This is a blog about teaching music. More specifically, it is a blog about connecting popular music* with music that is typically taught in classical-model ensemble classrooms across the United States.
You might like this blog if you like music, broadly speaking, and especially if you studied music but dropped off in your studies at some point. The intended audience, however, is music teachers, who I hope will be able to use these resources in their classrooms. But I do hope everyone enjoys it.
Contained within are some tips to bridge between the gap between the music that most often captures our students' interests and the music we have been teaching them for decades. If I am trying to sell you something, I'll let you know upfront, and if so, it's because it's something I believe in very strongly and by an author/creator I trust. And I'll write a little bit about my experiences with the goods as well.
My name is Emily and I teach music. More specifically, I teach instrumental and choral music on the middle school level in a South Florida public school. I studied at the University of Central Florida and The Florida State University. These two institutions nurtured my interest in incorporating popular music into my classroom curriculum.
My work is largely inspired by music educators such as Lucy Green and Randall Allsup, academics such as Simon Frith and Bernard Gendron, and my students, past and present. My kids, in a word, rock.
I have degrees in music education (x2) and bassoon operation. I play other woodwind & brass & maybe percussion instruments on a demonstrable level. I can play choral warm-ups on piano. My students are teaching me how to play guitar and I am teaching them to play ukulele.
To my own dismay, I am not a "popular" musician. Seeing that my two career goals in life have been that of either rock star or band director, I think I'm doing okay. The folk/show tunes/absurdist/klezmer/acoustic mayhem band I started with my friends at a music educator conference has not yet released an album. I take an unconventional approach to teaching, and I'm glad to share some of my best practices. Sometimes they work.
If you're just dying for it, you can read my CV here.
Welcome to my little corner of the world.
*When I say "popular music" I mean that which is generally released for commercial distribution in the 20th century popular music model. You can pilfer the Billboard Hot 100 for theory goodies, but you don't always have to. The most popular entry on this blog as of late has been about The Stranglers' "Golden Brown", which was a British single from the early 1980s. Kids will be weirded out by that, I promise, so you should play it in class as much as possible.