The Family of Musical Elements

I don't believe I've ever seen a music textbook, or observed or even taught a music course that didn't include plenty of instruction on the elements of music. Melody, harmony, pitch, rhythm, beat, and so forth all are rightly considered critical to any course on music. These things are the very raw materials out of … Continue reading The Family of Musical Elements

Managing Distance Music Teaching During COVID-19 Shutdowns (Updated Mar. 25)

Many of you are or will be experiencing long-term school closures du to the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic. Many school districts are closing schools and asking teachers to teach online or prepare lessons students can take online for the duration of these closures, which typically are at least two weeks. For many music teachers, this … Continue reading Managing Distance Music Teaching During COVID-19 Shutdowns (Updated Mar. 25)

How Singing Is Different from Speaking or Singing for Non-Singers

We're all pretty much comfortable with talking. Beyond breathing and eating, we've been talking longer than anything else. We've even been talking longer than we've been walking. So it's not surprising that after spending so many years talking, it's a pretty natural and non-worrisome thing to do. But singing is another matter. Even after possibly … Continue reading How Singing Is Different from Speaking or Singing for Non-Singers

Solving Problems of Teaching Rhythm

Of all the musical elements, rhythm seems to present the most difficulty to students and teachers alike. There are several reasons why this may be. In this article I will discuss some of them. The first reason is that rhythm is often mistaken for a system of counting. While rhythm syllables and the numbering of … Continue reading Solving Problems of Teaching Rhythm

More On Antecedent and Consequent Phrases

Antecedent-Consequent phrase combinations are the basic form of melodic shape in Western tonal music. The formal characteristics of this combination has been used as a template for composing melodic phrases in music education settings. For example, students can be told to write four measures beginning on the tonic tone and ending on the dominant tone, … Continue reading More On Antecedent and Consequent Phrases

Structure and Form: What’s The Difference?

Structure and form are two words that surface frequently in music analysis and education. Two words should be associated with two different concepts, but these two are frequently used interchangeably. But are they really the same? I maintain that they are not; that there are important differences between their meanings, and today I will discuss … Continue reading Structure and Form: What’s The Difference?

Using Student Observations to Improve Instruction

Two of the most important questions to ask music students are, “what do you hear,” and “what does it sound like?” These are important questions because everything one can learn or know about music starts with what is observed, and for a hearing abled person, that observation is of what is heard. Knowing what a … Continue reading Using Student Observations to Improve Instruction

The Spring Semester Is A Great Time For Chamber Music

January has always been my favorite time in the school year. By then, my students have given their winter concert and are playing and singing well enough to dig into more challenging repertoire than I typically do with them in the fall. This is the time of year I find most conducive to really work … Continue reading The Spring Semester Is A Great Time For Chamber Music