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Foundations of Music Education

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Sarah Dr

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Transcript of Foundations of Music Education

Foundations of Music Education
Fall 2014-Sarah Dresnack
Chapter 1
The Multiple Meanings of Music for Children
Ten Functions of Music
According to Alan Merriam

Emotional expression
Aesthetic enjoyment
Symbolic representation
Physical response
Enforcement of conformity to social norms
Validation of social institutions and religious rituals
Contribution to the continuity and stability of culture
Contribution to the integration of society
Music serves many purposes in the lives of today's people, as illustrated by the ten functions. Music has a rich history, with earliest recorded beginnings in the Classical Greco-Roman culture and continuing to modern times. Children have natural musical ability, and many children relate to music because of these inborn tendencies. Music is a part of every culture around the world and every culture has its own unique songs, instruments, and dances that allow children (and adults) to express themselves and become more integrated with their society and culture.
Important People
Heinrich Pestalozzi-"Sound before sight" theorist
Alan Merriam-Anthropologist who announced the ten functions of music
Samuel Hope-Director of the National Association of Schools of Music, advocate for music as part of the curricular core
John Blacking-Anthropologist who studied the South African Venda tribe and their children's musical abilities
Zoltan Kodaly-Hungarian musical philosopher who emphasized aural learning
Carl Orff-German composer who integrated play into musical learning during early childhood
Explanation of 10 Functions
1) Emotional expression: allows children to release or cope with negative feelings and celebrate positive feelings
2) Aesthetic enjoyment: allows children to experience the beauty and wonder that are a part of life that is not always expressed through verbal mediums
3) Entertainment: Music as a source of amusement--can be found in movies, TV shows, or video games
4) Communication: A method of sharing personal feelings with family, friends, or the public
5) Symbolic representation: A way for children to associate certain cultural signs and symbols with modes, meters, pitches, or rhythms
6) Physical response: Certain types of music can inspire people to dance, while other music is formulated to assist relaxation and improve sleep patterns
7) Enforcement of conformity to social norms: Influencing children to obey normal social behavior, such as cleaning up after oneself or using appropriate manners
8) Validation of social institutions and religious rituals: The use of song in religious or sacred rituals, such as the singing of the Mass in Catholic rituals
9) Contribution to the continuity and stability of culture: Music is used in all cultures as a way to feel connected and to maintain certain aspects of a culture. An example of this is singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" around the winter holidays.
10) Contribution to the integration of society: Using song and dance as a way for children to feel like a part of their society and peer group.
Chapter 2
From Theory to Practice in Teaching Music to Children
Music Educational Theory
Heinrich Pestalozzi originated the idea of "sound before sight", or learning music through aural means only before applying any theory or notation. Zoltan Kodaly took Pestalozzi's ideas one step further by teaching a method that instructed students through ear- and vocal-training exclusively. Carl Orff invented a new way to teach music to young children through the use of rhythmic instruments such as xylophones, bongos, and egg shakers. These instruments pique children's natural rhythm and combine this ability with play, rendering it more interesting to the children.
Curricular Music and Its History
Greco-Roman societies regarded music as one of the greatest tools in children's moral development.
One of the major skills of the "Renaissance man" was experience and prowess in musical and dramatic arts.
"Singing schools" appeared in the U.S. in the 1600s and continued to grow as the frontier expanded.
Lowell Mason introduced music into the public schools in Boston during the year of 1838.
As Mason's students began to perform and display their musical talents, music began to take root as an essential part of the curriculum throughout America (Music was already established throughout Europe and Asia).
Music education has a long, rich history and therefore deserves a place in today's curriculum so we can continue to preserve this tradition.
Stage and Phase Theories
Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist, formulated the theory on the four stages of thinking. The four stages are: sensorimotor (from birth to age 2), preoperational (ages 2-7), concrete operations (ages 7-11), and formal operations (age 12-adulthood).
Jerome Bruner theorized about the multiple modes of representation that are often correlated with (but not dependent on) maturation. These modes are enactive, iconic, and symbolic. Enactive learners learn through motions or actions, iconic learning involves images, graphs, or other visual cues, and symbolic learners are able to learn beyond what is immediately apparent (learning the theory behind notation, for example).
Social Systems
Uri Bronfenbrenner theorized about the social aspects of learning. His theory discussed four interrelated social influences upon children. These four systems were the microsystem, which includes the family and/or classroom; the exosystem of indirect influences, the mesosystem, which looks at the interaction between the micro- and exosystem; and the macrosystem of the society as a whole.
