Natural Learning

Have you ever said, in the middle of a bad day, "I can't get out of my own way?" In situations like that, it seems the harder we try to get on track, the worse it gets. The more effort we expend, the worse are the outcomes. Then there are other days when everything seems … Continue reading Natural Learning

Structure and Form: What’s The Difference?

Structure and form are two words that surface frequently in music analysis and education. Two words should be associated with two different concepts, but these two are frequently used interchangeably. But are they really the same? I maintain that they are not; that there are important differences between their meanings, and today I will discuss … Continue reading Structure and Form: What’s The Difference?

Language in Music Teaching

Learning is a process of inquiry, thought, and discovery. A person is faced with an unknown, which begins a line of questioning and searching. Thoughts, ideas, and hypotheses are formed from thinking through the questions, and further searching and thinking leads to discovering new knowledge. The searching and thinking includes exploring similarities and differences between … Continue reading Language in Music Teaching

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?

Music Theory Tutorial: Chords and Voice Leading

Before I begin discussing chords and voice leading, I would like to make two points about music theory in general. Many have the misconception that music theory involves sets of rules from which composers wrote or write music. This is not the case. Music theory is not sets of rules, but rather sets of observations … Continue reading Music Theory Tutorial: Chords and Voice Leading

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