Music teachers are often concerned with method. If you go to most music education conferences, you’ll find sessions on the Kodaly Method, the Dalcroze Method, Gordon Music Learning Theory, the Orff Method, Feierabend’s Conversational Solfege, the Suzuki Method, to name a few. Music teaching methods are like Protestant denominations: there are many of them, they … Continue reading Is There Madness in the Method?
I have noticed that there is a great deal of interest in how best to teach rhythm. Perhaps this reveals challenges that music teachers find in teaching rhythm, made manifest in students’ difficulty in performing rhythms accurately. While I cannot know what transpires in every music classroom, I can at least address problems I have … Continue reading A Better Way To Teach Rhythm
Why do you do anything the way you do? If your answer to this question is “because I’ve always done it that way,” or “because it works,” then you may be missing out on much greater success. Being a New Englander all my life, I have been very happy with the mantra, “If ain’t broke, … Continue reading Is There A Better Way?
We teachers live for the big payoff. The moment when the students connect the dots and finally "get it." This morning, I was able to enjoy moments like that with both of my 5th grade classes. Last week, they received printed music for the round Gaudeamus Hodie and worked independently at sight singing it with … Continue reading The Big Payoff
As this school years winds down, it's time for me to reflect on my year, and to see what I accomplished. I think it's important to reflect on how I've done so that I can focus my goals on my own growth and improvement next year. To achieve excellence in anything, a person must be … Continue reading End of the Year Reflections
During my classes the last two days, students have asked me several questions about musical notation. I thought I might share these questions and the answers I gave to them. I think it is helpful to know what is going on in the minds of students while we are teaching them. Sometimes, lines of thinking, … Continue reading What Are Questions Students Ask About Music Reading?
Last month, I wrote about using fixed do solfege in my music classes (Another Try At Fixed Do). At that time, I reported early success with fifth and second grade students sight singing using the fixed do system. Since then, I have continued to be pleased with the results, and do not at this point … Continue reading Update on my Switch to Fixed Do
Musicianship is one of those words that is used frequently but thought about rarely. As music teachers, we want our students to acquire musicianship, but we don’t necessarily spend much time specifically teaching it. Much of the time we are teaching skills, and then assuming musicianship will automatically follow. But it is often the case … Continue reading What is Musicianship?
Although most music educators have solid training in vocal and instrumental techniques, expertise in teaching music composition is less common. There are, I suspect, fewer music teachers who are composers than instrumental or vocal specialists. Even so, music composition is an important part of musicianship, the development of which is at the heart of music curricula … Continue reading On Teaching Music Composition in General Music Classes
Ever since I was an undergraduate, and that was thirty years ago, I've been steadfast in believing that moveable do was the only sensible way to teach sight singing. Fixed do confused me, and having the tonic on different syllables bothered me. In spite of this, I like to think of myself as open minded, … Continue reading Another Try at Fixed Do