Teaching Philosophy

Music class Philosophy 

Judson Armstrong

     I have such a personal passion for teaching music that I hope to inspire my students to develop a lifelong relationship with music, listening to, learning about, being challenged by and participating in musical creation and performance. I recognize that relationship is personal for every person and will be nurtured by being provided a variety of paths to discovery and to establish oneself as a student of music. I believe in and teach that every student has intrinsic value and together we will seek personal development and skill development with inquiry, optimism, motivation and self assessment to experience authentic music education. 

     I have very clear expectations and standards of the three levels of music at my school. I have concrete standards and rubrics, but, I often bend them based upon students willingness to engage. I have found students can express themselves and meet standards with a ukulele just as a violin, an electric guitar just as a trombone, and with popular music just as classical music. In fact, I utilize different genres consistently, all of my music classes learn one classical, one jazz and one Beatles/Pop song, and then repeats as we explore repertoire, or as I call it, musical literature. 

     I know that personalized learning, with constant assessment, redirection and positive support, leads to personal engagement and deep learning while making connections between body and mind, instrument and notes. Musical study requires all of us at every level to risk making a mistake or misunderstanding complex components, therefore, trying is paramount to beginning to learn and deepening content connections. Considering the endless variety of musical interests and instruments, styles, genres and personalities, all ideas and personal expressions of music are respected and valued. 

      I often say to my students “I can’t teach you anything, I can only provide the information, time and tools for you to discover it for yourself.” Now, I do indeed try to teach every possible element of musical study I can, but I often think of myself more as a facilitator, or a guide, for knowledge, history and self discovery with musical study.