I am back at the Michigan Music Conference for the fifth year! This is a wonderful conference that really encourages me to the best music teacher I can be. Each year I have attended the conference I have been able to take back some great new ideas back to wherever I have been working at the time (choir rehearsals and teaching). Each year, this conference completely rejuvenates me and inspires me to continue my own education in the world of general music.
Today I had the chance to meet and listen to John Feierabend. I was first introduced to JF's work during my Summer Residency at Vandercook. He has 72 publications including books, television shows, CDs, DVDs, and more! He has a great curriculum 'enhancement' that encourages students to learn music in fun and easy ways!
Three of the most important words I have picked up from today are: Tuneful, Beatful and Artful. These three words and how they are applied to teaching will be returning with me. Just some of the topics that were covered include: great lesson plan formats, lesson content, correct singing techniques, full-body engagement into music, improvisation, movement, assessment, and musical vocabulary. I left this all-day session adding a great deal of musical repertoire (both folk and classical) to my toolbox and some great ideas as to how to apply it all!
Friday Conference (Day 1)
After a great night of sleep, I was ready for a great day of sessions including topics like, "Let the Body Sing," "Don't Stop Believing," "Airplay," and "I Still Like To Move It, Move It." The whole day was full of sessions and I learned a lot of valuable information. On Thursday, JF mentioned that music should get the whole body engaged, and one of the main sessions I went to today was all about getting the whole body into singing! The MSVMA Headliner was Dr. Therees Tkach Hibbard (Dr. TTH), who has started to teach the method of teaching she uses called, "Body Singing." JF and Dr. TTH teach very different levels and styles of music, but it is nice to see and hear how important they believe getting a students whole body into the music and/or singing is so important!
Dr. TTH was a wonderful teacher full of great ideas. I will be using many of her techniques first with my Chorus Club and new Boy's Choir. As I get more experience with this new style of teaching Chorus I am going to apply it within the classroom as well. I am pretty sure that this will get all of the students interested in participating and having fun (even those that cannot stand music)! More details about 'Body Singing' will come up later. Great topic for a later date.
I attended a nice session called "Don't Stop Believing" that helped me realize some sad truths. There are many adults that believe that they can't sing or that they are not musically talented. Studies show that when many of these adults are asked why they feel that way they say: "I was told that I was tone deaf when I was in elementary school," or "I first realized I couldn't sing when I was never picked to for singing at school." In many cultures around the world, EVERYONE sings and it isn't a question if anyone is or isn't musically talented because it is just the norm that everyone is… but in our culture many people are discouraged from singing at a young age due to a teacher, peer, or someone else believes they have the power to tell you that you are not a good singer.
One session I was really looking forward to was a session called "Airplay." This session dealt solely on technology. It was great to see how an apple TV can transform your classroom projector into anything you need at the push of a button. I am fortunate to have the capabilities of having a promethian board in my classroom and a way to hook up my laptop to the projector, but I am dreaming about getting an iPad at some point and use it within the classroom and would love to get an apple TV to help support it with the projector. Wireless streaming of presentations AND sound would be great!
Goal: To get an AppleTV and an iPad to use within the classroom.
Following the Airplay session I went to some the exhibit hall and browsed through music, instruments, classroom materials business booths while sampling snacks put out by the vendors (one of the best parts)! I did not have any money to spend at this event so I took note of many classroom materials that I hope to acquire in the future. I then went to hear the Jenison Male Chorus sing at "Choral Hour." I had the privilege of working with this choir during my student teaching. The choir, comprised of 7, 8, and 9 grade boys, under the direction of Les Rowsey and Steven Waters did a great job. I was very impressed with "We Three Kings" especially and the unnatural rhythms incorporated. Their rendition of "Coney Island Baby" was a crowd pleaser that left the audience laughing (at the humor they put into it) and cheering for putting on a great performance!
The last session I attended for the day was, "I Still Like to Move It, Move It." Last year, I attended the first part of this session called, "I Like to Move It, Move It." Due to such high demand they were asked to come back for an additional session with new material and they did not disappoint. Peter Conniff (PC) and Amy DeBoer (AD) did a great job providing all of us attendees some wonderful material to take back to our own classrooms. PC and AD had a large group of teachers up on their feet moving and singing to demonstrate many different musical activities. I hope they put on a third one in the future!