By Angie Mullins
Teaching music in a classroom setting can be very challenging. Students who have played a musical instrument for many years (and completed practical and theory exams) are placed in the same class as students who have never had the opportunity or inclination to learn to read and play music.
In an attempt to solve this problem, and to customise my lessons for students with mixed abilities, I have developed a flipped music classroom, which I run with the Grade 7s, 8s and 9s.
Firstly, I created a website using Google Sites which contains videos, notes, tasks and assessments.
The website also includes a support page which provides additional practice material to reinforce or extend the content covered in each lesson.
Next, students are expected to complete an assessment (+/- 4 lessons) every two cycles. Students watch the videos at home and then, with the help of the videos and notes, complete the task. Each task is essentially a Google Form which they submit to me. This allows me to keep track of where each student is and if they are correctly understanding the content of each lesson.
Once the student completes a certain number of videos they do an assessment which tests the application of the content covered in the few preceding lessons.
Class time is spent on practical application of the theory covered in the videos – and other general noise making 🙂 I am in the very fortunate position where I am able to team-teach my Grade 7s. This allows me to take a small group of students who are struggling (or thriving) out of the class and work with them on a more individual basis while the rest of the class continues with practical work.
I have found the flipped music classroom enormously beneficial:
- I am able to cater to a wide range of diverse individuals – No one gets bored! No one gets left behind!
- I am able to illustrate complex musical concepts through animations and audio examples.
- Students can read and analyze scores in real time: listen to the music, watch the notes and read text which highlights important features.
- Students can work at their own pace. Some students submitted four assessments instead of just the one that was due on our first submission day.
- The students feel a sense of power and responsibility – they are in charge of the pace at which they learn!
- My lessons are customised and personalised. And I can now give my students personal attention.
If you would like to have a look at my website (or learn to read and write music – its never too late!) please send me an email and I will invite you to the site.