Reflections on the box

There are many discussions in our profession today about traditional vs nontraditional approach to the music (ensemble) classroom. I have reflected on my own identity, as well as my experiences and mentors that helped shape it. As I move forward, there is a consistent struggle to try to put every experience, pedagogical approach, and/or student opportunity into one of those boxes. I think I t is time to live life without the box.

When student voice is the priority and we each acknowledge that every community is unique (even with many shared characteristics), then there can no longer be a “one size fits all experience” expectation in our classrooms. Instead of justifying our activities as in/out of a box, let’s justify them with student interest and relevance. When I choose to use a looping app as the core resource in groove development to prepare ensemble literature, it is what sparks my students. If you choose to use a metronome to achieve the same goal, hopefully that’s what sparks your students.

If we can all get past this in box vs out of box, right vs wrong, traditional vs non-traditional experiences that we design for our students, then we can have a more invested discussion of pedagogical opportunities without predetermined limitations. Engaging in this discussion allows music educators to dream and imagine a what-if classroom that serves  students today, with an open mind towards today, and not limited by what served students from yesterday. So, #whatifmusiced…

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