What Would Music Be Like Without Change?

Although most would probably say they don’t like change, the fact is that we need change and are designed to change and benefit from change. This can be clearly seen if we consider minimalist music. When a minimalist piece begins, it has our attention, because what we hear is a change from not hearing it … Continue reading What Would Music Be Like Without Change?

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

The Difficulty with Once-A-Week Classes

Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of being a music teacher is dealing with only seeing each student for one forty-five minute period per week. The difficulty in this is that so much can be forgotten in the week that transpires between class meetings. While overlapping some review from day to day is nearly … Continue reading The Difficulty with Once-A-Week Classes

When Students Exactly Learn What We Did Not Intend To Teach

Teaching may not always be an exact science, but often what children learn is more exact than what we have taught. Let me explain. Suppose I want to teach children about legato using movement. Legato is a term used in both music and dance, so it is especially fitting that I use both to teach … Continue reading When Students Exactly Learn What We Did Not Intend To Teach

Jaques-Dalcroze and Rhythm Training

Yesterday, I discussed solfege exercises developed by Emile Jaques-Dalcroze. Today I will examine some of his rhythm exercises. Like contemporary scholars, Jaques-Dalcroze found that rhythm and pitch are more easily taught separately than integrated together. Jaques-Dalcroze also believed that because movement, through which rhythm is expressed, is natural to humans, whereas pitch is not, it … Continue reading Jaques-Dalcroze and Rhythm Training

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’s All The Movement About?

Movement and music are a natural pair. When we listen to music, we naturally want to move. Researchers have found that just listening to music stimulates the motion center of the brain just as if we were actually moving. There is also an emotional aspect of movement as well. This morning, during my pre-kindergarten class … Continue reading What’s All The Movement About?

What Is So Important About Music?

Life is all about relationships. Relationships with people, with God, with things we enjoy doing and making. Being alone is not good. Music is so powerful in the lives of people because it offers us multiple relationships. First, each individual person has a relationship with music. Our musical experiences are always interactive. Music elicits movement, … Continue reading What Is So Important About Music?

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

Educating the Whole Person–Movements and Emotion with Music

This is the second in a three part series on educating the whole person and music education. Yesterday, I gave an overview of parts of the whole person, and in general how music engages several of those parts. Today I will discuss in detail the relationship between music and the physical and psychological pathways identified … Continue reading Educating the Whole Person–Movements and Emotion with Music