Posts Tagged ‘music teacher’

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New Blog

September 8, 2020

Bill Buzza

Bill at the Richard Rodgers Theater, NYC, set of Hamilton

Many of you know veteran music educator (27 years) Bill Buzza. He’s one of those people who has a warm smile and a soft voice. And, he’s such a thoughtful person that when he enters a conversation you know he’s listening carefully to what you’re saying (and not focusing on how he’ll respond). Bill is the music teacher/band director at Edward Little High School in Auburn.

Just like the rest of us he’s been dealing with the pandemic since March 13. Always one for thinking deeply Bill decided to start a blog that will document his learning and begin a dialogue.  Bill’s calling it Teaching Instrumental Music During COVID-19.

Bill says: As I think about the coming year, I anticipate many new experiences and a journey that will redefine my career of instrumental music education.

This is a great opportunity for you to read about Bill’s experiences and know that you’re not alone. While thinking about returning to school and all the details of it Bill’s been doing research on how to play an instrument with a face mask on. Yes, of course you can read all about it on Bill’s blog. Subscribe in the sidebar of the front page of the blog.

Bill earned his M.S. Ed in Educational Leadership from the University of New England and B.M. in Music Education from the University of Southern Maine. At Edward Little High School, he conducts the concert, marching, pep and jazz bands. He also teaches three levels of guitar, and a beginning band class. Bill was a Finalist for the 2011 Maine Teacher of the Year and was chosen as a Teacher Leader, phase 1, of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI). He also served on the MALI Leadership Team.

Phase 2, MAAI/MALI, Bill front row, 1st on left

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More Virtual Shows and Performances

June 18, 2020

Art, Music, K-Higher Education

CARRIE RICKER SCHOOL

Thanks to Art teacher Jen Williams for sharing her schools Virtual Art Show from Carrie Ricker School (RSU4) in Litchfield. It’s an 11 minute video on youtube showcasing the grades 3-5 student artwork – that is amazing. Two of the music tracks were created in music class with teacher Wade Johnston. View below.

AUBURN SCHOOLS VIRTUAL ART EXHIBITS

A great big thanks to Art teacher and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader Lynda Leonas for providing links to two wonderful Virtual Student Shows from where she teaches in Auburn!

RAYMOND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Music teacher Patricia Gordan shared her COVID story on the blog recently. The Raymond Elementary School chorus has been working since January on five songs for the spring concert. Since being away from school she has been working on one of the songs virtually: “Send Down the Rain” by Joyce Eilers. The song has been put together beautifully! SEND DOWN THE RAIN

Davia Hersey

HAMPDEN ACADEMY VIRTUAL ART GALLERY

A section of the gallery features Paper Bag Portraits with this information: Let’s face it this quarantine has presented us with an opportunity to be creative. While looking for regular household items to use for art making, I found that a brown paper bag is a great size/ shape for a portrait study. It also has the effect of working on a piece of toned brown paper which is a nice place to start for a portrait. An exhibit with a plethora of ideas with thanks to Art teacher and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader Melanie Crowe!

 

CAMDEN HILLS REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL

Guiding Light” – Text and Music by Matt LaBerge. Camden Hills Regional High School Chamber Singers and Alumni Virtual Choir. Director Music teacher Kim Murphy.

OAK HILL MIDDLE SCHOOL ART GALLERY

7th and 8th grade student artwork from Oak Hill Middle School is part of a virtual art show located at THIS LINK. Thank you to art teacher Gail Rodrigue-duBois for providing this opportunity.

USM JURIED STUDENT EXHIBIT

This special on-line exhibition was open to all USM students submitting work in any media. The juried show introduces students to a professional exhibition where they learn to prepare art for a professional setting, obtain feedback from art professionals, and have their work exposed to a wide range of viewers. Due to Coronavirus, the focus this year was on students learning how to photograph their art at home as well as uploading files – good skills to acquire for many future art opportunIties. GORHAM AND PORTLAND EXHIBIT

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE

Thesis exhibits by Senior Seminar students Delaney Fone, Marissa Joly, Regan H. Mars, and Demel Ruff are now showcased online until August 15, 2020. The engagement of the public through the art, and the public presentation of students’ work are core components to the successful completion of the Art 401 Senior Seminar course, a senior capstone requirement course for the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art students, and a professional practice elective option for those obtaining their Bachelor of Arts studio degrees. SHOWCASE.

