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Narrative Reflection 1

While I am proud of all of the artifacts in my portfolio, there are three in particular that I
feel best exemplify my journey in music education. The first set of artifacts includes my
secondary instrument recital programs from MUS 3400 and MUS 1309 (Brass Methods). For
these two recitals, I accompanied my peers on piano to the best of my ability and also
performed beginning/intermediate level solos on three secondary instruments (horn, oboe, and
bassoon). I chose these three instruments because I wanted to become more fluent in brass
and double reed instrument playing. In learning these instruments with the mindset of
preparing for a performance, I was able to become a better teacher for these areas. I
experienced the beginning stages of learning a new instrument and practicing something I was
not familiar with, which simulated the experiences of young students learning an instrument for
the first time. While I knew what that feeling is like for clarinet players, the experiences of
learning and performing on three new instruments gave me a new perspective on ways to
teach beginning instrumentalists and prepare them for performances. These experiences also
allowed me to adapt to challenges in my piano experience. Even if I could not necessarily
perform the piano parts in the exact way they were intended, I was able to minimize the part so
it was playable for me and still effective for my peers who were performing. The secondary
instrument recitals gave me an awareness of structure and style from the perspective of a
beginning instrumentalist, both in winds and piano. This is a skill that I will take with me into my
career as a music educator and as a musician.
As an educator, one of the most significant assignments that I included in my portfolio is
the MUS 3400 Unit Plan. The project required logical thinking and planning, along with the
knowledge that flexibility is necessary when teaching. The 8 week plan included a daily plan,
and it also included a full lesson plan for one of the days during the unit. Organizing and
planning ahead are two of the most crucial elements of a successful classroom. As an educator,
these unit plans are going to be the roadmap of my curriculum. However, in creating this unit
plan, I began to understand that these plans must be flexible from day to day, and even from
section to section of each day. Anything is possible in a music classroom. Having a strong
outline of a plan in place will make the flexible days easier. Being a teacher is not about
following a strict plan for every minute of class time, but having a specific plan ahead of time
creates a smooth-running classroom when the events and learning of the day do not go
according to plan.
Another important artifact I included in my portfolio is an assignment from Band
Arranging in which I arranged a piano score for brass choir. The ability to arrange well for a
group of instrumentalists is important, especially as an educator with a smaller ensemble. Small
groups with basic instrumentation should still get the experience to perform great musical
masterpieces. The ability to take a score and adjust it to fit a different ensemble is a skill that I
am still mastering. However, having a strong understanding of theory, instrumental tendencies
and ranges, and the ability level of the ensemble will take care of most of the work. Arranging
and adapting music is a skill that will benefit me greatly as an educator, and the use of software
like Sibelius will make the process much easier.