In my post, "Essential Questions that Matter to Students," I placed a great deal of importance on building value and relevance for students through the use of essential questions. Today, I would like to extend that conversation into the area of music appreciation. Music appreciation has been, by and large, a concept whereby those with … Continue reading A New Vision for Music Appreciation
In another post, I discussed why many students don't like to practice. There is an irony at work. A player who is struggling needs to practice more than one who is flourishing, yet it is the one who is struggling who is likely to hate practicing and resist practicing because it is unpleasant to play … Continue reading Keys to Successful Practice
Teaching is hard work. I'm not trying to garner sympathy from anyone by writing this, I just know that after 32 years of teaching public school music in Connecticut, USA, it's always a tiring day. But it's more often than not an inspiring and fun day too. I come home often exhausted, but at the … Continue reading Staying In For the Long Haul
It is well known that our youngest students, those ages 3 to 5 or 6, have shorter attention spans than older children. One way of handling this is planning many relatively short activities, so that the children go from one activity to the next before their attention is over taxed. With well practiced transitions, this … Continue reading Balancing Attention Span with Time to Learn
This spring, I began the arduous task of learning to play golf. It was twenty years since I last played, and even then, I was never very good, never breaking 100. But now, as I look at retiring in 2-3 years, the idea of playing golf appeals to me, so I decided to start working … Continue reading What Learning Golf Has Taught Me About Teaching Music
The longer I teach, the more I value simplicity and careful thought. There was a time when I chased after every piece of equipment I could get my hands on. I absolutely had to have more computers, software, instruments, books, microphones, and on and on. Now all of these things are useful, and all of … Continue reading What Are The Essentials For Teaching Music?
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?
In music, there are three kinds of durations: beat elongations, beat divisions, and beat equivalents. The beat being elongated, divided, or equaled is called the tactus; it is the one being tracked as the pulse or "heartbeat" of the music. Beat elongations are durations longer than the tactus, beat divisions are durations that are shorter … Continue reading What Are Some Effective Ways to Teach Dotted Rhythms?
In the midst of planning and teaching lessons that encompass a complete curriculum and provide training in comprehensive musicianship, music teachers, myself included, sometimes forget to approach our content from the student's perspective. As teachers, we are aware of different proficiency levels and different learning styles, but we are not as aware of what our … Continue reading Teaching Music from the Student’s Perspective