Why Practice?

I was in my senior year of my undergraduate studies, during my apprentice teaching semester. I shared an off-campus apartment with two other men, one a music major the other a psychology major. One day, after I had been practicing my clarinet, the music major said to me, "I don't like listening to people practice." … Continue reading Why Practice?


Learning Objectives and Essential Questions

If you are a pubic school music educator, then you are accustomed to writing and posting instructional objectives for your students. In my district, student learning objectives must be posted on the front board at all times so that anyone observing the class can easily see what you are expecting the students to know and … Continue reading Learning Objectives and Essential Questions

Musical Literacy and Inclusion

On September 15-16, 2017 I attended "Tanglewood Conversation" at Boston University. It was a meeting of music educators from within the Boston University music education community to discuss issues of importance to music education in 2017 and to mark the 50th anniversary of the original Tanglewood Symposium held in 1967. What follows are a few … Continue reading Musical Literacy and Inclusion

Conversational Solfege and the National Core Arts Standards

Conversational solfege is a curriculum for teaching music literacy developed by Dr. John Feierabend. It is a literature based curriculum that is grounded in Music Learning Theory and the Kodaly philosophy for music education. It is not a method that one uses to the exclusion of all others, but rather an effective way of teaching … Continue reading Conversational Solfege and the National Core Arts Standards

What Does ‘Explain and Demonstrate’ Mean?

As teachers, we are all familiar with asking students to explain something. Explaining requires that students go beyond reciting a memorized answer, or randomly deciding on a response. Explaining involves giving reasons for why an answer was given, and the giving of evidence from a text. Demonstrating, on the other hand, is showing or doing … Continue reading What Does ‘Explain and Demonstrate’ Mean?

Using Student Feedback to Improve Instruction

In order to provide the best possible instruction for our students, we must be informed about what they are experiencing as they go through the learning activities we have planned for them. We must know what difficulties individual students are having, what progress each student is making, and what connections the student is making between … Continue reading Using Student Feedback to Improve Instruction

What Is The Purpose of Concerts?

For most if not all school music programs, the performing of concerts is at the core of what music educators and their students have uppermost on their agendas. Music teachers spend a great deal of time planning and rehearsing concert programs, always with the performance in mind. While (hopefully) plenty of musical concepts are being … Continue reading What Is The Purpose of Concerts?

Assessing Student Learning: How To Get At What Really Matters

Yesterday, I met with my professional learning community (PLC) to write an assessment for an instructional unit we had been working on. The unit is for 3rd grade and is a responding to music unit. We wanted to assess students in the areas of selecting and interpreting music to which they listen. We made our … Continue reading Assessing Student Learning: How To Get At What Really Matters

Selecting Music to Experience

One of the more challenging piece of the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS) for music has been having students select music to experience. For years, I chose the music my students would rehearse, perform, and listen to. This was expedient, because I could select music based on what I wanted my students to learn and … Continue reading Selecting Music to Experience