Monday, March 19, 2012

Let's talk about Music at school, again!

Credits : © Mathias Bothor / DG

...perhaps the most 'complete' pianist of his age...

BBC Music Magazine

Let's talk about Music in public education, once more. Music curriculum is not yet a major value in public schools. Oh! It's so wrong! Watch again the video Sir George Martin talking about Music in public schools Teaching Music.

"Music should be a very solid part of the education of young children."

Sir George Martin

I deeply agree with him. I was very lucky, because I could study both Music, and Literature and Sciences at school. Not at the same school, that's true. It was difficult to go from a public school to another public school (Arts) but I did it.

Later, I got my master in Piano at High School of Arts (Portugal) and my master in Linguistics and Literature at the University of Porto. 

And today, I have a different sensibility looking to the world, no doubt.

I could teach my students to love Literature and to love Music in the same curriculum, Humanities.

All along my teaching career, for thirty years, my students learned Languages and Literature and a bit of Music. In the classroom, we could hear classical music, jazz or pop, and understand how music can be integrated in school curriculum.

Of course, they were lucky, because to me it was easy to share my expertise in musical domain.

I had the joy to discover good musicians among my students. Today there are some good young musicians who were my students at the school.

Music, as you could read on some of my posts,  is a fundamental part of young people's education. 

When we are lucky and can study both, we can understand better  the importance of music in our life. Better it will be in some kids' life.  

Music can be a strong way for inclusion: Music as a social inclusion for kids.

I love all kinds of music, but today, and following Sir Georges Martin's talk, I would like to write about Classical Music in Education.

Visiting  Discovering this young pianist at Deutsch Grammophon website,  as i often do, I discovered the young pianist Jan Lisiecki.

How interesting could in the digital era to talk to my digital students about Jan Lisiecki. It could be a nice and fresh example to kids at Elementary and Secondary schools that love classical music and  love to play an instrument and can't.

Did you felt the enthusiasm of young students when we are talking about music in the classroom? Any kind of music. Pop or classical. No matter the curriculum. It depends from the learners we are teaching. 

Of course, it depends of us as teachers. Music goes in every curriculum. Some feel free to include music and some are not. They don't know nothing about music. It's rare a school teacher talking and teaching about humanities and music in the same curriculum.

We can discover some gifted students, then we talk with parents and if they can afford a musical education to their kids, there you have the chance to guide a little bit the the next generation of musicians.

Jan Lisiecki sitting near Glenn Gold's statue

Having graduated from high school at age 15 in January 2011, Jan Lisiecki is studying for a Bachelor of Music at the Glenn Gould School of Music in Toronto on a full scholarship. 

Wow! Glenn Gould School! What an honour!

"The Glenn Gould School represents the highest standards in music education and is dedicated to nurturing its students so they reach the highest level possible."

Jan Lisiecki is now recording for Deutch Grammophon. Yuou can read his biography here

Awesome, isn't it? And let's hear this 16-year-old young man talking about himself and Music:

Wow! Love when he says "I am a normal kid"! Indeed he is! But a gifted young man who loves classical music.

Diapason describes Jan as "an unmannered virtuoso already with virile and, above all, irresistibly natural playing."

The BBC Music Magazine commended "Lisiecki’s mature musicality," and his "sensitively distilled" interpretation of the contrasting concerti, played "with sparkling technique as well as idiomatic pathos," noting that "even in a crowded CD catalogue, this refreshingly unhyped debut release is one to celebrate."

Can you believe it! All this about a young 16-year-old man!


Music has the potential to achieve social and psychological transformation of children and young people. Their sensibility will be accurate. 

We must never waste such an opportunity as teachers! Captivating the major interests of our students to Music.

Many teachers love Music and feel comfortable to speak about Music in the school curriculum.


The love of Music and those videos about Jan Lisiecki. And some CD as well.

Displaying the video below could be a good approach to understand the feelings of some of your students about classical music. 

I'm sure you will discover some gifted kids. You can guide them to continue to study Music in Higher Education. 

16-year-old pianist Jan Lisiecki in this interview, speaks about the uniqueness of the piano and explains why he likes to practice early in the morning watching the sunrise outside his window. What a better example? 

Some thoughts: 

All of your programs must be customized to meet specific classroom and curricular requirements, but also enrich students experience. 

For example, start by choosing the subject areas such as Core Curriculum (Language, Science, Music, Media Literacy) and of course a Media Art | Music project.

Music Art| Project in Vocational education: Based on the curricular strand to be focused on in conjunction with students needs and any other specific classroom requirements, the art form and a specially trained LTTA (Learning Trough the Arts) are selected. LTTA artits must work in partnership with you the teachers to develop customized arts-infused lesson plans.

Sequence of LTTA Activities 1)
  • Teachers select a subject focus;
  • Teachers and artists create units linking an arts activity to 8-10 facts or concepts from the regulated curriculum;
  • Teachers attend artist-led workshops to develop artistic tools;
  • Each artist educator visits the classroom at least four times over a six-week periode;
  • While the artist leads a classroom activity, teachers observe how individual students respond, and internalize new skills through active participation;
  • Teachers and artists then complete learning profiles of each student;
  • Teachers carry on activities between artist visit;
  • Teachers and artists evaluate each other's performance, and comment on the effectiveness of the lesson plan in fostering student engagement and learning
Of course, this would be the perfect Vocational curriculum

But, if it is not possible, you can contact the 
Conservatory of Music in your town or a Music School and ask for an artist or musician, a Music teacher or a music student to increase cultural education of your students. 

Who knows if you will discover a gifted kid, a new musician among your students? A new young pianist, perhaps?

This would be the perfect (idealistic, I know) school education! Artists and teachers working together for the complete education of children.

By the way, Jan Lisiecki debut album with Mozart's Piano Concertos Nºs 20 & 21 will be available this spring. 

Your students can follow him on Facebook. He is very active, love to share his concerts, and much more.

I am completely fascinated by this young pianist! Why following Justin Bieber if they have Jan Lisiecki to follow? A good question for your students ?

"Young people can learn from my example that something can come for nothing. What I have become is the result of my  hard efforts."

Franz Joseph Haydn



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Jan Lisiecki site

Learning Trought the Arts | Canada1)

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