I view improvisation as a form of conversation. Unless we are giving a prepared speech, people don’t know ahead of time every word they are going to speak. We speak thoughts as they come to mind, respond to what we read, see and hear other people say, forming thoughts that turn into words we speak … Continue reading Teaching Improvisation
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?
Musicianship is one of those words that is used frequently but thought about rarely. As music teachers, we want our students to acquire musicianship, but we don’t necessarily spend much time specifically teaching it. Much of the time we are teaching skills, and then assuming musicianship will automatically follow. But it is often the case … Continue reading What is Musicianship?
In the district where I teach music, the leaders have decided to roll out Common Core with an emphasis on building vocabulary. They have devised three categories for words. The first tier is for words that are learned early on. These are small words that would be known by any native speaker, and words that … Continue reading Tiering Musical Motifs like Vocabulary Words for Common Core