Creating Musical Learning Environments – Not Successfully, but Faithfully

Word Art created by the staff and me at my placement school using wordart.com

By defining the best cooperative practices, music teachers can design spaces that support varied multi-cultural students while directly addressing social climate and procedures in the learning environment. I believe that effective classroom environments are critical to progressing music students.

As I have recently completed my Masters in Teaching from CWU in WA, I found myself especially drawn to INTASC (national standards for educators) Standard 3 which examines classroom environments. At the end of my Masters I completed my thesis on classroom learning environments. I love getting to know my individual students and their unique talents and strengths during lessons and I attribute much of my success as a private teacher to my studio environment that welcomes student voice and building relationships with curiosity. Now, I am broadening my approach to teaching environments to include elementary classrooms and I hope to bring my easy-going style of getting to know students individually to larger class sizes. This includes connecting with diverse students and learning some new strategies as well.

Within my private studio, I am applying my thesis work in classroom environments, and working toward student-centered decor–having pictures of children my students’ ages, ethnicity and identity on the walls, as well as by adding flexible seating and cooperative movement. Environment is one of the things I can control and organize so I think that is why I enjoy it so much! When dealing with student actions and trying to motivate them and encourage them to practice and play an instrument the action list seems to get much smaller on what I can do. I like this quote attributed to Mother Theresa: “We do not need to be successful; we only need to be faithful.”

Good luck organizing your environment to induce an atmosphere of cooperation, building relationships with curiosity and having decor that represents your child. And maybe ask yourself, “do I like practicing with me?” Or rather, “if I were in my child’s shoes would I like working with me?” I will continue to work on my studio environment which includes the relationship building and feelings of being valued for each student, one heart at a time.

Here is a link to my professional school portfolio if you’d like to see what I’ve been working on when we are not in lessons together.

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