When interviewing the students, it was relevant that they have been under the guidance of Angela Southern throughout their secondary school career, as many of their ideologies of music education were near identical. Before I begin writing about the similarities and intersections of the students and teachers thoughts, I will acknowledge that, albeit rare, over the years some of Angela Southern’s music students did not enjoy her class. A few students that have come into the music program at Parkside Collegiate Institute, with formal music background, do not find Southern’s wholistic, and less formal teaching and classroom environment to be beneficial to them. As an educator, it is an unfortunate reality that not everyone is going to appreciate your teaching philosophy. It is important to understand your students learning styles, and adapt your teaching style accordingly. That being said, it is also important that students are giving opportunities to explore education using methodology that has proven results. Sometimes resistance to change is a barrier to improved ways to teach music.
The first intersection I have encountered was both Southern’s and the students passion for the music program. Southern’s philosophy was “I want the students to be the best human beings they can be.” Judging by the students attitudes towards this interview, it is clear that Southern’s views were put into practice. Not only did the students volunteer their lunch hour so I could interview them, but the excitement and passion about the music program was very present during the interview. They were friendly, and outgoing - they could not talk enough about the program, so much so that the interview ran into the next period. Seeing this passion towards a school subject was pleasantly surprising - kids that are actually passionate about education? However, I should not have been surprised, this was me in secondary school when Angela Southern was my teacher. When teachers bring their passion into the classroom, their energy transmits to the students and brings out the students’ full potential, leading to significant success.
When interviewing the students, I discovered their diverse music backgrounds. Some have an extensive musical background, while other students began studying music once they started high school. The latter group of students have learned quickly. They are evidence that Southern’s teaching style is effective. Naturally, given their success, they firmly believe that music should be taught in the context of Southern’s beliefs about music education. These students proved to be successful in music, yet none had played prior to high school. This leads to another intersection of Southern and her students’ belief that when a student first comes into the music classroom, you can’t mark Talent. Not all students come from a musical upbringing, and it is important to appreciate the work and effort that they put into the program, rather than the knowledge they come in with. Educators need to appreciate the students upbringing, open their minds to the world of music, and push the students progression versus marking the talent they already have. Although this was a fraction of the intersections between the teacher and students, these were the main factors that intersected their thoughts. Which brings me to the conclusion that if you bring teaching into a music classroom with a more personal and welcoming approach, you not only become an effective teacher, but you influence students to keep pushing their musical limits.