Welcome to Fermata!

This is the blog of Wendy Barden and Segue Consulting Partners. Here you'll find articles on a variety of topics related to K-12 music teaching and learning. As always, thanks for pausing with me for a few minutes in your busy week. Have a good one!


Resolutions for the New (School) Year

Posted by Wendy Barden on July 22, 2021

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April 2020: Making Distance Learning in Music Work Better

Posted by Wendy Barden on April 20, 2020

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A dozen ideas for choice (and voice) in the music room

Posted by Wendy Barden on February 12, 2018

Many music educators, including me, make very detailed plans for each lesson or rehearsal. What happens when there is an element of choice, giving students responsibility for some of the decisions, to...read more


“See the dog.” — Developing fluency

Posted by Wendy Barden on January 8, 2018

There are times when my band and orchestra students have come to rehearsal and yes, technically, they could play the music they were assigned. Their fingerings or finger patterns, pitches, and rhythms...read more


Looking forward to the upcoming performance

Posted by Wendy Barden on August 19, 2017

True or False? Everyone in your ensemble or music class is looking forward to performing in the upcoming concert. False. There are likely several students that love to make music, but who also dread t...read more


Standards-Based… Grading

Posted by Wendy Barden on January 5, 2016

Standards-based grading is on the minds of many music educators these days. (Usually not in a good way, I might add.) That’s because standards-based grading is on the horizon in countless school dis...read more


The Everyday Advocate

Posted by Wendy Barden on December 2, 2015

We—you and I—are the face of music education in our schools and communities. In our roles as music educators, we wear many different hats, including the hat of music advocate. In good times, it’...read more


Listen and respond to music with "bell ringers"

Posted by Wendy Barden on September 18, 2015

There’s the bell! Rehearsal should be starting, but there are still five students gathered around you, each with something that seems to need immediate attention. Many teachers have been able to cre...read more


"Take Five" to look around your music room

Posted by Wendy Barden on September 3, 2015

Ask yourself these five questions to make the best use of your space for learning. 1) Is the room arranged to encourage learning? In the elementary music classroom, we think about seating that is comf...read more


Positive classroom environment: Relationships and rules

Posted by Wendy Barden on August 21, 2015

Looking for ways to refresh your approach to classroom management? Many teachers—from young to experienced—have found practical ideas in David Newell’s book, Classroom Management in the Music Ro...read more


Teacher-student connections make a difference

Posted by Wendy Barden on July 1, 2015

My parents were both educators. Mom taught third grade and Dad taught music—high school band and choir, and eventually beginning band and orchestra. Mom and Dad both retired in 1992, and in my opini...read more


"Striking a Chord" for Music Education

Posted by Wendy Barden on June 9, 2015

The NAMM Foundation is in the business of promoting music making. Members of NAMM—the National Association of Music Merchants—include instrument and equipment manufacturers, software developers, m...read more


What's in the box? Writing rubrics

Posted by Wendy Barden on May 19, 2015

Rubrics are commonly used to assess musical performances—and tasks in other areas, too—when achievement is not easily reported in percentages. ...read more


Summer Break: Renew, Refresh, Rekindle

Posted by Wendy Barden on May 4, 2015

Hard to believe, but another school year is almost over. Maybe not so hard to believe are the dark circles under your eyes, the extra ten pounds you’ve gained or lost, the clutter on your desk or in...read more


Concerts done? Finish the year with musical fun!

Posted by Wendy Barden on April 15, 2015

Between the spring concert and last day of school there may be time in your rehearsals for a bit of musical fun. Here are three activities that are among my students’ favorites!...read more


Bringing informal music-making practices into the classroom

Posted by Wendy Barden on April 2, 2015

I’ve been thinking about students in middle school and high school who are required to take a music elective, are not involved in a traditional performing ensemble, have decided they do not like sch...read more


Fantasia: A great concert and more!

Posted by Wendy Barden on March 15, 2015

Not long ago I attended Disney Fantasia – Live in Concert with the Minnesota Orchestra. Nine scenes from Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 were projected on a large screen above the stage, and the orchestr...read more


Standards, standards, standards!

Posted by Wendy Barden on March 5, 2015

Our classrooms, rehearsals, and lesson plans are filled with standards - or should be! Standards-based, state standards, and new national core arts standards (NCAS). Love them or hate them. Agree with...read more