Car Thoughts: Thank you for your mistake

In this episode, I reflect on the psychology of gratitude, and on the importance of helping our students develop a healthy relationship with their own mistakes, and even flaws and weaknesses. Not because we don’t care about high achieving ensembles, but precisely for this reason.

Car Thoughts Episode
Thank You for Your Mistake

Episode 114: Boys Keep Singing! With Martin Ashley

A Choralosophy Oxford Series episode!

One of the most challenging aspects of being a teacher of singing is dealing with the male changing voice. Not only are we undereducated on the physiology of the issue, we are often inconsiderate of the psychology as well. In this conversation, I have called in a true expert to help us parse this out. Professor Martin Ashley is the editor-in-chief of the research journal of the Association of British Choral Directors, and has done EXTENSIVE peer reviewed work on not only the male changing voice during puberty and at all stages, but also the issue of the struggle to keep boys singing. Join us as we discuss an overview of the body and mind of the adolescent male singer, the issues that face choir directors in teaching during the change and much more.

Find Martin’s Series for Cambiata voices!

Martin Ashley
Episode 114

Martin Ashley is currently editor-in-chief of the research journal of the Association of British Choral Directors, having retired as Head of Education Research at Edge Hill University in 2013. Trained as a middle school music teacher, he worked in a variety of school settings before moving to the University of the West of England, gaining a post-doctoral fellowship for musical learning and boys’ understanding of voice. An AHRC funded collaboration with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and University of York resulted in significant outputs on “cambiata” and the adolescent male voice. He has published widely on singing during early adolescence, working with a paediatric specialist on the timing of puberty and voice change. He has published work on historical trends in puberty, Tudor pitch and the sixteenth century mean voice. His most recently published book was Singing in the Lower Secondary School for OUP and his forthcoming book is Dead Composers and Living Boys. In response to the covid pandemic, he assembled a small team of virologists and public health professionals to produce a rapid response review for ABCD and a smartphone app to monitor risk mitigation in choral singing, for which he received the Sir Charles Grove prize for outstanding contribution to the musical life of the country.

Mentioned in the episode

Car Thoughts: Back to School with No Masks and Normalizing Noise Making

Anxiety from within is normal. The belief that students can’t overcome the anxiety can often come from the teacher’s approach. It is critically important to normalize “singing without fear.”

In this car thoughts conversation, we reflect on starting the first “normal” school year in three years. This is a significant opportunity to return normalcy to our students of all levels. I also offer ideas for teachers to consider when thinking about the first days of school, as well ways to structure the first rehearsal’s priorities. How do we set up the expectations that lead to a successful school year?

Also included are ideas about back to school retreats, the CDC’s relaxation of Covid caution recommendations, and the importance of “normal.”

Make Singing Sounds with your Mouth Holes!
Car Thoughts

It is important that your first day of school is dominated by singing.

Chris Munce
JD Frizzell

Everyone CAN Get an A, But Not Everyone Will

A Summer Refresher on Grading and Assessment at Alabama ACDA

This episode is in many ways, the live presentation SEQUEL to Episode 21: Everyone Can Get an A.

In music Education, we frequently lament cultural attitudes about music not being a “real class.” If we present courses without rigor, academic standards or measurable achievements, we are walking right into that criticism. However, our jobs depend on enrollment numbers, and we feel pressure to give A’s. But, there is where we run into tension. If we make the grading more rigorous, many teachers fear, then kids will quit. In my experience, this is the opposite of what happens, provided that every student regardless of “talent” can see a realistic path toward getting an A. That does NOT mean they will all make the choice to rise to that occasion, however. You know what they say about leading horses to water… Join me as I outline my philosophy on program, culture and belonging building through increased standards and rigor. We have confused “rigor” with “talent” and “accessibility.”

Tune in for a presentation either audio or video complete with rubrics, grading practices, writing curriculum, grading on growth, setting individual goals for students and much more. For the FULL presentation, slides and ad free video, visit the Patreon.

Everyone Can Get An A, But Not Everyone Will
Grading and Assessement

Past Grading and Assessment Episodes