What children teach that we most need to know...
Early in my music teaching career, I volunteered at a Head Start Center in a remote community in Appalachia. My first experience was with a group of three-year-old children unaccustomed to being away from family and people they knew. They were wary of me - a stranger. When I first met them, they shyly turned away from direct eye contact and verbal communication. Their reaction surprised me; it was an experience unlike any other before then or since. I discovered new ways to interact and meet the children's needs. I learned to follow rather than direct and I found ways to integrate music learning with children's play. Experiences such as these guided my life's work as teacher, researcher, and scholar in understanding these important issues:
How to communicate with children musically, without words and few directives.
How children respond to music, demonstrate musicality, and create music on their own.
How children play freely with music in a music-specific environment without adult direction and intervention.
How children's musical culture differs from that of adult's.
How children contribute to our understanding of music learning and teaching.