Moving Forward in the Age of Core Standards and Disruptive Technology

Well, I finally finished my book on Aligning Your Creative Sequence to the Core Music Standards, as well as editing my father’s book on Recorder. I haven’t blogged in quite a while, and have also neglected the fledgling Crowd-Sourced Music Standards Facebook group, as it was impossible to separate sharing from writing. Now that it’s complete, I hope to contribute more to that group and here on the blog.

Today, I was interviewed for an upcoming article in Teaching Music magazine about the new Core Standards. I won’t give away the article, but it was a fun experience, although I didn’t have all the answers the author was looking for.

Last week, I presented a short session for the Iowa Choral Directors Association elementary group on the new Core Standards. This was a good chance to verbalize what I’ve been writing about. I have also been putting the new standards into practice with my new Google Drive template, which I’m using for my lessons at school.

Here are some reflective thoughts on the Core Standards:

Core Music Standards

  1. The Core Standards are here for a while. I continue to be less than impressed with the new Core Standards, but I don’t think that they will be changed anytime soon. It will take years of complaints and confusion. In the meantime, we should be advocates for common sense standards at the state and local level; be proactive and say what we believe should be the standard, rather than be reactive and have the standards given to us.
  2. The Core Standards are not completely terrible. By writing the book, and forcing the standards onto my own teaching, I discovered that there are things I can learn about and places I can grow as a teacher. It’s quite possible that some of my current experiments (such as using concise worksheets to let students express their personal thoughts and understanding of concepts) will not stand the test of time for my classroom. I may decide that, as I’ve said all along, performance and creative skills are so important that anything that takes away from performing or creating isn’t worth my time. But it’s also possible that my students may become better performers by being forced to process the music in a new way. Again, as we look at state and local standards, let’s not dismiss the new ideas completely, but put them in their proper context.
  3. Balance is still key, and the standards aren’t balanced. The standards read in such a way as to imply student selection of repertoire is as important (or more important, since it is listed first) as being able to analyze the music and perform. They don’t highlight the fact that making music is the whole point of music, and everything else revolves around that.
  4. The Core Standards are confusing. Most teachers I speak with still have barely begun reading the new standards, and they are overwhelmed and dismayed by what they see. Teachers are looking for what to teach. The standards, instead, are providing a list of how students might interact with music. The lack of skills and knowledge content will be a continual source of frustration. I also continue to be terrified by the concept of a rookie teacher look

I have more ideas flowing, but on different topics, so I’m going to end this post here and start a new one!

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