Paul Brownlow Contract for "A" Grade MMEA Convetions Review : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Contract for A Grade Attendance at MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic

Submitted by: Paul Brownlow

The MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic is for music educators throughout the state of Minnesota. There are numerous booths and clinics devoted to the music education profession. These clinics better prepare teachers for what they may encounter out in the field. This year I attended sessions on the Minnesota Graduation Rule, Vivace SmartMusic, and several fine performances.

Minnesota Music Educators Association has led in the development of the graduation rule. This is because arts educators were afraid their curriculum would be omitted from the states basic standard requirements. Therefore, music educators are fully aware of the states policies on the graduation rule.

The package I chose to work with was music performance. Our group viewed band students during their band lessons and performances, and rated their performance on the 1-4 grading scale. I noticed that teachers from outside of the metro area were more lenient than those from the metro area. This is going to make standardizing grade scores very challenging. The expectations are very different for each teacher and this is reflected in each students score.

During the session, many teachers discussed some of the frustrations they had with the rule. Everything from paperwork to time constraints to ability were mentioned. This discussion allowed people to come up with solutions and more questions about other issues. It also allowed for teachers who were encountering the same problems in their schools to network. By networking, many frustrated teachers felt more willing to give the new ideas and policies a try.

Another session I visited demonstrated the Vivace SmartMusic computer program. At this session, the distributor explained how their program could help students succeed with the graduation rule. The program allows students to work independently so they can master the music they are playing. SmartMusic is a virtual accompanist that follows the tempo of the performer. Students can make changes to the music which allow them to critically think about their performance. When a student has mastered the piece, they can perform and demonstrate their acquired skills for their teacher.

The greatest part of the clinic is the musical performances. School groups and professionals showcase their talent in performances that are absolutely amazing. These performances help music teachers maintain their sanity and high standards in a profession that can be very stressful at times. I also get great ideas for my own concerts because I can hear a live performance of the music before I purchase it. When I hear these groups perform, I know why I have chosen music as a profession.

Every administrator who cares about the success of their schools music program should allow their music staff to attend the MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic. There are so many valuable ideas that are shared in a three day time period which can help and encourage any music teacher. For teachers who are located in remote areas, the clinic allows them to see what is new in the field of music. Every subject area should have a clinic like MMEAs Mid-Winter Clinic.

-- Anonymous, July 07, 1999

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