Clarksville music teacher wins applause from educators' group HOWARD COUNTY EDUCATION

November 02, 1992|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Staff Writer

Having students bounce tennis balls to learn the meter of music and using pictures to teach musical forms are two of the unusual techniques employed by Clarksville Middle School music teacher Joanne Worthington.

Apparently, her offbeat methods are working, because the 17-year Howard County teacher has been designated one of 138 nationally certified music educators by the Music Educators National Conference.

The Reston, Va.-based group is made up of 62,000 music educators, administrators, supervisors, consultants and music education majors in colleges.

The certification recognizes outstanding music teachers who, among other achievements, have taught for at least 12 years and hold advanced academic degrees.

"We want them to be the best they can be," said Gail Crum, certification program manager. "The certification helps ensure the quality of the teachers."

To qualify for certification, Ms. Worthington filled out an extensive application, which included submitting two videotapes showing her teaching in class. "It's like applying for a grant," she said.

4 Students work hard in Ms. Worthington's classes.

By the end of a nine-week semester, they have learned the basics of music theory, how to read notes, compose music, and perform. "At this age, you have to hit them from all angles," Ms. Worthington said.

Students study in small groups of five to six, visiting different "stations" where they practice their instruments, listen to music on a tape recorder, or practice note-reading on computers.

"It's hard for middle school students to just sit and listen," said Ms. Worthington. "They need social activities, so I try to put them in groups.

"It takes a lot of energy to teach this way," she said. "I have to fight the urge to teach music appreciation."

Students seemed to appreciate Ms. Worthington's efforts. "She's really in-depth," said JoAnne Sandor, 13. "You get college-level material."

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