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Rebecca Riley

My Philosophy

Music is defined as vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in


such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of
emotion according to Dictionary.com. However, music is so much more than
that. Shinichi Suzuki argues that Art is not in some far-off place. A work of
Art is the expression of a mans whole personality, sensibility and ability.
Music is perhaps one of the hardest words to define. To me, music conveys
emotions of everyone. It can change the mood entirely, most of the time
without people noticing it. Think about your favorite movie, imagine your
favorite scene, now think about that scene without music in the background.
The scene would feel empty in a movie without music. Similarly, life without
music would also be empty. Daniel Levitin (2008) also argues that music is
fundamental to a humans identity. He says music can be broken down into
six basic categories: friendship, joy, comfort, knowledge, religion, and love
(pp.3-4). I believe that music is also fundamental and that in some way,
every human can connect to music. Zoltan Kodaly reinforces this, Music is
an indispensable part of universal human knowledge. He who lacks it has a
faulty knowledge. A man [person] without music is incomplete. So it is
obvious that music should be a school subject. It is essential. (p. 15). I
believe a life without music is lacking and it is our job for schools to educate
students about music and how to appreciate it.

Rebecca Riley
Music is prevalent in almost every culture in the world. Many cultures
have music for different events in life, weather, times of the year, and so
much more. I believe that it is the job of teachers to not only teach music,
but teach the purpose and culture behind the songs that we teach. This can
be done at any level of music, for any age of student within the schools.
Research from Daniel Levitin (2006) states that:
Musical activity involves nearly every region of the brain that
we know about, and nearly every neural subsystem At a
deeper level, the emotions we experience in response to music
involve structures deep in the primitive, reptilian regions of the
cerebellar vermis, and the amygdala- the heart of emotional
processing in the cortex. (pp. 85-87)
Since music is such an integral part of human life and brain function, it is
beyond important to many cultures that we keep informing our future
generations with music. For many cultures, music was the only way to
communicate information to their children or younger generations. I believe
that music is a form of communication when words simply are not enough. I
also believe that it is important for students to learn different forms of
expressions.

I believe that music absolutely needs to be taught in schools. Musical


understanding is the basis of what everyone needs in order to appreciate any
kind of music. Kodaly mentions several times that music should be offered in

Rebecca Riley
public schools. Appreciating music is what allows us, as humans, to enjoy our
favorite types of music. We must know what about music that we enjoy in
order to find music that we like to listen to. In order to do this, it is important
that children are properly educated within the schools. Having music in
schools gives opportunities to students to explore music, that might not
otherwise have a chance. Not every family can afford private music lessons
for their children. I, personally, was one of those children. Without music in
the schools, I wouldnt have had a chance to have any musical knowledge. I
truly have to give my musical success to the public schools. Kodaly
reinforces this the most urgent task is to make the means of music culture
accessible for as many people as possible, primarily through the schools (p.
13). Having music in the schools meant so much more than playing music to
me. It created a support system for some of the worst times in my life. I
believe having a community in the classroom is important for these reasons
as well. However, all of this is not to say that private lessons should be
ignored. If the family feels so inclined to put their children in private music
lessons as well as school, it is only providing them with a more enriched
musical life.

Children must be taught music by professionals. A teacher from


another subject may be able to learn the concepts of music, but only
someone trained can truly take music with an ensemble. Without an
understanding of music, there will be a severe limit of emotions conveyed

Rebecca Riley
through the music to the audience. According to Kodaly The most simple
instrument is the voice. Everyone has a voice. Singing does not involve
financial costs, there is no cost for an instrument, and the only need is a
competent, good teacher (p. 15). I remember having substitute teachers in
many of my music classes, and there was one in particular. He always came
in and said that he knew music, and that he can count to four. I realize that
he was a substitute, not my teacher, but the way the class reacted to him
was not even close to making music. It was not our attitudes, he simply
could no convey the music to the class the way that we were needing it.
Sure, he could conduct a regular four pattern, but that simply wasnt enough.
This is just more example of why music needs to be taught by someone who
is professionally trained in music.

Music is extremely complex; it is not just notes stringed together to


make a melody. Music has many elements of it, including notes, rhythm,
dynamics, articulation, accidentals, emotions, and more. The basics should
be taught through theory, playing and listening. Theory allows students to
understand the basics of music. It teaches them how to read music, including
notes, rhythms, dynamics and terms they may seen in music. Theory is the
skeleton of music, without understanding the theory behind the music, you
can not do express the music in which the way it was intended to be by the
composer. However, I also recognize the saying sound before sight. This
allows the students to have an idea of what music is, before finding the more

Rebecca Riley
intellectual side to music. This will create less confusion for the student and I
believe that music is about exploring. Both Kodaly and Suzuki agreed that
students should sing or play without seeing music first. This allows the
student to listen and learn before how to play before they see the theory
behind the song. According to Kodaly:
Music must not be approached from its intellectual, rational
side, nor should it
be conveyed to the child as a system of algebraic symbols, or
as the secret
writing of a language with which he [/she] has no connection.
The way should
be paved for intuition. (p. 13)
Introducing music to a child is the same as introducing language.
Children learn language, first by listening, then by speaking, and finally by
writing and analyzing. The same should be for music. This process allows the
child to explore the new language.

I do not believe that there is any one correct methodology to use in the
classroom. Methodologists including Kodaly, Suzuki, and Carl Orff all had
many great ideas. However, because no one methodology is perfect, by
supplementing one methodology in lieu of another may be of benefit. All
three methodologies agree that music should be taught through hearing first
before seeing the music that they play. I dont believe that this is without

Rebecca Riley
reason. As I mentioned before, music is just like learning a new language,
and should be taught as such. Students need to explore the ways that music
sounds, before trying to decipher new symbols of a new language.

In addition to teaching music, I believe that every student that walks


through my classroom(s) has potential. As a teacher it is my responsibility to
help those students reach their potential. I will achieve this by giving the
students the attention they deserve. Each and every student will be treated
fairly, not the same, but instead each student will be given a chance to be
successful in my classroom. I will create lesson plans and units that will also
be as varied to suit all learning styles within the classroom. I will maintain
control within the classroom by respecting the students. Maintaining a
relationship with the students in the school will make the students feel
welcome. Understanding the students and their situations of how the learn
and their home life will also help them succeed in the classroom.
The environment in which the students are learning in also needs to be
positive. This will be created by creating and maintaining the relationship
with the students and their parents. Had I not made the connections that I
did from the community in my time with music, I do not think I would be
where I am today. The classroom also needs to be entertaining, fun, and
interactive. Students need to be comfortable in the classroom so that they
can learn. I will provide a classroom that presents multiple opportunities for
the students to succeed. Students also need to be able to enjoy themselves

Rebecca Riley
no matter the subject. By maintaining a relationship with the parents, I will
make sure the students have the best possibility to succeed.
Finally, as a teacher I will help all students that come to me and keep
their confidentiality. As their teacher it is my responsibility to keep the
students privacy, but know when I should tell someone in more authority. It
is my responsibility to keep each and every student as safe as possible while
in my care.

Rebecca Riley
Reference List
Hunt, S. (2011, September 13). Top 21 Shinichi Suzuki Quotes. In Music in
Practice. Retrieved
from http://www.musicinpractice.com/2011/music/
Kodaly, Z. (n.d.). Music Should Belong to Everyone
Levitin, D. (2006). This is Your Brain on Music. New York, NY: Dutton.
Levitin, D. (2008). The World in Six Songs. Toronto, Canada: Viking Canada.
music. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved January 27, 2016 from
Dictionary.com
website http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/music