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

That Elusive Groove

Some years ago, when I was leading a music rehearsal for our church worship team, often tried to stop the band from rushing tempos, while they for their part tried to stop me from dragging those same songs. I remember trying to teach them the groove I was feeling, but without consistent success. They naturally … Continue reading That Elusive Groove

What Does Music Have To Do With Social Development?

School is a social environment. Learning takes place in classes where groups of children are gathered, usually 20-25 at a time. When everything is going smoothly, students are listening to a teacher and to each other, are asking and answering questions, responding to prompts, understanding what is being said or done, and keeping their attention … Continue reading What Does Music Have To Do With Social Development?

What Does Music Mean–Revisiting Bernstein’s Lecture

In 1958, Leonard Bernstein gave a Young Peoples Concert entitled “What Does Music Mean?” In it, he said that music doesn’t mean anything in the ways language does, but instead means what it is. Today, I will take up the matter of musical meaning, restricting myself to developing Bernstein’s points, and avoiding deeper aesthetic and … Continue reading What Does Music Mean–Revisiting Bernstein’s Lecture

Music, Emotions, and Student Listeners

Every now and then I'm reminded that there are some hints I take for granted that are perplexing to some students. The learning activity for fifth grade classes was to listen to the first ten minutes of Maher's fifth symphony and make a list of each emotion they heard expressed moment to moment. The activity … Continue reading Music, Emotions, and Student Listeners