Arjun Appadurai discussed how cultural influences have an effect on children in that the current global cultural flow allows today's children to have access to more information and different types of music, therefore allowing them to learn more independently.
Socialization and Musical Play
Social Reinforcement Theories
Neuroscience in Musical Learning
Learning Style Theories
Instructional Theories
Classroom Environment
Student-Aimed Curriculum
Utilizing Instructional Theory Effectively
Sigmund Freud and G. Stanley Hall both stated that children prepare for their adult lives through play.
In socialization as a teaching method, the teacher acts as a guide for the child as the child begins his or her musical journey. The teacher does not necessarily instruct the students what to do during their musical playtime; rather, the teacher allows the students to create, improvise, and share with each other their varied ideas and possibilities. Socialization allows children the freedom to create and share with their peers.
Lev Vygotsky, a Russian social psychologist, stated that the parent or teacher is the most important figure to a child during his or her socialization. The parent or teacher unwittingly transmits cultural information to the child. This cultural information includes verbally transmitted statements, body language, and facial expressions. In the case of music, the parent or teacher displays certain signs (such as applause at the end of a concert) for how to behave and what to do in a musical setting to the child.
Eventually, the child will have learned all necessary behaviors and actions (such as turning vocalizations into songs with rhythm and melody), and be able to perform them without assistance. This form of independent learning is important to children in that it allows them independence and an ability to think critically at a young age.
Chapter 3
This video displays Vygotsky's theory of the "Zone of Proximal Development", or the zone within which a child is able to learn. Even with guidance and assistance, each learner only has a certain level at which he or she can perform.
David Jonassen's theory of constructivism looks at how children develop knowledge.
The teacher is not the "leader", but the "guide" towards new knowledge. The children learn primarily on their own and the teacher provides an environment conducive to active learning.
A challenge in this method is for the teacher to be able to balance an appropriate amount of instruction with free learning so that his or her students are gaining the maximum learning experience from the constructivist approach.
This video displays a constructivist approach within an elementary school classroom. The teacher provides the student with the necessary tools to perform the desired activity, and then allows the student to begin to think critically for him or herself.
Albert Bandura created the social learning theory, which states that authority figures act as behavioral models for younger observers.
This theory is helpful in music in that a primary component of teaching music is modeling.
B.F. Skinner's operant conditioning theory is a three-step process. In the first step, a stimulus is given to the student. The second step is the student's response to he given stimulus, and the third step is the providing of the second stimulus that reinforces the first.
In a music classroom, this theory can be used to improve students' intonation and rhythmic accuracy with positive stimuli over time.
Methods of Teaching Music to Children
Emile Jaques-Dalcroze
Dalcroze: “Movement with a Mission”
Three-pronged approach: 1) rhythmic movement (eurythmics), 2) ear-training through solfège and solfège-rhythmique, and 3) improvisation
- Eurythmics:
The first aspect of Dalcroze’s approach, it began as rhythmic gymnastics that activated the diaphragm, lungs, and articulatory muscles of the mouth and tongue, called eurythmics
As his methods evolved, students were able to discriminate between even the slightest differences in note-length, time, intensity, and phrasing
The different types of movements can be locomotor (traveling) or non-locomotor (isolated movements of hands, arms, head, etc., or some combination of body parts)
The students’ movements are immediate responses to the music they hear
The main goal of using eurythmics was to develop the student’s musical sensitivity to its full potential
Children become proficient as they follow tempos, rhythms, and meters of the music and learn to react to any slight changes in these aspects

- Ear Training:
Use of solfège very important; teaches children to understand spaces between pitches and the function of those pitches in different settings (scales, songs, musical passages)
Fixed-do system: a note (almost always C) is considered “do” regardless of the key. And here’s where it gets interesting! There are different ways to approach fixed-do:
According to your textbook: C is always the starting note, regardless of the key. So, a G scale would start and end on “do” (C), but contain an F#. The G would appear in the middle of that scale
Another method: C (or B♭, in the case of a young band) is always “do.” However, the scale used would still begin on that tonic. So, an F scale with B♭ as “fixed do” would start on an F, and would be sung, “Sol, La, Ti, Do, Re, Mi, Fi, Sol”
The point of the fixed-do system: to develop students’ absolute pitch as the sense of C is impressed upon their ear through repetition. Singing is accompanied by hand gestures that show the position of the pitch in space or on the child’s arm as an imaginary keyboard. The children learn to react physically to harmonic progressions as well; for example, they could face the center for the tonic, turn to the right for dominant, and move left for subdominant chords

Improvisation: Dalcroze wanted the students to have a freedom of expression; through movement, rhythmic speech, or instruments
He wanted to let children acquire a set of movement and musical ideas from which they can use to improvise.

