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?

Getting Your Classes Off To A Good Start at Year’s Beginning

The beginning of a new school year is always a hopeful and exciting time. Students by then are happy to return to school and be reunited with friends they haven't seen all summer, and then there is the fresh start feel of a new grade, new teachers, and new classes. It is also a time … Continue reading Getting Your Classes Off To A Good Start at Year’s Beginning

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?

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

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?

What Are The Elements of Music?

For as long as any of you reading this have been alive, music has been taught in the context of so-called musical elements. Though one can find variations on just what is included in a list of musical elements, most will agree that it includes rhythm, dynamics, melody, harmony, timbre, texture, and form. Some of … Continue reading What Are The Elements of Music?