An Approach to Lesson Planning

Some districts have a template all teachers must follow in writing their lesson plans, while others leave the form to the teacher, perhaps only requiring that certain specified elements be included. My purpose here is not to prescribe what should be included in a lesson plan, but instead to suggest an overriding outline or approach … Continue reading An Approach to Lesson Planning

How Does Music Work?

We have all encountered teachers who began some music course or other by asking "What Is Music?" Leonard Bernstein, paraphrasing this often posed question, I suppose, asked "What Does Music Mean?" Many answers have been proposed to the former question, and Bernstein's answer to the latter, after an interesting lecture, was that music doesn't mean … Continue reading How Does Music Work?

Using Music Vocabulary in the Music Classroom

Teaching music vocabulary is not something that comes naturally for me. It is all too easy for me to teach lesson after lesson without naming things. That really is what vocabulary building is: giving a name to things you refer to or do. For example, I might ask a kindergarten class to sing the refrain … Continue reading Using Music Vocabulary in the Music Classroom

Getting Your Classes Off To A Good Start at Year’s Beginning

The beginning of a new school year is always a hopeful and exciting time. Students by then are happy to return to school and be reunited with friends they haven't seen all summer, and then there is the fresh start feel of a new grade, new teachers, and new classes. It is also a time … Continue reading Getting Your Classes Off To A Good Start at Year’s Beginning

Preparing to interview for a Teaching Position

If you're looking for a music teaching position this summer, you're probably at least starting to go on interviews. Because of the sometimes uncertain way in which American public schools are funded, districts often are not at liberty to move on filling a position until fairly late in the summer. This post will go over … Continue reading Preparing to interview for a Teaching Position

Music Theory Tutorial: Chords and Voice Leading

Before I begin discussing chords and voice leading, I would like to make two points about music theory in general. Many have the misconception that music theory involves sets of rules from which composers wrote or write music. This is not the case. Music theory is not sets of rules, but rather sets of observations … Continue reading Music Theory Tutorial: Chords and Voice Leading

Beginning of the Year Assessments

All assessments, no matter when they are given, are designed with one purpose in mind, and that is to document what the students taking the assessment know and don't know. With this knowledge in hand, a teacher can design leaning, individualize instruction, and teach to a classes overall needs. Beginning of the year assessment offer … Continue reading Beginning of the Year Assessments

What Isn’t Music?

I read an interesting definition of music today. Music is "a pattern of sounds made by musical instruments, voices, or computers, or a combination of these, intended to give pleasure to people listening to it" (Mambo entertainment). The essentials are there, namely that music is sound patterns and there is an intent attached to those … Continue reading What Isn’t Music?

Music Theory Tutorial: Scales and Intervals

I have found that many music educators, especially those of us who spend most or all of our time at the elementary level, have lost a good deal of what we once knew of music theory. We seldom teach much of what we learned in undergraduate music theory classes, never much more than note names … Continue reading Music Theory Tutorial: Scales and Intervals