I hope the end of August finds you all having had a wonderful summer. I hope too that you are now refreshed and ready to begin another exciting school year!

Two things I want to update you on for this week.

1. Schedule for this week is:
Wednesday, Aug. 28th – Hepburn all day
Thursday, Aug. 29th – Hepburn all day
Friday, Aug. 30th – PSTA all day

2. I have been reading a book called Teaching Music Musically by Keith Swanwick.  While I must admit the writing is rather dry, Swanwick touches on many good points and is seen as somewhat of a music education guru in the United Kingdom.  In particular I was struck by an analogy he includes in his chapter regarding assessment which I wanted to share with you.  It goes as follows:

The story goes that someone inherited a large sum of money and wanted to invest it wisely.  A friend advised her to take up the collection of jade, to become a connoisseur.  He recommended ten classes on jade collection with the celebrated Dr. Chan.  So the novice jade-collector paid up for ten lessons in advance.  After several weeks she met her friend again, ‘Fine advice you gave me,’ she said.  ‘I’ve wasted a lot of money.  I went for all the ten lessons.  Each time Dr. Chan gave me a piece of green stone and sent me away into a room to sit and look at it.  Nothing happened for an hour.  I just sat there.  Then Chan came back in.  She took the stone away and showed me out.  This happened every time.  That’s not proper teaching.  And I’ll tell you something else.  The one she showed me was a fake!  (in Swanwick, 1999).

Further, Swanwick says, “I can sympathise with anyone who fears getting caught up in the machinery of assessment or has worries that the magic of music will suffer through being processed by the clanking apparatus of marks and grades. There is, though, more to it than that.”  (Swanwick, 1999, p. 71)

With these thoughts in mind, I thought of you all as you implement new ideas in your classrooms and then attempt to describe the results of that on also new report cards this year.  It can be a challenge to say the least, but I hope we can be creative in making assessment and evaluation as authentic and musical as possible.

Have a fantastic remainder of the week!



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