Problems in Responding to Music

There are essentially three things to which a person can respond in music; structure, form, and emotions. Structure are those things in music that we intuitively understand, such as beat, phrasing, and meter. Because of the natural way we perceive these structures, we are able to sort out the musical sounds and organize them in … Continue reading Problems in Responding to Music

Sound Before Sight Is About More Than Teaching Songs

"Sound before sight" is a popular way of saying that music is most effectively taught first aurally, and then by associating what has been learned aurally with visual representations, such as standard music notation. Music Learning Theory and the numerous resources that follow it guide teachers in developing musical literacy according to these principles. Generally, … Continue reading Sound Before Sight Is About More Than Teaching Songs

Perceiving Expression in Music

The authors of the National Core Arts Standards placed a high premium on expressive intent. It is included in Creating; plan and make, and present, Performing; interpret, Responding; interpret, and in the overriding artistic process on connecting. As I have written elsewhere, expressive intent is problematic in that the listener rarely knows for sure what … Continue reading Perceiving Expression in Music

Depth of Learning in Music Classes

One of the challenges school music teachers face is the wide range of grades many of us teach. It is not uncommon for public school music teachers in the United States to teach every student in a school that serves children from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade. Many music teachers teach 500-700 students throughout the course … Continue reading Depth of Learning in Music Classes

Music Teaching and Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy

When I learned Bloom's taxonomy as an undergraduate, I always thought that the arts were short changed. Sure, there was the affective domain, but it just didn't have the depth  to it that the cognitive domain had, and the affective domain was often presented as a sort of afterthought. When the taxonomy was revised, this … Continue reading Music Teaching and Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy

What Are Music Teachers Really Trying To Accomplish?

Ask a Language Arts teacher what they are trying to achieve with their students, and that teacher will probably mention growth in literacy. He or she wants students to read and write effectively, with understanding and comprehension. Students are likely being asked questions like, "what is the author trying to say?" "How does the author … Continue reading What Are Music Teachers Really Trying To Accomplish?

The difference between rhythm syllables and note kinds

If I point to a flute and ask you what I'm pointing to, how many of you would tell me that it was a toot toot? Hopefully, no one would. Instead, you would tell me that I was pointing to a flute. We all understand that the instrument is called a flute, and that the … Continue reading The difference between rhythm syllables and note kinds

Why Are Dotted Rhythms Such A Problem?

One of the most frequently made searches I see on this site is teaching dotted rhythms. Most music teachers run into difficulty teaching them, and many of us can remember a time when dotted rhythms presented a particular challenge to us as music students. Overall, notes lasting longer than a beat, which are called elongations … Continue reading Why Are Dotted Rhythms Such A Problem?