A Music Teacher’s Balancing Act

One of the greatest challenges I face as a music teacher is balancing two important influences. These influences are student interest, student confidence, and curriculum. Many of my students love to listen to music, but aren't interested in learning about music, or learning to perform it, even the music they listen to. Just the fact … Continue reading A Music Teacher’s Balancing Act

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

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?

Connecting–The Contextualization of Music Education

We all have musical interests, knowledge and skills. Some of each we gain from exposure to music, through a process of enculturation in which we learn from experience the structures and expressions of our own culture’s music, and to a lesser extent, of others’ cultures with which we are brought into contact. All of the … Continue reading Connecting–The Contextualization of Music Education

Duke Ellington Had It Right

Duke Ellington once said, “The wise musicians are those who play what they can master.” There is a lot for music educators to think about in that statement, especially because an enduring understanding for performing includes “knowledge of musical works,” and “understanding of their own technical skill.” Learning, motivation, and satisfaction are always tied to … Continue reading Duke Ellington Had It Right

Defining Some Words in the New Standards for Creating Music

The new music standards are published, and there are some interesting choices of words in them that tell us a great deal both about music and how it is to be taught. The first series of words that caught my attention were the verbs describing what students will be doing when they create music. In … Continue reading Defining Some Words in the New Standards for Creating Music

Educating the Whole Person–Ethical and Social Considerations in Music Education

In this, the third and final installment in my series on educating the whole person and music, I will discuss the social and ethical pathways identified by Comer, and the intra- and inter-personal intelligences that Gardner found. There is perhaps no greater purpose to music than for one person to relate to another through the … Continue reading Educating the Whole Person–Ethical and Social Considerations in Music Education

With Music, The Learning Is In The Doing

Today, one of my eighth grade classes was composing percussion ensemble pieces. They had begun their works last week, and were continuing composing today. As I circulated through the class, looking at student work and pointing out notational issues that needed to be corrected, I was reminded of how many students make the same errors, … Continue reading With Music, The Learning Is In The Doing