Rite of String
Summary: Rite of String is a podcast about string orchestra education.
In this episode, we speak with Geoff Golden about his decision to explore employment opportunities outside of teaching and look back on his time as an educator.
Most of us spend our days educating young people on how to play string instruments. But, what about those that teach US how to teach those students? Dr. Elizabeth Whitehead Chappell, the current string education professor at the University of North Texas, sits down to talk with us about how she got into the profession, how to get others into the profession, and the steps she’s taking to help those without string backgrounds be successful in the orchestra classroom.
When you are in charge of your own program, there is often flexibility in developing your own curriculum. Alongside the typical expectations in what you teach are many opportunities to expand the musical styles your students are exposed to. Anna Macias talks to us about her background and how she's incorporated her personal interests into creating the Lake Travis Fiddlers.
As the summer comes to a close, many of us are starting to plan and map out our brand new school year. How we set up our day-to-day teaching environment can greatly affect our outcomes of success. Rebecca Farrar, a director from Plano, TX, sits down with us to discuss the various ways in which she organizes her orchestra program to maximize student focus and learning.
Based on the Giving Bach model created by Richard Meyer, Downing Gives Bach is a full-inclusion curriculum developed for both general education students and those enrolled in special education classes at Downing Middle School in Flower Mound, TX. The orchestra director Bethany Hardwick and special education department head Jennifer Rodgers sit down with us to describe their journey in teaming up and creating a classroom environment where all students can learn to enjoy, appreciate and perform music.
Growing and maintaining a program does not always come easy. We often have to find new ways to be vocal about what our program needs, and even more so, how to get specific audiences to listen and understand. Christopher Hanson, a director in the San Marcos area, talks to us about advocating for a program, including communication tactics when working with administration.
While a majority of us do our teaching in the classroom setting, there are also many educators who have utilized their skill set on a different path leading groups around the community. In this episode, Jordan Randall Smith, a conductor in the Baltimore area, talks about working with church groups, non-major college orchestras, and developing special projects that foster new compositions.
We work with string instruments day in and day out. We know how to change the strings and maybe even how to replace a fine tuner, but beyond that, we often send our instruments to the repair shop when something breaks or needs an adjustment. Cody Sisk, a luthier in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, talks us through several of the most common string instrument repairs, and gives several tips for fixing things on-the-fly.
Beyond the music-making process, we get to know and understand our students a lot more than most other teachers. This is because we often teach these students for multiple years and our efforts to build and maintain long-lasting relationships with them is necessary to be able to work together in harmony. In this episode, Julie Blackstock sits down with us to talk about her approach to relationship building in the classroom.
As teachers, we put in countless hours for our programs to be successful, but we also often find numerous leadership roles to help serve our professional community and support our colleagues. In this episode, we talk to Brian Coatney, an orchestra director from Plano, TX, to discuss the various leadership opportunities and what they entail. He also talks with us about how he balances his responsibilities between campus, region, and state level organizations.
Many of us have taken on the task of growing a small program, but fewer have been challenged to build a brand new program from scratch. In this episode, we sit down with Dr. Deborah Perkins, a retired teacher from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, to talk about building programs from ground up, planning international music trips, and also her time running the String Ed department at Southern Methodist University.
We all dedicate time and effort in the hope that students will keep our shared love of music into adulthood. While we have an impact on the students we see in the classroom, what are some other ways to go beyond and involve the greater community? Last month, Jen Drake was in the Dallas area to clinic a Region Orchestra and found some time to talk with Matt about her work with Serenata, the Boise Community Orchestra.
At some point in our careers, we are likely to be presented with opportunities to offer guidance to other professionals. Whether we’re working with brand new teachers or seasoned educators, we want to find the right approach in fostering growth through the process. In this episode, we sit down with Charlotte Moellering to discuss the various roles in being a mentor.
Longevity in our profession is a challenge that often goes unmet due to long hours and immense pressure. We recently sat down with Mary Havenstrite, a veteran teacher from Plano, TX, to talk about how she has navigated a career that can push many of us to our limits. She shares the joy she finds in daily tasks and talks us through planning meaningful concerts for her students.
There is perhaps no better known name in teaching stringed instruments than Suzuki. For many of us, we remember learning some of his method in college. We also know of the solo literature books, and possibly use them to supplement our teaching...but the knowledge and understanding often ends there. We recently sat down with Devan Bell to not only talk about the Suzuki method, but also how she integrates many of the fundamental philosophies into teaching middle and high school string orchestra.