My Philosophy of Music Education
Children love to be asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” because for whatever reason, they already have an answer ready . Some of the most common responses include doctors, firefighters, and the ever-popular, teacher. While most children’s aspirations are attainable, their goals usually change as they are exposed to more of the world and its challenges. It is very uncommon to find an adult who is in the profession that they have always dreamed of. In this sense, my pursuit of the teaching profession, especially in the field of music, is rare, since it has always been my childhood dream to become a teacher. After committing myself to music throughout high school and pursuing a degree in music education and performance in college, I am able to begin to formulate my philosophy on education. Included in this philosophy are my personal views concerning why music is an important aspect of the educational system, to whom music should be taught, and how it should be taught.
The first question that I considered while formulating my philosophy was ,”Why? What is the purpose of teaching music?” Unlike many other professions, the gratification from teaching music comes in a form other than a paycheck. In my opinion, the most important reason to teach music is to pass it along. By sharing music with others, it is possible to make others as passionate about it as you are. Even if a student cannot play very well, it is still important to help him to understand and appreciate music and its importance in his life. Another purpose of teaching music is to give students something they can succeed at through practice, which provides them with a sense of purpose and pride. Additionally, music is very important in the overall educational system. Music programs are essential because they help students to develop skills such as time management, communication, patience, and perseverance. Also, for many students, music helps them to express themselves in ways that sitting in a classroom all day never could. Music classes can also be considered a healthy break from academics in a school day. In general, the purpose of music education is to teach a universal language to students that they will be able to use no matter where they are, for the rest of their lives.
Next it is important to consider to whom music should be taught and the role of the student in a musical classroom. I believe that music should be taught to anyone and everyone without exception. Music truly is a universal language, and I believe that with enough creativity it can be taught to anyone who is willing to learn it. A student with a disability or even a student who does not speak English can be taught the fundamentals of music and be able to appreciate its significance. Since music is a form of expression, it is very important for students to have an open mind when approaching it. Since not all students come into a music classroom with this kind of mindset, it is the job of the teacher to connect with them and make them interested in learning music. Although it is the responsibility of the student to practice in order to improve, it is mostly the responsibility of the teacher to motivate his or her students and make them want to practice and improve their skills.
Since the success of a music teacher lies in their ability to reach their students, the manner in which music is taught is quite significant. First of all, I believe that it is very important for a music teacher to use many different types of teaching techniques in order to reach as many students as possible. For example, some students learn better visually, some aurally, and some kinesthetically. It is imperative for a teacher to appeal to all of these different learners by using variation in his or her lessons. Also, music should be taught with passion, vigor, and life. If a student realizes how passionate a teacher is about their subject matter, they may begin to wonder why and have more interest in the subject. Although it is important to stay on task while teaching in a music classroom, I also think that it is important to be spontaneous. Taking a short break from a rehearsal to tell a story about high school band camp or a music professor in college can be a way to connect with students by making them realize how much music has impacted their teacher’s life. Whenever my high school band director would tell the band stories about his music teachers in the past, I admired him for sharing a part of his history with us, and I aspire to leave a legacy that my students can someday tell their students about in the future. Overall, I believe that the most effective way to teach music is for the teacher to share their passion with their students and reach them by connecting with them on their level.
Although music education is a controversial issue in schools, I personally believe that keeping music programs in schools is a “no-brainer”. Music connects children with the past, the present, and the future and gives them something in which to take pride. Music is all around us and it should be analyzed, interpreted, internalized, and appreciated. As Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche once said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” After all, it would be a shame to deprive children of something that builds character and changes lives the way that music does.