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Saying Thank You

March 26, 2020

Message from a Teacher

I am going to start capitalizing the word “Teacher” every time I write or type it. Why? Because I am so impressed by what I see happening because of teachers all over the world. PreK – grade 12 Teachers hopped into this crisis quickly, no hesitation, and are making things happen for learners.

Grades K-8 Music Teacher Kaitlin Young from Sedomocha Elementary and Middle Schools in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine is the 2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year and has been recognized for her accomplishments. I am so proud of Kaitlin and the work she does day to day and what she has done for Teachers everywhere. Her messages are clear and ‘spot on’. Recently Kaitlin wrote on her facebook page a message thanking the many unsung heroes in her school district and beyond who are going above and beyond to support children in multiple ways. With her permission I am re-printing her message since I am sure it is something many of us in education are thinking. Thank you Kaitlin for your leadership and commitment to education!

As we begin this new adventure in remote learning here at SeDoMoCha I wanted to post a photo to stand in solidarity with and express my gratitude for all of the incredible teachers within the SeDoMoCha community, across the state of Maine, and beyond.

And when I say “teachers” I mean all of the incredible people who are modeling what it means to be a member of a thoughtful and caring school community. These people are teaching some of the most profound life lessons to everyone around them throughout this challenging time.

Teachers: Administrators, Technology Integrators, School Resource Officers, Nurses, School Counselors, Maintenance Staff, Data Clerks, and Administrative Assistants who have developed and implemented thoughtful response plans all while calmly answering millions of questions from colleagues and the public. They have been putting in a great deal of work and time in behind the scenes. They are making tough decisions and modeling what it means to dig into the challenging work on behalf of our students and our communities.

Teachers: Bus drivers, Food Service Workers, Education Support Staff, Teachers, Families, and Community Members who have swiftly jumped into action to support our students. The outpouring of offers to help connect students and families to the resources they need has been humbling. “What do you need?” “How can I help?” “What if we try this?” And within moments of struggle when people share their frustration (perhaps in not the most kind of ways) I have heard words of empathy, “they must be really hurting or scared because this is challenging.” There has never been a moment when we have doubted the commitment to our kids. They are the faces that greet our families and help them to stay connected to our community. They are flexible, resilient, and empathetic to the needs of others and model what it means to be on the front lines.

And of course our students, our greatest teachers of all. Amidst the chaos, they continue to make us smile as they wave from the backseat of a car during packet pick up, send funny emails full of memes, or simply do or say something silly at home that was communicated through a parent email. As teachers, all of us who work with our students each day, we know that there are many lessons to learn from our resilient, creative, and compassionate students. They are the reason we do this in the first place.

Everyone is stepping out of their comfort zones to face this uncertainty with grace, kindness, and the need for human connection. (Though stay at least six feet away from each other, please!) We are willing to learn with and from each other as is evident from the plethora of resources that have popped up over the last two weeks. We are willing to make mistakes within our own new learning and continue to provide the best instruction we can. The creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration that happen every day in education have been on display throughout this adventure.

I can only speak about SeDoMoCha from the first-hand experience, but from what I have seen and heard from colleagues we are not unique in these efforts.

Over the last week, we have checked in on each other, laughed, cried, and experienced this challenge as a community. Please continue to take care of yourself. Please check in with your colleagues, students, neighbors, friends, and families. Remind yourself and others that we are doing the best we can as we all seek to find a new sense of “normal.” (Though as someone said to me yesterday, “Were we ever really normal?”)

I am proud and grateful to be a member of the SeDoMoCha Community and the broader community of teachers. Stay safe and keep singing

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Maine Educator Magazine

April 25, 2018

Kaitlin Young

The 2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year Kaitlin Young was highlighted in an article for the Maine Educator Magazine. Kaitlin teaches music at SeDoMoCha School in Dover-Foxcroft. In addition to the article, Kaitlin is also on the cover of the February edition. Kaitlin is a Teacher Leader with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) and her full MALI story will appear later on this blog later on this spring.

