Nurturing Inquisitive Minds in Young Musicians

In episode 57, Kathryn and Theresa talk to SJ, who shares his journey and experiences in music education. SJ was born into a musical family in Bihar, India, and raised in Mumbai. His passion for music was inherited from his father, and he pursued a master’s in literature and vocal classical music. SJ emphasizes the use of voice as a primary tool in teaching music to students, over instruments. After a decade of teaching in India, he was encouraged to explore international education, leading him to Dubai, where he currently works as a music teacher for early and primary years at GEMS International School.

During the interview, SJ discusses his teaching philosophy, which involves creating an environment that fosters curiosity and inquiry, especially among young learners. He reflects on the evolution of his teaching methods, from being the central figure in the classroom to stepping back and allowing students to engage deeply with the material. SJ highlights the importance of adapting to the students’ needs and interests, which can vary from class to class. He also touches on the concept of student empowerment, suggesting that educators should involve students at every stage of planning to make learning relevant and engaging for them. The conversation also delves into the challenges and joys of teaching, with SJ sharing anecdotes from his classroom experiences that illustrate his commitment to student-centered learning.

You can set up the classroom in such a way that they come in and start looking...the curiosity is in their eyes.

Here are some key takeaways from our interview with SJ:

  •  Utilize the voice as a primary tool to teach music, fostering a direct and versatile engagement with students.
  • Transition from teacher-led instruction to facilitating student inquiry, encouraging active exploration and self-directed learning in music.
  • Create adaptable lesson plans that respond to the day’s dynamic classroom energy, keeping music education flexible and responsive.
  • Involve students in the planning process to empower them, ensuring lessons are tailored to their interests and developmental stages.

Connect with SJ to learn more about his work:

Ready for more?

You can check out the full interview on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform. Or you can listen right here, on Spotify Podcasts!

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