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?
Tempo is a deceptively tricky musical concept. On the face of it, it seems straight forward enough. Tempo is measured as the number of beats occurring in one minute given a steady rate, and that beat can be equal to any note duration, such as eighth, quarter, half, or whole note. There are tempo markings … Continue reading Can rhythms be fast?
It seems simple enough; when music gets faster, we call it an accelerando. Orchestral musicians know they have to watch the conductor, and conductors know they have to give an increasingly faster beat to create the accelerando. As far as it goes, this is all correct. But increasing the beat is not the only way … Continue reading A Variety of Music Speed Types
I searched the title of this post today, and the results were any number of explanations of how to read music; what the note names were, the different kinds of notes, the treble and bass clefs, and so forth. But is this really what those notes on a page mean? Not at all. As you … Continue reading What Do Music Notes Mean?
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
The popularity of classical music is of interest to those who teach music, and to those who run symphony orchestras. One of the things that attracts audiences to concert halls is favorite repertoire being on the program. Contemporary composers of classical music have at times been at odds with audiences, because their music was not … Continue reading Strong Beat and Driving Rhythm Found in Top Classical Pieces
Children love stories. Sometimes stories can be used to teach difficult concepts. I remember a story that a music teacher used to tell to explain dotted quarter notes, and some 58 years later, I still remember it. Here's is another story about note values. I hope you enjoy it. There once was a land where … Continue reading A Fable from the Land of Music Notes
What are the elements of music? It sounds like a simple question, one to which you'd expect a straightforward answer; perhaps a list of seven or eight items. If you ask this question of most if any music teacher, you're likely to get such an answer. The trouble is, if you ask several music teachers, you're … Continue reading What Are The Elements of Music?
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
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