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wisconsin advocates for music education


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aligns itself better with the word choices in other academic areas.


Does this mean that I take my responsibili- ties in the classroom any less seriously? Does this mean that I want the serious study of music to preclude any fun or lighter moments in the classroom?


Absolutely not. In fact, I am suggesting that there is a time and place for us to con- sider this idea of changing our vocabulary and in most cases I don’t believe it means that there will be any personality change in the teacher or change of focus in the classroom.


Here are concrete decisions I have made to move toward a new linguistic focus:


I am a “teacher” not a “director.”


I speak about “curriculum or classrooms,” not the “program.”


I don’t use the word “core” – I refer to those classes as “tested.”


I say “small group instruction,” instead of “lessons.”


If needed, I refer to “music and other academic areas.”


I believe we lead in progressive work by focusing on “performance outcomes” rather than “grades.”


Just as a music curriculum can cover both a harmonic analysis using popular chord symbols in the study of rock music and a deep study of chord progressions in a Beethoven symphony, the educator can change vocabulary choices in order to match the need for understanding on the part of educational leaders and decision makers. I have been more comfortable to shift to more progressive vocabulary over


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time and diminish my use of the more traditional word choices. In this way I feel that my students, their parents and our administrators learn to understand the im- portance of music education consistently and uniformly. Whether we are speaking to consumers or practitioners we need to consider our audience just as we might when we plan concerts. It all depends on


our intent and our hope for a shift in under- standings. The future direction of music education depends on our clarity.


Leyla Sanyer teaches music in orchestra and music composition classrooms at Oregon High School. She is WMEA president-elect. Email: les@oregonsd.net


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