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Joel Butt : Music is a language of it's own

When I met Joel at the music classroom in Yinzhou he is in the middle of preparing his class. It was a very short interview, and we talked about music classes while Joel is tuning the ukuleles. I stayed for a while when the class start and spent more time getting to know how music classes are taught in HD Ningbo School.

What your idea on "music class in school"?
Music at HD Ningbo School is an outlet for creativity and self-expression, facilitating learning in other subject areas and providing insight into the diverse, collective cultural heritage of the West. A positive and supportive environment is provided to encourage risk taking and active learning.

What instruments are you teaching in primary class?
A variety of instruments are used in the classroom primary classroom, with the voice serving primacy, due to its’ accessibility and versatility for all children. Children also engage with a variety of other instruments during the course of their music education. In the classroom music program these include a variety of untuned percussion, tuned percussion instruments including glockenspiel and xylophone and the ukulele, and also the recorder.

What about secondary school students?
Middle school music incorporates guitar, keyboard/piano, drums and percussion, and also the students own choice of instrument.

How is that different from teaching music in western country?
I have found that teaching music in western countries is quite different, however my philosophy of music is that music is a language of it’s own and through music we can understand each other and celebrate our differences.

Would you suggest students to develop a school band?
In music we will be establishing some bands and eventually an orchestra in time. Students will be working in bands and also preparing for a concert in December.

Are there any students too shy to participant in the class?
Many students are shy when it comes to performing and participating in some class activities. I believe that we need to take small steps and allow students to overcome this fear without embarrassment.

What will you do?
This can be achieved by building on student’s confidence, teaching performance techniques and skills, and also giving students opportunities to practice and perform.

Tell us something interesting that you experienced in HD Ningbo School!
I find it interesting that when I first started teaching at HD Ningbo, many of the male students were very embarrassed to sing at first. Now I can see that they are starting to enjoy singing and are not feeling embarrassed about making sound.