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

Producing Assessable Student Work in Music Performance

I am all for assessing student singing, but for some time I have struggled to find a way to assess that did not take up an unreasonable amount of time. I have tended to favor informal methods, where I walk up to individual students while they are singing with the rest of the class, listen … Continue reading Producing Assessable Student Work in Music Performance

What Is Musical Ability?

What is musical ability? This question is not as easy to answer as first appears. It is tempting to define musical ability in terms of performance skills, and those are typically made manifest in public performances. Restricting a definition of musical ability to performance excludes non-performance musical behaviors, or musical behaviors that are needed to … Continue reading What Is Musical Ability?

The Tension Between Expediency and Rigor

Realizing that the world isn’t perfect, and that music directors sometimes do things they feel they have to do but don’t really want to do, I thought it would be useful to explore the tension that often exists between expedient and rigorous. First, I should define my terms. Expedient is training an ensemble to play … Continue reading The Tension Between Expediency and Rigor

Responding to Music in the Core Arts Standards and Beyond

Responding to music has been among our music standards from the beginning of the first standards. In its original context, responding was primarily a standard for non-performing students, and was most utilized in music appreciation classes, or listening units in general music sections. As it is now presented in the Core Arts Standards for music, … Continue reading Responding to Music in the Core Arts Standards and Beyond

Philosophical Musings on Art and Music

What do humans do? What are we made for? If we look at our educational institutions, we would conclude that we think and reason in words and formulas, create works of art that utilize mathematical relationships and perhaps words, but which express emotions and feelings, figure out how things work through scientific inquiry, and design … Continue reading Philosophical Musings on Art and Music

For Our Students, ‘Careers In Music’ Isn’t Just About The Future

In a time when music is so easily accessible, students can easily loose sight of all the work and people it takes to bring an album to their listening ears. All many of my students ever see is the album or song title on their phone, or the album art. They just take it for … Continue reading For Our Students, ‘Careers In Music’ Isn’t Just About The Future

Fostering The Desire to Sing in Reluctant Singers and Songwriters

Music is a window into the soul. I don’t know if I made that up or read it somewhere, but the phrase came to mind the other day, and it sounded good enough to remember. In just a few words, it explains why music is so wonderful, and why it is so intimidating. Why so … Continue reading Fostering The Desire to Sing in Reluctant Singers and Songwriters

Is Meter the Overlooked Element in Your Music Teaching?

Today I asked a class of 7th graders to explain how, when they move to a current pop song I played in class, notes on beats feel different from notes between beats. If I were to have taught them the answer, I would have told them that the notes on the beat feel stronger. I … Continue reading Is Meter the Overlooked Element in Your Music Teaching?

Teaching Beat Divisions is Essential To Teaching Rhythm

It is quite common for music educators to ask of young students that they move to the beat. Patsching the beat is a basic skill that all children should acquire in formal music training from three years of age and older. One often overlooked aspect of perceiving the beat from a musical work one is … Continue reading Teaching Beat Divisions is Essential To Teaching Rhythm