The Kids Come First: Student Ownership in Ensembles

In Episode 62, Kathryn and Theresa talk to Kathleen Jacoby, a high school band director in Fairfax, Virginia. Kathleen’s teaching philosophy revolves around student ownership and engagement in the music program, drawing from her own experiences in a small band program where every member’s contribution was vital. She shares innovative strategies she employs to involve students in decision-making processes, such as selecting pieces and contributing to rehearsal methods.

The interview delves into her approach to empowering students by fostering a sense of community, responsibility, and critical listening skills. Kathleen’s methods aim to develop not just musical skills but also life skills like leadership, collaboration, and independent thinking. She is dedicated to making music education a transformative experience for students, ensuring that it contributes positively to their overall growth and development.

The kids come first.

Listen to the full interview:

Here are some key takeaways from Kathleen’s interview:

  • Student Ownership and Engagement: Kathleen emphasizes the importance of student involvement in decision-making processes within the music program, allowing them to have a say in choices like selecting music pieces and contributing to rehearsal methods.
  • Building a Sense of Community: She fosters an environment where each student feels valued and important, highlighting the significance of ensemble and teamwork in music education.
  • Tailored Challenges and Personal Growth: Her approach includes offering varied levels of difficulty in exercises and activities, allowing students to choose challenges appropriate to their skill level, thereby promoting personal growth and confidence.
  • Critical Listening and Self-Assessment: Kathleen encourages students to develop critical listening skills and engage in self-assessment, enabling them to provide constructive feedback and recognize areas for improvement.

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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