Allowing Their Voice

When we challenge students to find the voice within their musical expression, we often create boundaries (intentionally or otherwise) that can alter/enhance the expressive perspective of the students. If we do not allow for relevance and limit them to our expected expression, the investment and creation generated from the students Read more of this post

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 Read more of this post

Confessional

So, I’ve decided that it is time to confess. I have participated in, vehemently supported, and even led the perpetuation of a tradition, without every questioning it. Now, by the very nature of a tradition, newbies are not usually in a position to question. The focus is on conformity. As I grew up within this tradition, I learned the inner workings, the subtle variations, and became skilled at keeping the tradition intact. The past couple of years, the tradition has felt incomplete (for me) and I started looking for alternate opportunities. Now, I feel comfortable enough to offer my formal confession… My name is Nathan Johnston, and I am a band director.

On the surface, being identified as a “band director” seems harmless. And in many ways, I still feel that it is harmless. But, when working with students from a variety of communities, cultures, interests, and abilities, being ONLY a band director can be limiting. Read more of this post

Staying Engaged

Teaching is hard. Teaching music is hard. Teaching in 2013 is hard. Finding time to stay connected to my own music is hard. Finding opportunities to just play and not conduct, not program, not rehearse, not fill out POs, not do transportation requests, not answer emails, not have meetings, not … well, its hard to sit down and just play. BUT, it’s important. Read more of this post

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