Some things i have discovered while urban teaching music
Fifth graders do not like Metallica. First graders do, especially “Enter Sandman”.
Bluegrass > country
Fifth graders like Verdi’s “Dies Irae”
You will be begged to watch Annie
Boys are more open to the Nutcracker if you show them sections where the male is lifting the female a lot (ex. The Arabian Dance)
If you talk about how ballet dancers dance on their toes, be prepared for half the class (mostly boys) to try it and fall on the ground.
Students will whine about doing rhythm cards until you put a backbeat to it.
Students like to show off; bring in an audience (principal/teacher/secretary/ etc) and they will automatically use their best effort. PS It’s not just you; they will do it to everyone
If you have a dreidel in your hand, their listening skills multiply X3
Young children will dance to anything
Turn it into a game and they will learn it much faster
Kids can pronounce my name easily and will correct adults
You will want to scoop a few kids up and take them home instead of giving them back to their parents
The child has been molded by the parent; children are not “bad” by default
Instruments are a good bribing method
Hugs will make your day
Sometime all kids need is someone who will listen
And the stories they have will break your heart
With music, sometimes the best way to teach is just through exposure
Play is often a greater teaching tool than you gabbing
Seeing children teach each other while you simply monitor makes you feel like Superman
Seeing other teachers as exasperated as you are makes you feel a heck of a lot better
Children can have two faces; one with their peers, and one with you. The second one is the more honest one.
If you play/sing for your kids, it will probably blow their minds
Not every day will be productive, especially during testing or right before a break. That’s okay.
Lesson plans are not set in stone. Not even close.
I stutter a lot and the kids either don’t notice or don’t care
Utilize student helpers; make it something to be earned rather than something given for a favorite
IF you feel crappy, remember how you felt your first day and realize how far you have come.
My fiance just learned that there is a chance he might lose his job.
It’s just hearsay, but frightening nonetheless.
On top of that five kids quit chorus because their ringleader decided so.
And our microwave just decided to be completely unusable.
I don’t know how people can expect these middle school kids to learn when whoever has the money decides to cut over 100 grand from the school budget. That means bye bye to supplies and to teachers.
Of course the arts get hit first.
I don’t know what to do.0
You take beats, melodies, vocals, and effects and layer them on top of each other. You mix and match to create unique rhythmic and melodic patterns sung to you by little beatboxing cartoon guys.
If you used the right combinations of beats and things, you can unlock music videos (which I didn’t know until my students figured it out!) You can record them so they will play back to you. You can also download and share them if you wanted.
It is a great tool to use when teaching about composition because it lets them compose without them getting frustrated about it.
Your kids will love it. They will constantly bother you to hear what they have created. They will jam to it in groups. Some will even try to rap overtop of their creations. They will write it down to take it home. The best thing is that they are creating music and they are very excited and proud of it (and don’t always realize what they are learning!)
PS. My principal came in while the class was doing this and she loved it. So it is administration approved.5
I’m so proud of this class project that I had to tell you
Backstory: I teach music to urban prek-5th grade kids. This is fifth grade.
I did a school-wide unit on Fantasia: Music tells a story. I love Fantasia and wanted the students to experience it. The result was very positive and some of the teachers were jealous!
Fifth grade watched “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from Fantasia and “Flamingos” and “Steadfast Tin Soldier” from Fantasia 2000. We talked about how the creators of the movie listened to the music first and then designed the story off of what they heard.
I had fifth grade listen to “Infernal Dance of the King” from Stravinsky’s Firebird. The students had to create a story from what they heard in the music. I played through the section twice so they could take notes and then write out the story fully. Some kids’ stories took up an entire page.
After they wrote them, I reminded them that they were animators and had to animate their story. I used a four-panel comic book template for them and they could make more than four panels if they wanted. They had to tell their story in the panels without using words.
Next week they will finish them up and color them. I will then hang their drawings alongside their stories on my bulletin board so that anyone who sees them can get the artwork AND the story behind it. I am very excited to see how each student individually interpreted the music.
First year teacher has the creative juices flowing.35
It makes me sad how many people I went to school with have given up on music education.
