This morning, I was reviewing a piano course for children. There are dozens of these available. They are series of books that include one for piano lessons, one for music theory, and then supplemental song books, often dedicated to holidays or themes. The pages are colorful, sometimes with cartoon-like characters that serve as friendly guides … Continue reading Pitfalls and Solutions for Teaching Piano
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
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?
When I was a kid, I like playing tic-tac-toe. It's an easy game to play and almost every child knows how to play. With a little creativity, it can become a useful and versatile teaching tool in the music classroom. I like to use it periodically as a fun way to give my students practice … Continue reading The Versatility of Tic-Tac-Toe
When I used to go on family vacations, my Dad always had a map handy. He had it all folded so that the portion of the map he needed was visible while the rest of the map was folded underneath. Then, he's hold the map so that the direction he was driving was facing the … Continue reading Getting Directions
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?
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?
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?
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
If every student learned the same way, and that one way was the same way you learn, then teaching would be easy. But as we all know, everyone doesn't learn the same way, and we as teachers must be alert to how our students are trying to learn, and learn from them how to teach … Continue reading One Size Fits One