Monday, June 7, 2010

Response to blog post

This blog post had to do with orchkids which is a music education program based Baltimore. Dr. Rizz has been instrumental (pardon the pun!) in setting up the program. In this blog, Dr. Rizz makes reference to a piece that 60 minutes did on Gustavo Dudamel who conducts the LA Philharmonic and happens to be my favorite conductor. Dudamel is credited with inspiring several cities throughout the states to begin privately funded music education programs for needy kids.

I became interested in Dudamel when I saw him portrayed on a TedTalk. Dudamel grew up in Venezuela. Venezuela has had an incredible music program that has been set up to help teach music to inner-city children. There is an orchestral program as well as a choral program. The program is taught by professional musicians and conducted by professional conductors. Dudamel went through the orchestral program and went on to study music and conducting. He has become one of the most influential conductors of our time and at 29, that’s quite a feat. Dudamel has decided to bring the program that lit such a passion inside him to America. Dudamel chose Hollywood to set up his music program. He calls the program YOLA (Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles). This program aims to allow children to connect to the world in ways they may never have thought possible. The free program runs after school for four hours.
As a music educator, I am constantly aware of what a gift we are able to give to our students through music. As a very young child, I was constantly surrounded by music. My father was a singer and all my sisters were trained as pianists. I grew up with music all around me. At two years old, I used to sit with my back against the piano while my sister Shelley practiced just to feel the vibrations. Music was my life. I grew up loving performing and could have made a career of it. Instead, I went into teaching music in the school system. It has taken me years, but now that I teach the performing arts programs, I am aware that I am no longer a performer. Instead, I am a music educator. I am able to take all the opportunities and love of music that I was provided with as a child and pass that on to my students. Like Dudamel, I think that music is the one universal way we can teach our students to connect with the world. Whether we’re in Venezuela, Los Angeles, or Coquitlam, all our children should be provided with the opportunity to learn this beautiful language. Music provided self-discipline and direction as well as team-playing. What other program can offer the same?
You can watch the 60 minutes clip of Dudamel here. I strongly suggest it!;contentAux

Thinking about pro-d

Response to blog on professional development:

As soon as I saw the words ‘professional development’ my brain was instantly in tune-out mode. However, as I read the thoughts of the author, I discovered that that was exactly what the blog was about. The author had been involved in leading many professional development sessions with teachers. What he has learned through all of them is that teachers must have some sort of input into the sessions in order for it to be worthwhile. This is something I totally agree with.

How many times have we sat in a session with somebody at the front lecturing us while using a boring powerpoint as a backup. Their message may be worthwhile, but I’ve tuned out because I’m not engaged. I want to go to a pro-d to reflect and collaborate. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past two years of LTT, it’s that we learn best from our colleagues. There is a wealth of information out there and we need opportunities to tap into it. That’s why twitter and nings are so important. No longer should we be working in isolation. We should be actively engaging and sharing ideas. I don’t need some intellect standing at the front lecturing me about something that has absolutely no influence on my teaching practice.