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?

How Much Music Reading Instruction is Enough?

Recently, I observed that music reading has received minimal attention in the new NCCAS music standards. To be sure, music reading is not necessary for every musical experience. From a global perspective, our Western music notation is not used at all in many places, especially where music culture is preserved within an oral tradition. In … Continue reading How Much Music Reading Instruction is Enough?

Overcoming Confusion When Teaching Music Reading

Teaching children to read music can be challenging, particularly if formal instruction in it is not started until the children are 9 or 10 years old. Elsewhere, I have written about the importance of teaching "sound before sight" when teaching students to read music. Like language, musical patterns must be learned aurally and orally before … Continue reading Overcoming Confusion When Teaching Music Reading

Music and Literacy–The Backbone of Musicianship

In my last post, I discussed the meaning of musicianship. Certainly, part of what goes into musicianship is the part of music literacy that is the generating of musical ideas. Literacy of any kind does not only include reading and writing, but also creating ideas and communicating them to others. In music, improvisers do this … Continue reading Music and Literacy–The Backbone of Musicianship

The Necessity and Value of Rote Learning in Music

I’ve noticed lately that many music educators view rote learning with disparagement. There are at least two reasons for this. The first is that rote learning in general has fallen into disfavor, and has been taken over by “higher level learning tasks. Constructivists have convinced educators that discovering and constructing knowledge is preferable to memorizing. … Continue reading The Necessity and Value of Rote Learning in Music