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

Why Do We Teach Music Reading?

To my surprise, I recently read a discussion thread by music educators on Facebook in which most of the participants found teaching music reading unnecessary. The argument for this position has been around for quite some time. Most of the world's musicians, excellent musicians, do not read music, most of the world's cultures do not … Continue reading Why Do We Teach Music Reading?

Why Teach Intervals?

Teaching intervals to music students is on of those concepts that can easily be either overlooked, or if taught make students wonder why. Like most concepts in music theory, if intervals are just taught but never applied or made practical, there really is very little to recommend teaching them. On the other hand, teaching students … Continue reading Why Teach Intervals?

You’re The Guide, Now Where Are You Taking Them?

When I write my lesson plans, a lot of thought goes into stating a goal, finding materials, and ordering everyithing into what I think will be an effective progression of steps that will guide my students through the lesson and what I want them to do, leading them to the destination of the goal. While … Continue reading You’re The Guide, Now Where Are You Taking Them?

Five Lines and Four Spaces–Which Way Does It Go?

Maybe it's because the letter names of the notes go alphabetically from low to high, or maybe it's because music tends to start low and build higher, but it does seem rather strange that the lines and spaces of the musical staff are most often taught from the bottom to the top of the staff. … Continue reading Five Lines and Four Spaces–Which Way Does It Go?

Using A Little Common Sense To Help Music Reading

When I was in elementary school lo those many years ago, there were a few years when I had trouble with math. I tried really hard, and spent a lot of time at home trying to get it, and practiced many strategies for understanding concepts and coming up with the right answer. Sometimes, after I … Continue reading Using A Little Common Sense To Help Music Reading

What Is An Effective Approach to Teaching Sight Reading?

One of the perennial challenges for music teachers seems to be teaching sight-reading, particularly to older children who have not developed music reading skills at a young age. Music teachers often believe that students will get better at sight reading by practicing sight reading. This is true if students already know how to read music, … Continue reading What Is An Effective Approach to Teaching Sight Reading?