Empowering Students With Games

Abigail Blair is pre-k through 5th-grade general music teacher in the Chicago suburbs. She has a bachelor’s degree from Augustana College and a master’s degree from Boston University. Abigail has created several games that help empower her music students.  Prior to creating the games, Abigail felt her student couldn’t talk about music, despite what she…

How Checklists Can Give Students Ownership in Music

Holly Gage is an elementary and middle school band director in South Dakota. She has taught in a variety of settings in both South Dakota and Washington DC and during that time has worked to make her classrooms student centered. Holly likes to use checklists in her band room to give students ownership of their…

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Incorporating Student-Selected Repertoire in Ensembles

Laura Johnson is a band director at a Title I middle school in Chesapeake, Virginia. Before moving to Virginia, she taught middle school band in central Minnesota. Laura is passionate about having students select repertoire in her ensembles. She was inspired by her own high school band experience, where she and her classmates were given…

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Creating a Student-Run Charity Concert

We had the pleasure of interviewing Allison Rakickas, a junior high school band director in Aptakisic-Tripp School District in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. She’s been in Aptakisic-Tripp School District for 20+ years, first teaching 5th and 6th grade band, and now 7th and 8th grade band. Allison talked to us about how she passed the baton to her students…

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Consider the Learner Experience

One thing we have learned over the last nine months is that music teachers are incredibly creative people and very capable of innovation! We’ve seen bitmoji classrooms, virtual field trips, bouncing ball videos and more. All of this to meet the musical needs of our students during a highly unusual time in history. Where there’s…

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From A Distance: Giving Students Voice and Choice

Providing opportunities for voice and choice is one of the most basic ways to empower students (and personalize learning) in the music room. When students feel they have a voice in their musical journey and can make choices for themselves, they can take ownership of their learning. **This post was originally published on Off the…

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Pass the Baton Sneak Peek: Virtual Ensembles With Michelle Rose

In August 2019 I interviewed Michelle Rose, a music teacher at North Carolina Virtual Academy. Michelle and I spoke about an innovative way she was connecting the music students in her cyber school – through virtual ensembles! At the time, this idea was pushing the envelope. Few music teachers could conceive of why virtual ensembles…

Focus on What We Can Do

Many of us have been in this new “distance learning” phase for a few weeks now – or as A.J. Juliani calls it “emergency remote learning.” Whatever term you use, we’re discovering that it’s not the same. We can’t replicate what happens in our classrooms online. And that’s ok. I think instead we need to focus on what we can do with this time.