My purpose in this post is to hopefully open up a discussion about what part character education plays into your music program.
A year or two ago, I served as a member of my district’s music curriculum guide planning committee. We debated whether anything should be included in the curriculum regarding character education.
One teacher said that character education was not part of his teaching goals, but that he felt students would learn to be responsible citizens indirectly by being part of a successful music program. I agreed, but argued that some element of character education should be addressed somewhere in the curriculum guide. We debated the subject a little, but everyone agreed one bi-product of the music program is students becoming more responsible citizens.
Here are a few character traits I would like to see my music students develop:
Responsibility: It almost goes without saying that members of a school music group have a variety of responsibilities, including remembering to bring their instrument to school, turning in permission slips, showing up to rehearsals, not to mention practicing their instruments.
Teamwork: Students must learn to work together as an ensemble for good rhythm, balance, and intonation.
Punctuality: I can’t think of a really excellent director who doesn’t believe in starting rehearsals on time. In my district’s music program, students are responsible for leaving their classrooms to come to music class on time. The classroom teachers do not remind them, and there are no external prompts.
Kindness: Students should encourage each other as they learn new skills and concepts. We avoid laughing at anyone who has a hard time with a new skill.
What about you? Do you purposefully teach character education in your music classes? What other traits can you add to this list?