Summer Music Institute hits the right note with community educators
Aug 11, 2023
by Becky Short
This summer, K—12 music teachers from across Florida, the Carolinas, and Tennessee gathered on Flagler’s campus to attend the Summer Music Education Institute.
Hosted by the College for its second year in a row, the Summer Music Education Institute trained attendees on the "sound-before-sight-before-theory" pedagogy while extending Flagler's evolving music program to the larger community. Faculty, students, and regional teachers alike could attend the event, which ran from June 6 to 9, as a professional development and learning opportunity.
"Quality professional development for K—12 music educators doesn't exist at an affordable rate and in this geographical region," Associate Professor of Music and Theatre Kip Taisey said. "My goal for creating and hosting this free event was to provide teachers with practical tools to implement in their classrooms, creating tomorrow's musicians."
A sponsorship provided by the Joseph W. and Faith K. Tiberio Charitable Foundation allowed Kip to make the event free for all attendees.
Inspired by a desire to provide meaningful community outreach and shift how music is taught in the United States, he hopes the Institute will regionally streamline musical education from kindergarten through college.
"By providing this workshop, and raising awareness of Flagler's brand of musical training, K—12 educators will know they can send their students to a program that will continue to build upon the foundations they have laid," Taisey said.
The "sound-before-sight-before-theory" method Taisey champions is an intuitive and still largely unorthodox approach to musical literacy in the United States. Similar to language acquisition, students learn the sounds of music before learning how to read its notation.
Taisey calls it a "much more brain-friendly approach," which will distinguish the College's curriculum and programming from other schools.
During this year's Institute, workshops trained teachers on how to build literacy and musicianship skills in rhythm, tonality, and melodic fundamentals. Implementing these techniques within the theory classroom and ensemble rehearsals can help young musicians achieve greater independence.
The multi-day instruction once again featured Dr. Carol Krueger, a leading expert in music education who teaches her workshops all over the country. Krueger was just one important element of the Institute, which Taisey said aided the teachers' understanding of this new way of teaching our students in the Music Program.
Taisey was specifically interested in exposing these educators to the "sound-before-sight-before-theory" method. He hopes this exposure can facilitate the method's collaborative application within curricula across the Southeast.
"I feel the Institute is a unique way to build bridges to the community of St. Augustine music educators, as well as the surrounding regions," he said.
He sees the relationships built between Flagler and local educators as instrumental to recruiting talented new musicians to the College's music program.
As the program develops, he will track if incoming freshmen come from schools with educators who attended the Institute. Taisey is also excited to understand whether Flagler's programming matches what these teachers value within their music classrooms.
The 2023 Summer Music Education Institute has yet again been met with high praise. Almost 100% of the participants expressed a desire to return next year and noted the high value of the workshop content.
"The setting was positive and conducive to forming relationships with colleagues in hopes for future collaborations and partnership," one attendee said. "I am already utilizing many techniques shared in Dr. Krueger's workshops in our high school group piano classes and choral ensembles."
Reviews like these explain why Taisey refers to the 2023 Summer Music Institute as "building upon last year's success out of the gate."
"It's officially an annual event," he said. "We plan to only improve it year after year."
If you would like more information about how you can support Visual and Performing Arts programming at Flagler College, please contact Mercedes Arensberg, Director of Development and Family Engagement, at (904) 819-6240 or MArensberg@Flagler.edu.Tagged As