Quotes from the article which you can access HERE.

“Arts education is essential for all students. The arts help you to participate in a larger community and we are fortunate to be able to provide these culturally enriching activities within our school.”

“We are in Dover- Foxcroft—Being Teacher of the Year isn’t about me, but perhaps my ability to be an ambassador for others. I feel honored to be part of this community and to tell others about it gives me great pride,” said Young.”

“It’s totally normal for me to one be silly and to crawl on the oor,” said Kaitlin Young with a smile. Young is the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year and teaches music at SeDeMoCha Elementary and Middle School.”

 

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MALI Teacher Leader Story: Kris Bisson

March 20, 2018

Music educator: Kris Bisson

This is one of several blog posts in 2018 that include stories of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 7 Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders. This series of blog posts includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about each leader. CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 93 Teacher Leaders and 8 Teaching Artist Leaders.  CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE  for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories.  Thank you Kris for sharing your story!

Kristine (Kris) Bisson, Music Teacher and Chorus Director for Marshwood Middle School, grades 6, 7, and 8, in Eliot, Maine. She has been teaching a total of 16 years, all of them at Marshwood Middle School. Kris teaches 350 students throughout the school year in six classes: guitar/ukulele, piano, Composing Music, and three grade level Chorus classes (Grade Eight Chorus, Grade Seven Chorus, Grade Six Chorus)In addition, Kris offers several music classes as extra-curricular groups after school. These are always offered as multi-age ensembles open to all students and we have had students participate from grades four through twelve join us for Select Chorus Ensemble, Rock Band, Guitar/Ukulele Ensemble, Piano Class, and Songwriters Workshop.

A unique fact is that I taught here ten years, then had my maternity leave and decided to stay at home to raise my children. After nine years I returned to my position at Marshwood Middle and have been here since. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to return to the teaching position I have always loved. She also is very fortunate to teach my own two children in my music classes.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

I absolutely love my profession. I love music and am reminded every day of why I love it. I have the amazing opportunity to share what I love with young people and help them embrace what they love about music, too. We do a lot of reflection in class: “Why did the composer choose this note? this rhythm? how would you sing this if you were really feeling these lyrics? how would you sing this differently?”

I love to personalize music making and music creating. Everyone can respond and it can be different to each and every person, and that is acceptable. This is personalization.

Every day we laugh, learn, make music, and work together to discover new things about ourselves. My favorite phrase in the classroom is, “Who else is having this much fun?”

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

  1. Personal expression is unique to the performing arts. Every day and every item of study should carry an aspect of how there is a human response. I try to establish an environment of trust and respect between teacher and students and foster this every day. We work together as a team and support each other. I remind my choruses that this is what an ensemble does: we work together.
  2. Passion is an important element in the classroom. Being able to explore music as an art means being able to share first-hand experiences and giving students that opportunity as well. When you create music you have a story to tell. Tell it!
  3. Taking time to process what we are learning has been a key part of reflection in learning. Taking time to listen and hear my students respond to what they are learning is important learning. Why are we learning this? How does this moment in our learning affect other areas of our lives? I strive to help students continue to think about music beyond our classroom walls.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Teaching performance-based classes (Choruses, creating compositions in Guitar, Piano, and Composing Music classes) can sometimes create some confusion around the subjective and objective qualities present. Authentic assessment has created a more objective and transparent method of demonstrating learning. Students can compare the rubrics we use with those similar in every class at our school. It validates the arts. It also provides measurement that can be effectively reached by various means. There are multiple pathways to learning, thus creating a broader spectrum of learning. This has been extremely rewarding to me as an educator and likewise, to my students.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership initiative?

