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

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?

What is a Melody?

For virtually everyone who teaches music, melody is one of the basic elements. Though music teachers may vary slightly on what melody is, most definitions will at least include the requirement of a sequence of notes which each have pitch and duration. This fits nicely with a view of music being humanly organized sounds recognized … Continue reading What is a Melody?

How Do Composers Know When a Musical Work is Finished?

I read an interesting question on social media the other day. A composer asked, “When do you know that a composition is finished?” Several answers were offered, ranging from “when the composer has expressed everything he or she wanted,” to “when the parts are passed out to the musicians.” The first of these has potential. … Continue reading How Do Composers Know When a Musical Work is Finished?