ECI 831 – Major Project – Piano
My targeted learning outcome is to establish more concrete skills as a piano player and learn more about music beyond playing and extend into language. I’ve been able to pick up and play certain sounds from songs by ear, but can not convey this knowledge in coherent musical language. In the past, as an educator, I’ve tried to utilize music in a form of self-parody-yet-connected-to-curricular-outcomes method to try and engage different students (shown below).


Why music? Why piano?

Like many, I have always enjoyed music of all styles; classical orchestral songs such as Bach’s “Air on a G String”, classic rock songs like Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”, or rap/hip-hop like Macklemore’s “Wings”. Music extends a thought to a worldwide network of thinking and experiences, similar and different. Driving with students on extracurricular trips singing the same songs or listening to a student present a song in class describing what it means to them helps create a connection between teacher and student through a shared passion. Live an entirely different life, yet enjoy the same collection of lyrics, sounds and vibrations to illicit the same emotions.

Frank Fitzpatrick speaks about the influence and utilization of music in it’s power to change the “consciousness of mankind” and using music for the benefit of humanity. This connects directly to an educator’s innate desire to make the world better… and passion is what drives both education and music. Having never developed the skills to pursue this passion, I found myself frustrated several times in the pursuit of music. Fortunately, the learning of piano/music can be supplemented by a vast virtual community and physical support group within the school setting and can be informal and at my own pace. I found this connected to a reading in our course, with the particular passage listed below:

The demand-pull approach is based on providing students with access to rich (sometimes virtual) learning communities built around a practice. It is passion-based learning, motivated by the student either wanting to become a member of a particular community of practice or just wanting to learn about, make, or perform something. Often the learning that transpires is informal rather than formally conducted in a structured setting. Learning occurs in part through a form of reflective practicum, but in this case the reflection comes from being embedded in a community of practice that may be supported by both a physical and a virtual presence and by collaboration between newcomers and professional practitioners/scholars.

Minds of Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0 – John Seely Brown and Richard P. Adler

Who/what can I utilize?

I consulted our school’s band instructor, Paul McCorriston, and he directed me towards YouTube as a starting point: “look up a song you like and there’s probably a piano tutorial there”.

A close friend of mine suggested putting the name of each “note” on the keys on the piano.

Stay tuned, I’ll be sure to get all set up and show you where I’m at to begin and we’ll see where I end up!


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– Petlak