MALI has provided a generous amount of support and enrichment to my teaching career. Being able to collaborate and learn from highly motivated and skilled teaching artists and teacher leaders has awakened a new area of growth for me. It has reminded me of the risk I ask my students to make daily to try something new and take a leap of faith into the unknown. MALI has brought that desire to succeed closer to me and I carry this with me in my classroom.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Kate Smith and Kris at the summer institute, summer 2017

With the help of my extremely supportive husband and two amazingly awesome children I earned my Masters in Music Education at the University of Southern Maine last year. It was an incredibly busy four years, but everything I studied and researched and learned I have used directly in my teaching classroom. The best lesson from this has to be that while I was working on my Masters, my husband was working on his MBA and our children witnessed first-hand how dedicated we both were to our goals in our careers, in our studies, and with our family. From our example both of our children have expressed how valuable education is and I know they will always remember this.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Time

  • I always make time for a student who wants to keep improving or delving deeper during lunch breaks or after school.
  • Researching new material or reading up about improving learning or my own teaching takes time.
  • Getting the word out to the newspapers or parents about the goings on of our trips, activities, and concerts takes time.
  • Sending out “I got caught being awesome!” emails to students and their families takes time.
  • Needing the sleep for the energy my job demands sometimes gets in the way, but is absolutely necessary time! 🙂

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

When I returned to classroom teaching after a nine year hiatus I hadn’t touched my resume, my certification had expired, and I hadn’t interviewed in nineteen years. I put my full effort into the entire process and committed myself fully. This took a great amount of work and I knew it was the absolute thing to do.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Love what you do. Love giving that thirst for knowledge to others. Love being with the age group you work with. There is no greater satisfaction than loving what you do and sharing and seeing that grow in others.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

I would love to start a music school that extends our learning for Marshwood students – and our surrounding community – giving scholarships to children and adults who want to learn beyond their classroom music experience and grow more music in their lives. Choruses, rock bands, jazz bands, and private lessons on instruments they love or haven’t even explored yet would be definite possibilities to so many people. Having intergenerational ensembles where the people you sit beside are sharing the same love of learning is an amazing experience for any human being. I attended small schools that did not have any band experiences and now I conduct four choruses and a Rock Band. The experience one learns in an ensemble is unique. Every person should experience being a member of a music ensemble.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

Kaitlin Young and Kris at the MALI summer institute, August 2017

I really hope I do not have any regrets. One of my favorite rewards of teaching is the surprise meeting with former students and their family members. I sincerely love finding out who they have become, where they are, and what they are doing. It means so much to know that they look back fondly on their learning in my classroom and have taken some of our learning with them in their pursuits. I can honestly say that I have made music, laughed, and learned every day and hope my students do, too. For this, I have no regrets.

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In Today’s News

June 20, 2015

Great article about Karen Renton

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 8.02.57 PM

Karen Renton joins her pupils in an exciting and action-packed song called “Sasha.” Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

In Yarmouth, music teacher’s 34-year career ends on a high note – article from the Portland Press Herald, June 19, 2015. Written by Leslie Bridgers and located at http://www.pressherald.com/?p=660790. I love this article since it describes so well an elementary music class.

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Drew Albert

June 4, 2013

This is the 34th in a series of blog posts telling arts teacher’s stories. The first 19 were told last year by the phase I Maine Arts Assessment Initiative teacher leaders. The series continues with the stories from the phase II teacher leaders. These posts contain a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read educators stories and to learn from others.

IMG_0126Drew Albert has been teaching at Maranacook Community High School in Readfield, Maine for two years. The high school serves about 400 students and Drew teaches both instrumental and vocal music.

What do you like best about being a music/art/drama/dance educator?

Certainly the most rewarding part of being a music educator is the students. It has proven to be an incredible experience to be their teacher. I feel such a sense of pride when they do something they thought they weren’t capable of, or when they realize a passion for music they might not have known they had.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

  1. Collaboration and support. Everyone needs to work well together: teacher and student, parents and teacher, administration and teacher, student and student.
  2. Vision. Setting goals for any program is the best path for growth, musically and otherwise. Reaching attainable benchmarks leaves myself and my students feeling accomplished, while also developing as both individuals and as a group.
  3. Passion. I want my students to find their passion even if it isn’t for music. Students should feel they are in an environment where they are free to express themselves and create; to take risks and make mistakes; to learn, laugh and grow.

