Lindsay Brazell

Music Educator and Creative Professional

On Not Being A “Search Engine Music Educator”

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!

About Lindsay

I’m Lindsay, a choral music educator by day, a singer-songwriter by evening, and a writer when time allows. You can find my latest album, The Room I Found – Lindsay Morelli on iTunes.

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3 Replies

  1. Audrey Podmore

    I wrote a comment and then I was asked to verify my email and the comment vanished into the ether – very annoying! A Discus message should say that one needs to register before posting.

  2. Audrey Podmore

    I absolutely agree! One of the most frustrating things about the internet is that people don’t find what they desperately need, although it is sitting there waiting, because they don’t know the ‘right’ question to ask. As search engines increasingly return just the most visited pages matched to common search terms, there is less chance of coming across more relevant material approached from a different angle. I’m finding Twitter great for this: so often, I follow an interesting link that doesn’t immediately seem relevant to my main preoccupations only to find really helpful postings that I would never have searched for! As you say, “… we must be everything but a
    search engine” and education can’t be reduced to the neat little packages of ‘one size fits all’ knowledge and skill sets that seem to be increasingly expected from teachers.

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