What Are The Elements of Music?

For as long as any of you reading this have been alive, music has been taught in the context of so-called musical elements. Though one can find variations on just what is included in a list of musical elements, most will agree that it includes rhythm, dynamics, melody, harmony, timbre, texture, and form. Some of … Continue reading What Are The Elements of Music?

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?

How Do Math and Music Mix in a Music Classroom?

Most people I know, both teachers and non-teachers, musicians and non-musicians, believe that students use a lot of math concepts when making music. In the current environment created by core curriculum state standards, this belief can easily lead to the desire for music teachers to explicitly teach, or at the very least reinforce math concepts … Continue reading How Do Math and Music Mix in a Music Classroom?

What is a Melody?

For virtually everyone who teaches music, melody is one of the basic elements. Though music teachers may vary slightly on what melody is, most definitions will at least include the requirement of a sequence of notes which each have pitch and duration. This fits nicely with a view of music being humanly organized sounds recognized … Continue reading What is a Melody?

How Do Composers Know When a Musical Work is Finished?

I read an interesting question on social media the other day. A composer asked, “When do you know that a composition is finished?” Several answers were offered, ranging from “when the composer has expressed everything he or she wanted,” to “when the parts are passed out to the musicians.” The first of these has potential. … Continue reading How Do Composers Know When a Musical Work is Finished?

Overcoming Confusion When Teaching Music Reading

Teaching children to read music can be challenging, particularly if formal instruction in it is not started until the children are 9 or 10 years old. Elsewhere, I have written about the importance of teaching "sound before sight" when teaching students to read music. Like language, musical patterns must be learned aurally and orally before … Continue reading Overcoming Confusion When Teaching Music Reading