Recently, I was directing a musical theater production. As I coached one of the leads in her song, she became excited over what I was having her do with it. Before we started the session, she knew the lyrics and the pitches, and was close on most of the rhythms. But that was it. What … Continue reading Let’s Not Make It Anything Else But Love
Music educators now have essential questions on which to base their instructional units and by extension the lesson plans within those units. These questions are meant to get at the heart of the discipline of music. They are not like questions students might be asked such as "what is binary form?" or "who was John … Continue reading What Are The Answers To Music’s Essential Questions?
One of the challenges of being an Arts Educator is the relatively limited time we have with our students. Whereas Math or L.A. teachers see their students every day, music teachers often see a class once or twice a week. Teaching a year's curriculum within these curtailed contact hours can be daunting. A common response … Continue reading Time Is Precious, How We Use It Even More So
Psychologists will tell you that you are a blend of "nature and nurture--" that you are what you are partly because of inherited traits, and partly because of what your interactions with your environment have been. Today, I am interested in the musical aspect of the environment in which we all matured from early childhood … Continue reading Passing Along Your Musical Roots
Children develop the ability to sing accurately by repeating short patterns or song fragments. As they do so, they are building a vocabulary of music patterns that they will be able to remember, sing, and eventually read, write and use to improvise. While children can learn patterns by singing them with others in a class, … Continue reading The Importance of Echo Songs in the Early Grades
Amid the frequent pronouncements of doom over classical music, and the unenthusiastic attitude of many of my general music students toward it, I sometimes ask myself what drew me to classical music. I never became a great musician, yet my love for music has always been great. That's important because when a child is raised … Continue reading My Lifelong Love of Music: I Wonder Where It Started
Among the nine intelligences identified by Howard Gardner in his Multiple Intelligences Theory, is musical intelligence. An intelligence is a way of knowing, and different people have different ways of knowing and learning. Someone who has a prevalent musical intelligence is able to use rhythms and patterns to assist learning. Such a person will learn well … Continue reading Musical Intelligence, Three Systems, and the Creative Processes
Today, as I attended the fifth biennial Symposium on Music in Schools at Yale University, I became occupied with a question that came to mind as I listened to Sebastian Ruth talk about helping students find their voice through music education. His talk and the discussion that followed included points on developing relationships with students … Continue reading Can Encouraging Creativity Include Correcting Errors?
Music teachers of young, primary grade children know it is important to teach children to find and use their singing voice for singing. Left on their own, most children will try to sing with the same voice they use for speaking, which is very limited in range, and usually too low to sing accurately or … Continue reading The Other Singing Voice
One of the pitfalls of doing anything over a long period of time, is that we can wake up one day and realize we've forgotten why we do what we do. We've been doing it for so long, it has become a habit, a lifestyle, a part of who we are. Chances are those of … Continue reading Why Do We Make Music?