Monday, June 3, 2013

School is Over.. Now What?

The ending of the school year is always an interesting time.. cleaning up the millions of loose papers in the paper "organizer" on my desk, cleaning out the dust bunnies in the Orff instruments, repairing instruments and mallets and taping books back together, and taking pictures and "stuff" off the walls for repainting/repair over the summer. It's also a time for meetings, planning, and looking forward to changes for the next school year. We're all tired but we soldier forth, trying to "keep our heads in the game" to do the work we need to for our students, our neighbors children, and our own. I relish this time of year; a time to ask hard questions (are we placing the children at the forefront of what we do? Is this lesson or that unit of study the BEST for the children? Is everything we do the BEST for the children?). I'm excited about these questions; they make me a better teacher and make me ask hard questions of myself, too- am I doing everything I can to be THEIR best musical expert? Is the material I'm using the best vehicle to teach concepts of rhythm, melody, harmony, form, and musical expression? When I stop asking these questions at the end of the year, I stop learning and growing as a professional and as a musician. So, walk on, friend, and ask yourself the tough questions; don't simplify and leave school mentally and physically; push yourself to dig deeper. A Thought to Ponder... I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. Maya Angelou Read more at


  1. It's so funny that you are writing this. My colleagues and I have discussed how crazy it is that we were already talking about next year in the beginning of May! This time of year is a wonderful time for reflection and self improvement. I already have a list of things that I need to tweak next year in order to make my program the BEST that it can be. Your right, when you stop asking these questions, it's probably time to move on. Reflection is such an important part of teaching students to the BEST of your ability.

    1. Isn't it funny.. non-teachers truly have no idea of how far in advance we "think" and plan for the next school year. Already I'm planning my holiday concerts, etc.
      We had a wonderful meeting today filled with self-reflection and talking about challenges and what we grew from this year. Our faculty had a difficult year- I was one of SEVEN faculty members who had unexpected surgery this year! A little crazy, but it's been so good for us to lean on each other and learn to be flexible!