A Little Teaching and Learning with Music

Last semester I had the pleasure of meeting Stephen Hopkins.  Dr. Hopkins is a faculty member here at PSU in the College of Arts and Architecture.  He is not only a masterful teacher, but also an amazing musician.  I was lucky enough on a rainy afternoon that one of my colleagues at ETS decided to introduce us … you see Steve had just composed and recorded a new CD that he was actually carrying around with him.  He stayed in my office for quite some talking and we listened to his music together — I was hooked.

Steve represents one of those unique faculty members who spends his time thinking about his students.  He thinks about teaching and learning and uses his talents as a musicuan to bring it all to life.  He has a passion for both the music and for teaching that can really get you excited.  He was gracious enough to share his CD with me and it has honestly become an evening soundtrack in our house.  You can actually go and get a copy of it if you are interested in checking out some wonderful piano composition.

Not too long ago he stopped in my office to talk about all the podcasting stuff we have been working on.  I set up the M-Audio rig and we sat down and did an “in the moment podcast” right in my office — the ETS Talk Podcast Studio.  We talked mostly about music and music theory, but also where the passion and inspiration for all of it comes from.  His easy going style is so clear in his music, but man it knocks you over when you sit with him and talk.  The podcast isn’t all that long, but I think it is worth a listen.  We mix in some tracks of his CD and just sort of talk through the whole creative approach to music and teaching thing.  If you have some time to spare, take a listen to the podcast  (iTunes U Link) and if you like the music give it a shot as well!

2 Replies to “A Little Teaching and Learning with Music”

  1. Couldn’t help exploring the rest of your iTunes U site. Impressive! Especially like the faculty development resources. Great use of iTunes U. I wasn’t able to get behind the firewall before this via itunes.psu.edu. Is the cat out of the bag? Hope so, because there’s some great stuff.

  2. Thank you! We’ve been working really hard. IS the cat out of the bag? Not quite, but more and more people are showing up. We are still struggling with a few things, but all in all it is looking very positive. Now we are catching our breath and kicking off the assessment part to the project. What you can’t see are about 45 courses in there — such a small percentage of what goes on at PSU, but it is a pilot. The things that is exciting is to watch the track count going up in the courses area. Last week there were maybe 45 tracks, last night it had hit 98 … faculty are doing that on their own!

    THe bigger question for us is how will iTunes U fit into the larger ecosystem at PSU? Is it for courseware or is it for public content … given the state of eLearning it has real potential, but so does our course management system. At the end of the day it is great to have options and to be able to explore them.

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