Teaching Philosophy

Jaime Garcia-Bolao and a StudentI firmly believe that music should form an integral part of the educational development and experience of any young mind. As Plato wrote, music “is a more potent instrument than any other for education.” Music uses both sides of the brain, a fact that makes it valuable in all areas of development. It affects the growth of a child’s brain academically, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Practicing a musical instrument for an extended period of time teaches discipline, patience and dedication. Moreover, music is a gift that will last a lifetime, as there virtually is no age limit to enjoy or engage in its performance.

Teaching and learning are two of the most important activities most people ever engage in. Our capacity to grow in wisdom is what makes us human. A music instructor should be dedicated to the growth of knowledge and has the responsibility to help his or her students grow in wisdom. Careful, even loving teaching and learning are absolutely essential to the purpose of music.

My fundamental educational philosophy is that music learning should be curiosity driven, active, enjoyable, and emphasize student self-expression. Transmitting the richness of the Western Classical music tradition to my students is also of the utmost importance to me.

I believe in equality of opportunity. Each student deserves equal opportunities to learn music. Students should have fair access to instruction suited to their abilities, interests, and talents. I strive to reach out to both the most and least advanced students and to use a variety of techniques to relate to the different learning styles and student experiences.

I believe in the shared responsibility toward the common goal of student learning. As a teacher, I am responsible to express clear expectations for students and help them to reach their goals; to design and organize effective learning activities; to provide information and provide direction for students to find further information; and to accept, consider, and respond to students’ learning needs throughout the year. Students are responsible to be prepared for lessons; to participate in them and take advantage of the opportunities available for learning; and to communicate honestly with me as the teacher.

I believe in using appropriate technology for learning. Technology should be used not merely because it is available or convenient, but rather because there is a learning goal that can be furthered or bettered by that technology.

I believe in mutual respect between teachers and students, for it is absolutely necessary for student learning to occur: my students need to trust that I have something to offer them while I need to respect the effort that they make to master new skills and to recognize that student ideas can contribute to my own intellectual development.

I believe that values are as important as content knowledge. The question of why we teach and learn something, what meaning and relevance our learning holds for the larger community, is critical. Teachers should recognize and communicate the values that underlie their teaching and even their subject matter. Students can then begin to hang their growing knowledge on a framework of very personally important pegs, namely values they believe in.

Growing in wisdom is no small task. For all of us, it should take a lifetime. The quest for knowledge is one of the primary driving forces in my life. My passion for teaching is an extension of my own desire to learn, and it is this passion that fuels my pursuit of excellence in teaching. I believe that aspiring to be a great teacher is one of the noblest goals; for in it is the power to impart knowledge, to influence thinking and to ultimately create positive change in the world. With this potential comes the responsibility and challenge to always strive toward becoming the best teacher I can be, and never stop being a student.

Jaime Garcia-Bolao

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