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Master Degree: University of Missouri-St. Louis
Bachelor Degree: University of Akron (OH)
Teaching Certificate: Certified to Teach Music K-12 in Missouri
Professional Certificate: Orff-Schulwerk Levels 1
Course Work: World Music Drumming Teacher Training - 3 courses
2006 Teacher of the Year - Independence Elementary School
2001 Award for Work with Special Education Students - Independence Elementary
I come from a musical family - both of my parents sang in choirs and played piano. My brother and I sang in choirs, played guitar, and formed a rock 'n' roll band after high school. I have a Master of Music Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Music Education) from the University of Akron (Akron, OH). I have a “Lifetime” Teachers Certificate to teach music, grades Kind. - 12th Gr. from the Missouri Dept. of Secondary and Elementary Education. I completed three “Levels” of training in the Orff-Schulwerk approach to teaching music to children, at Webster University. I also have taken three teacher training courses in the World Music Drumming curriculum, sponsored by Remo drums and West Music.
I taught music in public elementary schools for 22 years (now retired). I taught students in grades Kindergarten through 5th Gr. As an elementary music teacher, I got to experience teaching a wide range of musical instruments, musical styles and musical techniques to a wide range of young people. I enjoyed all the variety of musical experiences involved in teaching music to young students. I especially loved directing the school choir, teaching ukulele, playing conga-style drums with students, teaching students how to improvise on an instrument, and helping them create their own music.
I believe in approaching student learning largely from the student's perspective - it's important to first discover what the student already does (and does not) know. Then, we can establish a starting point, and we can begin setting student goals, both short term and long term. It's important to gear lessons to the student's interests, while at the same time introducing material that will challenge students, not only in developing skills, but in opening their ears to varying styles of music. Different kinds of music help to teach different skills and techniques, expanding student's musical knowledge.
I believe music is supposed to be fun! I think that's why I especially enjoy working with younger students. There are all sorts of fun activities and games, etc. that can be used to teach musical concepts, from naming the notes on the staff (“Every Good Burger Deserves Fries”), to using movement to feel rhythms. It's also important to gradually increase skill by building on success - young students can become frustrated and lose motivation if everything that they work on in a lesson is a brand new skill. Starting a lesson by having the student play something that they already know how to play well helps build student confidence, and helps to create a comfort level with the teacher - the student knows he or she doesn't always have to “prove themselves” during every minute of the lesson.
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