I understand that people can change their minds and change careers. That is completely normal and understandable.
But to completely give up on your “dream” and “passion” because “oh it’s not a good time to be a teacher”.
Yes it is a good time. Kids need music now more than ever.
And yes, you can get a job. The districts here are desperate for qualified teachers. If you wanted to be a sub in my district, I can guarantee you that you would have work almost 5 days a week. We are desperate for subs in my school alone, and that’s just one of hundreds. There are 8,000 teachers in my county alone, not counting neighboring ones.
People don’t want a job because it’s not ideal. It’s poor and urban and a challenge every day.
But you know what? You don’t open a restaurant and expect it to be an overnight success. You don’t go into business and expect to be a CEO in a year. You have to earn your time so to speak. You have to do grunt work and work your way up.
You can’t expect to hop out of college and jump right into a mostly-white upper-middle class suburban school with a strong PTA and kids who don’t need school meals to stay alive. Some lucky people do, but it probably isn’t you.
I have kids that are horrible. I have classes I don’t want in my room. But I also have kids that are great.. I have kids that are enthusiastic and love music. I have kids that give me hugs every single day. I have kids that ask if they can help with younger classes and clean my boards and fix my chairs. I have kids that will do anything for me. There is always good with bad and give with take. That’s not just an urban school but all schools. If you can be a bit of a hardass but care at the same time, then I believe you can succeed in an urban building.
If you want to get more degrees and more debt and less of a chance of being hired in the future (schools don’t want to pay a Master’s scale to someone with no experience), then that is your choice. But it is a damn shame to me because I know how hard most of you worked. I have seen you teach and actually taught with many of you. I know you can do it. It’s hard and it’s frustrating and you will never be more agitated in your life, but I can assure you that it is worth it. Even on the days I was ready to quit, I never regretted taking this job.
Yeah, this isn’t very nice and it’s harsh and it’s mean but it is honesty coming from my heart. I want you all to be in front of a room of kids that need you, because they really do need you.
I just hope that you realize this before you change your entire life.1
Did any other teachers have all kinds of craziness in this little week?
I feel like my kids were going absolutely bonkers. No lie.0
Les (music teacher) miserables
Do you hear the teachers sing?
Singing the song of break’s end
It is the music of a people
Who probably have to reteach this all again
When the beating of your heart
Goes nuts when a kid almost breaks your drum
There is a life about to start
When Friday comes
Will you join in my crusade?
WILL YOU CLOSE YOUR MOUTH AND LET ME TEACH?
I just want out of the classroom
I’d rather be on the beach
The pre-k have colds now
I might as well shower in bleach!
Will you give all you can give so that the test scores may advance?
What the hell is in this lesson plan?
Oh well, I’ll take a chance!
Just keep pushing onward
Through clouds of “I’m lost” and “I can’t”s!
Yay for successes!
When I started, all of my students were one to two grades below their curricular grade level for music.
Yesterday, third grade reached grade level. I had to bump them up to reading 16th notes because they were moving so fast. They have also surpassed my fourth graders as of right now.
I’m super stoked and I ran around and told everyone because I was THAT excited.
I even told my principal and got a high five.
I can use the computer lab for my first two classes every other week. I absolutely had to take them in because I love using technology.
We did some other stuff first, mostly using The San Francisco Orchestra’s Kids Pages. But then we used this and the kids were freaking out because they were so excited.
You should really click it and play around, but if you don’t want to, here’s what it is: You choose from beats, melodies, effects, voices, and choruses. You drag and drop them onto the animated guy and in doing so, you can build and rebuild different beat patterns. I enjoyed it myself, and I’ve used it with second and fifth grade. You can just imagine the thrill that the kids got using this. They are using aural and compositional skills without even realizing it.
I found this on Pinterest. Oh yeah.3
I thought being young, brand new to teaching, not from the state, and white would cause a lot of friction and disrespect from the students.
It apparently does from some teachers, though.
And this is coming from other members of the staff.
They say respect is “earned”, but there is no reason to treat a new teacher like they are incapable and stupid.
I’m tired of disrespected to my face, especially when the students are around.0