Understanding How Music Composition Works

Over the course of my teaching career, I have had my students do a variety of things under the guise of creating or composing music. Too often, I have expected them to go further with composing than than I had prepared them to go. Part of the the problem for me was that I confused exploration, improvisation, … Continue reading Understanding How Music Composition Works

A Closer Look At The Four Artistic Processes: Creating

The National Core Arts Standards are written around four artistic processes. For music, these processes are creating, performing, responding, and connecting. How do these four artistic processes translate into what music teachers and students are to do in a classroom? I will take each process and, using the framework (see my post from July 8) … Continue reading A Closer Look At The Four Artistic Processes: Creating

Reflective Questions for 5th Grade Music Composition–The Performance

Once a student composer has created a musical work, it is time for the work to be prepared for presentation, and then to be performed for an audience. This can be an extensive learning experience in itself for a young composer; it is one thing to write down musical ideas, but it is another for … Continue reading Reflective Questions for 5th Grade Music Composition–The Performance

Poetry and Music: Steps to Composing

Much like a writer of prose, a poet or a composer ought to have an intent in mind when writing a poem or musical work, respectively. The use of language in a poem can be quite expressive, going beyond the literal meaning of prose, and the notes in a musical work are always expressive because … Continue reading Poetry and Music: Steps to Composing

Student Choice in Selecting Repertoire

One of the challenges that often face music teachers is a tension that develops between students playing music they enjoy, and teachers who want their students to play music that facilitates growth in musicianship. Often, this comes down to the teacher wanting the student to play classical music, and the student wanting to play popular … Continue reading Student Choice in Selecting Repertoire

Thinking In Music is the Key to Music Literacy

One of the reasons teaching music reading and writing is so challenging for students and music teachers is that music is not used nearly as often as a basis for thought and actions. Every action begins with a thought, and thoughts are generally pictures or words; images or descriptions. Music for most people is something … Continue reading Thinking In Music is the Key to Music Literacy

Teaching Antecedent and Consequent Phrase Structure in Music

One of the musical structures we must teach our students is that of phrasing, or what Lerdahl & Jackendoff refer to as grouping. Basic to musical phrases is the concept of antecedent and consequent phrases. Antecedent phrases are complete phrases that end on a pitch of relative instability or tension, resulting in the listener expecting … Continue reading Teaching Antecedent and Consequent Phrase Structure in Music

Educating the Whole Person–Ethical and Social Considerations in Music Education

In this, the third and final installment in my series on educating the whole person and music, I will discuss the social and ethical pathways identified by Comer, and the intra- and inter-personal intelligences that Gardner found. There is perhaps no greater purpose to music than for one person to relate to another through the … Continue reading Educating the Whole Person–Ethical and Social Considerations in Music Education

With Music, The Learning Is In The Doing

Today, one of my eighth grade classes was composing percussion ensemble pieces. They had begun their works last week, and were continuing composing today. As I circulated through the class, looking at student work and pointing out notational issues that needed to be corrected, I was reminded of how many students make the same errors, … Continue reading With Music, The Learning Is In The Doing