Discussion question: What “problems” do you encounter with your students that could stimulate a shared inquiry as an active quest?

Problem??? The heart and soul of our CIG….and it’s one of the biggest issues facing a music teacher today – creating a quality music program in which the students not only show both motivation and determination, but that many students want to be a part of the program. So, what are the characteristics of a quality music program??? Is it measured by how many students are involved in your program, by how fun your class is, or by how well your band / chorus / orchestra performs??? These questions are constantly floating around in the minds of music educators because of one main concept – we are an elective, and students do NOT have to take us as a class!

So, as an instrumental / vocal / music teacher, you are doing a constant “balancing act” in order to keep your program afloat. You have to do your best at creating quality ensembles, while at the same time, not pushing the students TOO hard that they end up quitting the program. You want the students to enjoy creating music in your various ensembles, but you, as the director, also want to give them a musical experience that touches their soul that they want to create again and again. You want them to experience not only the power of quality music, but also the ramifications of a job well done. Some of the students in your program will want to be the very best ensemble that can be created, while many other students just want it to be fun and are just there for the experience.

Now, a “shared inquiry as an active quest”? Bottom line in my mind is this…all of the musical ensembles are the students’; we are just helping to guide the ship’s direction. So, wouldn’t a good starting inquiry question be one that asks the students what they hope to experience while being a member of this musical ensemble? I would also like to pose a question to the students asking them what THEY feel needs to be done to not only improve the quality of said ensembles, but also how to get more students involved. Maybe, if we’re lucky, the students might not only come up with ideas to improve the quality, but may also have some good ideas that will get more students involved…and hopefully, more motivation and determination!!!

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