Interesting #MusEdChat this week!

Topic: What strategies work best for nurturing and extending Gifted & Talented students in our Music Education?

This is a subject that I’m not too familiar with, and I can’t say it ever crossed my mind that there were different approaches to teaching gifted and talented students.

I can best relate this to my orchestra days. I remember some pretty talented kids in high school that were incredible at their instruments. Thinking about it now, by playing and learning in the same environment, those players got to utilize their talents while other students were challenged to play at a higher level than they are used to. I remember one year we had an extraordinary pianist (who played cello in the orchestra) and my teacher decided to choose a piece for piano and orchestra: Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2. What a beast! Such a beautiful piece. (I’m a poet and didn’t know it?)

Here’s a recording of it if you aren’t familiar with it. Keep it playing while you read onward/finish reading and move on to other things. It’s one of those pieces you need to hear the whole thing because there are some AMAZING sections!

That piece was quite a challenge, but we worked SO hard! Nurturing gifted and talented students is a benefit for the whole class or ensemble! As I thought about this during the chat, I posed the question, “Does anyone select repertoire based on their gifted and talented students?” It seems a lot of teachers do try to choose pieces that feature those students, which I think is a great idea. The more I think about it, the more I realize it is a win-win situation for everyone. Even if you have a small/new program, the most talented player can still influence the rest of the ensemble.

Another topic that came up was auditioned vs. non-auditioned ensembles. I think it’s good to have both if a school is capable. The learning experiences in an auditioned ensemble are much different than a non-auditioned ensemble.

Some favorite quotes of the night:

  • richardmccready: It is our job to find those students with musical aptitude and nurture that. Anything less is malpractice.
  • MinorMusic: Allow them a more hands-on role in ensemble management.
  • justine_robin: open-ended projects/assignments are really good as a way to give each student a way to demonstrate individual capabilities & interests.
  • rizzrazz: Kids teach each other better than the teacher can. Some are better musicians than the teachers. Keep high and low together.

If you are interested in getting involved in #MusEdChat check out – the chat is held on Twitter on Monday nights at 8pm EST. It’s a great deal of fun and knowledge from musicians and educators around the world!