Dalcroze in Action
This video displays an elementary-level class exploring eurythmics with their teacher. The teacher narrates the story and the students are able to recognize and differentiate between high pitches and low pitches and different rhythms.
Kodaly in Action
This video displays the Kodaly-Curwen hand signs and the use of solfege, prominent in the Kodaly Method. The song used is "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", which is a well-known children's song in America. The teacher models for the students first, and then the children are able to perform the activity without guidance.
Zoltan Kodaly
Zoltan Kodaly was a Hungarian ethnomusicologist and composer. The basis of his method comes from his native folk songs, with encouragement for teachers to introduce their own native folk songs to their students. Kodaly worked closely with composer Bela Bartok and through their composition and research, Kodaly uncovered hundreds of songs, mostly pentatonic, for Hungarian teachers to use. Kodaly began a singing movement during the 1930s which led to a dramatic change in musical education in Hungary. The Kodaly method uses solmization syllables and hand signs for pitches and French Cheve rhythmic mnemonics, in addition to the movable "do" system. A main focus of this method is to develop the child's inner ear, enabling him or her to hear melodies internally without needing to externalize them in any way. The use of solfege is meant to allow the children to hear the relationships between each scale degree and how they interact in their native folk songs.
Comprehensive Musicianship
-The method known as Comprehensive Musicianship functions by integrating performance, theory, history, literature, and composition into a single lesson.
-In 1963, the Contemporary Music Project (CPM) brought this method into schools in order to fix up music programs.
-Music is studied by pitch, rhythm, volume, and timbre.
-The use of composed music: contemporary, traditional, and world music.
-Music is often listened to before performance and then broken down analytically.
Gordon's Music Learning Theory
-This method was developed by Edwin E. Gordon in the 1970’s
-The theory revolves around the term he coined (known as “audiation”)
-Audiation is the point at which children have enough listening experience to make musical sense of notated rhythm and melody without making sound aloud, but rather internalizing it. This another example of Heinrich Pestalozzi's "Sound Before Sight" theory.
Eight Step Hierarchy of Learning
(Discrimination Learning)
1.Aural & Oral Learning
2. Verbal Association
3. Partial Synthesis
4. Symbolic Association
5. Composite Synthesis
(Inference learning)
6. Generalization
7. Creativity and Improvisation
8. Theoretical understanding.
Manhattanville Music Curriculum Project
-Developed in the 1960s and funded by the US Office of Education
-This project is designed for grades 3-12. It is derived from the student’s perspective, rather than the teacher’s perspective.
-Musical concepts are learned the exploratory experiences that are teacher guided.
-The project is based upon grade levels, where concepts in the previous grade level is built upon in the next level. Concepts become more abstract and sophisticated as the grade level increases.
-Children will learn from their own musical experiences and expressions (ex-dancing or singing) and use those experiences to later make meaning of musical concepts.
-There are 7 types of experiences defined by the MMCP: MMCP strategies (composing, performing, evaluation, conducting, listening), student recitals, listening to recordings, research and oral reports, guest recitals, skill development, and group singing.

-The MMCP advocates for a relaxed learning environment and constructivist approach to teaching music.

-This method was developed by the Yamaha Corporation. It focuses on technology in the classroom through the use of electronic keyboards (especially those produced by Yamaha).
-There is an emphasis on learning music through the computer and computerized keyboards. There are many programs and software dedicated to music education.
-The goal is to help students become better listeners that can eventually speak about the music they hear and create.
-Repertoire utilized includes folk songs, classical songs, pop songs, musical theater songs, and patriotic songs.

Music in Education

-Education Through Music is a holistic approach to music learning developed by American music educator Mary Helen Richards.
-ETM is based on the ideas from Kodaly’s method. However, this time the methods are adapted to fit the needs of American students and teachers by using English and American cultural songs.
-Richards adapted these songs and published them in her book Threshold to Music
-The first and second level goals focus on getting children to be comfortable, increase their self esteem, and learn how to cooperate with others. This is followed by aural skills and musical understanding.
-Many selected songs include movement and kinesthetic activity.
-The imitation and discovery of rhythms and pitches leads to musical literacy
-Sight-reading skills are eventually developed as pitch recognition increases
Education Through Music
Weikert's Movement Sequence
-This method developed by Phyllis Weikert focuses on the instruction of music through movement.
-One primary focus of the method is helping people feel and keep a steady beat.
-Uses folk dance and song
-Connection is made between language and music.
