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?
For the most part, music rehearsals have three parts that extend over a period of weeks. The first part is learning how the music is supposed to go, the second part is learning to perform the music correctly, correcting errors where they occur and trying to avoid errors during trials, and the third part is performing it correctly repeatedly … Continue reading Teaching About Music The Way We Teach Music
Syncopation is an interesting subject for music teachers in many countries around the world. On the one hand, right from childhood, people hear syncopated rhythms in folk and popular music styles everyday. The sound of syncopation, and the frequently used rhythm patterns that constitute syncopated rhythms are familiar, and most can quickly learn to correctly … Continue reading Syncopation, Meter, and Beat: You Really Can’t Separate Them
A casual survey of so-called music theory books used by piano and violin teachers reveals that music theory is frequently understood to be the body of knowledge needed to read music. When students using these materials “learn music theory,” they are asked to name notes and chords, identify and define symbols such as key and … Continue reading What Is Music Theory and How Does It Fit Into Music Education?
In my post on June 26, I defined melody as a sequence of tones, each of which has pitch and duration. We saw that melody did not have to have beat, rhythm, meter or tonality, just pitch and duration. I ended that post by suggesting that birdsong qualifies as melody, but questioned whether or not … Continue reading Is Melody Always Music?
Rhythm, though one of the two most basic elements of music (the other being pitch), is also one of the most often misunderstood. Rhythm is frequently presented to students in the form of a hierarchy of note types, with a whole note at the top, two half notes beneath, four quarter notes below them, and … Continue reading What Is Rhythm?
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?
Yesterday, I discussed creativity in the music classroom. When children perform music, and when I say perform I include practice, rehearsal, and concertizing, they need freedom to explore the interpretive possibilities before them. I think it is an unfortunate result of our pre-service training and perhaps also of our experience playing and singing under some … Continue reading What’s Your Interpretation?