Music education majors at the University of Florida and Alachua County music teachers took part in an all-day Modern Band Methods Workshop presented by Little Kids Rock on February 18 at the UF School of Music.
The workshop focused on an innovative approach to teaching music that utilizes popular music styles of the last 60 years to complement already-existing programs like concert band, jazz band, marching band, orchestra and choir. Modern Band emphasizes the importance of children having immediate success when learning to play popular instruments, with an emphasis on improvisation and composition.
According to Dr. William Bauer, associate professor and area head of music education at UF, the program developed by Little Kids Rock is one way to increase the number of students who participate in K-12 music programs.
“Our music education students were exposed to an approach to incorporating popular music into K-12 music programs, an approach that has seen great success around the country,” said Bauer. “While traditional bands, orchestras, and choirs have been extremely successful, there are many students in our schools that are not involved in those programs. Modern Band is one way to expand the school music curriculum to offer another option for students to be active musical participants.”
The UF music education majors received access to many curricular resources that they can use now and in the future when they have full-time teaching positions. They were also able to utilize and develop their improvisation and composition skills.
Possibly one of the greatest benefits the students received from the workshop was their chance to network with the K-12 teachers who attended. The K-12 teachers were able to make a connection with the Little Kids Rock organization, which provides teachers with assistance in securing instruments for use in their classrooms.
The music education majors at UF are among the most recent group of college students to receive professional development from Little Kids Rock. Colleges and universities with distinguished music education programs across the country have partnered with the organization to prepare future educators with specialized instruction in the methodology of teaching popular music.
Little Kids Rock is a leading provider of free instruments and music instruction to U.S. public schools. For more information on Little Kids Rock, visit www.littlekidsrock.org.