-Weikert developed a four step method to align music and movement:
2.Say and Do
3. Whisper and Do
4. Do (think and do)
-This method is most effective if used as a supplement to Dalcroze or Orff
-Aural development and notation are not addressed in this method
Carl Orff
Orff then worked with Gunild Keetman, a young musician-teacher, to bring back the idea of integrated music and movement and began to focus on children instead of adults. Orff believed in the natural musical ability in children. Together, he and Keetman published five volumes of chants, songs, and instrumental pieces (Musik fur Kinder: Music for Children). Orff's work spread to North America during the 1960s, where it was adapted for public school.
Carl Orff was a German composer who worked closely with theatrical and dance performers. His work with these artists provided the basis for the Orff-Schulwerk method. This method can be referred to as "elemental music making", in that its basis is in the natural musical behaviors that children exhibit. These behaviors include singing, speaking, dancing, and playing. Orff developed this method during the 1920s, after which he established the "Guntherschule", an experimental music school. The school was founded in partnership with Dorothee Gunther, a well-known German dancer. The basis of the Guntherschule was to provide students with an integrated arts education, including singing, dancing, and instrumental playing. Many of the Guntherschule students were in the process of becoming teachers. Unfortunately, the Guntherschule was destroyed in the violence of World War II.
There are 4 stages to the Orff method: imitation, exploration, literacy, and improvisation. During the imitation stage, the student imitates the teacher. The exploration phase allows the student to take the imitated ideas and apply them in a new way. Literacy applies notation, both graphic and conventional. Improvisation allows the student to take all past experiences and use them to create his or her own through musical creation. The main goal of the Orff method is for the student to be able to improvise and compose.
Orff in Action
The video below shows an Orff-Schulwerk class. They use body movements in the beginning of the video, and progress to improvising on pitched percussion instruments. The teacher guides this progress, and serves as a model for the students.
Chapter 4
The Singing Child
The Developing Child Voice
Infants (age 0-2) will babble. Babbling is a melodic vocalizing experiment in which the infant utilizes a range of pitches and durations simply to learn what his or her voice is capable of.
Children require the use of a model and learn through imitation. The teacher must provide an accurate example and step-by-step instruction. Children mostly use their chest voice unless the teacher uses pitch-matching exercises to develop their head voice and displays to the students what the head voice is supposed to sound like.
Children in high school are capable of using appropriate diction, tone, blend, and style.
During ages 9-12 children's voices sound more resonant and deeper, however may also bring more embarrassment as part of a cultural stigma. As boys' voices change, it is essential to avoid any vocal extremes and allow them to stay in their middle range.
By age 8 children are able to maintain a tonal center. By age 9, children are able to perform a multiple-part rhythmic and melodic ostinato with a descant melody.
At age 4, children begin to differentiate between a "singing" voice and a "speaking" voice. Their possible range is about 2 octaves, however the students are only able to accurately sing within a fifth. During the process of learning new repertoire, children learn in five stages: lyric reproduction, lyric rhythm, melodic contour, pitch accuracy, and tonality. Children around this age will mostly listen to popular music, and as such will imitate the syncopations and pitches they hear in these songs.
Physical Training
Perfect Singing Posture (PSP) is required for proper singing. Imagery and modeling are essential in teaching this.
A great exercise to achieve PSP is to imagine one's spine as the string of a marionette puppet and to feel the pull to stand upright while relaxed.
Appropriate breathing for singing is similar to that of a high endurance sport. Imagine air filling the entire body like a balloon. Imagine sucking air through a straw, only without tension.
Singing warm-ups are best when they incorporate slow, even inhalation, sustaining, and slow, even exhalation of air.
Many warm-ups include the "do-mi-sol-mi-do" pattern and moving in 3rds or 5ths to accustom the student's ear to the sound of the Tonic chord. These warm-ups also use a neutral syllable such as "loo" or "doo".
Toward Accurate Singing
There are 5 skill levels of Singing:
-presinger (chant in rhythm with no pitch)
-speaking-range singer (notes within speaking range)
-limited-range singer can sing between a D (above middle C) and an F
-initial-range singer (D-A)
-full-fledged singer (B-d +)
Teaching accurate singing isn't as daunting as it may seem. There are a few ways that lead to accurate singing, and require diligence of the teacher and student. These methods are: Focus (ask direct questions), repeated listenings, visuals, body movement, mapping, hand symbols, reproducing short melodies, “Name That Tune”, and silent singing
Kodaly-Curwen hand signs may be used to demonstrate the difference between pitches visually. Pitch-matching songs and exercises are essential.
