Teaching Music Education Majors at Ithaca College

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Last week, I had the privilege and honor to visit my alma mater, Ithaca College (IC), and teach a couple of music classes to the music education majors. I will always have a warm spot for IC as I learned from some of the best professors in the clarinet and music education world and it prepared me well for a career in music education. It was at IC that I realized that being a high school band director might not be the best fit for me. I am and will always be grateful for everything I learned at IC.

Last February, when presenting a session titled “Integrating with Integrity” at TMEA, I was fortunate to meet Dr. Radio Cremata, an Assistant Professor of music education at Ithaca College. Radio and I talked, which lead to having his music education class skype into my PreK general music class. During that session, the music education majors watched a lesson that involved 6 activities in the span of 20 minutes to students ages 3 and 4, one being my youngest daughter. The lesson included singing, moving to the form of music, finger plays, moving to musical phrases with scarves, and steady beat activities. It was a successful lesson that included my daughter looking at the computer screen, sucking her thumb, and waving to the students she saw on the screen.

Last week, I brought my sound system from my classroom and my iPads because I knew that I would be in a room with Orff and percussion instruments. I set up the system and presented the following to the music education majors:

  • An opening day rhythm chant
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  • An Orff activity with body percussion, Orff and percussion instruments, and virtual instruments
  • Showed websites with free manipulatives
  • Showed them my website with my grades two and three student compositions using noteflight.com and GarageBand
  • Demonstrated some more cloud-based software apps such as Soundation and SoundTrap
  • Performed a rhythm pattern minion video activity with percussion instruments
  • Showed safeshare.tv to give an alternative to showing youtube videos directly from the youtube website
  • Gave them some examples of school’s music curriculum that can be found online
  • Gave examples of classroom management problems and possible solutions such as classdojo.com and a few good reads on the topic
  • Finished with some networking sites for music educators so they know where they can find answers to their first-year questions and reminded the music ed majors that they could be teaching elementary general music as a part of their band, orchestra, or chorus position

To see the resources used that morning, please feel free to check out the front page of my website: http://www.amymburns.com

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at IC and I hope that I gave each music ed major in the classes I taught that day at least one activity that they will explore in the near future.


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Amy M. Burns is an elementary music educator, clinician, author, and musician. She currently works at Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, NJ teaching PreK through Grade 3 general music, grade 5 instrumental music, and grades 4-8 instrumental band. She is the author of Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom, Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with a SMART Board, and Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with One or more iPads! She is also an author for Online Learning Exchange™ Interactive Music powered by Silver Burdett. She has given numerous presentations on integrating technology into the elementary music classroom as well as being a keynote speaker for music technology conferences in Texas, Indiana, St. Maarten, and Australia. She is the recipient of the 2005 TI:ME Teacher of the Year Award, the 2016 NJ Master Music Teacher Award, the 2016 NJ Governor’s Leader in Arts Education Award, and the 2017 Non-Public School Teacher of the Year Award. You can find out more about Amy at her website: amymburns.com