In October 2008, Education Through Music (ETM), sponsored the 9th Annual Teachers Institute, Musical Connections: Developing life-long learners through Music Education, at PS 68 in the Bronx and PS 3 in Brooklyn, New York. Classroom teachers participated in interactive music sessions that demonstrated teaching techniques to incorporate the joy of making music together with their students. PS 68 Principal Cheryl Coles in the Bronx and PS 3 Principal Kristina Beecher in Brooklyn hosted the Institutes.
"By studying music as a subject in its own right, students develop skills crucial to their social and cognitive development," said Education Through Music Program Director Peter Pauliks. "We, as educators, teach our students to become life-long learners and lead the charge by our own actions."
"We believe very strongly that every child deserves a well-rounded education that includes comprehensive and sequential music instruction," Pauliks continued. Workshops focused on Education Through Music principles that making music as a group teaches students responsibility, team work, discipline, understanding and leadership, as transferable skills throughout academic studies.
Music supports overall youth development and learning on many different levels: lyrics support reading and improved literacy skills; a wide range of cultural music demonstrates social studies and diversity; an understanding of meter and notes leads to enhanced mathematics, and the physics behind producing sound supports science. Music can be a lifeline by assisting students to strengthen cognitive connections, open doors to expression and allow experiences in real time by sharing music within a group.
Workshops included Reaching Special Needs Students Through Music led by ETM Music Therapist Marie Koutsavlis. Teachers learned techniques to communicate more effectively with special needs students using music as a tool. In Chorus, ETM Teaching Artist Ulises Solano presented how singing in an ensemble builds confidence, camaraderie and independence. Teachers were shown a variety of repertoire, while preparing musical selections. By experiencing first-hand the discipline required to learn a song, teachers understood the challenges faced by their students. In Recorder, ETM Teaching Artist Racquel Borromeo shared the challenge for students and teachers alike in developing fine motor skills and coordination. Teachers were taught recorder technique through a variety of performance repertoire.
A session on Improvisation with ETM Assistant Program Director Nick LaFleur gave participants a hands-on approach to the world of improvisation. Through basic playing technique, teachers collaborated on the creation of an original work. In Music and Movement with ETM Field Supervisor Leah Potteiger, teachers explored music through body percussion and movement. The workshops culminated in a performance with teachers presenting their newfound knowledge with high-spirited enthusiasm.
Read the article about the Teachers Institute in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle!