An Approach to Lesson Planning

Some districts have a template all teachers must follow in writing their lesson plans, while others leave the form to the teacher, perhaps only requiring that certain specified elements be included. My purpose here is not to prescribe what should be included in a lesson plan, but instead to suggest an overriding outline or approach … Continue reading An Approach to Lesson Planning

Pros and Cons of Stick Notation

Stick notation is a method for teaching music reading that involves presenting written notes with the note heads removed. The method is most often associated with the Kodaly method, but is used by non-Kodaly teachers as well. In this article I will consider reasons for using stick notation, and also some drawbacks. Stick notation is … Continue reading Pros and Cons of Stick Notation

Iconic Notation and Music Literacy

Honestly, for years I considered iconic notation a cheap substitute for "real" music notation. I thought it was something music teachers used as a last resort when they had thrown in the towel at successfully teaching their students to read and write in standard music notation. Because of this view of iconic notation, I avoided … Continue reading Iconic Notation and Music Literacy

Three Ingredients for Good Classroom Management

For whatever reason, I have noticed over the years that art and music teachers seem to get more than their fair share of misbehavior in their classes. I suppose the children regard these classes as a time to let down and blow off steam after sitting immobile in a classroom writing, reading and generally keeping … Continue reading Three Ingredients for Good Classroom Management

What Are Music Teachers Really Trying To Accomplish?

Ask a Language Arts teacher what they are trying to achieve with their students, and that teacher will probably mention growth in literacy. He or she wants students to read and write effectively, with understanding and comprehension. Students are likely being asked questions like, "what is the author trying to say?" "How does the author … Continue reading What Are Music Teachers Really Trying To Accomplish?

Piano Instruction Cannot Be at the Center of General Music Education

Recently I have read the proposition that music education centered on singing as a means for teaching music literacy is ineffective and obsolete. The author maintained that the methodologies of Kodaly and Orff were products of a time when nothing better was possible, and that now with the availability of technology, keyboard centered music education … Continue reading Piano Instruction Cannot Be at the Center of General Music Education

Music Literacy is More Than Reading Music

I saw this post recently on Facebook. "What do you teach?" "Music." "Oh, okay. So, do you read music?" "You teach English, right?" "Yes."  "Can you read English?" My first reaction, as a Music teacher, was probably similar to the author of this post. I was irked, maybe even offended. Of course I read music. It seems so obvious … Continue reading Music Literacy is More Than Reading Music

Music Literacy is More Than Reading and Writing Music

Literacy is a word that is easily associated with reading and writing. It is a form of the words literature and literary. But not all literature is written down. Many cultures preserve their literature through oral traditions. In these cultures, a literate person is one who knows the literature from memory and can recall it, … Continue reading Music Literacy is More Than Reading and Writing Music

Artistic Literacy and Why It Matters

The authors of the national arts standards defined artistic literacy as "the knowledge and understanding required to participate authentically in the arts." It is first and foremost important to realize that when it comes to music, knowing about music, and reading and writing about music is not enough to qualify a person as musically literate. Musically literate people … Continue reading Artistic Literacy and Why It Matters