Are You Fluent in Music?

I inhabit a world of my own. I always have. Sitting on the school bus on the way to school, I remember retreating into that world, which consisted of me constantly humming softly. I was humming nothing in particular, just mindlessly humming whatever came to mind. There was an older boy who made a point … Continue reading Are You Fluent in Music?


A Different Kind of Music Advocacy

Music advocates, and who isn’t one that reads this blog, are sometimes like that child in a class that always strenuously raises their hand—“ooh, ooh, ooh, call on me, call on me,” but is rarely called on because either that child is always answering questions, not giving anyone else a chance to answer and learn, … Continue reading A Different Kind of Music Advocacy

Tuplets Explained

At times, music notation can be confusing. Even for highly trained musicians, certain aspects of music notation requires them to pause and investigate how a particular rhythmic grouping should be performed. This is particularly true with rhythmic groupings known as tuplets. All tuplets are mathematical ratios. The first number in the ratio is the number … Continue reading Tuplets Explained

Improvisation, Virtuosos, and Poignancy Are The Missing Ingredients

Who is a concert about? Not what is it about, but who? If it’s a symphony orchestra concert, is it about the conductor? The players? If it’s a rock concert, is it about the lead guitarist? The drummer? The lead singer? To be sure, when we go to a concert we very well may be … Continue reading Improvisation, Virtuosos, and Poignancy Are The Missing Ingredients

How I Teach Improvisation

In my article, "We're Back... Now What?" I relied heavily on using improvisation as a vehicle for getting students back into the habit of making music. I chose improvisation because it affords students the most freedom and stress free environment for quickly making music. But it is only free and relaxed if it is not … Continue reading How I Teach Improvisation

Black Classical Music Composers That Matter

It takes little effort to realize that the standard classical music fare one finds in orchestral concert halls and, though to a lesser extent, in the catalogues of recorded music, is and has been markedly deficit in black composers. While there have been notable recordings of music by black composers, more attention to this music … Continue reading Black Classical Music Composers That Matter

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