Music has been proven to lead to higher levels of critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.
The brain's left hemisphere responds better to linear, sequential, and verbal processing, whereas the right side of the brain is higher-functioning in nonverbal, spatial-visual, and simultaneous processing.
Children who take music lessons score better on tests that look at their spatial intelligence. Playing an instrument improves hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Practicing music develops a child's independence and discipline.
Children who are involved in musical ensembles work better with their peers in and outside of the ensemble, because they recognize that cooperation is necessary to have a good outcome.
Music's helpful attributes are many and varied, but all evidence suggests that music is an important part of a child's education.
Howard Gardner created the theory of multiple intelligences. While an individual may possess all intelligences, only one or two are dominant.
The 8 types of intelligence are: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, and naturalistic. A person's dominant intelligence(s) refers to the best way to present information to him or her.
For example, a person who has an interpersonal intelligence works well when working in a group, and a person who has a bodily-kinesthetic intelligence learns best when there is motion or physical activity.
Barbe and Swassing discussed a theory of learning modalities that states children process information through one of three means: auditory, sensory, or visual.
As an educator, knowing these different ways of learning is helpful in that it can assist in providing children with different means to absorb information that best suits their learning style.
Selecting Choral Music
-The process of teaching songs all depends on the perspective of the teacher, the objective of the lesson, and the skill of the students.
How to Select Songs
1. Make sure the song is age appropriate
a. Range- not too high/low in terms of pitch
b. Tessitura-is it within the range your choir can sing?
c. Text (Is it babyish? Interesting? Contain foul language? In another language?)
2. The style of the song
-Can you teach in the style of the song?
-Can you sing it in the style of the song?
3. Review the song for its musical and textual highlights
-Melody, Rhythm, Text
-Ensure students' ability matches the song's difficulty
4. Cultural significance
-Holidays, patriotism, world cultures awareness
-David Ausubel's theory states that an individual's "existing cognitive structure" is the main way in which an individual processes and remembers information. Another theory of Ausubel's is that of meaningful reception, where the learner is meant to be passively absorbing and receiving and the teacher is meant to be transmitting information.
-Jerome Bruner was a main player in the "discovery method", which is a method of teaching that requires the learner to institute problem-solving skills. The learner must make guesses and explore different ideas and avenues when give a prompt and some instruction. This can be used as another method of "sound before sight", as music students can listen to a piece before analyzing it with the teacher. The Manhattanville Music Curriculum Project was very heavily influenced by Bruner's ideas.
-Robert Gagne developed the eight conditions of learning. These conditions progress though the gain of information through sensory channels, the perception of this information, and the formation of a concept from the information.
-Edwin Gordon's music learning theory borrows heavily from Gagne, in that Gordon's method is hierarchical and progresses through the different phases. Gordon believed in "audiation", or inner hearing. The end goal for his method was to be able to take dictation, similar to our Aural Skills classes at Fredonia.
Baby Babbling
The video below displays a 3-month old child attempting to sing the same tune as her mother. The infant is utilizing her tongue, teeth and mouth to vocalise, even though she is unsure of how to use these parts of her body quiet yet. The result is adorable, but also very telling to the natural musical ability of children.
Learned Song
This video shows a pair of sisters singing "Let It Go". The girls don't have fine-tuned vocal skills, and are not even singing in most parts, however they are speaking in rhythm and attempting to match pitch to the song they've heard. As these girls grow, they will learn how to properly match pitch and how to sing, rather than speak in rhythm.
Perfect Singing Posture
The diagrams below display the optimum singing posture while sitting or standing. As you can see, the idea is not to be tense, but relaxed and natural without slouching. The singer's back should be in a straight line without curving back to form a backwards "C" shape, as is evident in the second image from the left. The singer should imagine his or her ears, shoulders, spine and pelvic bone in one straight line. Through imagery and careful guidance, PSP can be achieved.
Methods for Teaching Choral Music
Two Methods for Teaching Music
1.Oral and Aural (Rote)
-Children are given the opportunity to listen to the song. The song is then broken down into fragments and presented sequentially to the children (oral). Children will listen to these fragments (aural) and attempt to echo what they hear. This method is similar to Pestalozzi's sound before sight theory, in that notation is not used as a method for children to learn the song.
These methods may be utilized in different ways depending on the song used, the age of the children, and the difficulty of the song.
-Immersion Process: This is when the child hears the song sung by someone. They learn it individually before joining in.
-This method includes the children reading notation.
-The selected song may include rhythms and melodies from a previous lesson. This way, children can look for them in the song.
