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

Ways of Developing Audiation Skills in Music Classes

Audiation is hearing and comprehending music for which the sound is no longer or may never have been present. Audiation occurs when we anticipate what will come next while listening to music, anticipate what music we are reading will sound like while performing from notation, think of what we will play next when playing “by … Continue reading Ways of Developing Audiation Skills in Music Classes

What Is Musical Ability?

What is musical ability? This question is not as easy to answer as first appears. It is tempting to define musical ability in terms of performance skills, and those are typically made manifest in public performances. Restricting a definition of musical ability to performance excludes non-performance musical behaviors, or musical behaviors that are needed to … Continue reading What Is Musical Ability?

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

Philosophical Musings on Art and Music

What do humans do? What are we made for? If we look at our educational institutions, we would conclude that we think and reason in words and formulas, create works of art that utilize mathematical relationships and perhaps words, but which express emotions and feelings, figure out how things work through scientific inquiry, and design … Continue reading Philosophical Musings on Art and Music

What Your Students Will Tell You

As I taught my pre-kindergarten three year olds today, several of them were really good teacher's helpers. I don't mean they shared a snack, or helped a friend put on a jacket, I mean they helped me teach them their music class. Children will tell you a lot about how to teach them if you're … Continue reading What Your Students Will Tell You

How To Ease Musical Transitions

I expect that all of us have found from our own performance and from directing our performance ensembles that transitions always need extra practice; those measures in a musical work where the composer moves from one section to the next, or one theme to the next. Everything is going well, and then we arrive at … Continue reading How To Ease Musical Transitions

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