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?

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

The Creative Process of Connecting

By now all music educators (should) have worked the National Core Arts Standards into their curriculum, instructional planning, and teaching. From the outset, we have all understood creating, performing, and responding to music, because these are things we have always had our students do. These actions were couched in new contexts, and given new objectives, … Continue reading The Creative Process of Connecting

Verbs for Instructional Objectives in Music

Over the years, one of the things I have found that often confounds music educators, is how to go about writing instructional objectives, or even what exactly are instructional objectives. One little piece of the confusion is the term instructional. These objectives can more accurately be called, as they once often were, behavioral objectives. Thinking … Continue reading Verbs for Instructional Objectives in Music

What Are The Answers To Music’s Essential Questions?

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?

Restoring the Practice of Subdivision

Imagine you are going to build a deck for your home. We've all heard the adage, "measure twice, cut once." So you take out your measuring tool, and measure out your lumber. But in my example, there's a catch. Your measuring tool only has feet marked on it. You need a piece cut to 7 … Continue reading Restoring the Practice of Subdivision

The Other Expectations

Today I would like to discuss expectations, but not the usual sort. Often, when expectations in education are discussed, they are the kind teachers have of students. These may be behavior or performance expectations, and both are important. There is, though, another sort of expectation that is embedded in the how successfully people perceive and … Continue reading The Other Expectations

The Thing About Learning

I am by nature a very thoughtful person. People who know me well frequently accuse me of overthinking many things, and I have to admit that they are right--I do overthink often. As someone almost constantly in conscious thought about something, there are many thought that come and go, forgotten as quickly as they arrived, … Continue reading The Thing About Learning