Teaching Music Online When Kids Lack Instruments and Internet Access September 2020 Newsroom Teachers College, Columbia music education articles 2020 University
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Teaching Music Online When Kids Lack Instruments and Internet Access September 2020 Newsroom Teachers College, Columbia music education articles 2020 University
“Our main message is that music and art can be done virtually — but it has to be done creatively and with flexibility,” she says. “Teachers have to think out of the box.” “I thought my head was going to explode,” says Katy Ho Weatherly , who, as Music Manager for the District of Columbia Public Schools , found herself facing precisely that conundrum last March when the COVID pandemic hit. As a Juilliard graduate, Weatherly knows a thing or two about following a score. But she also has an impressive history of adapting to new challenges. Address: Office of Development and External Affairs But mindset has been Weatherly’s primary focus. Tags: Alumni Arts Digital Learning K-12 Education COVID-19 A musical prodigy who grew up in Macao, an autonomous region on the south coast of China, she managed to get herself to New York City at the age of 17 and win acceptance to the city’s famed Professional Children’s School. She has since played in venues that include Carnegie Hall — but after performing at a hospice for children, she decided to pursue a career in teaching as well. © 2021, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027.
THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX One music teacher working under Weatherly made a video demonstrating how to make maracas from toilet paper rolls and rice. Washington officials decided to end the 2019-20 school year at the end of May, a month earlier than usual, but Weatherly worked non-stop throughout the summer. One major payoff, with Washington resuming classes remotely at the end of August, is that students in the primary grades now have recorders and rhythm sticks to make music at home. A foundation also donated 200 keyboards for upper grade students. It’s not Mozart — and that is our goal...It’s a good time to reimagine what music education can look like. And I actually think it’s going to be better for the direction of music education in the future. The Washington schools eventually addressed non-access by making districtwide classrooms available on free-access television. And meanwhile, “flexibility and understanding” music education articles 2020 became music staff mantras during those hectic early days. Weatherly and her staff devised a lesson plan that encouraged students of all ages to interview parents about the music that shaped their lives. She personally scoured the internet for music composition and performance sites to help musicians and singers in the upper grades maintain their artistic edge. And she identified resources teachers could use to show younger students how to fashion musical instrument from household items. Following her lead, one D.C. teacher produced a YouTube video that coupled a history of maracas with step-by-step instructions on fabricating the percussion instruments with empty cardboard toilet paper rolls or plastic Easter eggs filled with rice . The works of the old masters are still important, she says, but “when music teachers focus on the Western Canon and European styles they tend to forget about the cultural relevance of the music our students listen to. It’s not as if the kids will never learn about Mozart and Beethoven, but these programs make it possible for them to learn about Mozart and Beethoven through different venues. It’s a good time to reimagine what music education can look like. And I actually think it’s going to be better for the direction of music education in the future.” Teaching Music Online When Kids Lack Instruments and Internet Access September 2020 Newsroom Teachers College, Columbia music education articles 2020 University
Teaching Music Online When Kids Lack Instruments and Internet Access September 2020 Newsroom Teachers College, Columbia music education articles 2020 University
“Our main message is that music and art can be done virtually — but it has to be done creatively and with flexibility,” she says. “Teachers have to think out of the box.” PERFORMER TURNED TEACHER Weatherly has performed at venues ranging from TC's graduation to Carnegie Hall, but chose teaching as her main focus after performing for children in a hospice. But what do you do when your students are forced to leave their instruments in locked-down schools and quarantine at home — in many instances with poor or non-existent access to the internet? During Weatherly’s time as a student in TC’s program in Music & Music Education , that work included serving as Director of the student orchestra at the pre-K-8 Teachers College Community School in West Harlem, where she routinely engaged novice musicians in playing highly difficult classical works. Box: 306 * Phone: 678-3412 * Email: Contact Us Teachers College, Columbia University 525 West 120th Street New York, NY 10027 The district hasn’t abandoned virtual one-on-one and small-group instrumental lessons — but it’s taking a different approach with students who aren’t serious musicians. “Instead of teaching music theory and history in a traditional manner, we are teaching those concepts through song-writing on a virtual platform,” Weatherly says. “The students love it because the music they are writing is similar to the music they listen to today. It’s not Mozart — and that is our goal. Our goal is to provide a relevant learning experience that engages students in a fun way.” Being a public-school music educator is hard enough in an era when budgets for the arts have been slashed in districts around the country. music education articles 2020