Statement of teaching philosophy
My Name is Robert Winslow and I have been teaching since 1982. My first experiences were in private music instruction where the teacher pupil ratios are one to one. As I expanded my teaching into the classroom I have striven to keep the students’ individual needs foremost in my mind. Toward this end I have adopted the commonalities of twenty-five years of experience while developing strategies to make those common elements assessable in a larger venue. Conceptualization of learningStudents need to acquire a love of learning, and become life-long inquisitive individuals. For music, this means loving the sound in their ears, and the meaning of the sound in their minds. It doesn’t matter whether it is “traditional” music or something else. It is the timbre and architecture of sound and form that will captivate their mind, and bring them back again and again to the basic components, and the process of how music is put together in the first place. This can be accomplished by incorporating a listening component as part of every class. The music classroom should as comfortable as possible, incorporate the latest advances in music software and hardware and be soundproofed. Sequencing, notation, music theory, sound manipulation are all technological areas where innovations occur almost on a daily basis. I was the first in Pinellas County to introduce the first viable music notation software to the county's music teachers, and it is still the software of choice today. Musical situations need to occur that will allow the student to utilize the knowledge all ready obtained, either in performance or in music analysis in the classroom. For example, the class: will study modulations to closely related keys; write those modulations in class; listen to a short section of music that stays in the tonic key; listen again only this time with a modulation; sing along with the bass line; draw conclusions about the modulation; repeat with more examples.
Conceptualization of teaching
Following the compositional practices of the great giants of the past, as pertaining to harmony, form, choices of lyrics and text where appropriate, texture and orchestration, I will encourage my students to critically study the scores and styles of music that have stood the test of time. I will further encourage them to incorporate their study into the performances of the same works, and into compositions of their own. All written work will be performed and critiqued in class as to part writing procedures (objective), esthetic beauty (subjective) and scope of work.
Goals for students
Students can expect to become knowledgeable about the mechanics of music, and the esthetic and intrinsic value that music brings to them as well as to the community. I want them to become adept at conversing freely about the lives of historical and living composers, compositional styles, critical analysis of music (form, harmony and melody, texture) and performance, and orchestration and orchestration techniques. The ultimate goal for the music student is to become a performer who can hear and understand what is transpiring in a piece of music, and to let their analytical instincts help them to react while performing. As this goal is involved in a lifelong pursuit for excellence, and many students will move along this timeline at varying rates of speed, the reasonable goal is for students to obtain a thirst for wanting to comprehend the gestalt of the music. To have accomplished that is to accomplish a pattern of learning that will compel the students to always search for the meaning behind the love of sound as they advance to the upper levels of their baccalaureate quest and to demand nothing short of excellence and total understanding of whatever they choose to do in the realm of music.
Implementation of the philosophy
There are several mechanisms with which to implement my philosophy. Class work would consist of: 1) historical observations, 2) analytical practices and techniques, 3)class trips to local recording studios, 4) listed opportunities to attend concerts at our school as well as University of South Florida, University of Tampa, concerts by The Florida Orchestra, The Tampa Bay Symphony Orchestra, and the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. The student lounge in the music library would provide a place for students to listen to music, study their assignments in a peer-to-peer setting, and work on analyses in teams.
Professional growth plan
In order to provide professional growth for myself, I would network with other professional musicians through joint concerts, pit orchestra engagements, membership in the Society for Music Theory, accompanying and coaching other teacher’s students through master classes. As the past accompanist for the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, I am able to talk with many teachers in our bay area secondary school systems, thereby getting a feel for the next freshman class’s capabilities and direction. I will keep up with learning strategies, employ current technological trends in the presentation of music and attend professional organizations symposia.