Final Video

Here’s the link!

Only reason it’s long is because I let a song finish after the video is over. It shouldn’t affect your viewing if you click away after 5 mins ends, but my brother is an excellent singer, so I’d listen.

Thanks for a great semester 🙂


Reading #7

Tobias, E. S. (2013). Toward Convergence Adapting Music Education to Contemporary Society and Participatory Culture. Music Educators Journal, 99(4), 29-36.

I like the questions this article raises, and I really liked how there was a focus on facilitating musical skills which students will use when in different settings. This is something my high school band teacher believes in, and something we discussed in our interview. I find the table interesting, and I find that I haven’t really considered any of these things to be a part of the music ed experience, which is silly of me. I think a reoccurring theme in some of the articles we read is that not considering certain types of very real musical influences to be “legitimate” creates holes in our education, and different from western classical music doesn’t mean illegitimate. The concept of participatory culture isn’t one I’ve ever seen written before, and I find that it makes sense. Why would I want to only consume and not create?

I was particularly struck when I read that lines which separate performing, creating, and being an audience member are becoming increasingly blurry, a concept I find sort of beautiful. I can easily understand how this supports the idea that we should teach students more skills which are applicable to our changing environment. I find our author’s model to be intelligent, and I think that participating in contests and other public opportunities is a great way to allow kids to learn application. I also think that the reading of music literature is important, and something which i found I was navigating myself through in high school, which was intimidating. Approaching music as an ethnographer may is commendable, and I had a teacher who urged us to do the same with plays in high school.  I was pretty amazed when the author suggested teaching students copyright rules, as my high school vocal teacher navigated us through an entire unit on exactly this! I remember groaning at the time, but I’m really grateful I have such relevant knowledge to bring with me from her class.

Overall, I think no one loses in a situation where we focus on bringing a curriculum which is impacted by the world we live in, and that changing our approach to one which teaches students how to actively engage in their environment is an incredible goal. I didn’t find myself disagreeing with the author a lot in this article.


Workshop Reflection

               I learned a lot in this workshop, as I have never been as well versed in technology and music’s intersection as much as I’ve wished to be. As someone who doesn’t enjoy contemporary music recreationally, I have to say I was slightly disappointed in the music we used in our examples, though I understand it’s silly to feel that way. I have to say I wish that classes in my school had taught me ho to use garage band and similar apps to create music and facilitate musical skills, but I think I only encountered it once in middle school.

                I found the many example videos we were shown of students to be really interesting, especially those who weren’t musicians, or were not on their primary instruments. The concept of music making being accessible through technology really struck me, and I was amazed of accessibility even to non musicians to create shareable creations. I found the concept of the students marking themselves within reason to be very intelligent, and I think that when an opportunity like this is presented to people, it’s amazing how they will rise to the occasion.

                I have to say I didn’t enjoy the group work a lot, and I wished he had lectured for longer amounts of time. Maybe this is because I was sleepy, or the compatibility of my group wasn’t ideal, or because I simply enjoyed watching our lecturer. The apps we were given access to were really intelligent, and I had no idea that they existed, despite seeing videos from individuals on social media which clearly used similar if not the same technology. In particular, I enjoyed the a cappella app and the guitar feature of garage band, and I will definitely tinker away with them in the future.

                I think any doubt in my mind that technology belongs in the music classroom has been thoroughly removed from my mind by now, and I really got to see amazing first hand examples of students music making at different levels. Though I understand that accessibility to technology in every classroom is an issue, I think the movement towards using technology we have in our pockets as a tool for learning is so important. I found I was having discussions with classmates who had close-minded views on technology, and that I was truly supporting our presenters methods. What a great workshop!

Reading #6

Williams, D. A. (2014). Another Perspective The iPad Is a REAL Musical Instrument. Music Educators Journal, 101(1), 93-98.