-The rhythm of the song can be chanted and the melody can be sung on a neutral syllable or on solfege syllables.
-This method puts logical and analytical skills to use.
-This method is "sight before sound", so the children should not be listening to this music prior to attempting to perform it.
Singing in Multiple Parts
Once the students are accustomed to the sound of multiple parts, splitting them into two or three groups is acceptable.
-Canons/Rounds-When teaching a canon or round:
1. Make sure children can sing securely in a large group first, and then a small group.
2.First the teacher can have the class sing and softly sing the round with the class at the correct time. Then the teacher can select a small group to sing the canon. Finally, the class is split into two groups to sing the round
-Ostinato: a melodic or rhythmic pattern created by examining the original melody, harmony, and rhythm of the original song. Usually they are about 1-2 measures long. They can also be played on a pitched instrument.
-Around third grade, children can begin to sing two part arrangements. These arrangements will usually contain a melody with some sort of drone. By fourth grade, children can sing in canons, descant parts, partner songs, and countermelodies. These are usually performed by dividing the class into two different groups. By 6th grade children can sing in three part rounds or two part choral pieces.
-Descant/Countermelody- A descant is and independent melody usually added above (higher) the melody. The countermelody can be added underneath the melody.
The best way to teach this is to teach the entire class every melody or part, and practice having the class sing one part with the teacher singing a different melody or part.
Chapter 5: Pitch and the Child
Growth in Understanding of Linear Pitch Structures
Teaching children about pitch relationships is tricky, however human biology allows infants to remember familiar melodies and attempt to mimic them. Children develop a cultural sense of music and its role in their society similarly to the way they develop language skills. As children grow and develop, the instructor can help children change from thinking in percept, which is the ability to simply notice various melodic qualities; to thinking conceptually by being able to describe and/or identify specific qualities and apply them to multiple situations.
Basic Pitch Taxonomy:
Step 1: Can the student realize if two pitches, melodies or rhythms are the same or different?
Step 2: Can the student recognize the the contour of the melody? Can the student recognize a familiar melody?
Step 3: Are two pitches high or low relative to each other or a center note? Is the melody moving upward or downward? Is the motion of the pitches by step or leap? Are the leaps large or small?
Step 4: Is the student aware of the tonality of a melody? Can they recognize the tonic note? What makes a musical phrase complete? Is the melody within a scale?

The majority of children develop conceptual thinking of these ideas between 6-8 years old. The first 8 years of a child's life are instrumental (no pun intended) in the development of a child's pitch and aural training.
Discrimination and Contour Awareness
The picture below displays a near-ideal music classroom. The space is open and welcoming, with colorful accents and clean, organized spaces for instrument storage. This space could be improved by
having one or more windows to allow more natural light. In addition, the music classroom should be well-ventilated and low in ambient noise.
Beginning at the age of 3, some children might be able to recognize the melodic contour in songs such as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"
Children aged 3-5 years will display their recognition of familiar songs by singing along.
Children aged 4-7 years develop a sense of pitch relation and are able to describe pitches as being "high"or "low" and therefore describe melodic contour more accurately.
Teachers can help children learn to distinguish between pitches by using the distinction between "same" or "different", rather than "high", "low", "loud", or "soft", etc. Using the "same" and "different" distinction allows students to develop a sense of pitch discrimination without getting confused with possibly unfamiliar terms.
There are multiple approaches to teaching pitch discrimination, including: singing, moving, playing, listening, reading, and creating. Children will benefit the most from a variety of these approaches.
These different approaches will also assist the different types of learners (discussed in Chapter 2) find a way of learning pitch discrimination that is the best for them with teacher guidance.

Pitch Relations and Melodic Motion
Adaptive Instruction
In any classroom there is the potential for a disabled student. These disabilities could be physical in that the child is unable to clap, dance, or use his or her body to shape melodic contour. In these instances, the teacher should do everything possible to accommodate the student's disability without making the student feel uncomfortable or left out.
For example, if the student is unable to clap or stomp, he or she can blink, snap their fingers, move their arm/leg up and down, etc. The teacher should allow the student to participate in the activity however is comfortable to the individual student and safe and non-disruptive to the rest of the class.
Children with auditory impairments will benefit from feeling the vibrations made by a xylophone or piano with their hands. They should be encouraged to play large, low-sounding instruments in order to familiarize themselves with the different vibrations and if they are "same" or "different".
Children around the age of four begin to apply different categories to pitches. A child around this age can group multiple pitches into categories of being "upward" or "downward". This is all based on relativity, so the teacher should play a center note, perhaps the tonic of the scale being used, and then play a note higher or lower in the scale. An example is shown in the video below.
