Podcast episode- An interview with two of my own “August Rush”‘s

December 8, 2007

Since my last post was the most popular of my blog ever, I thought I would follow up with a podcast with two of my students from my “Alternative Music” class. The two students I talk to in the episode really shed some light from a student’s perspective on the dilemma we are now facing in music education (and have been talking about in the blogosphere for some time now). When you hear in their own words how excited they were when they were given a chance to own the learning, I think you will be moved as I was- here are two average students, one who struggles to pass his classes (and our high-stakes FCAT state test) not from lack of talent and intelligence, but from not being engaged. I hope you enjoy listening to the episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts after you have listened!

Here is the link:


It’s at podomatic, the same service that Joe and Darren from mustech.net use (although I’m neither the talented orator that Joe is nor am I the gifted technician that Darren is 🙂 ) While you’re there, why not click on the badge to add it to your itunes podcast library?

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August Rush and the state of music education

December 2, 2007

My family and I went to see the movie August Rush this weekend.  I had read the reviews and was prepared for the obligatory Oliver redux, but I was intrigued to see how they dealt with the whole musical child prodigy thing.  I left the theater with mixed feelings- not the least of which was disappointment (yet again) of the attempt to portray the emotion of a fine musical performance. (They always TRY to have their fingers in the right place and hold the instruments correctly- I guess it wasn’t too bad…).  I can’t help but think about what we are wrestling with in music education today regarding students who are not “traditional”.

Yes, I know that seems to be my theme of late, but I have had so many eye-opening experiences this year dealing directly with the issue that I have become a bit hypersensitive to it.  Here is a movie about a child (August) that comes from two talented musical performers and has inherited an amazing talent and sensitivity for music.  Hollywood always tries to cram the entire exploration of music into two hours and ends up glossing over many important steps in the maturation process (In the case of Rush– from orphanage to street corner musician to Juilliard all in the span of six months…) but the one thing that stood out for me was the absolute acceptance of his musical ability.  Just because he had never seen notes or could did not grow up playing “au claire de lune” on a recorder with his kindergarten class- his talent was unmistakable.  I daresay he could not notate what he was playing (at least not before he went to Juilliard) but nonetheless, it was brilliant.

This really opens up the proverbial “can of worms”.  Does a musician need to be able to read and write music in order to be considered a TRUE musician?  In these times of Garageband and Audacity, perhaps we are seeing an evolution.  I of course have my own feelings on the matter, but would be very interested to hear your opinions!

If you would be so inclined to share your thoughts on the matter in the comments- I think it would make for a lively debate!

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