Fostering The Desire to Sing in Reluctant Singers and Songwriters

Music is a window into the soul. I don’t know if I made that up or read it somewhere, but the phrase came to mind the other day, and it sounded good enough to remember. In just a few words, it explains why music is so wonderful, and why it is so intimidating. Why so … Continue reading Fostering The Desire to Sing in Reluctant Singers and Songwriters

What’s an Effective Way to Teach A New Song?

For the most part, my students love to sing. This almost always is a good thing, but it is not always so. If I don’t make sure I start them off singing in their head voices, many will practice singing incorrectly, getting better at poor singing and no better at good singing. I like to … Continue reading What’s an Effective Way to Teach A New Song?

An Annotated General Music Lesson Plan

Today I would like to share a lesson plan with you, and explain it as I go along. It is intended for a first grade class lasting forty-five minutes. The objective of the lesson is that students will be able to associate written note types with notes of that duration when heard. Throughout the lesson, … Continue reading An Annotated General Music Lesson Plan

When Students Exactly Learn What We Did Not Intend To Teach

Teaching may not always be an exact science, but often what children learn is more exact than what we have taught. Let me explain. Suppose I want to teach children about legato using movement. Legato is a term used in both music and dance, so it is especially fitting that I use both to teach … Continue reading When Students Exactly Learn What We Did Not Intend To Teach

Conduct More, Talk Less

In my July 16, 2014 post, I described a music conductor. That description was drawn from the great maestros of the twentieth century; men like Reiner, Koussevitzky and Bernstein. There is always value in studying how the greats in any field go about their business, and trying to emulate them. Everything I mentioned is relevant … Continue reading Conduct More, Talk Less

Approaches to Music Listening

In a recent discussion on social media, a music teacher asked for suggestions of materials to use in the teaching of listening. While the replies were helpful and born of experience, the kinds of replies were even more interesting. Basically, the answers fell into one of three categories: materials to use with students who listen … Continue reading Approaches to Music Listening

Scales–Laborious to Glorious

Scales are usually something we don't appreciate until we gain the perspective of hindsight. Students rarely say they are glad they are practicing scales, but frequently say they are glad they learned them after performing a technically challenging piece well. For many students (and perhaps some teachers too) scales are often laborious and unpleasant parts … Continue reading Scales–Laborious to Glorious