Today, in my classes, we will be playing music and sending love, as we always do. But today, we will be directing our love to the families and victims in Orlando. I urge you today to do what you can in your own lives to send love, to show your support to those who need it, and to fill the world with music, love, and pride.
Ever since learning about Critical Pedagogy, I have done everything I could do put it into practice. Let me tell you… The results have been out of this world…
And it’s not really that we have perfected all of the notes and rhythms… Because there are definitely still some rough passages… But, there has been a culture shift in my program and it is really coming to light as we prepare for our concert.
Posting on social media is so easy. And somehow, it seems to engage some of the students who are just sitting around on their computers. Even if they don’t touch their instruments, at least they are seeing the posts. Perhaps these posts will spark a “rabbit hole” effect in which they search for additional musical cartoons, stories, and pieces of randomness.
In some cases, the students even were able to re-define themselves instead of as “criminal,” into “musician.” One of the inmates even said, “Instead of getting in trouble, just sitting there and play tunes, and stuff.” One student was so effected that he went so far as to dream about “helping out in the community, yeah. Helping other people learn music. Yeah, teach them,”
So that the students feel so at home in your group that their identity transforms from “student” into “musician,” or “violinist,” or my favorite: “orch dork!” You will find that attrition becomes obsolete the more your students identify with your class, your room, and the culture you have created.
I do think that the gender inequalitites and perceptions have been slowly changing in our country in the past few years. I see more and more male students on flute (an instrument that was once viewed as feminine) and more female students on tuba (once considered more masculine). We must transform these small steps into leaps toward greater continued participation in life-long music making.