I was at my daughter’s Freshman Open House Night this week. It was wonderful to meet her teachers, learn about the curriculum, and hear good things from them about how she’s been doing. One moment stood out to me though.
I was visiting her French teacher and she was explaining to a group of parents how important language immersion is to their philosophy of teaching a foreign language. She said that if she’s not communicating in their target language (French) 80% of the time that she’s not doing her job. That reminded me of some wise advice I received my first year of teaching from one of my mentors, Sam Ferrucci. He told me that there’s a difference between teaching music and teaching about music. He always said we needed to engage students in active music making more and more. Great advice indeed!!!
It is not enough for my daughter to come out of her French class knowing a lot about French history and culture, but not speaking the language. Similarly, I want my students to be fluent in the language of music. We will learn about music, history, composers, culture and other things associated with music, and even connections to the Common Core, but fundamentally my students need to be immersed in active music making. This is and always will be a major focus for it is only through active music making that students become active musicians.