Monday, April 23, 2012

What is a Music Educator?


Ever see  posters like the one here? They have headings like "Doctors"  or "Lawyers" followed by pictures of what people think they do.  I have been giving lots of thought to this idea from the music educator  perspective - what is a "music educator?" 

In my case,  I work at the Dallas School of Music and have been here for almost all of its 20 year existence.  It's a private music school.  We don't sell instruments or sheet music, we don't have 'group classes', and we don't have scholarships for 'gifted' students. We don't have a "board of directors", fund-raising performances, or after school programs at local junior highs.  We simply sell private music education to anyone who is interested in learning; all ages, and all levels of ability.  We also sell music education via the web with an online curriculum that reaches learners around the globe (so in a large way, the picture above applies to us far more than picture #1 below).  

I spend my days monitoring music-ed news, writing blogs, updating our social networks,  developing curriculum with great colleagues and creating incredible relationships with students... as I teach music.   I know that what I do on a daily basis is far different than what most music educators do, and that's just fine by me. 

The idea of selling music education is difficult to imagine for many. DSM's history is full of examples of people 'not getting it', from both within our profession and from the outside as well. There are even people in our own families who, like folks in those posters, often struggle with our work and vision. The examples are numerous and range from the funny to frustrating, yet we persevere. 

I interact with many passionate music teachers and advocates on twitter (#musiced) and I enjoy it immensely. I participate in #musiced chats, exchange ideas with some very important and influential educators/administrators from all over the world. I've even coordinated blog posts with contributors from near and far. I'm not sure many of these folks know exactly what I do, but that's ok - hopefully they will soon!  

 I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Are you a music educator? What is a music educator? What is the perception of our profession?  I look forward to posting your responses and in the mean time - I thought I'd start the ball rolling with the following pictures: