Lots of great ideas during last night’s #MusEdChat!

Since I’m not a teacher quite yet, I couldn’t really offer any curriculum advice. (Hence Captain Retweet!) However, I really loved what some teachers were saying about their efforts to teach across the curriculum!

During my time at Clemson, some students attempted to make 1 credit choral ensembles count for the Cross Cultural Awareness general education requirement. Their reasons? Not only were we learning the theory and history behind each piece; we were singing in foreign languages, translating the text, learning background information on the composer as well as what was going on in the world when the piece was written. Unfortunately, their proposal didn’t go through.

Also, instead of just teaching across the curriculum in music classes, what about in all subjects?

There were a few times during my high school and college careers that I had teachers who incorporated/allowed different subject area input in their lessons and projects. As someone who can’t draw or do anything visually artistic to save her life, I was extremely appreciative of this because I could resort to music, such as composing a song, or changing lyrics to a popular song, or even making a mix CD.

One project in particular that I really appreciated was for my Intro to Religion class at Clemson. Our only guidelines were to pick a religious tradition (marriage, ceremonies, music, texts, etc), showcase it from an eastern religion and a western religion, and the project cannot be in paper form. For some students, that last part was a nightmare. For others, it was a welcomed opportunity to learn and create as they please. Sure, some kids did power-points and posters, but others came up with some highly interesting projects! Someone painted an elaborate picture of certain ceremonies. Someone made a movie about the different views of afterlife. People got really creative! I chose to do music, because that’s what I know how to do. I selected 4 pieces of text, 2 scripture samples from an eastern and western religion, and 2 texts by influential people in each religion. I set each of those texts to music, giving the eastern religion music an eastern feel (harmonic minors and lots of 4th’s and 5th’s!) and made the western music similar to our hymns and contemporary choral literature. Not only did I get to practice my composition skills, but I actually learned something about my topic through the process. (Which is a big deal, because I didn’t find the class to be that engaging in the first place!) I’m glad that there are SOME teachers in this world that encourage creativity and support the arts.

There were some really awesome ideas from teachers during the chat about how they teach across the curriculum. One of my favorite ideas: FamiliarLtlFrogOur specials teachers host a “theme” week in Oct–all teachers do something with the theme during that week. How great is that? Students can learn about a particular topic from several angles and perspectives. I love it!

Here are some favorite quotes of the night:

  • Zweibz7: The point is to integrate educational value from ALL subject areas. Simply playing Baroque music is not integrating history.
  • brandtschneider: If you taught in a one room school house would students learn better/different.
  • ABODAQ: Most of our students won’t be pro musicians when they leave school. Accept it. Use music to teach about life and the world.
  • richardmccreadyWe serve the child – that is our job, surely.
  • Mamacita: I do not believe it is possible to teach any subject in isolation. Genuine learning has no walls, & everything touches everything.

Here is the transcript if you missed the chat, courtesy of Zweibz7! If you are interested in getting involved in #MusEdChat check out MusicEdMajor.net – 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!