You’re crazy!”, “Oh my…”, “God bless you.” – Just a few of the general reactions most people have when I tell them I teach middle school general music. And whether you, like myself, have always had a passion for teaching middle schoolers or were simply assigned a class as part of your teaching load, we all hold a unique responsibility. We have the responsibility of teaching young people to love and appreciate music, to reach them where they are and expose them to the art form we know and love. However, the task with which we are charged does not come without its challenges. Reluctant audiences, growing class numbers, and packed schedules are just a few of the many hurdles we must overcome, all while providing the best instruction for our students.
Upon graduating, I was excited and energized to be teaching middle school music. However, I quickly realized that, in addition to the regular challenges of teaching, there was a huge lack of resources for this age group. I, like many, spent the majority of my undergraduate education focused on elementary methods with little focus on secondary general methods. I was at a loss, always searching for quality resources and materials while trying to stay afloat in my regular teaching. I didn’t understand how to properly plan or assess my students. I was struggling and felt quite alone.
I have spent the past 12 years speaking to colleagues and working with pre-service teachers, only to find many of them had the same experience as myself. Middle school general music is truly unchartered territory. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer for what works in each classroom, making our job all the more challenging.
I do not know everything or claim to have all of the answers. What I do know is that I learned some lessons the hard way over the years. My hope is that this book acts as a resource and a guidebook to help you through your days, whether you are just entering your teaching career or are a veteran teacher. This book features tips and resources I use on a daily basis. I hope this book opens a conversation specifically geared toward middle school musician educators, so that we may continue to grow and learn from each other. When we open the conversation and continue growing as musician educators, our students also grow.
Whether you’re a veteran teacher or just entering your teaching career, Middle School General Music: A Guidebook to Navigating the Unkown, will act as a guide to get you through your days. With tips and resources, this book will hopefully open a conversation geared specifically toward middle school general music so that we may continue to grow as musician educators.