Archive for January, 2017

Music and More: What We Learn From Musical Performance

Posted on: January 31st, 2017


6th grade play

Early in my teaching career, I vowed not to be one of those music teachers who demanded all loyalty to music and music performances. I made it a priority to always remember that students are more than one thing. They aren’t just music students. They are mathematicians, athletes, public speakers, readers, writers, artists, sons, daughters, etc. This view greatly affects the way that I teach music and performance. I know that most of my students will not become professional musicians. If they do, awesome! I will support them 100%, but the reality is that most of them will not pursue music as a career. With this in mind, my overall goal is to teach students music so they can pursue it in the future, contribute to their church and community, and think about the world in a different way.

I think performance (musical or theatrical) can teach students life skills, too. After a performance, I always take a few moments to reflect with students on how the performance went. I discuss with them the goals I had for the performance and whether we met them or not. I ask them why they think we do such a project, and then I ask the students three questions: What went well? What could have been improved? How did you personally contribute to the performance?

This fall the BCS 6th graders put on a play, and we did this kind of debriefing after the performances were completed. I was impressed with their deep reflection and the realizations they came to through the process of putting on a play. A few examples:

I learned that acting, even a solo act, is a team effort, from sets to just being quiet.

. . . it is important to work together. . .

The process of putting a play together is not easy – everybody has to put their best into the play – and it will come out awesome.

. . . it gets us to learn how to get over our nerves and to learn how to speak in public.

. . . it has helped me more with confidence on stage.

. . . we can be prepared when we give speeches or presentations.

To work on teamwork and self control.

I liked being “famous” for going to play practice, but it is hard work.

I also like the feeling of accomplishment and knowing and being able to say “I did that.”

It is good to step out of your comfort zone at least once in awhile.

Common themes running through the reflections were teamwork, public speaking practice, confidence building, and hard work. I love that I can provide these lessons for students because I know that it will prepare them for the future. How many people have to work as a team in their job? Speak in front of a group of people at work or in church? Work hard to accomplish a goal?  Some students also learned through this project that they love acting. How amazing to see a student blossom into a skill they didn’t even know they had!

Adding a 6th grade play was a big change this year. However it afforded me the opportunity to teach the 6th grade students the basics of acting, how to be on stage, how to project one’s voice, and so much more. My hope is that next year we can jump right into the musical without spending much time on the basics. I believe that our level of excellence in performance will increase through this process of building.

Though it may seem this way, I’m not just the crazy music teacher who wants her students’ lives to revolve around music and performance. Mostly I want them to learn life lessons and pursue excellence in all that they do. I appreciate the support of the BCS community in allowing this to happen. It makes my job so much easier and a joy!


Posted on: January 2nd, 2017

Every Monday morning, our staff meets together for a time of devotion and prayer.  Each teacher takes a turn preparing and presenting the devotion for the week.  With their permission, we will be sharing their devotions here from time to time. 


Four generations were present – babies, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents – all clustered in my sister’s house in Michigan. Two walkers were resting in the foyer – one for baby Brooklyn and one for my elderly father. It was a profound moment when I looked at the two walkers. They were sitting side by side, representing the bookends of life. Both walkers were used for support. The walkers were physical reminders of our dependence as babies coming into this world, and our frailty as we near the end of our life. Two generations, in need of extra care.

The middle generations were busy talking, reminiscing and making plans. Our parents had raised us in a Christian home, praying, and faithfully reading God’s Word. They had taught us to depend on our Lord and Savior, and walk in his footsteps throughout our lives. My parents, models of humble Christian living, had always been loving and supportive. Now in their advanced years they were in need of extra support. My father, with Alzheimer’s, and my mother, the caregiver, had difficulty moving about – especially maneuvering stairs in their home.

God graciously blessed my parents a month later with a new apartment where they are now happily settled. Weeks later, four generations were present when I visited. The sign on my parent’s door are the familiar words from Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.

grandparents day generations

Fast forward to a Fall Friday on Grandparents’ Day, several generations (including my own family) were present at BCS – students, parents and teachers, grandparents and even some great-grandparents. Joel 1:3 says “Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.” What a blessing to witness the love and joy between generations, and seeing families who desire Christian education. God has truly been faithful throughout all generations.

Finally, Psalm 90:1-2 says “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” If we step back and look at the big picture, our generation is a very small part in this world. A thousand years is like a moment to God. God is God of Creation, God of history, and God of eternity. And yet, living in this here and now, God is with us. He desires a relationship with us.

May we reflect on his goodness and pray that He lives within us each and every day. May each generation be a place where God dwells – a sanctuary.

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