A Method for Improving Rehearsal Efficiency and Enjoyment

One of my most often used phrases when teaching musical works to students is that a right pitch played at the wrong time is still a wrong note. While pitches, rhythm and beat are all important, it is often advantageous to teach the rhythm first, separated out from the pitches. This gives the student less … Continue reading A Method for Improving Rehearsal Efficiency and Enjoyment

The Amazing Human Musical Mind, Part 7

Besides those things I mentioned yesterday, I could switch to rhythms. Now I will gently bounce the child to a beat. The child is not able to do anything to a steady beat yet, but I can again model that, teaching the child what that feels like, letting the child experience it. So I’ll bounce … Continue reading The Amazing Human Musical Mind, Part 7

The Amazing Human Musical Mind, Part 4

Just as a child starts to speak after listening to others speak, so too a child starts to sing, chant, and move after listening to others sing music. Through the voice, children develop the ability to sing and chant, which is the equivalent to speaking in a language. Because we are interested here in music, … Continue reading The Amazing Human Musical Mind, Part 4

Why Music Is Not Expendable

If there has been one constant over the last decades in education, it is the ease and speed with which music programs are cut or eliminated when funds are short. Time and again, music is viewed as less important and even expendable compared to language arts, science, and math. While there are no doubt numerous … Continue reading Why Music Is Not Expendable

Rhythm, Beat, and Groove: What’s the Difference?

It all seems simple in the early grades. Beat is the steady pulse of the music, and rhythm is the changing durations of what is being sung or played. Using movement, students learn the difference between beat and rhythm by walking the beat while clapping the rhythm. Because they are not doing the same thing … Continue reading Rhythm, Beat, and Groove: What’s the Difference?

Teaching About Music The Way We Teach Music

For the most part, music rehearsals have three parts that extend over a period of weeks. The first part is learning how the music is supposed  to go, the second part is learning to perform the music correctly, correcting errors where they occur and trying to avoid errors during trials, and the third part is performing it correctly repeatedly … Continue reading Teaching About Music The Way We Teach 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?

What Is Music Theory and How Does It Fit Into Music Education?

A casual survey of so-called music theory books used by piano and violin teachers reveals that music theory is frequently understood to be the body of knowledge needed to read music. When students using these materials “learn music theory,” they are asked to name notes and chords, identify and define symbols such as key and … Continue reading What Is Music Theory and How Does It Fit Into Music Education?