What Does Music Have To Do With Social Development?

School is a social environment. Learning takes place in classes where groups of children are gathered, usually 20-25 at a time. When everything is going smoothly, students are listening to a teacher and to each other, are asking and answering questions, responding to prompts, understanding what is being said or done, and keeping their attention … Continue reading What Does Music Have To Do With Social Development?

Two Questions Every Student Asks and What To Do About Them

I find that there are two critical questions that most students ask themselves at the beginning of my music classes. One is, “can I do this?” and the other, “is this going to be worth my time and effort to succeed at?” Many students would rather not try than for it to be seen that … Continue reading Two Questions Every Student Asks and What To Do About Them

What Can You Do With A Free Piano Keyboard App?

For several years, I have wanted a piano lab in my general music classroom for my seventh and eighth grade students. Many of them want to play piano, and with just one acoustic instrument, I just don’t have the resources to teach many of them, and certainly not during a class with only one instrument. … Continue reading What Can You Do With A Free Piano Keyboard App?

The Tension Between Expediency and Rigor

Realizing that the world isn’t perfect, and that music directors sometimes do things they feel they have to do but don’t really want to do, I thought it would be useful to explore the tension that often exists between expedient and rigorous. First, I should define my terms. Expedient is training an ensemble to play … Continue reading The Tension Between Expediency and Rigor

Responding to Music in the Core Arts Standards and Beyond

Responding to music has been among our music standards from the beginning of the first standards. In its original context, responding was primarily a standard for non-performing students, and was most utilized in music appreciation classes, or listening units in general music sections. As it is now presented in the Core Arts Standards for music, … Continue reading Responding to Music in the Core Arts Standards and Beyond

For Our Students, ‘Careers In Music’ Isn’t Just About The Future

In a time when music is so easily accessible, students can easily loose sight of all the work and people it takes to bring an album to their listening ears. All many of my students ever see is the album or song title on their phone, or the album art. They just take it for … Continue reading For Our Students, ‘Careers In Music’ Isn’t Just About The Future

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

Is Meter the Overlooked Element in Your Music Teaching?

Today I asked a class of 7th graders to explain how, when they move to a current pop song I played in class, notes on beats feel different from notes between beats. If I were to have taught them the answer, I would have told them that the notes on the beat feel stronger. I … Continue reading Is Meter the Overlooked Element in Your Music Teaching?

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?

Teaching Beat Divisions is Essential To Teaching Rhythm

It is quite common for music educators to ask of young students that they move to the beat. Patsching the beat is a basic skill that all children should acquire in formal music training from three years of age and older. One often overlooked aspect of perceiving the beat from a musical work one is … Continue reading Teaching Beat Divisions is Essential To Teaching Rhythm