Flipping Your Guitar Class
Consonus Music Institute’s Classroom Guitar and Classroom Ukulele curriculum provides everything you need to “flip” your class. In fact, this is one of the most productive uses of technology in the classroom.<?p>
We asked David Jackman, a teacher in the Apline School District in Utah to tell us about his experience using CMI’s classroom guitar curriculum to “flip” his guitar class. Here is his story:
One Teacher’s Experience
I’ve used the CMI classroom guitar curriculum for several years and I prefer it to so many other options. This year, however, I determined I needed to work better to use the flipped classroom purpose of the curriculum in the way it was intended, and the results have been extremely gratifying. Due to various reasons, this year I determined to drastically raise the bar for my students. This meant that I would essentially be devoting half my class time to other forms of music education beyond CMI. I wasn’t sure how far we would be able to get on CMI in the remaining time, but I decided I would plow through and see what happened.
In the process of reflecting on my situation, I came to the realization that in the past I have given little or no thought to the order or process of when the students would refer to the online resources at cmilearn.org. Being perfectly confident in teaching the material myself, I would simply teach–business as usual–and then invite the students to use the online curriculum as a supplement or practice resource, or to find out what they “missed” if they were absent.
At the beginning of this year, however, I figured that I probably could do a lot better to honor the purpose of a flipped classroom. According to what might be viewed as the dictionary definition of “flipped classroom” (and if anyone hasn’t done an internet search on the topic, I would recommend that you do…), I reasoned that if I would require students to view the online instruction and begin practicing at home before we would bring up the concept in class, then they might be motivated to practice better and that then our time in class might become more productive toward music making and ensemble rehearsal.
My plan worked. As with any classroom management procedure at the start of the year, it took little bit to help the kids see I was serious. So I had to resign myself once or twice to telling the kids that I was scrapping the original lesson plan because they hadn’t yet met my expectation for the necessary preparation at home beforehand. Once they knew I was serious however (and I supplemented this by frequent mass emails and texts to parents), the results were better than I expected. When we played together in class, sounds of real music emerged right away and mastering the concepts became much easier and faster. It was so much more fun than working through the laborious process (and non-musical sounds) I had become so accustomed to in my former music teaching life.
In the end, my students this year are on par with all of my previous classes accomplishments for the same amount of time, plus, they have had significant additional experiences in areas such as small ensemble work and Kodaly music learning. I don’t think I will ever go back to my traditional “old” ways or just “going with the flow.” I’ve learned that, with small and deliberate changes, so much more is possible. And my students deserve the best I can give them.
Secrets to our success:
- Expect students to review the material at home before the day you plan to bring the concept into the classroom.
- Communicate and Reinforce the expectations clearly and consistently. Be gentle, yet firm.
- Celebrate the successes you are having. This helps to motivate students to continue doing the right things.
David W. Jackman
Arts Integration Coach
Music Teacher/BTSALP Specialist
Alpine School District
What’s Your Experience?
Have you “flipped” your guitar or ukulele class? Share your experiences in the comment section below. We’d love to hear about them and we bet other teachers would benefit as well!