Should We Be Teaching The Names of Lines and Spaces on the Musical Staff?

Chances are, if you are a musician, you were taught somewhere along the way, the names of the lines and spaces on the musical staff. Chances are also good that the teacher used some kind of mnemonic device, like "every good bird does fly" for the lines of the treble staff, and "face" for the … Continue reading Should We Be Teaching The Names of Lines and Spaces on the Musical Staff?

Fixed and Movable Do

As originally conceived, solfege was a movable do system. Whatever pitch was the tonic would be assigned the syllable "do" and the other syllables, re, mi, fa, so, la, and ti followed upward by step. In today's usage, these movable do syllables are referred to as tonal syllables. They are called tonal syllables because they … Continue reading Fixed and Movable Do

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

Teaching Music Reading to Very Young Children

Today, I have two things on my mind. One is that while every child is entitled to a music education, no one is entitled to success; that has to be earned. I am a strong believer in the principle that the less one has to work for something, the less it will be valued. The … Continue reading Teaching Music Reading to Very Young Children

What’s an Effective Way to Teach A New Song?

For the most part, my students love to sing. This almost always is a good thing, but it is not always so. If I don’t make sure I start them off singing in their head voices, many will practice singing incorrectly, getting better at poor singing and no better at good singing. I like to … Continue reading What’s an Effective Way to Teach A New Song?

Can Tone and Chord Functions Be Taught With Fixed Do?

When it comes to choosing a system of syllables to sing for teaching ear training and sight singing, there seems to be a consensus that moveable do, sometimes called functional solfege, is needed for teaching chord and tone functions. To be sure, moving do to wherever the tonic is does help a singer remember where … Continue reading Can Tone and Chord Functions Be Taught With Fixed Do?

Is There Madness in the Method?

Music teachers are often concerned with method. If you go to most music education conferences, you’ll find sessions on the Kodaly Method, the Dalcroze Method, Gordon Music Learning Theory, the Orff Method, Feierabend’s Conversational Solfege, the Suzuki Method, to name a few. Music teaching methods are like Protestant denominations: there are many of them, they … Continue reading Is There Madness in the Method?

What Are The Best Pitch Combinations For Teaching Our Youngest Children Singing?

The popularity and success of the Kodaly approach to teaching music in schools has resulted in a widespread practice of using songs and chants comprised of a minor third when beginning formal music education with young children. There is much to recommend this practice, including the ease with which a small interval can be sung, … Continue reading What Are The Best Pitch Combinations For Teaching Our Youngest Children Singing?