Monday, May 21, 2012

My Mentor, Dr. Amchin

When I first became a music major, I thought I was destined to become a band director. High school band had provided me with some of my best memories and I didn't want that to end. When I took Dr. Amchin's elementary methods course, my whole outlook and career path changed.

Although I won't get into the details, I did not have many fond memories of elementary music. Until college, I had no idea that elementary music could involve more than singing along to a cd. Dr. Amchin got us up and moving, creating, exploring, and playing instruments. I quickly discovered that I belonged in this field of our profession.

Dr. Robert Amchin is currently head of the Music Education department at the University of Louisville and travels around the world teaching workshops on Orff and elementary education. Click here for a more detailed bio.

Dr. Amchin has recorded many of his lessons during workshops abroad as well as during his courses at UofL. You should check out his YouTube channel.

Here are a few of my favorite videos:

Nonverbal Pentatonic Echoing.
Dr. Amchin has several nonverbal clips that are really fascinating.

I really like how he keeps the dance nonlocomotor at first to teach the direction changes and to get the students used to the phrase lengths and form of the song. Humming the music instead of counting steps is also a trick I picked up from Dr. A.

This is EXACTLY how I teach any round or melodic ostinato. I teach everyone the melody and then I sneak in the extra part to see if they noticed. Then, I gradually add more people to the extra part until both groups are more equal.

Again, many more videos can be found on Dr. Amchin's YouTube Channel. If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of his workshops, I assure you your time will not be wasted.

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