America is full of former musicians. As a music teacher I constantly meet adults who tell of how they used to perform in school band, choir, or orchestra. I cannot help but imagine if the world would be a better place for them, and for everyone, if they had continued actively learning and making music. Too often our music classes place the strongest emphasis on musical performance products of large ensembles. That focus can leave graduates with little more in their hands than trophies and fond memories. Schools should provide them the inspiration and skills to continue active, vibrant musical lives after high school ends. Preparing students to become amateur adult musicians equips them with the abilities to make music independently and in small groups, for their own personal enjoyment, in a variety of styles (especially those they choose), with modern instruments.
In this webinar, I will address the philosophical position of amateurism in music education, then present lessons that increase students’ musical independence, curiosity, and transferable knowledge in many genres. Learning activities include performing, composing, improvising, listening, collaborating, songwriting, arranging, and producing. In my chorus class I utilize the ukulele and keyboards, which engage students and aid them in developing powerful musical knowledge that can sustain their musical involvement into adulthood.
Presenter: Tom FitzStephens