Connecting music is difficult to define because we connect music with everything. Broadly, we connect with music inside and outside - within ourselves and with others. Music is the soundtrack of our lives and defines us to others and others to us.
Remember the old National Standards from 1994?
Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments.
Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.
Reading and notating music.
Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.
Evaluating music and music performances.
Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.
- Understanding music in relation to history and culture
You can see how these 9 were collapsed into the 4 new standards: Creating, Performing, Responding, and Connecting
But connecting music with personal meaning is not really addressed in the original 9 standards, and may be the most important role that music plays in our lives.
The good news is that we don't have to teach our students this. It is instinctive to make associations and to create meaning with music.
If we have done our jobs right, our students will have the knowledge and skills to include a variety of music in the soundtrack of their lives
and will have the vocabulary to express understanding of the meaning that music has provided.
We all understand
It is part of what makes us who we are. Our students make musical choices every day that are shaping who they are.
Music is one of the social and cultural factors that defines people.
You become an "us" or "them" based upon what kind of music you listen to.
You can associate a particular genre of music just by looking at someone.
You may be wrong, but the association is there because you would probably be right!
Music has meaning specific to time and place. It is one of the factors that define the cultures and societies of humankind.
It is a daunting task to provide musical context for the history of the world!!
Too much for a lifetime, much less the time we have with our students.
BUT . . .
Technology can help with that
From the time that music was recordable, Technology has played a huge part in creating musical meaning.
And the technology experience with music does not stop there, as you know.
No matter how far back your experience goes with any of these audio forms, imagine what your musical experience would have been without them . . .
The world is a much smaller place to share music, thanks to technology!
Synthesize and relate: Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make music.
Relate out: Relate musical ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context and to deepen understanding.
Objective: Apply knowledge and skills to creating personal musical meaning
Technology: Audio sources and means of sharing (YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, personal devices, social media, mind maps)
Identify music that has meaning to individuals; explore the connections
Find new music and share to create new meaning
Objective: Relate music to time and place; defining us and others
Technology: Audio sources, Skype, social media, links to historical and cultural content
Reach out to a group from another country and share music via Skype and audio sharing; learn how their music makes them 'them'
Study music in historical and cultural context; find differences AND similarities to make connections