2021: Democracy or Fascism?

The four major American political factions are progressivism, neoliberalism, conservatism, and fascism. Below, I will examine our current political crisis through the lens of these four factions and three of their defining values: social, fiscal, and procedural. In a perfect democracy, voters’ preferences would determine elections. In America, those with money to spare can shape…

Education & Fascism

John Dewey wrote in Experience & Education, “The question I would raise concerns why we prefer democratic and humane arrangements to those, which are autocratic and harsh… Can we find any reason that does not ultimately come down to the belief that democratic social arrangements promote a better quality of human experience, one which is…

De-centering Faith in Education

Our education system is currently built on a faith-based model. Students who are successful learn to efficiently memorize facts but not to question what they are told. My own school experience almost always valued memorization over higher-order thinking. In the process, teachers neglect many other cognitive skills and habits. Faith accepting something at face value,…

Proposal for an Association for Student Composers

Rationale Creating original music is a national arts standard and is as foundational to music experience as listening and playing. But unlike most states, the Colorado Music Educators Association does not provide opportunities for student composers. The purpose of this proposed organization is to promote the inclusion and practice of creating original music in school…

The Many Forms of Music Design

Music design takes as many forms as music itself. So before teaching it, determine which form to teach first. Consider the following- Music designs can be: For digital and/or live performancePerformed live and/or in a studioPerformed by acoustic and/or digital instrumentsRecorded or notNotated or notDesigned by one or more designersPerformed by the designer and/or other…

Sound as a Lens for Understanding our World

In addition to listening, playing, and creating music for its own sake, I believe the other primary value of music education is to learn about our world through its sounds. Here are four ways to put that into practice. Sound as a lens for: Understanding their own lived experience.What are the sounds of your life?…

My Teaching Values

Consider context Music, sound, and art as lenses for understanding our world Listen -> Play -> Create 1. Consider contextThe macro context: consider power, privilege, oppression, democracy, and morality. Try to do what is right to me.The specific context: consider health, safety, and the wants, needs, and experiences of the student and community. Assess and…

What Music can Teach

The purpose of this exercise was to challenge myself to organize everything I believe music can teach. Surely my thinking will evolve, and I will build on this as I continue to learn, think, and write. Listen, Play, Create By directly engaging with sound through listening, playing, or creating, we can learn to hear our…

Developing musical creativity: Music design

Where does original music come from? For people who can make it, it often feels easy. For those who cannot, it may feel impossible. Imagine this: every time I practice musical creativity, I am tending my musical garden. I start by wandering. I play little bits of music I have improvised and designed before, removing…

Developing musical creativity: Improvisation

Musical creativity: what is it? How does it work? How is it learned? And how should it be developed? Musical creativity is an inclusive term for all forms of creating original music. The two primary and distinct skills of musical creativity are improvisation and design. Improvisation is the process of making up music as you…