I was frustrated with the particular tactic of attacking the oboe, though I thought it was a great argument. I feel like the example of the oboe added a degree of tangibility to the argument that made an excellent point about how an iPad may be argued to be an instrument. I also feel frustrated for the author, who seems like they have to defend a particular topic or method of music. Especially when many objections to the use of iPads, such as the many the author discusses, are full of holes.

I agree that its a consistency in our culture to fear and reject that which associates itself with technology, and that which is closely linked to pop-culture. I agree that its important to remain open to new opportunities, and I think that as a person and as a music educator it’s essential to remain in touch with current technology, and seek tools to help your classroom. I found the argument that an iPad, like an oboe may be played very poorly to be very funny, but also helped me understand better. If I had an iPad master in front of me, would I tell them that they don’t play a real instrument? I think an interesting point is made when the author discusses jazz and rock and roll, and how some instruments such as the electric guitar are only now being considered,  and I thought the statement on how electronics has changed the way we listen to and make music to be profound. When I think about subjects like art or drama, I know that we would look at contemporary art, and use technology to accomplish creative goals, so why can’t we do that more in music? I understand that arguments could be made on the differences between my comparisons, but I feel that we can run into problems when we don’t become excited and learn about new and relevant topics.

I was interested in the aural learning facilitated by this particular teacher’s ensemble, and why some people may consider this not a real ensemble. I was interested in how we feel the need to lift some instruments above others, even when we have less than legitimate arguments to fall back on. I thought after reading this that I wish I had been able to take a class on making music with technology, or even to cover it in the music classes I took.

Readings #4 and #5

Serres, D. Think Everything’s “Normal?” Then It’s Time To Reconsider And Promote A New Narrative Of Disability.

I feel that before I start my annotated bibliography, I should share that my brother has autism. This made these parts of these articles difficult to read.

I wasn’t aware but was unsurprised upon reading statistics that those who are of African descent are much more likely to be classified as intellectually disabled, and less unlikely to be considered “gifted”. I also didn’t know misdiagnoses which are related to race and economic income can account for part of the rise in diagnoses.

I thought that the section on how disability is an identity was very meaningful, and never an idea I’ve seen expressed in written words, possibly because I don’t read literature like this in my free time. I think treating a disabled person as if they are “normal” is problematic in the same way the “colourblind” approach to race is. Ignoring factors important to a person’s identity isn’t respectful, and neither is treating their differences as burdens. I found myself in agreement with the sentiment of “treating society, not the individual”, and but I also understand that this isn’t easy. I thought the section which discussed media representation of disability to be very important, I never realized the tropes of villains and heroes and their use of disability.

I couldn’t agree more with the concept of giving schools enough funds to be able to teach multiple abilities instead of the labelling and requiring “special education”. This is something my mother fought for when my brother was in elementary school, and after other parents protested because they thought their children would be deprived when taught alongside a person who was disabled, he would go into a special education program. This was a tough read.

Hourigan, R. M. (2009). The invisible student: Understanding social identity construction within performing ensembles. Music Educators Journal, 34-38.

I thought it was very interesting that the author chose to introduce us to “Jason”. I feel like the author shouldn’t have had to make us empathize with a real student for us to take the subject matter to heart, but perhaps I’m overthinking it and the author simply wanted to make concepts of the “invisible student” more tangible. I think that the author simply wanted to share their experience or inspiration which helped colour this article, but I hope that it wasn’t because they felt like they had to justify the importance of their words.

I found the section on creating a social identity and induction to be very interesting, I ignorantly had no idea that cliques were of concern to teachers, but it seems common sense when I reflect on it. I think the banishing of “kids will be kids” attitudes towards social dynamics in a classroom is so important, and getting to know individual kids and taking appropriate action if you should be concerned for a student. It was upsetting to read that Jason would be bullied by peers, and the toll his mental well-being would take from his lack of success at creating positive social connections. (It was lovely to read at the end though that band gave him joy.)

