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

Teaching Students to Manage Their Emotions

As much as we might want it to be otherwise, teaching music does not just involve teaching music. Because we are teaching children and teens, we must sometimes or even often teach our students non-music specific life skills so that they will be equipped to learn music. One of the most challenging areas for many … Continue reading Teaching Students to Manage Their Emotions

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

Can Tone and Chord Functions Be Taught With Fixed Do?

When it comes to choosing a system of syllables to sing for teaching ear training and sight singing, there seems to be a consensus that moveable do, sometimes called functional solfege, is needed for teaching chord and tone functions. To be sure, moving do to wherever the tonic is does help a singer remember where … Continue reading Can Tone and Chord Functions Be Taught With Fixed Do?

A Better Way To Teach Rhythm

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

How Do Math and Music Mix in a Music Classroom?

Most people I know, both teachers and non-teachers, musicians and non-musicians, believe that students use a lot of math concepts when making music. In the current environment created by core curriculum state standards, this belief can easily lead to the desire for music teachers to explicitly teach, or at the very least reinforce math concepts … Continue reading How Do Math and Music Mix in a Music Classroom?

What Are The Best Pitch Combinations For Teaching Our Youngest Children Singing?

The popularity and success of the Kodaly approach to teaching music in schools has resulted in a widespread practice of using songs and chants comprised of a minor third when beginning formal music education with young children. There is much to recommend this practice, including the ease with which a small interval can be sung, … Continue reading What Are The Best Pitch Combinations For Teaching Our Youngest Children Singing?