Evaluate or Judge?

One of the mainstays of standards for music education has been to evaluate musical works. Whereas evaluating is a generally well understood concept when it comes to student work, evaluating artistic work has often been more problematic; it has been confused with editorializing. Under this confusion, if I like a musical work, then it is … Continue reading Evaluate or Judge?


When Teaching Music Appreciation, Keep It Simple

I've always had a love for classical music. I'm not sure why, but for as long as I can remember, and my family tells me it goes back further than that, I have pulled myself away from distractions and settled in to enjoy a symphony, concerto, or sonata. With this background, it is not surprising … Continue reading When Teaching Music Appreciation, Keep It Simple

Classical Music and Contemporary Culture

Elsewhere on this site, I wrote about the top 25 classical music works, and key words that help explain why they are as popular as they are. After writing that post, I decided to take the results to my eighth grade students and see if the key words in the survey resonated with these adolescents. … Continue reading Classical Music and Contemporary Culture

Strong Beat and Driving Rhythm Found in Top Classical Pieces

The popularity of classical music is of interest to those who teach music, and to those who run symphony orchestras. One of the things that attracts audiences to concert halls is favorite repertoire being on the program. Contemporary composers of classical music have at times been at odds with audiences, because their music was not … Continue reading Strong Beat and Driving Rhythm Found in Top Classical Pieces

When Planning Music Lessons, Watch Your Language

Experienced teachers know that words matter, and that when writing out a lesson plan, the more specific our language is, the better for us and our students. For example, a teacher might write that students will be able to discuss the use of dynamics in Mozart's overture from The Marriage of Figaro. This objective specifies exactly … Continue reading When Planning Music Lessons, Watch Your Language

The Amazing Human Musical Mind, Part 2

Since Friday, I have been sharing a presentation I gave at two conferences of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). In this session, I gave an overview of what the very youngest human minds can do musically, and how early childhood educators who are not music teachers can still include music in their programs. Today I … Continue reading The Amazing Human Musical Mind, Part 2

Student Choice in Selecting Repertoire

One of the challenges that often face music teachers is a tension that develops between students playing music they enjoy, and teachers who want their students to play music that facilitates growth in musicianship. Often, this comes down to the teacher wanting the student to play classical music, and the student wanting to play popular … Continue reading Student Choice in Selecting Repertoire

What Your Students Will Tell You

As I taught my pre-kindergarten three year olds today, several of them were really good teacher's helpers. I don't mean they shared a snack, or helped a friend put on a jacket, I mean they helped me teach them their music class. Children will tell you a lot about how to teach them if you're … Continue reading What Your Students Will Tell You