Toccata Blocks: A Tool To Help Teach Rhythm

No matter what method you use to teach music, be it Kodaly, Orff, or any other, when it comes to music reading there are certain aspects of our music notational system that are counter-intuitive and confusing to students who are just beginning. One of those difficulties is often the irrelevance of how the notes are … Continue reading Toccata Blocks: A Tool To Help Teach Rhythm

Conversational Solfege and the National Core Arts Standards

Conversational solfege is a curriculum for teaching music literacy developed by Dr. John Feierabend. It is a literature based curriculum that is grounded in Music Learning Theory and the Kodaly philosophy for music education. It is not a method that one uses to the exclusion of all others, but rather an effective way of teaching … Continue reading Conversational Solfege and the National Core Arts Standards

Making Lessons Interesting and Important

Any classroom will run more smoothly and be a place of effective learning when the lessons taught are both interesting and important to students. Lessons that are interesting to students are about things that students can use, want to use, and to which they can make connections with their personal lives, their other classes, their … Continue reading Making Lessons Interesting and Important

Teaching Musical Phrases

From a perceptual perspective, phrase may be the most important musical element that a music educator teaches. While pitch and rhythm are perhaps the most foundational, and while there can be no phrases without pitch and rhythm, people perceive and understand music aurally in groups of sounds, not from individual notes. Even in instances where … Continue reading Teaching Musical Phrases

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

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?

Common Core Words in Music

Lately, I've noticed an increase in web searches related to curriculum writing and common core. I'm supposing this is because many school districts engage in curriculum writing or revision during the summer, and educators preparing to do this kind of work are looking for resources to draw upon. Music educators are increasingly aware of common … Continue reading Common Core Words in Music

The Power of the Exit Ticket

Exit tickets are a helpful and efficient tool for assessing student learning. While you (should) have communicated your objective and expectations for students at the beginning of the lesson, and while students may have completed all work that you assigned for them to do during the lesson, none of this gives is a reliable indicator … Continue reading The Power of the Exit Ticket

Strengths and Weaknesses of Orff Schulwerk

Today I will discuss the advantage and disadvantages of the Orff Schulwerk Approach to music education. At the outset, I should mention that no single method of teaching music is sufficient for meeting the needs of all children, or for teaching all aspects of music. Each method bring valuable perspectives into the music classroom, and … Continue reading Strengths and Weaknesses of Orff Schulwerk