My Education Philosophy for Musical Experience

My musical objective is to help students discover enjoyment and develop comfort in new musical experiences. Comfort and enjoyment lead to consistent and healthy experiences, which leads to musical growth. To achieve this, I first seek to understand their prior musical experiences and current musical comforts and enjoyments. I help them demonstrate and appreciate these…

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…

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…

Morality in Education

My school experience was very individualistic. I wanted to do well, and I did not really know or care how others were doing. My school music experience was competitive. I wanted to be better than everyone else so I could get into the best ensembles and make all-state. I wanted to climb to the top….

“What is your primary instrument?”

This is a question I have been asked a lot. It sounds harmless. But I would like to interrogate it and suggest that we be more intentional with our language. This week when a teacher asked us to introduce ourselves in part by identifying our primary instrument, I had a minor identity crisis. I was…

How can I affect change?

Once you start identifying problems, it may feel overwhelming. Consider pursuing change from the bottom up: All of humanity All of America National education associations Your national music ed association Your state music ed association Your local community Your district Your school Your music program Your self Start by defining your own hierarchy, naming specific…

In what ways does your music program teach white supremacy?

When I finished high school, I thought it was normal and justifiable for white forms of music and music making to dominate school music. I thought it was normal and justifiable for white students to be disproportionately sorted into advanced ensembles and to primarily interact with the students most like myself. This just scratches the…

Beyond Whiteness

This summer my wife and I moved from Chicago, where I was a freelance singer, composer, and private teacher, to Champaign-Urbana so I could pursue a masters in music education at the University of Illinois. Perhaps the most impactful thing I read this semester was “Listening for Whiteness” by Julia Koza. In it she describes…