 How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Assessment has been the biggest tool in guiding my teaching. Having to work with many students, all performing at various levels, I felt responsible for knowing each students’ strengths and weaknesses. Preparing meaningful individual assessments has prevented me from letting any of my students fall through the ‘proverbial’ cracks. More often than not, I found areas in which I needed improvement. Assessing my students on a regular basis provides me with an observation of my own teaching, which is especially important considering the busy schedules of administrators and colleagues. These assessments have been an invaluable tool in evaluating student progress from lesson to lesson.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

To be surrounded by so many incredibly supportive and passionate individuals has been the greatest benefit of the initiative. I have learned so much from everyone that I am able to use in my own teaching, and we have really had a lot of fun together!

What are you most proud of in your career?

Without a doubt, being fortunate enough to be hired by Maranacook High School my first year out of college. They trusted that I was the right person for the job, so I try my best everyday when I get to school.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Time, for sure. That’s a universal issue. More time for students and teachers. Our students have so many opportunities to take advantage of. Naturally, the majority want to be involved in as many activities as possible. It’s no wonder we run into scheduling problems! Sometimes the math team is missing from dress rehearsal, others times a track meet is scheduled for the same day as the big Memorial Day parade. We just have to do the best we can and usually things will fall into place.

I also find myself getting in my own way. It is very easy to over plan for a particular lesson. Creating a behemoth of a plan with an unnecessary and confusing set of directions, assessment, rubrics, scales, standards, bells, whistles and the kitchen sink. I have learned these past two years to keep things simple, succinct and meaningful.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

I felt very lucky to sign my first contract at my current school. The truth is, I’ve been very fortunate to work with many supportive, passionate people. From my high school music teachers to my professors at the University of Maine, they are the ones who got me to where I am today, as well as my colleagues, friends and family. I owe them thanks for inspiring me to work even harder.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Every once in a while, congratulate yourself! You work hard. You inspire your students. You get to school early. You stay at school late. You put on concerts and fundraisers. You create and motivate. You play music and paint and act and dance. You are pretty great!

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

Pay off my sister’s student loans and mine. Then I would take my entire family on vacation: aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins…the whole crew. The last time we did that we went to Disney World. I’m thinking maybe Vegas this time? With whatever was left I would buy lots of new toys like guitars, ukuleles, steel drums…you name it. And of course I would share them with my students!

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

I would be pretty excited to see 94! There will always be regrets in my life and career. In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way”.

Thank you Drew for sharing your story!

 

 

 

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Playing at the State House

February 9, 2012

Laken Region Middle School band goes to the State House

On Thursday morning, January 26, 20012, thirty-seven students from Lake Region Middle School, under the direction of band instructor Paul Greenstone, loaded their instruments onto a yellow school bus and headed up the Maine Turnpike to our state capital building in Augusta.  There they were scheduled to perform a short concert in the rotunda and then to open that day’s House session by playing the National Anthem from the house gallery.  They were invited to perform by their local representative,  Paul Waterhouse.

The ride to Augusta was fairly quiet. The students were nervous.  All previous concerts had definitely been much more low key – holiday concerts for parents, playing at the quarterly honors assemblies – this day registered much higher on the status bar for the group!  Add the fact that no sheet music would be in front of them during the National Anthem, and  it is easy to understand why there was none of the typical middle school high jinks on that morning’s bus ride.

Upon arriving at the State House, quickly unloading gear, and  smoothly passing through the new security system, band members found their positions, took up their instruments, and when Director Paul Greenstone raised his baton, the lilting strains of Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Flowers” resonated through the building!  That was followed by several patriotic selections and the finale was a splendid rendition of the theme from “Harry Potter”.

How different and wonderful their musical selections sounded in this auspicious venue!  Sound bounced everywhere!  The music was heard all over the building, and enjoyed by everyone.

Moving into the House Chamber, nerves calmed and pride swelled as the Star Spangled Banner was performed flawlessly for the assembled state lawmakers and invited guests.  After being recognized by the House Speaker, band members watched the legislature’s proceedings for a short time before breaking down their instruments and loading back in the bus for the trip home.

Spirits were pretty high on that ride back to the Lakes Region, and why not?  They had played well, represented their school admirably, and most importantly, had shared their joy in making music with others.  The arts programs in our schools make us all part of a better community.

Music students being recognized by the House

Thank you to parent and community member from Naples, Maine who traveled with the students to the State House and who kindly wrote this blog post.


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