The Difference Between Rhythm and Beat

The term "beat" is arguably the most misunderstood in music. This is evident from the disparate ways the word is used, even among music educators and professional musicians. For example, is a beat something musicians see, hear, or audiate? Directors often tell students in their ensemble to "follow the beat," intending that the musicians see … Continue reading The Difference Between Rhythm and Beat

Classical Music and Contemporary Culture

Elsewhere on this site, I wrote about the top 25 classical music works, and key words that help explain why they are as popular as they are. After writing that post, I decided to take the results to my eighth grade students and see if the key words in the survey resonated with these adolescents. … Continue reading Classical Music and Contemporary Culture

Reflective Questions for 5th Grade Music Composition

Today I am going to discuss questions students can use to reflect on their creative musical work. In Connecticut, these questions are part of the Common Core Assessments for music. Each question gets at an important musical aspect or concept, and helps focus students on more than just getting notes down on paper and singing … Continue reading Reflective Questions for 5th Grade Music Composition

Describing Music and Teaching Music

If you are a music reader, want you to pretend you know nothing about music notation. If you don't read music, you're all set. Now take what I'm about to write absolutely literally. "A quarter note gets one beat, and a half note gets two beats." Just from that description, do you know that the … Continue reading Describing Music and Teaching Music

Resources for The Amazing Human Musical Mind

Over the last ten posts, I offered a series on early childhood music education. Today, I'd like to share with you some of the songs I mentioned and recommended in that series. Below you will find some videos of music educators performing these songs. The materials from John Feierabend are available from GIA Publications. "The … Continue reading Resources for The Amazing Human Musical Mind

The Amazing Human Musical Mind, Part 10

Today I conclude my series on early childhood music, and the amazing things even the youngest minds can do musically. Another way you can work singing into your normal routine is to converse with children by singing. All it takes is two or three pitches, and you can easily say or ask children anything while … Continue reading The Amazing Human Musical Mind, Part 10

The Amazing Human Musical Mind, Part 1

Over the next days, I will be sharing a presentation I gave at two conferences of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). In this session, I gave an overview of what the very youngest human minds can do musically, and how early childhood educators who are not music teachers can still include music in their … Continue reading The Amazing Human Musical Mind, Part 1

Rhythm, Beat, and Groove: What’s the Difference?

It all seems simple in the early grades. Beat is the steady pulse of the music, and rhythm is the changing durations of what is being sung or played. Using movement, students learn the difference between beat and rhythm by walking the beat while clapping the rhythm. Because they are not doing the same thing … Continue reading Rhythm, Beat, and Groove: What’s the Difference?

Syncopation, Meter, and Beat: You Really Can’t Separate Them

Syncopation is an interesting subject for music teachers in many countries around the world. On the one hand, right from childhood, people hear syncopated rhythms in folk and popular music styles everyday. The sound of syncopation, and the frequently used rhythm patterns that constitute syncopated rhythms are familiar, and most can quickly learn to correctly … Continue reading Syncopation, Meter, and Beat: You Really Can’t Separate Them

The Way of Musical Beat Development

In music, awareness and sense of beat develops from a largely kinesthetic-motor response in the pre-kindergarten years, to a more internalized understanding with older children. Beat can be felt in any of a number of locations in the body, but it must be felt. Beat is not something that can be understood only from an … Continue reading The Way of Musical Beat Development