The What, Why, and How of Democratic Practices in Music Education

July 5 to July 8, 2023, 9am-5pm. Whalen 1207

 What are democratic teaching practices? Hint: They are more than giving students an occasional choice about activities or repertoire! If you are interested in what democratic teaching looks like in music education (classroom, ensemble, or studio), how it involves teaching for social justice, and why it can benefit your learners as people and as musicians, bring your questions and aspirations to this workshop. We will work together to explore essential characteristics, apply these ideas to your current teaching situation, and develop individualized action plans ready for implementation next school year. Any and all music educators are welcome to participate. Join us to learn about democratic practices by learning though them in this workshop with learner-centeredness at its core.

Workshop Faculty

Dr. Beatrice Olesko

Dr. Beatrice B. Olesko is an assistant professor of music education at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in general music methods, vocal music pedagogy, and classroom instruments while also serving as the coordinator of vocal junior student teaching supervision and curricula. An Ohio native, Dr. Olesko earned degrees from Mount Union College (B.M.E.) and Kent State University (M.M.M.E. and Ph.D). Prior to her appointment at Ithaca College, Dr. Olesko spent 10 years as the K-4 general music specialist and elementary choir director for United Local Schools in Hanoverton, Ohio, held a private vocal studio, and served as the vocal director for musical productions at Poland Seminary High School in Poland, Ohio.

As an active clinician, Dr. Olesko frequently presents at state, national, and international conferences such as the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), The Mountain Lake Colloquium, the Association for Popular Music Education (APME), and the World Conference for the International Society of Music Education (ISME). Her research interests include democratic teaching practices in music education, elementary music pedagogy, creative music activities in the music classroom, and culturally responsive teaching. For her dissertation, Dr. Olesko examined the perspectives of general music professors regarding democratic practices in their methods courses and degree programs.

In addition to her academic course load and research, Dr. Olesko continues to teach music to children and to mentor in-service music teachers. She enjoys teaching music classes at a variety of schools and childcare centers, including a Head Start program through Tompkins Community Action, Juniper Day Care, and the Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School of Ithaca. Dr. Olesko continues to work with children in choral settings as well, most recently conducting the FLMEA All-County East Elementary Honor Chorus. Additionally, Dr. Olesko serves as the higher education representative for the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) classroom music committee. Dr. Olesko resides in Ithaca, New York, with her husband and daughter.