FAME Teacher Spotlight: Betsy Greene
Name: Betsy Greene
Burlington School District
K-5 General Music and Chorus
1985 B.M. Ed Crane School of Music, SUNY Postdam
1990 M.M. Ed Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford
FAME member since:
Founding member July 2012; officially June 2013
Classes/Workshops in First Steps or Conversational Solfege:
2005 Kodaly Certificate (I, II, III) Hartt Summerterm,
University of Hartford
What is the most powerful aspect of FS/CS:
There are many powerful aspects of FS/CS – from the FS readiness for CS to the 12 Step learning sequence for music literacy to the brilliant techniques used to reinforce learning at every step. But if I had to choose one, it would be even beyond music literacy. It would be the confident and capable independent musical people my students become – always willing to participate in any music situation from a sing along to a folk dance to audience members at a classical performance. And even more exciting is the openness and joy they bring to each music experience.
I believe strongly that teaching students in the Feierabend approach gives music understanding and success at every level and, in turn, brings to each student the joy of learning and developing as a musical person and music artist. And additionally, because they can independently “do” music, such as sing and dance as well as understand music, they are more likely to participate in and support music in their adult lives and experience the sense of community we get when we sing or dance together.
How has FS/CS changed your teaching?
I taught general music (grades 1-6) for three years prior to my graduate experience at Hartt (1988-1990). My students enjoyed music but I found it was only through me and with my constant support they could really do or perform music. Needless to say, I was completely frustrated teaching music literacy and was not able to have them transfer their learning to most new music experiences. These were my primary challenges as a young teacher.
Now, with over 23 years of teaching experience with the Feierabend approach (using both First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege), I am a very different teacher. I have the ability to bring effortless successful learning to each and every child. I have the skill to develop them into independent music makers from the youngest to the oldest. I am able to bring understanding and the ability to transfer learning in their music literacy as well as other music learning. And equally as important, I know how to communicate about music learning and advocate for music to parents, administrators, and school board members.
How has FS/CS changed your students?
Prior to FS/CS, my students were very dependent music makers – not able to sing a song or play a singing game without me, and the older students were not able to read music or very willing to participate in new music experiences. Now, my students are joyful, confident, independent musical people and music artists ready to participate completely, body and soul, with music inside and outside of school. They can sing. They can dance. And they are musically literate.
Betsy Greene has been teaching general music in Burlington City Schools since 1990. She also started and helps manage a First Steps in Music Program for th
e community at her school (since 2000). Betsy holds a B.M.Ed. from the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam (1985) and a M.M.Ed from the Hartt School, University of Hartford, CT (1990). She is both Orff-Schulwerk certified (all three levels) and Kodaly certified (all three levels).
In addition to teaching children, Betsy is a frequent clinician for general music and music literacy workshops in Vermont School Districts and local music education conferences as well as a teacher of graduate courses for music educators in the summer (Conversational Solfege and First Steps in Music).
In 1998, Betsy was awarded Outstanding Arts Advocate by the Vermont Alliance for Education and the Burlington City Schools. She received the honor of Vermont Music Teacher of the Year (2008-2009 school year) by the Vermont Music Educators Association.
Betsy is a member of the Vermont Music Educators Association, the National Association for Music Education, the American Orff-Schulwerk Association as well as a founding member and current board member of the Feierabend Association of Music Education.
Betsy sings with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus as well as plays clarinet regularly with the Hinesburg Artists Series and the Hinesburg Community Band in Hinesburg, Vermont. In her spare time, she loves to garden in the summer, play ice hockey in the winter, and cook anytime!
Congratulations Betsy on being selected!