Standard 2: The teacher of PK-12 music has skills in creating, arranging, and improvising.
Creating, arranging, and improvising are skills that give students a different insight into music that cannot be achieved by solely performing. Learning about the structure of the music, reworking a musical idea and performing within given guidelines helps students gain a deeper understanding of music and are skills that cannot be overlooked if I want my students to be independent musicians once they leave my classroom. I have created, arranged, and improvised music in a variety of settings. These experiences have shaped how I interact with music and I know it can do the same for my students. One of the biggest contributors to my knowledge of arranging came from Instrumentation and Arranging, a course at K-State instructed by Dr. Craig Weston, our professor of composition. In this class I gained an extensive understanding of the general guidelines and “rules” that one must follow to create an effective work for performance, such as appropriate ranges and roles of each instrument. I got the opportunity to create my own arrangements for a variety of different ensembles, including a string quartet, brass ensemble and woodwind quintet. By knowing these guidelines for writing for different instruments I also now have a deeper insight into the decisions that composers made when writing pieces that I have performed or conducted and this has guided my rehearsal process to create a more effective performance. On the Elementary side I have also had the opportunity to create music within the parameters and skill levels of Elementary-age students. This is the most important time for teachers to encourage students and make them comfortable to create their own music and create a strong foundation for music making. In Elementary Music with Dr. Ruth Gurgel, I created lesson plans for students to create their own rhythmic and melodic improvisations within the structure of a given piece and taught the lessons using a variety of scaffolding strategies and modes and scales appropriate for younger students. The students tried these skills with voice, Orff instruments, and ukulele. Students need to be well-rounded musicians and music creation is a skill that is often overlooked. Technology, such as music notation software, sampling and looping apps now make it easier than ever to easily and efficiently get students creating music early in their musical education. Giving my students the proficiency in multiple areas of music will give them the confidence to continue a musical life after they leave the classroom.