How to Continue Developing Your Teaching Skills This Year

As teachers, we’re never really done learning (and that’s a good thing!). 

John Dewey once said, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”

So true, right? The world is constantly changing and evolving and we need to be constantly changing, adapting, learning, and evolving along with it to be the best teachers we can be.

What do you want to learn this year? What kind of teacher do you want to become? 

I shared my answers to these questions on Facebook Live a few weeks ago. Watch the replay here, in case you missed it!

Looking for some inspiration and ideas? Here are eight things you can do to continue developing your teaching skills this year:

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10 Ways to Develop Musicianship in Children's Choir

I believe church music programs are a wonderful way to teach children about God and their faith and music and singing.

I believe we can do both. And being intentional about planning specific ways to develop musicianship little by little throughout the year is a great place to start.

This post is geared toward children’s choir directors looking for inspiration, ideas, and practical suggestions for teaching children about music and developing musicianship week by week. 

I’ll talk about what musicianship is and 10 practical ways to develop it little by little in your rehearsals each week.

P.S. Looking for the webinar version of this post? Click here.

What is Musicianship?

Musicianship be defined a few different ways.

Some might say it’s the skills you have as a musician: things like listening, hearing, singing, playing, creating, responding, etc. Others, might say it’s the ability to “think in sound,” or audiate (source). This means to hear music in your head without any sound being present. You might think of this like the ability to read a book silently - hearing the words in your head as you read them but not actually saying them out loud.

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Sing & Play: How to Use Instruments with Your Children's Choir

Do you use instruments with your children's choir?

Playing an instrument - even if it's just a few jingle bells on a pipe cleaner - is a great way to foster musical development in your young singers.

Here are a few of the primary benefits:

1. It helps children be actively involved in the music-making process.

Children learn by doing, by moving, by experimenting. Music is a form of play, for young children, especially, and interacting with it through playing instruments and singing only deepens their experience.

2. It gives children an opportunity to be creative and explore music in new ways.

Playing instruments gives children an opportunity to improvise and even compose their own rhythm patterns and short melodies in ways that are more challenging in a choral setting.

3. It broadens children's horizons and exposes them to new sounds and timbres.

In addition, it gives you an opportunity to talk about high vs. low sounds, loud vs. soft, fast vs. slow, and other musical contrasts.

Have I convinced you? If you're looking for ways to incorporate instruments into your children's choir, you're in the right place. 

Let's start by talking about instrument types.

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2018 Book List

One of my favorite things about beginning a new calendar year is choosing which books I want to read in the coming months.

I like to read one book at a time and one book per month seems to be a good pace for me. I also like to read slowly and take notes as I go (these are my favorite journals for book notes) so I can go back and review the highlights later.

I lean toward books that challenge me to think in a new way or look at the world from a new perspective; books that teach me something or inspire me or help me grow in some area of my life. I use the following categories as a basic framework:

Health/Lifestyle
Spiritual
Personal
Business

After browsing Amazon, reading reviews of what people read in 2017, and browsing a few people's book lists for the coming year, here is my current book list for 2018 (with lovely descriptions from Amazon):

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