How do we findScreen Shot 2016-12-13 at 1.54.46 PM FREEDOM in music making, and music teaching?

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Verite! is an exciting and powerful Teacher Training cohort exclusively for music teachers!  Open to all music teachers, it doesn’t matter how long you have been teaching, we want you to become inspired so your students will shine that much more.  Classroom, ensemble, and private studio teachers- join us for effective, hands-on peer group sessions taught and facilitated by leading teachers, mentors, and performers from the Portland Metro area. Connect, collaborate, reach inside and look at why you teach. Then, teach better, stronger, and more confident. Own it!  Learn how to grow your studio, engage your classroom, and enjoy feeling confident and strong! Too many teachers leave the profession before they have truly reached their teaching potential, let Verite! change that!

Through our workshops and personal mentoring,  you will learn stimulating, effective, and proven methods for teaching creative composition, how to incorporate movement into teaching music, dig deeper into the WHY of why you teach-discovering your true teaching philosophy.  Be part of our cohort discussing setting classroom culture.  Hear from teachers who have found ways to make classroom culture and discipline work through experience, learn how to fully utilize your own community of students, parents, and learn how to incorporate technology and social media for a 21st century classroom!   Finally learn fun, interactive ways of teaching the music fundamentals that are so vital to all musicians. Verite!’s teachers and mentors bring their unique teaching stories, life experiences and skills to motivate and inspire you to teach and engage your students beyond your expectations.  There are no affiliations to teaching methods here, just teachers working together to help you hone your craft.

Leave Verite! enriched, invigorated and inspired to try new activities in your lessons having stimulated your own creativity as a teacher.  Enjoy the freedom to have more effective results with your students that reflect YOUR spirit, YOUR own philosophy and heart of teaching!
What would happen if we, as music teachers, felt more confident? 
How do we deliver our message?  Are we teaching from our core, our own personal values? Are we confident sharing what we know to be true? We believe that each teacher has a unique voice and gift to share, and we want to support you in finding your way toward fully empowered creative self-expression that rests on the foundation of solid information, sincere self-awareness and the humble willingness to keep learning for life.

In Verite! it is of central importance to create a shared learning experience in which our group will bond, support one-another, and feel loved, encouraged and accepted. We know that the teacher training process is not so much about our egos as it is about the experience of the participants. At the end of Verite! we hope that you will have found your tribe and enjoyed a sense of belonging that allows real growth and learning to unfold.  Certificates of completion will be awarded at the end of workshops, and classes will be held available for credit through PSU Graduate College of Continuing Education.

Here are some of our workshop topics:

  • Creative composition and improvisation in the classroom: Does improv scare you? Are you too quick to say, “I can’t write music.” Do you wish you could do it anyway, because you KNOW how much it would engage your students?  Let’s do it together.  Learn activities to encourage composition without needing to know how to write music, simple techniques to get our students improvising, and how to engage our students by capturing their creative energy through simple composition and improvisation.
  •  “The Original Why”  At the end of the day, we all want to know that we offered our students the best possible musical experience. How often do our fears, insecurities- our tendencies to undervalue and undersell ourselves get in our own way?  We welcome Kelly Wilson to our tribe. Kelly is a former teacher, and now a writer and stand-up comedian.  Through sharing her story and facilitating self-reflection and discussion, we will get back to the why.  Why we entered this amazing and challenging profession, and how our why truly creates who we are as a teachers. By embracing our own personal and true reasons for teaching music, we are able to fully engage with ourselves and with our students and classes.  
  • Democracy in the music classroom: as music educators, reclaim a democratic purpose for music education remembering ultimately we are champions for the public good. Discuss how we need to be incorporating themes of social justice into teaching the 21st century music classroom, for inclusion and equity. Assume nothing with our students, and expect much! Jason Rodgers is the workshop facilitator, with 17 years at Valor MS in Woodburn. 80% Hispanic, 70% ELL, 95% economically disadvantaged.
  • Finding freedom in our practice.  You gotta practice, period.  It’s what we often expect of our students and classes, and of ourselves as teachers. How do we find space and freedom in our own practicing, and how do we teach that to our students?  Music makes us move- let’s look at bringing movement into our own practice and that which we teach. Together we begin exploring movement and finding freedom in our bodies as we teach. Imagine physically teaching a phrase, rather than instructing according to edit markings. How does finding space in our bodies when we teach allow us to be more present, and more engaged? How can we use movement to relax and center before performances? Learn valuable skills for yourself, and for your classrooms and studios.

  •   Teaching well, that which unfolds in front of us.  We all dream about having “that” class, “that” student that fully invigorates us, and reminds us of why we are here. We look forward to that class, or that student each time.  With Common Core and ever changing policy it is difficult to stay focused on what matters most.   How do we remain 100% student-centered and focused.  Culture changes, demographics vary, but the desire to engage with the students is always our biggest desire.  The 21st century music classroom is ever evolving, be ready for the changes by staying focused on the students in front of you.
  •  Teaching without limits.  What defines us as educators? The number of awards, trophies, and accolades?   The number of senior photos decorating our office, or the number of students we remain close with after graduation, or all of it?  For each of us, the answer originates from our own teaching philosophy, and by now, it is beginning to emerge.  Jeff Wilson, music teacher at Alder Creek Middle School and Rex Putnam High School, will share and discuss how to prioritize and find value in all aspects of the music curriculum, and the positive benefits of a strong music classroom and studio. The innate satisfaction of the process of teaching and developing students as humans is what is at the center of what we are all trying to accomplish.  How do our words and actions reflect that?


Articles on equity and access in the music classroom:

Social Justice Issues and Music Education in the Post 9/11 United States Cynthia L. Wagoner East Carolina University,

Teaching Social Justice in the Music Classroom

Equity and Access in Music Education






Testimonials about Dunja’s teaching:

“The second summer that I attended Clarinet Camp, Dunja graciously allowed me to participate as a volunteer instructor.  This gesture exemplified Dunja’s experiential approach to teaching—that students “learn by doing.”  She knows how to create a classroom environment where students are not afraid to express themselves or to try new things.  For me, I realized that I enjoy working with school children and have a lot to share with them.  I’m not sure what prompted Dunja to ask me to help, but doing so awakened my desire to teach.  I am now pursuing teaching as a second career.  If Dunja can inspire me, I am sure that she can inspire others and help them realize and fulfill their desires to be consummate teachers.

–Brooke Radding : Substitute teacher and PSU graduate student, curriculum and instruction.

“Dunja doesn’t merely see herself as a teacher of clarinet, but as a member and servant of a larger musical community. As such, she’s had a profound and lasting impact on musicians from the Portland area (myself included). Dunja regards her students as colleagues and pushes them to have the highest possible standards in their performance. And I’m not talking solely about clarinet – after leaving Dunja’s studio to study clarinet at Oberlin Conservatory, I was encouraged by Dunja to help start a nonprofit that supported music in Portland-area public schools. She was deeply committed to my growth as both a musician and a leader. Research in the learning sciences supports the theory that teachers should think of themselves as enculturators – that is, fostering an environment in which learners access rigorous and authentic learning experiences. When the work of students mirrors that of professionals (albeit with a bit of support), learning is deeper and more meaningful. As a teacher and mentor, Dunja understood this and created such an environment for all of her students. Consequently, Dunja’s students have gone on to do amazing things across the country.”

David Sall
Aloha High School, 2007
Former teacher,  Teach for America
Director of Educational Partnerships, Kaymbu Inc.