Using terminology such as "high" and "low" or "up" and "down" is confusing to children because of the context. In every day conversation, we say things like "The volume on the T.V. is too low, turn it up". Children are not used to hearing these words in terms of music and they will not understand what the teacher means. The teacher should ask children to describe the melodic contour by saying it moves "upward" or "downward". This allows children to hear the relationship between pitches. Using short patterns that are familiar to children will also help to develop their sense of pitch relationships.
A way to familiarize the students with the layout of the keyboard in addition to developing their sense of vertical pitch structure is to have a cloth keyboard poster hanging on the wall. The teacher should ensure the height of the keyboard is appropriate for his or students and use this vertical keyboard to show how some pitches are "higher" or "lower" than others.
Advanced Pitch Concepts
Children around the age of 6 develop a sense of tonality. This allows them to realize if the notes they are singing are the notes that belong within that particular piece of music, simply by listening to the relationships between pitches. Teachers can help students refine their sense of intonation and pitch by using specific exercises and concepts.
1) Scale exercises: Scales use specific intervals and underline the relationship between pitches without worrying about the phrasing, dynamics, or rhythm that occur in pieces of music.
2) Major/Minor modes: These two modes are used commonly in Western music. The major scale consists of 7 intervals in the pattern of: Whole Step-Whole Step-Half Step-Whole Step-Whole Step-Whole Step-Half Step.
The minor scale consists of 7 intervals in the pattern of: Whole-Half-Whole-Whole-Half-Whole-Whole
3) Melodic Sequence: A brief melodic pattern that is repeated at varying pitches to help the students develop a sense of phrasing and melodic contour while refining their sense of pitch relationships.
The teacher can utilize songs that contain scalar passages, such as "Mary Had A Little Lamb" or "Hot Cross Buns" to provide a more enjoyable way for students to learn scales and pitch relationships. The teacher should also provide opportunities to sing in major and minor modes.
Growth in Understanding of Vertical Pitch Structures
True musical perceptiveness includes the ability to understand music harmonically. This means that the listener should be able to hear and understand what is occurring throughout the different voices or parts at one particular moment in time. This is a skill that is built over time and is generally meant for older and more advanced learners. The student should learn to hear and feel the tension and release provided by harmonic progressions. Below are some strategies to teach harmonic listening in young children:
Play harmonic chordal accompaniment to songs that are sung in class.
Allow the students ample listening to a variety of music
Sing songs in multiple tonalities with harmonic accompaniment
Use common chordal progressions during day-to-day class activities to allow the students to gain familiarity and recognition
Ages 5-7:
Begin to understand how melody and harmony fit together
Combination of multiple pitches into one
Distinguish between accompanied songs and unaccompanied songs
Ages 8-10:
Ability to notice vertical pitches
Developing sense of strong and weak cadences
The teacher can add triads to accompany songs or sing in canons
Ages 11-12:
Ability to recognize vertical pitches and identify them correctly
Sense of strong and weak cadence
Ability to harmonize by ear
Assessment and Musical Thinking
The best way to assess your students is to monitor and track their progress in class. If they are able to physically shape a melodic contour, take simple aural dictation, identify patterns while listening, perform while reading notation, and use pitches and melodies in a creative way then they are able to understand the basics of pitch. If children are unable to follow any of these activities, it is the teacher's job to reteach the concept using a different method and use multiple methods to check for understanding. The teacher must make sure that the students aren't blindly parroting information and are able to respond, explain, and conceptualize these ideas.
Children naturally develop a sense of pitch and vertical structure the more that they are exposed to it. The teacher must select activities that are meaningful and relate to the knowledge hoping to be gained. The lessons should be varied, using singing, playing, listening, reading, and creating to help guide the students toward the gain of knowledge.
Chapter 6: The Moving Child
Movement Among Children
Children need movement. It is a way that they learn about their bodies and how they move, in addition to providing an outlet for their excess energy. Music is a kinesthetic art for children, and the playing of instruments, singing, dancing, or listening activates all the different senses utilized.
Teachers must realize that children will move of their own accord and should use this natural desire to move to their advantage. Incorporating movement into lessons will allow the students to satisfy their natural need to release energy and be more engaged in the lesson.
Movement and Child Development
This classroom would also benefit from providing one or two electric keyboards for the students to take advantage of all the wonderful technological resources available today.
The teacher should also take advantage of today's technologies by finding a few key resource websites with helpful small-group activities.
Children move their bodies as a response to music. This response begins as early as infancy. These movements are not specific or localized, rather they are inconsistent but rhythmic.
