1.) Tell us a little bit about yourself: My name is Chrystine and I live in Sydney, Australia. I am originally from Canada, but have been living down under since 2003. In 2002, my best friend Kiersten and I left Canada for what was meant to be a 2 year trip around the world. After backpacking through 21 countries, I was offered a fantastic music teaching position here in Australia and Kiersten fell in love with an Aussie boy and got married. Ten years later we both call Sydney home and live only a short twenty minutes away from each other!
2.) Where and what do you teach? I teach K-4 music at a private school in Sydney, Australia. I run two choirs, one for upper primary and one for lower.
3.) How long have you been teaching? I started teaching in 2000, and in my 13 years of teaching experience I have taught drama, PE and music.
4.) What is your Kodály experience? I was fortunate enough to have studied Kodály in university. Having weekly classes in Kodály really shaped my music teaching career. I’ve been using the Kodály method in my classroom for over ten years now, and I couldn’t imagine teaching any other way. The methodology of active music making is logical and fun for all my students.
5.) What is your favorite teaching memory? I don’t have a singular teaching experience that stands out as a favorite. However, it is indescribable – the joy I feel each and every time I witness my students performing something musical I have taught them. Seeing my students perform with confidence, musical skill and pure joy is a feeling like no other. I’m so blessed to be a music teacher!
I love teaching elementary-aged students. Their little minds can soak up so much information! It is their right to have a great music education, and I feel privileged to be in the classroom everyday.
I’ve been married to my husband, Andrew, for about 3 ½ years. We live at home with our three dogs (Otis, Lulu, and Percy), cat (Yammi—the sweet potato), two frogs, and about a million tadpoles that I hope to get rid of soon.
2.) Where and what do you teach? I teach kindergarten-fourth grade general music and fourth grade choir in Troy School District 30c in Joliet, IL.
3.) How long have you been teaching? This is my sixth year teaching.
4.) Where did you do your Kodály levels? Capital University in Columbus, Ohio
5.) Which Kodály-inspired teacher has been the most inspiring to you? If I had to pick just one, I would say Bruce Swank. Bruce was my level II methods teacher and musicianship teacher at Capital. While the three weeks I spent with him were among the toughest in my life (I’m sure many of you can relate), Bruce opened my eyes to all that can be accomplished in the classroom. His encouragement and support has been unbelievable, and I am blessed to have had him as a teacher. Thanks, Bruce!
6.) What is your favorite Kodály levels memory? I will never forget marching and clapping an ostinato while singing a 333 around my apartment with my roommate, Katie. She would make fun of me every time I would say, “OK. Just one more time.”
7.) What is your favorite teaching memory? A few years ago, I was presenting two-beat meter using the song Bounce High, Bounce Low. Once we had everything on the board, one student yelled out, “That’s real music! I can read music.” The words of this little 6-year old remind me that music literacy is powerful, and we can accomplish so much in our classrooms.
2.) Where and what do you teach? I teach music 1st – 6th grade at an elementary school in a suburb outside of Denver. Some years I also teach kindergarten, depending on enrollment. I wish I taught kindergarten every year, they really need to have music in their school day.
3.) How long have you been teaching? This is my 18th year teaching, (15th year at my current school!)
4.) Where did you do your Kodály levels? I am a part of the first group of teachers to complete levels certification at Colorado State University. I also hold my Masters of Music Education from Colorado State University.
5.) Which Kodály-inspired teacher has been the most inspiring to you? I have had several excellent Kodály teachers. I started my teaching career in New Mexico and felt aimless and clueless teaching elementary music during my first years. My undergrad general music courses provided little more than a sampling of various approaches and I was going to be the next greatest high school choir director, so what did it matter? (Was I in for a reality check!) Then I saw Jill Trinka present at a state music educators’ conference in New Mexico. Jill’s was the first Kodály session I ever attended. I was very inspired by the songs, games, and dances she taught us, and the teaching techniques she described. HERE was quality music I could get excited about and a teaching philosophy that mirrored my personal beliefs about music education! Jo Kirk was my level 1 teacher and her energy and passion for pedagogy was contagious. I owe so much to Jo for her insights on quality, research-based music instruction. I have to say that Jill Trinka lit my Kodály fire and Jo Kirk fanned the flames!
6.) What is your favorite Kodály levels memory? I loved the late nights in the dorm practicing solfege with my classmates, many of whom are still close friends today. I especially loved singing and solfeging the Béla Bartók’s Mikrokosmos pieces we were assigned. When, besides solfege class, do you get that opportunity?
7.) What is your favorite teaching memory? I can’t choose just one! There are so many wonderful small moments that happen during the school year. I love when the younger students tell me about how they played Lucy Locket at their birthday party or when I hear the “too cool for school” 6th graders exclaim breathlessly “That was fun!” after singing and dancing I’se the By. I also love those times when kids surprise themselves with their musical skills, like when they sing in canon for the first time or discover they can sight-sing a melody.
Please stay tuned as we introduce more bloggers, and as Sue Leithold-Bowcock posts a blog entry this week. Have a great day!