Your Name and Title: Kathryn Smith, Middle School General Music Teacher
School or Organization Name: Harris Road Middle School
Area of the World from Which You Will Present: Concord, NC, USA
Language in Which You Will Present: English
Target Audience(s): Middle School Music Teachers, Students, and Parents
Short Session Description (one line): This presentation will be focused on ways to incorporate a global focus in a typical middle school general music classroom in a way that will increase student interest and promote global learning.
Full Session Description (as long as you would like): Most middle school students will not request General Music as an elective unless they are dying for another round of recorder ensemble. Middle School music in the United States most often includes Band and Choir, both popular programs where the students are taught to be proficient using either their instrument or voice in order to create music together. In contrast, General Music class often has no particular performing direction and students are given a pseudo music appreciation/music theory/music history mishmash curriculum derived from Pinterest or other such sources.
I am lucky enough to be part of a school that values global education and because of that I am learning ways to teach Middle School General Music that bring a global focus to the curriculum and differ from what has been done in the past. Students respond positively and with enthusiasm to learning about and experiencing music in the world around them, not only from the past but also the present! Is it important for them to know about Beethoven? Yes! But what about street bucket drum performers in Washington D.C. who are creating their own music in real time? Following the exposure, we then give them the opportunity to create their own bucket rhythms and improvise with students on a different continent using Skype! Would they benefit from studying the history of Native American drum circles? Yes! How about watching an impromptu drum circle that happened when Obama was elected and talking about how the history of this genre relates to that activity in response to this person being elected President? Then participating in and facilitating their own class drum circle? These are invaluable global connections that not only tie in the past with the present, but also give students a window into their global culture. I look forward to sharing ideas that are working in my school to give a broader perspective on global education in the Middle School General Music classroom.
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