Music teachers?

Discussion in 'Music Teachers' started by FarFromHome, May 29, 2012.

  1. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    May 29, 2012

    Are there any music teachers still on the forum? I'm going to be teaching music next year, after being in general ed for the past 5 years. I'm a little nervous and am looking for some tips!
     
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  3. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    May 29, 2012

    I'm not a certified public school teacher, but I've been teaching show choir and chamber choir the past 3 semesters at my college.

    What exactly are you nervous about?
     
  4. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    Well, there's no curriculum. So basically I get to make up everything myself. There are some textbooks available, so I think I can use them if I need to. But a big worry is that I'll have over 40 classes and over 1,000 students. I'm usually really strong on classroom management, and I'm hoping I'll still do ok in that area with so many classes.

    I'm also going to do a few after school groups. One will be choir and I'm thinking of a short, easy kids' musical for the other group. I love musicals and was a musical theatre major for my first year of college, but I've never been involved in directing one. I would love any tips you have.

    Another worry is orchestra. My school currently has two after school orchestra groups that my principal wants to continue. I'm not an orchestra person at all. My certification is choral, and I was involved in band growing up. We're looking into finding someone else to run the orchestra groups, but I'm worried that he'll make me do it if we can't find someone else. I don't think he realizes how different orchestra and choir are, and he thinks I should be able to do it easily since the other teacher did.

    I would love to get any ideas for choir and musicals though. Thanks for the help!
     
  5. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    May 29, 2012

    I'm assuming you're still in elementary, so you'll have general music classes?

    For the first month or so, I'd keep all classes in the same place. Cover body percussion and rhythm and then beat/meter. Then talk about singing: proper breathing and technique.

    After you feel comfortable, move on to more specialized topics. In the early grades do echo singing and melody. In the upper grades, cover canons. Talk about the four voices and their differences. In the middle/upper grades, cover rhythm notation and duration and time signatures.

    In the early/middle grades talk about dynamics: loud vs soft. In the middle/upper grades, talk about the grand staff and the lines (FACE, Every Good Boy Does Fine) on the treble clef.

    Talk about musical terms like DC al Fine, DS al Fine. Talk about the bass clef.

    Teach them proper ensemble singing and how to follow a conductor. Talk about all the conductor's cues and what they mean.

    Before you know it, they'll be ready to play and sing!

    I wouldn't worry too much about classroom management when teaching music. Something I've seen in observations is that kids in elementary school LOVE music class and I've never seen any serious misbehavior.

    Fantastic. The only thing to be aware of with elementary music groups is overestimating their ability. My sister is in middle school right now, and their director does some really tough music for their level. They sang some Purcell at a concert a few weeks ago and it was... different. :lol:

    Musicals are tough. I was a musical theatre major too, and I've never directed a musical, only a play. Again, make sure you don't overestimate them. Stick to fun shows that they'll enjoy, such as Oliver Twist.

    You're right: people don't realize that choir and orchestra/band are two different beasts. I would push your admin as much as possible to find someone else for orchestra. If you find yourself teaching it, you'll cross that bridge when you come to it. In the meantime, I would read up on all the instruments that are available in your school. Go to your local music store and buy the "level one" books for the instruments and look them over to familiarize yourself with them. And then pray you don't have to teach it :lol:

    I hope that helped.

    Choir is so much fun to teach. It's definitely not easy, but it's so so so rewarding.
     
  6. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    Thank you, I appreciate your input! I'm definitely excited about the choir part-but it's been over 5 years since I student taught music. And I student taught junior high and high school music, so it's been even longer since I've been in an elementary music class. I'm excited to start looking through the materials in the music room.
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I bet you'll also find helpful advice on the Web sites of the state and national organizations of music educators.
     
  8. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    Thanks TeacherGroupie!

    Music was a HUGE part of my life up until I graduated college. My whole family keeps saying they're surprised I haven't taught music earlier. I'm just someone that likes routine and what is familiar. Being in general ed for my first five years of teaching was comfortable for me, so that's why I feel nervous going to music. I'm sure I'll love it and things will be fine once I do my research and look through the materials they have. Change is just nerve-wracking to me! Thanks for all of the suggestions!!
     
  9. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Yes! Definitely check out NAFME.
     
