This week my wife and I went to the NY EDTech 2017 conference held at my alma mater NYU. Below are some of my notes from the opening morning show.
If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard, EDTech has been a booming billion dollar industry for about a decade now. I’m happy to say that New York University, and New York City in general, have been at the forefront of this innovation.
But there are problems.
Most of the companies in EDTech focus on the use of technology to replace the human element in teaching with computers and apps interfacing with students. While this can create a personalized learning experience and provide valuable, measurable data,
We parents care deeply about giving our children the best chances possible. But we share similar fears: What if they get in with the wrong crowd? What if they are not as resilient as we wish? What if they lose their confidence and their way?
As long as our kids are self empowered, find their purpose, voice and happiness, we have done our jobs as parents.
In the future, when artificial intelligence and robots eliminate many current jobs, what skills are ones machines cannot replace?
I believe it’s creativity combined with curiosity and passion that make us undeniably human. It’s the unexpected spark of joy that comes when combining disparate unrelated ideas to make something new and familiar at the same time that helps solve a problem.
But, a study has found a correlation between the performance achievement of black children and whether or not they had a black teacher. The results seem to suggest that black children would fare better if taught by a teacher that looks more like them.
I love to travel and explore new places, but I’ve begun to notice something: each time I go away, I gain something. It’s not just the usual rest, relaxation, and renewal. That’s vitally important, but it’s beyond that. I gain some mental space, I can think clearer, see my best options, and make better decisions.
But it doesn’t have to be a big trip.
Coffee shops, libraries, and hotel lobbies are some of my favorite places to write, plan, and get work done. Why? I started wondering about this. Is it just the beautiful furniture?
Within three minutes of a first lesson, our beginning students learn a song. The song is really an exercise in disguise to get them using all ten fingers assigned to a five finger position. We also use fun words personalized to their tastes.
For some, this is Peanut Butter Sandwich, and some apple juice.
Other kids have chosen other 5 or 6 syllable phrases like:
“I like bacon ice cream, and some water too.”
“Strawberry ice cream, and some sprinkles please.”
“Pepperoni pizza and some lemonade.”
“Tuna Fish Sandwich and a glass of milk.”
“Creme Brulee Ice Cream, and some sprinkles too” – I kid you not!
You will notice that we don’t worry too much about curvature of the fingers at first.
If you don’t hold recitals, you’re missing a rare chance to separate yourself from the many other accomplished teachers out there. My studio ballooned after I held my first recital. So can yours.
No Recitals = Students that Don’t Practice
Here’s the problem I faced: years ago, I used to teach around 5 students from all over NYC. We had weekly lessons for years, but no recitals! Looking back, the lessons often became thin and poorly structured. There was no imperative to practice.
For weeks I’d see mediocre practice habits, if that, followed by lethargy. I’d express my disappointment, then they’d go back to mediocre practicing. The cycle continued, never really moving off that plateau.
Surprising secrets emerge in conversation with jazz legend Gil Goldstein on music education, color and music, polyrhythms and more.
A few years ago, I met a man walking his two little dogs. We got to talking and he told me his name was Gil. He was a musician. Hey, me too!
Over time, I began to get a bit more information. Apparently, he was pretty well known in jazz circles! One day, I almost bumped into Bobby McFerrin as they walked together. Gil was producing Bobby’s latest project.
Later, I’m watching the Grammy Awards live on television and Best New Artist award goes to Esperanza Spalding. A jazz artist! The first ever to ever win this award!
But if you think words are enough, think again – body language and silence often tell you much more about a person.
So, what does this mean for us teachers? Well, if you can’t read the nonverbal signs, it makes it very hard to help the student. If you can’t help them, it’s only a matter of time before they leave your studio.
Years ago, I worked with a 7-year-old girl in Brooklyn for 6 months.
At one of our lessons, she raved about “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Ray.
I check it out and decide to write up my own sheet music.