A note to teachers:
Wow! 2020 was a crazy year. I know most of us would like to move forward and never look back, but I think it’s important to remember all of the incredible things teachers did together. There were more than several times that I know many of you wanted to throw in the towel and give up. Teaching online in a pandemic wasn’t something you were ready for but you were given the task anyway.
And you NEVER gave up.
You attended virtual webinars and online professional development, and watched endless hours of Youtube tutorials. Hundreds of you joined the Midnight Music Community. You threw out everything you thought you knew about student engagement and tried something new. . . over and over again. You taught lessons that made students laugh, lean on one another, and learn. You taught your students to be resilient and resourceful. You listened as they went through personal struggles and did your best to be a shoulder to lean on.
You cared when your students couldn’t. You showed up. You reinvented what it means to be a teacher. You fought for your students’ rights to fantastic music education and, when live performances were discouraged, you found ways to continue making music together. You gave them options and taught them to think for themselves. You helped them remember the power of music in adversity.
More than anything, you set a positive example. You didn’t stay stuck in the pit of not understanding. You took a step forward every single day even when students didn’t show up or lessons flopped. You kept moving forward and my, how lucky are the communities of the world to have learned from you this year. I am so incredibly proud of you and I’m so excited to continue this journey of music technology with you in 2021.
Here is the 2020 year in review; a countdown of our most popular posts that helped teachers survive and thrive in 2020.
Countdown: Top 10 Midnight Music Posts of 2020
A choice board is a graphic organizer that allows students to choose how they would like to learn about a particular subject or concept. Most commonly, choice boards look like squares where each square is one task. Students can choose the tasks they want to do in order to achieve mastery of the concept.
Interactive manipulatives are about more than just lecture slides, but rather slides that students will actually do something with. They will move shapes, pictures, or text in order to demonstrate their understanding of a music concept.
Google Forms is a fantastic tool for teachers to use. There are so many ways to use Google Forms in the classroom with students of all ages. Whether it’s an automatically graded quiz, sign-ups for a club, a self-reflection, or a survey, Google Forms is a great way to collect, organize, and manipulate data from students, colleagues, or parents.
I’ve put together a choice-board style list of Olympic events that your students can enter. They can pick which ones they’d like to do and there are plenty of “novelty” options, so everyone is in with a chance of winning a medal!
Looking for something fun to do with your students?
The “escape room” concept has become very popular in recent years – both in education and IRL (in real life…!). Escape rooms make introducing topics, reinforcing learning and teaching concepts engaging and fun for students. And who doesn’t want that in their classes?
Today – let’s talk about whether it’s possible to run a live, synchronous band, orchestra or choir (or any other ensemble) rehearsals via video conferencing software such as Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams.
In a word…no. But, there are options.
Whether it’s for virtual learning or just to let kids have experience with new instruments, virtual instruments come in handy. The internet is full of free instruments that students can play with. Some common music apps also have built-in free virtual instruments that students can use. All of these are free, and most of them are web-based and cross-platform.
This lesson uses the free Songmaker which is part of the Chrome Music Lab. The Songmaker allows students to click on a grid to add melodic or rhythmic sounds. Press the play button to hear your creation.
In these Star Wars lessons, students will create their own version of the main Star Wars Theme by John Williams, using the Chrome Music Lab Songmaker.
When using Zoom to run music classes, there are a few settings you can adjust to enhance the experience for you and your students.
Here is a summary of the settings you should consider.
THE TOP POST OF 2020
Right now, I’m a member of a number of music teacher Facebook groups and everyone is scrambling to move their teaching to an online format.
At least 5 times per day – and often within the same Facebook group – I see the following question:
“Does anyone know how to create one of those Eric Whitacre-style virtual choir videos? I’d like to create one with my own choir/band/orchestra/flute ensemble”
Creating one of these videos is no easy task.
I say this to you all with love. A LOT of love.
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Looking for More Resources for Music Teachers?
Hello! I’m Katie Wardrobe – an Australian music technology trainer and consultant with a passion for helping music teachers through my business Midnight Music.
I’m a qualified teacher but no, I don’t currently teach in a school. I help teachers through my online professional development space – the Midnight Music Community – where there are tutorial videos, courses, links and downloadable resources.
I like to focus on easy ways to incorporate technology into what you are already doing in your music curriculum through a range of creative projects. I also run live workshops and have presented at countless conferences and other music education events.
If you want simple, effective ideas for using technology in music education, I would LOVE to help you inside the Midnight Music Community.