I read this very short, but thought provoking article by Seth Godin, an author/entrepreneur/marketer, that has been on my mind lately. It’s about the idea of Search vs. Discovery:

“Are you working to help your clients, patrons, customers and colleagues find what they already know that they want? Or teaching and encouraging them to find something they didn’t know they needed?”
This made me reflect on my own teaching practices and how I could answer these questions as a music educator.

In terms of my own classroom, it is my goal to increase the level of music literacy among my singers. Yes, I could play their parts on the piano several times until they have the order of pitches memorized. Yes, I could model rhythmic patterns until they are able to imitate it. But I don’t! I teach them how to read the pitches, how to figure out intervals, how to figure out rhythms, so that they develop independent musicianship skills. All I give them is a starting note and a tempo!

If a singer is writing their solfege syllables in their music and raises their hand to ask, “Where is Do?” I ask them to recall the rules for finding Do in key signatures with sharps or flats. I never say, “Do is on A, or Do is on the 2nd space.”

As a society, we have become wired to want instant results/knowledge. When we want to know something, we google it. As teachers, we need to be everything but a search engine! Our job is to help students become independent in discovering the answers to their questions, or discovering new material, skills, interests, strengths, etc. We are here to provide the academic, social, and professional tools students need and how to use them to be productive contributors to society.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this! Leave a comment below!