April 2014 MTNA e-Journal

Practice: It’s A Matter Of MIND Spent, Not TIME
By L. Scott Donald, NCTM

A common issue for most teachers is the lack of effective student practice that takes place at home during the week between lessons. How can teachers ensure students know what to do during their practice time? What tools can students use to help with structuring practice and their own self-assessment? Most teachers would benefit from observing what happens during students’ practice time at home. A true picture of what happens is nearly impossible, but a closer representation to what occurs is possible. Incorporating video into the practice paradigm can have a significant effect on one’s perception of what happens during practice. This article reports on a project that utilized video, self-analysis and student/teacher discussion to help identify problem areas of student practice. This process proved to be transformative for the students involved and highly informative to all involved in the project. [Read More]


MusicLink: Lessons Learned After Two Decades
By Joanne Haroutounian, NCTM, and Lauren Serpati

The MusicLink Foundation provides ongoing music instruction by professional teachers to disadvantaged children and youth who show potential musical talent. This article presents an analysis of data acquired over the past two decades in the areas of potential musical talent identification and assessment of student progress over five years of training. Analysis included both quantitative analysis of forms and qualitative content analysis of comments on the forms completed by teachers and parents. The analysis findings confirm the importance of ongoing musical training for promising students in need and emphasize the value of long-term relationships between teachers and students. Findings show how music plays a role in social interaction in school and helps build personal self-confidence. The analysis confirmed the importance of including parents and private instructors in arts talent identification and the value of qualitative input from parents and teachers on forms. Findings also explain the fluctuations in student learning across the years, reflecting the different phases of talent. [Read More]