- Posted May 21, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
First Person: Your essays
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For music teachers on a budget: How to teach beautiful music lessons inexpensively
I’ll always remember my 9th-grade music teacher, Ms. Durr. She also happened to be my Human Communications teacher, a lovely and smart woman with a big Afro who had a tendency to chew her tongue while teaching. I guess I don’t find it odd at all that I’m known to do the same thing every blue moon.
Either way, the lessons she taught us extended way beyond music, and yet she used a lot of tunes to get her lessons about life and Shakespeare and sign language across in a benevolent and beautiful way that has me reminiscing about them 33 years later.
If you’re a teacher, perhaps these lessons will also inspire you to use music in inexpensive ways to pass on invaluable musings:
Allow students to utilize their favorite songs
During one lesson about music, our teacher allowed each student to bring in a song that they could play to the class. This was 1981, so after I lugged in my vinyl album that contained Prince’s “Do Me, Baby” song as my choice, I learned what the word risqué meant after my teacher asked, “Is there anything risqué about this song?” Alas, she still played the tune, and I learned to expand my musical vocabulary when another student chose Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” as his choice.
The same teacher allowed us once again to choose whatever song we wished to perform a sign language routine along with. This was an excellent way to learn more about the students’ tastes in music while inspiring us to learn American Sign Language in a fun way.
Make your own music with software like Forte Notation
If you’re a teacher who has had enough of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” or hearing your students screaming “Turn down for what?” in the hallways and classrooms, consider creating your own tunes for a change.
To the contrary, you don’t have to be an expert musician or a master at reading music or making musical notations in order to take advantage of the software that’s available for students, teachers and the everyday person interested in creating something wonderful. Nor do you have to be a millionaire to get started.
For example, with the free downloads available at Forte Notation, you can try out free software that ranges in taste from the beginner to the professional that lets you accomplish a variety of music creation tasks. Developed by experts who truly love and have an affinity for music, the website is a genuine resource for educators.
Show your students your flair for modern music
Instead of getting stuck in a favorite decade of music from the past and criticizing everything modern, it also helps to show the young minds you’re molding your own personal penchant for current day music. Back when Madonna was popular, I loved the fact that my teacher chose the superstar’s “Crazy for You” song as her example tune to perform a sign language routine along with. Not only did it prove to me that she was a great teacher that cared about her students, but by picking a modern song from a musician of our generation, it showed me that my teacher was also human, like us.
Here’s hoping the above lessons provide the same joy for you and your students – along with hours upon hours of great musical lessons and happiness.