David Wish: Innovating Music Education in Schools
My work: Inspiring music teachers to engage and equip kids with free instruments, instructors, peer community and tools.
Check out the video for more on David's work:
This profile was prepared when David Wish was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
Dave is introducing an approach to learning music that builds 21st century skills, helping children see that they can generate content, fail without fear, iteratively advance toward a goal, and work in teams. The effort has students composing and improvising from day one, and seeing themselves as powerful and active creators of content, not passive receivers of content. Staffed by teachers of all sorts—35 percent are not trained music instructors—the approach supports teachers along a similar learning path. Online portals and competitions and full-day, district-wide concerts/workshops make visible and explicit core principles, as teachers play songs composed by their students, children perform their own compositions, and everyone celebrates the group creative process. Dave’s approach gets students and teachers laughing and co-creating, and transforms the experience of school—not just music class—in profound ways. Begun in 2001, when Dave transitioned from a ten-year career teaching first grade, the effort now reaches 118,000 students and 700+ teachers in twenty-five cities in the United States.