- How Donna got into music education
- Why she got out of music education, and how her side trip helped her
- Why Donna left New York for California
- Why this music educator will never stop educating herself
- How students learn music, and why and how they should learn it differently
- How learning music is like learning a foreign language
This episode explores the importance of wellness for music educators. A continuation of my earlier conversation with him, it seems Gary Doherty still has a few things to left to teach to former student Bruce Faske—and to the rest of us!
If you’re interested in joining us on our journey, or even just following along, check out the hashtag #MEwell.
William Gary Doherty
An eclectic adventurer, William Gary Doherty brings a lifetime of Irish storytelling to everything he writes. With degrees in Music, Educational Administration and Educational Leadership Will brandishes a style of teaching that is provocative, creative, and utterly state of the art for the world in which we live. In addition to careers as a professional bassoonist and educator, Will is also a certified craft mixologist and wine specialist. His recent book, Wine 101 has been used by hospitality professionals to train staff, guests, and management in the basics of wine and slow-food hospitality. He has presented lectures and workshops for professionals in the United States, Central & South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. In The Ignition Point: Striking the Match, readers are introduced to the power of shaping one’s destiny by retaking individual responsibility for our personal, professional, and spiritual health.
Bruce Faske is Artist Instructor of Trombone at Arkansas State University, where he teaches applied trombone lessons, conducts trombone choir, and performs with the Arkansas State Faculty Brass Quintet. He is also first trombone of the newly formed Diamond Brass Band of Northeast Arkansas, and second trombonist with the Missouri Symphony Orchestra in Columbia, MO. Prior to ASU, he served as Adjunct Instructor of Trombone and Euphonium at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and maintained a large private trombone studio in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. In addition to teaching in higher education, he is also interested in the development of younger trombonists, particularly the mastery of teaching beginner students in the first year of study. Faske has performed with numerous ensembles including the Dallas Opera, San Antonio Symphony, Tuscaloosa Symphony, Waco Symphony, the Lone Star Wind Orchestra, and fellowships with the Festival Institute at Round Top (2008) and the National Music Festival at Washington College in Chestertown, MD (2012). In 2011 and 2013, he was a Participant in the Alessi Seminar, a week long international workshop led by Joseph Alessi, Principal Trombonist of the New York Philharmonic.
Faske has given solo recitals at Ouachita Baptist University and Colorado State University, and has performed as soloist at the 45th Annual Festival of New Music at Ball State University, with the Southeastern Symphonic Winds at the 2014 Southeastern Oklahoma Band Directors Association Clinic, the University of Alabama Wind Ensemble at the 2013 Alabama All State Festival, the University of West Georgia Brass Ensemble, the Texas State University Concert Band, and numerous public school bands. In addition, he was a semi-finalist in the 2006 U.S. Army Band’s Eastern Trombone Workshop National Solo Competition. His teachers include Jonathan Whitaker, Brent Phillips, Jimmy Clark, John McCroskey, Joseph Cox, Don Lucas, and Larry Campbell. Bruce Faske is a proud Artist for the Edwards Instrument Company.
Wellness for Music Educators: On this episode…
0:04:40 Why Bruce teaches
0:06:30 How a healthy lifestyle makes Bruce a better educator
0:08:24 Gary: “Do less, do better.”
0:10:02 “We are just using athletes using highly developed fine motor skills.…everything I do that makes me a better athlete makes me a better performing artist.”
0:11:43 Gary: Music education programs at universities give only a “gratuitous nod” to wellness
0:13:10 Why Bruce’s new daily routine begins before he goes to bed
0:14:33 Bruce’s morning ritual
0:15:28 How Bruce handles busy days & recharges his batteries
0:17:24 How Bruce approached building new healthy habits
0:21:18 Gary: The importance of a SUSTAINABLE workout routine
0:22:47 The importance of marketing to yourself
0:24:37 Change your mornings, change your life
0:25:48 Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
0:26:07 The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
0:26:45 Bruce’s biggest reward
0:30:09 Gary on self-compassion
0:30:42 Gary’s rewards for himself (Almond Dream)
0:34:20 Positive self-talk
0:39:42 Gary: Highlighting the positive in a performance setting
0:41:48 Adding a layer of wellness to university music education degrees
0:46:22 Bruce: Personally ask students how they’re doing
0:50:32 Practical tips: how to get started
0:51:05 The most important thing we have to face
0:53:33 Get outside
0:55:24 How to find Gary’s book
0:56:17 Bruce at the Missouri Symphony Orchestra
1:01:52 The fear kicks in
1:02:11 What happens when you have a big heart
Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod (affiliate link)
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
by Charles Duhigg (affiliate link)
How To Improve Self-Esteem: A New Secret From Research by Eric Barker
Split Image by Kate Fagan: the story of a collegiate athlete who committed suicide
A few days ago, I stopped by my children’s schools and spoke with their principals. The next day, I opted them out of PSSA standardized testing.
Why opt out of the PSSAs?
There are so many reasons I’m opting my children out, but I think education researcher Dr. Tim Slekar put it best:
“I love my child, I love my school and I love my teachers! I will not take part in this insanity anymore.”
Standardized test results are being used as a weapon, and I can no longer allow my children to be a part of this.
Educators are the backbone of a successful society. Every successful individual can credit at least one of their teachers for giving them a strong foundation.
Yet somehow in modern society—especially in today’s political climate—teachers are increasingly characterized as lazy slackers who only took the job because they’d get summers off, or because they weren’t successful enough to do something more lucrative.
As such, lawmakers have concluded that they must demand “accountability” from public schools and educators.