  10. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I actually just found their forum a day or two ago! It's definitely helpful!
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    (Which goes to show why so many subject-matter exams include a question or two about professional organizations. Those things can be darned useful.)
     
  12. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    It definitely is! They helped me out a lot considering how unusual my situation was. At first they thought I was a troll when I said I'm a student who was directing two ensembles, but once we got past the formalities it was a treasure trove of resources and aid.
     
  13. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    May 30, 2012

    Mike,
    I've been looking for a show to do first semester. What do you think about Willy Wonka Kids? It's only about 30 minutes and a choreography DVD can be purchased. I'm thinking I might be able to handle that on my own. My only worry is that I don't know how many boys I'll have who want to participate-I'm thinking it will be mostly girls. Do you think I could have girls play a lot of the parts?

    I was looking at Oliver also, but it's closer to an hour long. I don't know how much time I'll have with the kids for rehearsal, so a 30 minute show sounds more manageable. My other option is to do more of a revue, with mostly singing.
     
  14. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Willy Wonka JR is a cute show. My only concern is the large cast and, like you said, the large amount of guys required. There are some parts in the show that can't really be cast with a girl. At least with Oliver, pretty much all the parts can be cast with a girl except for the ringleader (forget his name...).

    Also, choreography is difficult. Like, seriously difficult to teach. I have years of dance experience and I struggled to teach the choreography in show choir. It's not impossible... you'll just need a lot of patience.

    What about Into the Woods JR? http://www.broadwayjr.com/store/showkitproduct.asp?oid=000189
     
  15. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I was looking more at the Kids shows, because they're only 30 minutes. I wonder how different the kids show is from the jr show. This page says that is has none/minimal dance experience required: http://www.mtishows.com/show_detail.asp?showid=000326

    I love Into the Woods, but I would like to stick to a show closer to 30 minutes. I think the Jr shows are around an hour. Most of the other kids shows are all the Disney titles. I don't think I could find as many boys interested in some of those titles. I might get a few boys though, because I think my former class might want to be involved-they'll be 5th graders next year.
     
  16. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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  17. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    My sister's school just did Oliver in March. They didn't have any singing, and instead played tracks from the musical over the sound system. But it sounds like you want singing.

    I'd go for Willy Wonka then!
     
  18. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I definitely want singing. Thanks for your input! I may just have to do very simple dance.
     
  19. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    No problem :).

    I have a question for you but it's more high school-focused. Do you know if high schools will typically allow a non-music teacher to direct an after-school ensemble such as vocal jazz or a show choir? I'm not music ed anymore (math ed now), but I'd still really like to direct an ensemble or direct a play/musical, especially since I have experience out the wazoo.
     
  20. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I know at my elementary school they would allow it, but I'm not sure about the high school level. At the high school I student taught at, all the ensembles were during school. At the high school I attended, we had chamber choir after school, but it was led by the choir teacher. I would think they would accept help though-especially for a musical.
     
  21. teachart

    teachart Comrade

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    Depends on the reputation of the program. The one I was in during high school was so competitive, parents would not have welcomed an uncertified teacher. However, the certified teacher might appreciate your help during afterschool rehearsals where you could rehearse the tenors while they worked with the alto's and sopranos, for example.
     
  22. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    At the high school I went to, only the 9/10 and 11/12 choirs/bands rehearsed in-school. Everything else, chamber choir/show choir/vocal jazz/pep band/wind symphony, rehearsed outside school hours.

    Ah, true. I didn't think of that.

    I've kept and maintained a portfolio the past two years. So I have my experiences as a director listed as well as pieces the choirs did alongside recordings. Maybe that will help swing them one way or another! Especially considering I brought a choir to Lincoln Center in March.
     
  23. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Jun 10, 2012

    If you're looking for other musicals. Jacobson & Huff have very cute elementary musicals. I've had 4th & 5th grader students put on "It's Saturday" and "I Need a Vacation." We added choreography & props. K to 8 music & Poppler's have a big selection. You can also preview teacher copies through Poppler's music. (You get them for 30 days & return them at no charge - only shipping fees). :)
     
  24. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    Thanks cmw. I ended up ordering Willy Wonka Kids, but also Broadway Beat. It's more of a revue.
     
  25. harun55

    harun55 Rookie

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    Jul 11, 2012

    Music Teacher

    I love music as well as singing but the main problem is that i feel very boring to attend music class.
     

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