My philosophy of teaching is continuously evolving. My mission is to return to the roots of education and create a holistic educational environment that equips students with a comprehensive and quality music education. The academic roots I return to is the Latin term for education which is, “Educare”, meaning to “draw out”.
In my lessons, I seek to “draw out” innate musicianship and universal values from each student that I work with. These values are right action/conduct, truth, peace, non-violence and most importantly – love. These values promote positive, safe, and healthy learning inside and outside of the classroom. These universal values (and their corresponding sub-values) are “drawn out” in every academic lesson through various teaching techniques and disciplines. The values are center to each learning discipline, so that the student sees themselves as a human being of good nature and character though each academic subject. With this model, (Known as the Education in Human Values model – I am personally trained and certified in this work.), various academic disciplines, techniques are applied for student learning and assessment.
As a music educator, my goals for students are to apply and connect their musical learning through applicable and real life situations. I structure each class with a strong sense of classroom management. I structure the classroom atmosphere with routine, student made (with teacher guidance) rules, consistency, calmness and fun/educational activity. When students go into the classroom, they know what to expect. The classroom atmosphere is organized and is a creative space for students to make music and have fun. The classroom is also a positive and brave, communal space for students to be in touch with all aspects of their life: be it positive or negative. They will equip themselves with introspective tools to reflect, create, and build path ways for their individual lives and goals. At the same time, I create structured and fun experiences and activities for students to work in teams and engage in group settings. This framework is intentionally created out of kindness, understanding and empathy so that students may learn from each other in a safe and enriching space. This is to create a sense of citizenship learning in the classroom. (Based off El Sistema Music Education/Music and Social Action Principles – I am also certified in this work from Yale University, Sathya Sai School - Thailand and North Park University)
To fulfill these goals, I utilize various teaching techniques for this type of learning. I use silent sitting, a short period for student to reflect on their lives in silence, with guided sitting techniques that settle the heart and mind, while also empowering their growth mindset. I also use inspiring quotes to motivate and reflect on the work we complete together in class, this is known as our thought of the week/day/year. I personally like to use quotes of composers and musicians who use music to inspire others. I also like to tell stories with the students, about composers, themselves, and people they know to inspire and understand their own stories. Then, we use values activities and music playing/singing to create a well-rounded human values based curriculum.
This curriculum is then inspired by the innate musical joy in every student. Music education pedagogies and theories such as Suzuki, Orff, Curwen hand signs, and more are used to create an activity based framework that keeps students engaged in rich musical activity. Students will not be “lectured”, but they will participate in numerous movement, singing, games and playing musical activities that gives direct application to what they are learning. This is all created in a structured, creative and high-standards based classroom setting.
I believe assessment is critical to all education learning. I use various forms of assessments for musical learning. I highly value safe and compassionate student-teacher relationships. I like to audition with students, and meet with them personally for goals and needs assessments. I also am constantly assessing in rehearsals and classes if any student needs help or is doing well. I also value collaboration learning, (An El Sistema principle) where experienced students can assist and help students who seek more assistance. In Education in Human Values assessment, I utilize reflection, writings, questionnaires, and observe student actions. These are great tools because they are also in line with state and national based literacy standards. (As I noted before, I seek in my classroom a type of renaissance based learning – to learn, apply, and practice many topics in a single subject.) I am a very intuitive teacher, and I continue to think creatively on what my students need from me, each other and themselves.
When I first began my studies in higher education, I never thought of the positive impact of being a teacher. As I taught and worked within my communities, I realized that education was everything to me. My past is filled with teachers who fostered my love of learning music, and my love of people. I seek experiences to give that back to every person: be it parent, fellow teacher or student. Teaching fills me with so much joy and adventure, and I even seek to draw out my human value in my own individual learning process. I am a forever learner, and hopefully a forever teacher, as well.
"Celebration of Music's Soprano, Karlie Traversa @karlie_traversa uses her training to intentionally draw out love, peace, truth, nonviolence, and right conduct in every lesson." - Celebration of Music, PBS Television Show 2020