All posts by Dr Bryan Powell

Bryan Powell DMA is the Director of Programs for Amp Up NYC, a partnership between Little Kids Rock and Berklee College of Music in support of the New York City Department of Education’s efforts to expand Modern Band music education programming for thousands of public school students in the district. Additionally, Bryan serves as the Executive Director of the Association for Popular Music Education, an organization dedicated to promoting and advancing popular music at all levels of education. Bryan is a musician and music educator with elementary, secondary, and college teaching experience. Dr. Powell is an adjunct professor of music and education who teaches at Hunter College and Bergen Community College and also facilitates online Masters and Doctoral level courses for Boston University.Prior to joining Amp Up NYC, Bryan served as the Executive Director of GOAL- Giving Open Access to Learning, an educational non profit organization based in East Harlem, NY that focuses on youth development through high quality enrichment programming and social and emotional education. From 2003-2008, Bryan taught in the New York City public school system as a full time music teacher, where he served as a Project ARTS Liaison and a Hunter College Mentor Teacher. Bryan has a Bachelor of Music degree from Pepperdine University, a Masters degree in Education from Chapman University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Boston University. He recently received certification in the Developing Leaders Program for Nonprofit Professionals from the Columbia University Business School. His research interests include alternative music education, informal learning practices, popular music education, urban education, philosophy of music education, and community music research.

Music as a (Second) Language

There is a great video from bassist Victor Wooten where he talks about music as a language (you can watch the video here).  There is certainly nothing new about likening music to a language. Poets, writers and authors have been doing so for some time now…

Music is the universal language of mankind.”
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.”
~Kahlil Gibran

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.”
~Victor Hugo

Music is well said to be the speech of angels.”
~Thomas Carlyle

The idea of music as a language has taken on an increased focus in my life ever since I came to work with Little Kids Rock through my job at Amp Up NYC about a year ago.   At Little Kids Rock (LKR), their pedagogy is based upon the idea of treating music as asecond language.  The basis of LKR’s pedagogy was developed by founder Dave Wish, a former first-grade, ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.

Continue reading Music as a (Second) Language

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