the studets are they can recognise the key, meter, melodic shape, rhythmic patterns and formal shape of the melody. This will prepare the students for later study, but also broaden their comprehension of music in general.