Standards-based Ensemble Instruction

Over 300 ensemble directors were asked their views on the implementation of the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS) and the challenges they face in incorporating them into their teaching. This study provides valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities that ensemble directors face when it comes to promoting standards-based instruction in music education.

One of the key findings of this study is that ensemble directors are generally supportive of the NCAS and believe that they can be a valuable tool for promoting standards-based instruction in music education. However, many directors also expressed frustration with the accessibility and structure of the NCAS document, with some describing it as “the worst written document I’ve ever seen.” This highlights the need for clearer and more accessible guidelines for music educators to follow when implementing the NCAS.

Despite these challenges, many ensemble directors are finding creative ways to incorporate the NCAS into their teaching. For example, some directors are using the standards as a framework for designing lesson plans and assessments, while others are collaborating with colleagues to share best practices and develop new strategies for promoting standards-based instruction. This highlights the importance of professional development and collaboration in promoting effective music education.

Another interesting finding of this study is the impact that the NCAS has on the way ensemble directors approach creating, performing, responding, and connecting in their teaching. Many directors reported that the NCAS has helped them to focus more on the creative process of music-making, rather than just the final product. This is an important shift in perspective that can help to promote a more holistic and well-rounded approach to music education.

However, the study also highlights some of the challenges that prevent ensemble directors from fully incorporating standards-based instruction in their teaching. These include a lack of time, resources, and training, as well as the pressure to meet other academic standards. This highlights the need for more support and resources for music educators, as well as a greater recognition of the value of music education in the broader academic context.

In conclusion, ensemble directors’ perspectives on standards-based instruction in music education is a valuable study that provides important insights into the challenges and opportunities that music educators face when implementing the NCAS. By highlighting the importance of professional development, collaboration, and support for music educators, this study offers a roadmap for improving music education and better serving students. It is clear that music education is a vital component of a well-rounded education, and it is important that we continue to support and promote effective music education practices.

Source: Guarriello, M. (2023). The Application of Synesthetic Principles to Foster Musical Creativity. Music Educators Journal, 109(4), 27–34.

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