Motivation

Musical Accountability

What follows is a revision of the speech I delivered to the underclassmen at my school’s band banquet in May of 2012. If this speech is of use to any of you who address your students at a formal gathering over the next year, please feel free to quote as needed as you prepare your program. The purpose of the speech was to challenge the students to add the dimension of accountability to their musical mindset. What is accountability? Any...

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An Open Letter to Emily

It was really nice hearing from Emily, a freshman music major, a couple of days ago. Her journey is just beginning, and knowing who she is studying with – I cannot be more excited for her.  In one of her music education classes she was asked to pose some questions to a current teacher about how they arrived at being a music educator. The answers I provided to her are not earth-shattering, but it was a nice opportunity to reflect back to...

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Never a losing season?

On my way to work today I ran into the baseball coach at my school. His son plays trombone in the bands where I teach, and he was in attendance at the spring concert last night. “How come you never have a losing season?” he asked with a smile. That is an excellent question, I thought. One of these days I might actually get it all figured out. Eternal optimist and music lover meets bureaucracy of public education – this should be an...

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It’s time to go to the fields

            What does it mean to say a school is making “adequate yearly progress”? What is the value of a standardized test that produces an aggregate score for a group of students in one school and has it compared in the local newspaper against scores from another? How does student performance on a standardized exam relate to future vocational aspirations? Are teachers really able to teach skills necessary for success in future...

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Let’s start by asking better questions…

I am not one to make a new year’s resolution – the idea of self-regulation only once every 365 days is somewhat unsettling.  If you think that needs to happen only once every 8,760 hours, you might have some personal issues that no amount of blogging can ever fix – sorry to drop the hammer, just a personal view. That being said and out of the way, I hope to present an idea for consideration more than one day a year, and hopefully will be...

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Sticking the landing after the big leap…

Four very short weeks ago, the band program at Mercer took a big leap as we started our year with a unit on chamber music that culminated in our Fall Chamber Recital.  Over twenty different selections were presented in the recital ranging from Handel, Haydn, and Mozart to Sousa, and John Williams.  You can read a full copy of the program notes and performance order by clicking here (a pdf will open in a new window (student names for security...

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