Urban Music Education: A Practical Guide for Teachers

Urban Music Education: A Practical Guide for Teachers

Urban Music Education: A Practical Guide for Teachers

Urban Music Education: A Practical Guide for Teachers

Synopsis

The prevailing discourse surrounding urban music education suggests the deficit-laden notion that urban school settings are "less than," rather than "different than," their counterparts. Through the lens of contextually-specific teaching, this book provides a counter narrative on urban music education that encourages urban music teachers to focus on the strengths of their students as their primary resource. Through a combination of research-based strategies and practical suggestions from the author's own experience teaching music in urban settings, the book highlights important issues for teachers to consider, such as culturally relevant pedagogy, the "opportunity gap," race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, musical content, curricular change, music program development, student motivation, and strategies for finding inspiration and support. Throughout the book, the stories of five highly successful urban music teachers are highlighted, providing practical, real-world advice for music teachers across the domains of general, choral, band, and string music teaching. Recognizing that the term "urban" can encompass a wide variety of different school and community settings, this book challenges all teachers who work in under-served and under-resourced settings to take a critical look at their own music classroom and work to tailor their pedagogy to meet the particular needs of their students.

Excerpt

A NOTE ABOUT MY MUSIC TEACHER, KATE FITZPATRICK

I graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 2007. I am a captain in the United States Army, and I spent two of the past five years in Afghanistan leading soldiers in combat. Fourteen years ago, as a freshman at Northland High School, an urban high school in Columbus, Ohio, I was so shy that I asked permission every single day to sit at the lunch table with fellow students. It is entertaining to look back at how much I changed through the course of high school, but also a reflection of the teacher to whom I attribute so much of my growth, Kate Fitzpatrick.

My band director, Kate Fitzpatrick, was the person who took a chance on me when I could not even figure out how to stay in step until well into the marching season. Kate was also the one who encouraged me (a shy, thin, and not particularly musically inclined female) to play the sousaphone. I was definitely not a logical choice to help fill a void when a large group of tuba playing seniors graduated. However, when I asked if I might try, Ms. Fitzpatrick was enthusiastic. For me, this was a turning point. I didn’t know if I could even lift the instrument, let alone march around for extended periods of time. This was the first time I had taken on a real challenge, something I wasn’t sure I could complete. I found myself drawn to the uniqueness of the instrument and the feeling of accomplishment when I learned to play and march with it. The next year, I became a squad leader, and by my senior year was elected by my peers as one of the band officers. Each year, my confidence grew and I started looking for more future challenges and unique opportunities, a search that led me to West Point and the military. I am so grateful to have had an instructor who took the time to encourage and help a shy young kid to grow in confidence and leadership.

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