Can rhythms be fast?

Tempo is a deceptively tricky musical concept. On the face of it, it seems straight forward enough. Tempo is measured as the number of beats occurring in one minute given a steady rate, and that beat can be equal to any note duration, such as eighth, quarter, half, or whole note. There are tempo markings … Continue reading Can rhythms be fast?


Strong Beat and Driving Rhythm Found in Top Classical Pieces

The popularity of classical music is of interest to those who teach music, and to those who run symphony orchestras. One of the things that attracts audiences to concert halls is favorite repertoire being on the program. Contemporary composers of classical music have at times been at odds with audiences, because their music was not … Continue reading Strong Beat and Driving Rhythm Found in Top Classical Pieces

What Are The Elements of Music?

What are the elements of music? It sounds like a simple question, one to which you'd expect a straightforward answer; perhaps a list of seven or eight items. If you ask this question of most if any music teacher, you're likely to get such an answer. The trouble is, if you ask several music teachers, you're … Continue reading What Are The Elements of Music?

A Method for Improving Rehearsal Efficiency and Enjoyment

One of my most often used phrases when teaching musical works to students is that a right pitch played at the wrong time is still a wrong note. While pitches, rhythm and beat are all important, it is often advantageous to teach the rhythm first, separated out from the pitches. This gives the student less … Continue reading A Method for Improving Rehearsal Efficiency and Enjoyment

When Students Exactly Learn What We Did Not Intend To Teach

Teaching may not always be an exact science, but often what children learn is more exact than what we have taught. Let me explain. Suppose I want to teach children about legato using movement. Legato is a term used in both music and dance, so it is especially fitting that I use both to teach … Continue reading When Students Exactly Learn What We Did Not Intend To Teach

Jaques-Dalcroze and Rhythm Training

Yesterday, I discussed solfege exercises developed by Emile Jaques-Dalcroze. Today I will examine some of his rhythm exercises. Like contemporary scholars, Jaques-Dalcroze found that rhythm and pitch are more easily taught separately than integrated together. Jaques-Dalcroze also believed that because movement, through which rhythm is expressed, is natural to humans, whereas pitch is not, it … Continue reading Jaques-Dalcroze and Rhythm Training

How Do Math and Music Mix in a Music Classroom?

Most people I know, both teachers and non-teachers, musicians and non-musicians, believe that students use a lot of math concepts when making music. In the current environment created by core curriculum state standards, this belief can easily lead to the desire for music teachers to explicitly teach, or at the very least reinforce math concepts … Continue reading How Do Math and Music Mix in a Music Classroom?

Where Is That Meter?

Recently, I attended a chamber music concert that included the first of Beethoven’s “Razumofsky” string quartets, the Op. 59, no. 1. The performance was by an ensemble made of advanced musicians from prestigious music conservatories that had gathered to attend a music festival. As the performance got under way, I quickly became unsettled. I couldn’t … Continue reading Where Is That Meter?

What Is A Music Conductor?

Today I would like to explore conductors. Not the kind that drives a train, or the kind that carries electricity, though both have similarities to my topic. No, the conductor I want to explore is the kind that stands in front of a symphony orchestra, or wind ensemble, or choir. At first glance, it appears … Continue reading What Is A Music Conductor?