What Is Music Literacy?

What is literacy? The word is used across all disciplines, including music, yet I find a surprising range of understandings of just what literacy is. Does literacy refer to just reading? Does it include writing? Must someone be an effective communicator orally in order to be considered literate? Is there any requirement for being able … Continue reading What Is Music Literacy?

When Students Exactly Learn What We Did Not Intend To Teach

Teaching may not always be an exact science, but often what children learn is more exact than what we have taught. Let me explain. Suppose I want to teach children about legato using movement. Legato is a term used in both music and dance, so it is especially fitting that I use both to teach … Continue reading When Students Exactly Learn What We Did Not Intend To Teach

Reflections on a New School Year

As the new school year begins, it seems fitting to call to mind the things teachers do to get themselves and their students off to a good start. Students need five things from teachers to succeed in school, and they are never more receptive to them than at the beginning of the year. Those five … Continue reading Reflections on a New School Year

How To Use The Core Arts Standards To Teach Students to Interpret, Evaluate, and Rehearse

Over the last two days, we have looked at teaching students to select and analyze musical works they intend to perform. Through selecting, students learn about the music and reflect on their own interests and skills. Through analyzing, students learn how the music is put together; how it works. With this information in hand, the … Continue reading How To Use The Core Arts Standards To Teach Students to Interpret, Evaluate, and Rehearse

Using Core Arts Standards to Teach Students How To Select Repertoire

The new core arts standards are made in the same form as the Common Core State Standards, and contain similar vocabulary. Because of this, we can plan, give and assess music instruction with Common Core connections already embedded by using the Core Arts Standards as our foundation. The heart of the matter is expressed in … Continue reading Using Core Arts Standards to Teach Students How To Select Repertoire

Why Do We Have Students Play Musical Instruments?

Today, I want us to think about a question that most of us have either overlooked or taken for granted. I want to explore why we teach people to play musical instruments. This is a deceptively important question, because how we answer it affects everything we do with our instrumental students; it affects what we … Continue reading Why Do We Have Students Play Musical Instruments?

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?

We Are More Than Teachers of Music

Today my post is a little different; it is more about life than about music. As music teachers, we have the opportunity to impact our students’ lives year after year. Unlike many of our colleagues who teach different class of students every year, we teach all of the students in our buildings year after year. … Continue reading We Are More Than Teachers of Music

A Better Way To Teach Rhythm

I have noticed that there is a great deal of interest in how best to teach rhythm. Perhaps this reveals challenges that music teachers find in teaching rhythm, made manifest in students’ difficulty in performing rhythms accurately. While I cannot know what transpires in every music classroom, I can at least address problems I have … Continue reading A Better Way To Teach Rhythm

A Conductor’s Guide to Percussion: Bass Drum Methods

Today, I complete my series on percussion methods by talking about the concert bass drum. The drum is mounted vertically, with the two heads to the players left and right. The player's right foot is placed on the inside of the rim just right of center, and the knee is turned into the drum head. … Continue reading A Conductor’s Guide to Percussion: Bass Drum Methods