My Philosophy of Teaching

"Teach on the verge of peril." — R. Murray Schafer, "Creative Music Education"

Essential Question: "How do amateur adults meaningfully engage with making music and movement?"

After three years of studies with me (fourth through sixth grade), I sincerely hope that my students:

  • Are "tuneful, beatful, and artful" (with thanks to music pedagogue John Feierabend)
  • Have experienced a wide variety of methods, media, and modalities of performing and creating music and movement
  • Have improvised and composed a wide variety of musical works of various dimensions, and feel justified in identifying themselves as "composers" (or at least no longer think of "composers" solely as dead white European males with funny names)
  • Have performed and choreographed a wide variety of dances and expressive movement pieces, both in service of other musical tasks and for their own sake, and feel justified in identifying themselves as "movers"
  • Can play recorder(s), barred instruments, drums, or some combination with facility, and feels comfortable improvising and composing with instruments
  • Have sung in many genres, languages, and styles, and have vocabulary to differentiate better singing from worse singing
  • Have performed for peers and adults dozens of times, in small and large settings

I prioritize the act of creation over nearly all others in my classroom. Students must create their own music and movement all the time!

I enjoy assigning students complex problems and solutions and allowing them substantial amounts of time to work together—with as little guidance from me as possible—to create a satisfying artistic product.  I strongly believe in allowing students to make their own creative and artistic choices as often as possible.