Toddlers are able to perform large-scale motions, such as moving or swaying from side to side, waving their arms, or bouncing up and down. These movements are rhythmic and indicative of them performing motions they learned as infants.
Young children use more of the large-scale muscles that are used for running, dancing, walking, and jumping before they develop the smaller scale muscles necessary for fine motor skills such as writing, drawing, or playing an instrument. Children's ability to feel a musical pulse and beat is generally developed by third grade.
Children develop much more during the first three grades than any other time in their schooling career. Girls generally perform better during this point than their male counterparts.
Between the age of 10-11, children begin to be able to fine-tune the coordination between their different body parts.This development is necessary to play an instrument or sing accurately.
Children do not possess the fine motor skills to play orchestral instruments until 9 years old. Children who want to playan instrument prior to this age will require an extra dose of patience and care.
Action Songs and Singing Games
Movement is an essential part of children's development. Children learn to socialize through play and movement, in addition to learning about their world through this movement, exploration, and play. Action songs and singing games provide children with this physical outlet in a more structured setting. Children will draw from their personal collection of movements that they have accumulated through years of play and incorporate these motions to show the rhythmic and expressive qualities they find in the music.
This video is a fairly good example of an action song. It encourages children to follow along and participate in simple but natural motions such as hand-clapping and foot-stomping. It may be a little too guided by telling the children exactly what movement to perform, without allowing the students to provide their own ideas and motions.
Using Eurythmics provides children with an opportunity to explore musical concepts through movement. The body is looked at as an instrument. Students participate in a variety of partially guided activities, such as marching to the beat, conducting the beat, or drawing the melodic line on a piece of paper.
The video below is an example of a eurythmics lesson. The children are moving in certain ways to illustrate and comprehend different musical topics and ideas.
Creative Movement
Precepts and Principles of Movement
teach a concept.
The teacher must keep in mind how exactly the movement portion of the lesson is intended to
Movement and music share a common concern with time. Movement can be used to show and describe pulse, rhythm, and tempo fairly simply and easily. However melody, texture, pitch, and timbre may also be shown through movement.
The video below is an example of a movement and music class that provides a socialization aspect while engaging its students in musical movement.
All of these different musical qualities can be shown by using all of the varieties of space, time, and energy. Locomotor movements such as running, walking, or leaping can be used to show a fast or slow tempo, whereas non-locomotor movements such as conducting, clapping, or patting can be used to show musical contour or dynamics.
The teacher must gauge each of his or her students individually in order to tailor the lessons to reach the majority of the class.
Things to consider include: socioeconomic status, parents' level of education, developmental level, personal goals, amount of previous musical instruction, among other things
Plan lessons to guide students to unfamiliar concepts from familiar concepts. (I.E.-Teaching 16th notes after 8th notes)
"Doing" more than "saying"-allowing students to participate in activities rather than simply lecturing, in addition to providing time for creation and improvisation
The teacher should integrate songs and musical concepts that are useful and important to all parts of the students' lives. Folk songs, holiday songs, and pop songs are play an important role in the lives of children. These songs are indicators of culture and allow children to learn to recognize cultural cues.
Musical concepts can be approached similarly to lessons in math, science, languages, and history. All of these subject areas share a dependence on childhood development and can be taught using similar approaches
The teacher must recognize his or her role as a cultural transmitter, and realize the importance of this role in his or her students' lives.
The effective teacher must know the subject matter inside and out before the lesson.
The effective teacher is a reliable and helpful model for musical behaviors, including rhythmic and pitch accuracy, and concert behavior.
The effective teacher should be enthusiastic, excited, and happy to be teaching. "Having a bad day" or being sick are not reasons to detract from the lesson. Every lesson should attempt to reach a new level of enjoyment and effectiveness by the students.
In order to pique students' interest and excitement for the lesson ahead, the teacher should begin the class with an enjoyable activity, such as singing a song from the end of the previous class. This will allow the students to reconnect from the last lesson and bring newly learned concepts to the front of their minds. A fairly simple way to pique interest is to play a live or recorded familiar song.
The end of the lesson is just as important as the beginning. In ending the lesson, the teacher should quickly reinforce any new concepts, and whet students' curiosity for the next lesson by giving a brief preview of the next lesson (i.e.-"Next week we'll be learning a brand-new rhythm based on what we learned today, so make sure you practice your 16th notes!").
The "TST" is an assessment and feedback tool for teachers. The acronym refers to the Teacher's presentation of the information, the Student's response, and then the Teacher's tailored feedback that then progresses to the next TST. