The beginning of this is going to be a little canned as there a few things I ‘have’ to post about. I have entered the ‘Real World’, sort of; I work as if I have a full time job, but sadly do not receive a single dime of pay for doing said work. This real world look is pretty much how I expected it. I am busy all the time and have to wake up obnoxiously early. Last semester while I was at Corona del Sol, I was given the privilage to teach their Marching Band and through this given extra chances to teach the classes other than the one day I was there for my internship. I even acted as a sub for the Director one day when he was sick. By the end of December I was ready to go in teach, because even though it was once a week, I taught the full day. I am very ready to have everything however in my own control and ready to be my choice and my mistake. I love having the safety net, but it is a tad hard to feel like I ‘failed’ because of it. I know that I am still growing but I need to experience the feeling of being defeated by myself.
AMEA is this weekend it allowed me to be with ‘my people’ aka music educators. It has been a fun day full of seeing new ideas from how to use technology more efficiently within the classroom, or even how I can have dubstep paired along side of Mozart or Grangier. It is fun and refreshing to see others who are of a similar mindset as me get excited for new ideas, see old friends, or even just spend time with peers from College. It makes me feel very fortunate for those who have helped me get to the point to where I am now. I have people asking me my opinion on new teaching ideas, if these technology ideas could actually work (yes they can I have used some of them myself) or even, ‘wow you know Mr. Julian Bliss on a first name basis?’
Yes, I am proud that I am at that personal level with this gentleman through pure luck. One of the directors at my school is a Conn-Selmer Rep and since Mr. Bliss was coming out for the conference and a few masterclasses it was worked out for him to stop by Dobson. Over the course of the 2 and a half hours I began to talk with him and learned a lot about him. Then today I was walking through the vendors area and I hear him call to me, and as I was talking with him asking how his week in AZ had been going, he insisted I call him Julian rather than Mr. Bliss as “I (He) am only 2 years your (me) senior”. Following this another educator at the booth thought it was amazing that I was ‘so close’ with him and my only response was ‘well he is just another person, amazing musician or not he is still a person’.
That is something that I am coming to realize at my time at Dobson, I am a highly progressive, adaptive music educator compared to those who are mentoring me. This is not to say that they are not trying new ideas, they have a new ensemble set-up about 2-3 times a week depending on what they want to achieve (blend, balance, parts SATB). However there is one concept that we seem to differ and that is the role of the Teacher as the Educator. Is it their job to be a facilitator of education helping students reach the goal they want through careful guidance, or as ‘This is what you need to know because I say so’? My mentor and his peers are more of the latter, I can understand this as they have been teaching for the past decade and a half at least and the ideas that I am being taught are for a more evolving idea of education at Arizona State. I do see how students can benefit from you will learn ABC and it will make you a better educator, but it leaves students with very little stake in the program. While yes, My name is on the program and it is viewed as ‘my band program’, the students themselves do most of the work, I am there to guide them and help them get to where they need to go.
Now once and a while I will need to help show them how to get to the goal that they want and it may mean I have to take control. But like everything in life, if you keep hearing the same things over and over again it will become stale and for some, it may force them to look somewhere else for ideas or a musical experience. This is not something that I want to have happen ( I am sure it will at some point in my career) but I hope that I can help guide them through their interests to get from point A to B and then some.
But that is one way of thinking; no one is right or wrong it is partially a generational gap. All I know is that by the time I am teaching, I will already be ‘behind the times’ and need to stay on my toes lest I lose students.