Teacher Feature- Benji Marx
It is such a pleasure to be a new member of the Shu Ren community. As the music teacher for the Grade 3 through Grade 8 classes, I look forward to teaching music skills to Shu Ren students, as well as helping themse music as a means for personal growth, development, and expression. From the moment I walked through the doors at Shu Ren I had a sense that this was a school that saw education not just as the process of teaching a child information but also of cultivating an ethical, moral, and complete human being. I try to maintain this holistic mindset whenever I am teaching music, whether in a private setting or in a classroom. This Winter and Spring, the students are working from a curriculum I have been developing in conjunction with the head of the school, Rebecca Zipprich. This curriculum aligns with Shu Ren’s goals while also meeting California state standards for music education.
We have created a four unit program. The first unit focuses on percussion, rhythmic notation, and being able to play different rhythmic ideas on a drum. Using Afro-Cuban music as a vehicle for teaching this, we will create a small percussion ensemble with the students where they can each play a different role. The second unit focuses on reading melodies, ear training, and singing. The third unit focuses on playing a harmonic instrument such as ukulele or piano, as well as understanding musical form in both a classical and modern pop setting. The final unit prepares students for the Shu Ren 10 year anniversary celebration and end of year performance on June 8th, which will showcase all the skills and knowledge students have learned over the course of the school year.
Besides being a music educator in the classroom, I am also a private instructor with ten years of experience teaching guitar, piano, bass, mandolin, ukulele, and voice. My passion for music is what lead me to become an educator and I am thrilled to share my love of music with Shu Ren students.