Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Guide to posts

Two weeks ago, my morning coffee was accompanied by some of the best news I've heard in years regarding education and the arts.  President Obama announced he is waiving many of the absurd requirements of the No Child Left Behind law.  It is long overdue, and welcome news
and validates many of the things  in this blog.  Institutional education is failing, and has been for quite some time.  Recognizing that fact has been the problem.  Many are telling us that we have cheated an entire generation out of a quality education.  Unfortunately, revising, or revamping NCLB will not come quickly or easily.  I actually will wait to comment on what I think the NCLB changes will bring until I see some of the policies and changes that come out of it.   I / we can only hope that this will help to get our de-railed educational system back on the tracks.

In the last several weeks, I've been talking about several aspects of my teaching in the classrooms of public schools around Santa Barbara County, California.  One of the things that I have not done is pander to the question ' Why Music?, or why is music important.  There is an obvious reason for that.  I am not writing this blog for people who need to be convinced of the value of music or the arts in education.  This blog, or let me say it plainer than that, I will never again be put in  the position of being on the defensive about music and the arts in education again.  I am writing this blog for people who already know the value of the arts in education.  For people who want to put the benefits of the arts into practice for their own children and for their neighbors children. This is not a blog for arts advocates if what is meant by that is waiting to respond to attacks on arts education.  - I spent years being that type of  arts advocate, 'defending' the arts in every way that I knew how at the local, county, and state level, and it cost me my career.  As a defensive arts advocate, I watched helplessly as my school district dismantled in a single vote, the state-recognized, model music education program it had taken me years to build.   This weblog is a place for arts activists.  For people who are pro-active - or who want to be - about arts education for all children, and who want to do something about it.    Having said that I want to applaud the heroic efforts and activism of parents and leaders of movements in communities that tenaciously fought against the odds, and preserved their arts programs in the schools.  They are to be thanked, and appreciated.  As may be deduced, I'm not very optimistic that public schools will be an adequate resource for the arts in education anytime soon.   The system is so broken, and has been for so long that it will take years to recover, if thats even possible, and if there are people making decisions, who are so inclined to do so, and that is seriously in question.  I can tell you that building, or rebuilding an excellent arts program will take years.  The fallout and damage control from what we've just done to education will be a long time coming - at least in the public schools who have dropped their arts programs.

Having just explained a little of the purpose for this blog, let me explain a little more of how to stay apprised of what else is going on.    I decided a month or so ago, that I needed to focus several dimensions into one place.  That is why 2 days ago, I created a page on faceboook to act as kind of a control center, or launching pad for different activities.  Starting today, I will be posting everything that I do on Eduarts4us, Teachers Corner,  Joyfulnote.com, Joyfulnote Too, and Youtube on the Facebook page so that everything will be available in a central location. Of course it will still be possible to get to each site individually, but the Facebook page will be the umbrella.  Here is a brief overview of the themes of each online location:

Eduarts4us - As explained above, a place to provide, promote, and preserve the power of the arts in education.  Eduarts is a blog for arts activism, points of view, opinions, assessments of promising aspects of arts education, and research regarding the benefits of the arts.

Teachers Corner  a place for those who are involved in music education to share experiences and best practices.  The focus is on Excellence in Music Education.  In the past I have shared the basics of an early elementary music program.  Right now, I am making available my insights from group piano classes.  The next focus will be on the band program.   As some of you may know,  I was extensively involved with children's choirs in the past, even being the Guest Conductor at one of the Choral Conductor's Guild Childrens Choir Festivals in Los Angeles.  I'll be sharing some reflections from those experiences.

Joyfulnote Too - I recognize that many of you by necessity are in positions that demand resources to educate, edify, and defend the importance of the arts in your own circles of education.  I will use this page to post resources, and links that are useful for this purpose. (Give me a little time on this one, I haven't kept it up lately.)

Joyfulnote.com - This is the home for the piano method that I have developed and am marketing based on my success with group piano lessons in the classroom.  Right now, Book 1 is a beginning piano book (which can be downloaded to an iPad) and I am releasing Educational materials to support that book daily. (See below)  By the first of next month, I hope to have Book 2 available, with more materials and 'Apps'  coming soon.

Youtube - For now anyway, this is where I'll be releasing the instructional videos that I am creating like the one below.


Call to action. - I encourage you to become a follower of the Facebook page ('like' it in Facebook parlance, or subscribe) if you want an overview of all of this, or follow whichever of the individual sections that best meets your needs.

Thanks for your time, Have a great day
Ron Zell

(c) 2011 by Eduarts4us. All rights reserved.


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