Teaching Musical Phrases

From a perceptual perspective, phrase may be the most important musical element that a music educator teaches. While pitch and rhythm are perhaps the most foundational, and while there can be no phrases without pitch and rhythm, people perceive and understand music aurally in groups of sounds, not from individual notes. Even in instances where … Continue reading Teaching Musical Phrases

Practicing Improvisation

This week, a colleague was reading a unit plan I was working on, and noticed the phrase "practice improvisation." She immediately pointed out to me that improvisation can't be practiced, and to put those two words together makes an oxymoron. I was not convinced and still am not convinced that this is so. What is … Continue reading Practicing Improvisation

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?

Thinking In Music is the Key to Music Literacy

One of the reasons teaching music reading and writing is so challenging for students and music teachers is that music is not used nearly as often as a basis for thought and actions. Every action begins with a thought, and thoughts are generally pictures or words; images or descriptions. Music for most people is something … Continue reading Thinking In Music is the Key to Music Literacy

Ways of Developing Audiation Skills in Music Classes

Audiation is hearing and comprehending music for which the sound is no longer or may never have been present. Audiation occurs when we anticipate what will come next while listening to music, anticipate what music we are reading will sound like while performing from notation, think of what we will play next when playing “by … Continue reading Ways of Developing Audiation Skills in Music Classes

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