Differentiation Station: How To Put Your Kids On The Music Express Train
It’s no secret that every kid learns differently - some are more “hands on”, some can process simply by reading a textbook, and some need to have things broken down and explained.
While there’s no wrong way to learn, there are lots of wrong ways to teach - and sometimes that means unintentionally leaving kids behind.
Fortunately, there’s a way teachers can reach all students, at different levels: differentiation.
With differentiation, teachers can meet students where they’re at and get them information in a way that’s most accessible to them. What’s more, schools across the country are becoming increasingly invested in this theory of learning - you may well actually be required to do it.
In fact, you may have already been doing this for years - but it’s always possible to drill down even further.
One trick teachers use is to group students with similar learning styles together. For example, there might be a group of kids who excel at playing by ear and another that are naturals at sight reading. Even though these students might learn similarly, they’re likely on different levels of musicianship - and that’s a good thing.
Since they all learn the same way, they can work as a team and actually learn from each other. Their musical chops get better and they’re no longer feeling like the weird kid who’s great at, say, improvisation but struggling with rhythm.
To that end, once students are grouped you can more easily assess their strengths and weaknesses - and possibly even assign different homework to different groups.
For instance, a kid struggling with music theory might need a lot of focus on basics - but a student who has already mastered those fundamentals might need to work on something like technique. It would make no sense to assign such a student rudimentary homework, or focus the struggling student on high-minded technique concepts.
By giving each group of students homework that meets them where they’re at, the class can advance better as a whole - those at the head of the class won’t feel frustrated and bored, and those struggling won’t feel bewildered and dispirited.
One thing that can make this process even easier is Musico’s built in “Differentiation Station” - a musical multitool that lets teachers assign specific tasks to each student and dial it in based on their skill level.
What’s more, teachers can see what and how much a student is practicing via their Digital Practice Diary. This helps teachers to see in real time where the student is struggling, so they can easily make adjustments that best support that individual student.
Musico makes the whole process fun, too - students and teachers have the ability to create their own music tracks with a simple drag of the mouse. Suddenly students are having fun and learning to create and play, all while honing vital musical skills.
Regardless of which tools you apply, differentiation is vital to any classroom. Find what works for you, apply it, and watch those students take off!