Good teaching is largely about stating clear objectives, and then instructing students in how to achieve those objectives. When it comes to singing, often times music educators frame the task in terms of singing on pitch, using a head voice, and maintaining a steady beat. Clearly these items are important to good singing, but as … Continue reading What Do We Want Children To Be Able To Do In Order To Sing Well?
The Difference Between Rhythm and Beat
The term "beat" is arguably the most misunderstood in music. This is evident from the disparate ways the word is used, even among music educators and professional musicians. For example, is a beat something musicians see, hear, or audiate? Directors often tell students in their ensemble to "follow the beat," intending that the musicians see … Continue reading The Difference Between Rhythm and Beat
Working Aurally With Key Signatures
In my post, Do You Really Know What A Key Signature Is? I made the point that we must not overlook the importance of audiation and teaching keyalities and tonalities aurally before teaching written key signatures. I mentioned singing and playing scales and arpeggios by ear in different keyalities and tonalities. Today, I would like to hone … Continue reading Working Aurally With Key Signatures
Do You Really Know What A Key Signature Is?
I'm fairly certain that if I asked a room full of music teachers to tell me what a key signature is, nearly everyone would tell me something akin to "it is an indication of which pitches will be sharped or flatted throughout the piece of music." As accurate as that is, it is also simplistic … Continue reading Do You Really Know What A Key Signature Is?
Some Thought on Teaching Rhythm
For those of us who received most of our musical training within the context of classical music, we sometimes forget that music is not primarily a written art, like the literary masterworks of Shakespeare or Milton, but an auditory art. While this may seem obvious, it is not so obvious to those who observe or … Continue reading Some Thought on Teaching Rhythm
Music Literacy is More Than Reading and Writing Music
Literacy is a word that is easily associated with reading and writing. It is a form of the words literature and literary. But not all literature is written down. Many cultures preserve their literature through oral traditions. In these cultures, a literate person is one who knows the literature from memory and can recall it, … Continue reading Music Literacy is More Than Reading and Writing Music
The Importance of Echo Songs in the Early Grades
Children develop the ability to sing accurately by repeating short patterns or song fragments. As they do so, they are building a vocabulary of music patterns that they will be able to remember, sing, and eventually read, write and use to improvise. While children can learn patterns by singing them with others in a class, … Continue reading The Importance of Echo Songs in the Early Grades
Reflective Questions for 5th Grade Music Composition
Today I am going to discuss questions students can use to reflect on their creative musical work. In Connecticut, these questions are part of the Common Core Assessments for music. Each question gets at an important musical aspect or concept, and helps focus students on more than just getting notes down on paper and singing … Continue reading Reflective Questions for 5th Grade Music Composition
The Amazing Human Musical Mind, Part 8
There are four types of musical activities you should do with your students; those that help the child find and be comfortable with their singing voice, those that advance the child’s audiation ability, which is the ability to think in music and sing what has already been thought, those that develop moving to the beat … Continue reading The Amazing Human Musical Mind, Part 8
The Amazing Human Musical Mind, Part 7
Besides those things I mentioned yesterday, I could switch to rhythms. Now I will gently bounce the child to a beat. The child is not able to do anything to a steady beat yet, but I can again model that, teaching the child what that feels like, letting the child experience it. So I’ll bounce … Continue reading The Amazing Human Musical Mind, Part 7
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