OK, I am a little behind in my blog writings but that's alright. I was reminded today that when we went to the Morpeth school, of the infectious nature of teachers that allow themselves to be not only present in the classroom situation but allow themselves to be very facially expressive. This is such an important trait of all good teachers, especially for music teachers. Expression, be it facial or through body language promotes attention amongst your students and it also says to the student that you are there to have fun and to learn and that you ENJOY being there with them. I also saw demonstrated in action during our visit, that you can be expressive and also in command when things get out of hand. Just one simple gesture, discussed and practiced in class can reel students back in when things tend to go off the rails a bit and don't tell me that has never happened to you:). Creating communication signals with your students facilitates classroom management.
You never know what you will find when you run in the parks in London. I went to Hyde Park today to run. It is a lovely park. I was reminded once again of Princess Diana's legacy as the Kensington Gardens had a great memorial to her life. It has been two decades since her death. She lived in the Kensington palace for 15 years and the gardeners planted white roses and forget-me-nots in her honor. It is a lovely place to be to escape the city and connect with nature. I didn't expect to happen onto a Flying Trapeze school, see the images below! Along the way were many beautiful statues of Albert and Victoria and of course the Royal Albert Hall!
This summer I am so excited to take my students on a study abroad trip to London, England where they will do a comparative study between contemporary music education practices happening in the United Kingdom and the music education program in the United States. This course has been a goal of mine since I started my position at Lebanon Valley College almost two years ago, and it has been a process. Let's start at the very beginning...
It all started about 12 years ago. Our family was living in Rochester, Michigan and I was in graduate school at Oakland University. I was in the middle of writing up my dissertation when my husband was offered a new position in London England. We were excited to move abroad once again and it was our first time to live in the UK. Part of my graduate study involved informal learning processes in the beginning band ensemble, and because of this I was very familiar with the work of Lucy Green, who happened to be a Professor of Music Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. I was very fortunate to be able to take a few courses at the Institute and study with Professor Green, whose research into How popular musicians learn, was the pedagogical foundation of what is now the 'Musical Futures program.
While I was living in London, I had the opportunity to visit some of the schools that were just piloting the new pedagogy and it is quite thrilling to see how the Musical Futures program has developed not only in the UK but around the world. We are looking forward to visiting several schools now implementing the Musical Futures program. LVC students will have opportunities to observe, and experience hands-on learning and analyze the fundamental differences between informal and formal learning processes and their application to the music classroom and implications for life-long learning. It is going to be a great summer! I hope you will come along for the adventure.
Sharon Davis is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Music Education at Lebanon Valley College, where she teaches elementary and secondary music methods and graduate courses in music education. She has had diverse teaching experiences in elementary and secondary general music, choral and instrumental music in the United States and in International schools in Germany, Switzerland, and Singapore. She has published in the International Journal of Education and the Arts, Research Studies in Music Education, Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education and the International Journal of Music Education, Practice. Her contributions to edited books include Learning, teaching and musical identity: Voices from across cultures, Lucy Green (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of music education, Gary McPherson (Ed.), Musicianship: Composing in band and orchestra, (Clint Randles and David Stringham (Ed.) and most recently for the second edition of The child as musician: A handbook of musical development, Gary McPherson (Ed.). Her research interests include music education in relation to informal learning, popular music, musical identity, and the aesthetic experiences of children. Sharon G. Davis