I teach instrumental music and a class called compositions, in which kids experiment with sounds and compose popular music and music for different locations around Toronto. I also teach the senior band, our main performing ensemble.
I did my bachelor of education in Manitoba at Brandon University, a combined music and education degree. After teaching for four to five years in Toronto, I did a master's in music education at U of T. I'm interested in teaching music in a similar way to how drama is taught: as a way of exploring our world through sound.
My favourite parts of my post-secondary studies were the research, problem-solving, encouragement and community.
The frustrating part is the "You have to take this course because it's something we've always done" assumption - that kind of vibe is still very prevalent.
I had a prof during my bachelor's degree who posed huge questions like, "Why are we teaching band at all?" He gave us readings on education theorists and created a space where we weren't afraid to be contradictory. That questioning spirit is the reason I'm doing what I'm doing now.
For music teachers, the world is changing. Kids aren't as interested in only doing band or classical music. They want to incorporate popular music and jazz and their own experiences and creativity.
I ask my students to write a traditional composition for a specific location around our school. Recently they composed a piece for a saxophone quartet for a spot in Riverdale Park. They were involved in [choosing] their environment, being creative, making choices, engaging with their surroundings and encouraging one another's creativity.
At Rosedale we have dance, theatre, non-traditional art, media, film and music, and you'd be surprised how little we work together. I've been in a 100 schools, and there are amazing collaborations going on, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule.
The best teachers are open to trying something they might not know about, and put their own creativity out there in the classroom. All of us are asked to teach things we don't know well, and it's silly for us to fake it, because the transformative experiences we long for don't happen when we're faking it. They happen when we're open to being a leader rather than a dictator. Those open, vulnerable experiences can lead to lives well lived.