“Music Brings Joy” is a really important part of this article to me. My brother had a positive experience in high school being involved in percussion ensembles, and I think other kids should have this kind of opportunity. I think that the focus on noticing the “invisible student” and working to help create an environment in which they are cared for in a way that will nurture them best is a beautiful concept. I really enjoyed this article.

Reading #3

Wasiak, E. (2017) Unmasking the Hidden Curriculum in Canadian Music Education Canadian Music Educator.

I found this article very interesting, and I appreciated the approach they make towards implications of the way we teach music and the social ethics we should be examining. I found the use of words associated with government such as dictatorship and hegemony to be very effective in illustrating what aspects of the classroom should be looked at when it comes to authority. The concept that a teacher is responsible for educating students on social justice issues is a way I’ve not thought about teaching, and a way I think we perhaps should. I also found the suggestions our author makes towards how we may improve our current music education in Canada to be incredibly insightful, I found the use of the word sanitizing to describe how we treat music education to be really effective, and I found myself in agreement. I’m interested in the suggestions of culturally responsive teaching, and non-superficial curriculums. I agree with our author throughout most of this article, but I found her final point on avoiding bandwagons and moral panics to be very important to add when we talk about social justice.

I was frustrated when the author gave examples of stereotypes we unknowingly (hopefully) are perpetuating, and how I was both aware and unaware of these stereotypes. I thought it was frustrating when the author described how we don’t want all to be musicians, just this who show talent and who would be good in our ensembles. I think the lack of inclusivity is very sad, and that this definitely contributes to why those who take music in elementary school do not continue their studies in later grades. I was frustrated when our author described the familiar way music education may try to embrace less Eurocentric musics, but ends up patronizing them, or merely using them to spice up their curriculum. The term “musical tourism” really expresses this point well, and how it perpetuates “white is normal” implications of music education. Reading this article makes me realize that though we read articles which focus on music education, this philosophical look at the social justice we either choose to ignore or to look at is present in other school subjects, especially the arts and social sciences. I appreciated that this author gave moderately specific solutions to our current issues with teaching music though, and I think I’ve taken a lot away from this article.

Teachers in Film

Teacher # 1 – Mr. Keating from Dead Poets Society

Here’s a Clip

Mr. Keating is a notable teacher in film because of his passionate teachings of his subject, and his emphasis on pursuing passion while you can. What I find endearing about this teacher is how he teaches his subject in a way where it is relevant to his students, and tries to teach in such a way that the subject benefits them. I see a similarity in the subject of poetry and in music, as they are both involved in arts and less logical, and may therefore be questioned as relevant subjects by those who value more empirical studies. I think that his approach to his subject, which is poetry in this case, is unique. He tells his students in a different part of the film to rip the incredibly mathematical analysis formula for how good a poem is out of their books, rejecting that particular approach in favour of a more holistic approach to concepts behind the poetry. I’ve always found his approach to his subject to be inspiring, and the content of his teaching to be focused on application to life outside of school. Add a sense of humour and the incredible charisma which Robin Williams so convincingly portrays, and an incredibly unique teaching style and Mr. Keating is a fictitious teacher to remember.

Teacher # 2  – Mr. Vernon The Breakfast Club

Here’s a Clip

Though Mr. Vernon is in a less than ideal situation, he manages to make a tense situation even more aggressive and hostile than is had to be. Mr. Vernon seems to be trying to establish his own authority when he is cold and strict with the detention group in the start, but not outright inappropriate. Throughout the remainder of the film though, he belittles the students in his care and makes it clear that he is judging them. Though this context isn’t one in which classroom teaching is present, it is on in which the relationship between students and teaching professional is present, and one in which the professional behaves in a way that lacks compassion, respect, and basic civility. I understand that this movie may be examined on deeper levels, and that his character is more of a concept of the unfairness with which young generations are treated, and I think the ways in which he acts are ways one should avoid treating anyone, let alone students.