How ironic that these legislators, who likely learned to be accountable thanks to the efforts of their own teachers, are now wielding “accountability” as a cudgel against those same educators.
I don’t know about you, but every teacher I’ve ever had—heck, every teacher I’ve ever MET—is the polar opposite of anyone who needs accountability.
The teachers I know are, without fail, highly educated, accomplished professionals who care deeply about their students.
The teachers I know reach deeply into their own pockets to provide the supplies—and sometimes food and clothing—their own schools and their students’ families cannot.
The teachers I know expect excellence from their students, while providing a safe place for their students to learn, fail, and grow.
And yet somehow, today’s educators are rewarded by being asked to do more with less time and money. It’s like trying to teach with their hands tied behind their backs.
Hours and hours of standardized testing and test prep—thousands of dollars poured into creating, purchasing, and processing these tests. And for what?
Test results delivered months to late to do anything useful educationally. Instead, those test results are used only to provide quantifiable evidence of the failure of American public schools. And too often, those test results are used to justify spending less on music education, and more on the subjects being tested. Kids are pulled out of music and art classes to spend more time on test prep.
I, for one, have had enough. My children’s test results will no longer be used as weapons against the teachers and the schools they love.
Image credit: Flickr user emagic
Bless your heart.
The Texas Classroom Teachers’ Association TRIED to help celebrate Music In Our Schools month (MIOSM).
It just didn’t quite work.
Here is the story of the MIOSM Sax Fail of 2015.
For the record, the sax is missing its mouthpiece and neck strap altogether, and her hands are holding the instrument incorrectly.
A few people noticed, apparently, and down came the post.
Facebook took it more seriously. (Most of them, anyway.)
As you can see, some of the replies by teachers are borderline vitriolic. And really, it was a mistake that got fixed (arguably—some commenters feel that a new, correct image should be posted in support of Music in Our Schools month).
So why all the venom toward the Texas Classroom Teachers’ Association?
Perhaps it all boils down to disrespect.
Teaching, as a profession, is not well respected in our current political climate. Music educators are respected even less. Programs are getting slashed.
The unenlightened feel that music isn’t a “real” or an “important” school subject, that kids enrolled in music are “just having fun,” which of course they should be doing on their OWN time, not on the taxpayers’ dime.
Music educators have to fight these biases and misinformation EVERY DAY. And to have an organization—whose sole purpose is to support educators—post an image that propagates music education illiteracy? It’s too much.
It’s not fair that music education has to advocate so ardently for their existence, in a way that math or English never will. An image like this practically advocates AGAINST music education.
I think THAT’S why this makes music educators so mad. It makes a mockery of their life’s work.
How to avoid—or handle—a situation like this
As a social media manager, I’ve been in the same shoes as the unfortunate TCTA admin who created and originally posted the image. It’s not fun.
If you see something off about a social media post, privately message the account and let the admin know. They’ll be so grateful that you did. Try to be gracious about it—there’s enough hate on the internet already.
If you’re the one posting the offending content, time is of the essence. Where possible, react quickly and apologize. Make it right to the best of your ability.
To TCTA’s credit, they’re not deleting negative comments. Deleting comments just escalates things. You look like you’re not willing to acknowledge your mistake, and commenters feel they’re not being heard. That makes them want to step up their efforts and let more people know not just about the original offense, but your disappointing response to it.
Mistakes happen. We can turn them into teachable moments, like the music educator who posted the unfortunate saxophone image on a bulletin board, and invited his students to find “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”
We’ll laugh about this one day, TCTA. I promise.
Want to sound off about this? I’d love to hear what you have to say!
In this episode of Marketing Music Education, I speak with Tim Hinton. He is one of the hosts of the Marching Roundtable podcast, which I’ve listened to and enjoyed for years. Hi background as an educator is readily apparent, as he schools me about the benefits of hiring an arranger, the pitfalls of burnout, and the need to educate not just marching arts judges, but the entire marching arts community—and beyond!
Gary Doherty is spearheading a conversation that is long overdue, particularly in the field of music education. We were introduced at Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic by mutual friend Cam Stasa (who gets an associate producer credit for this episode). After just a few moments with him, I knew that Gary Doherty could speak with authority on the importance of self-care and wellness for music educators (and volunteers!) as someone who had spent thirty years in the trenches of music ed and performance, and paid the price.
As she accepted her Academy award last night, Patricia Arquette of Boyhood (and one of my favorite shows, Medium) surprised everyone by using her speech to advocate for wage equality.
Her words were met with enthusiasm from the live audience.
By the next morning, though, the blowback had started. Not from those objecting to equal pay, but from those advocating “intersectionality.” I had to look it up.
Other feminists were openly condemning her for—not going far enough, I guess?
Look, the only way there will be progress on this issue is if the issue is talked about. By slamming a woman who chose to use a few seconds of her time on the world’s stage to discuss this issue, it gives the whole movement a bad name. This is why “feminism” is a four-letter word.
By vilifying Arquette for not saying it the way YOU would have said it, it makes millions of supporters less likely to speak out.
I do not at all dispute the existence of intersectionality. On the contrary: it’s insidious. But we can only speak from our own experiences. Arquette’s perspective, like my own, is that of a white woman. We can’t change that. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t begin to empathize with women of color, or that the struggles of white women are somehow more important than anyone else’s.
The way I took her statement, she was calling out everyone who has ever had a mother (HINT: that’s everyone) to pitch in to fix wage equality.
Ladies, we can’t spend our energy shouting one another down for “doing it wrong.” We all have to pull in the same direction.
If you want to learn something quickly, practice that thing S-L-O-W-L-Y. Because your brain is like a fresh snowdrift.