Student-Centered Learning

  • Empowered Music Students,  Student-Centered Learning

    The Student-Centered Modern Band

    Happy New Year! This week, we were excited to interview Shemeka Nash, a band director in Chicago, Illinois. Shemeka currently teaches 7th-12th grade band at Morgan Park High School and is also the fine arts department chair. She has done a lot of great things for the band program at Morgan Park, including creating a student-centered modern band.  Shemeka has always felt students should have some input about the repertoire they play. Even in the concert band, she encouraged students to look for music on J.W. Pepper for the ensemble to perform. She found this helped students connect to the repertoire, since it’s something they were interested in. Shemeka was…

  • Empowered Music Students,  Student-Centered Learning

    Creating a Student-Centered Choral Program

    This week’s interview features Brian Ackles, a vocal music teacher at Marcellus High School, in Marcellus, NY. Brian has taught in his current position for 20 years, and previously taught middle school and elementary school music. He received his bachelor’s degree from Westminster Choir College and his master’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. In this interview, Brian talks about his student-centered choral program.  Brian’s first teaching job was in San Antonio, Texas, where he taught general music in two elementary schools. In one elementary school, Brain had to teach five kindergarten classes in the school cafeteria at the same time. Through this experience, Brian learned quickly…

  • Empowered Music Students,  Student-Centered Learning

    Crafting Student-Centered Lessons (Part 2 of 2)

    In part two of this interview, Kathryn and Theresa continue the conversation with Jesse Rathgeber, a music education professor at Augustana College, about his views on planning and teaching student-centered music classes. If you missed part 1, check it out here: Crafting Student-Centered Lessons, Part 1.  Transforming an Elementary School Performance  One specific area that Jesse transformed to be more student-centered was what started as an elementary school Christmas program. After purchasing a pre-packaged program the first year, the next year he did a program based on the Carnival of the Animals and worked together with students to create the movements. The next year’s program was a jazz themed program,…

  • Empowered Music Students,  Student-Centered Learning

    Crafting Student-Centered Lessons (Part 1 of 2)

    In this two-part interview, Kathryn and Theresa talk to Jesse Rathgeber, a music education professor, about his views on planning and teaching student-centered music classes. Jesse’s wealth of knowledge and passion for music education are evident, creating an interview you don’t want to miss. Here are some highlights and key takeaways.  About Jesse Rathgeber Jesse Rathgeber is currently a music education professor at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. Before coming to Augustana, Jesse taught at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, where he helped found the Center for Inclusive Music Engagement. At both schools, Jesse has created community-based, participatory music experiences, called JMUke and AugiePlay. Jesse received his PhD…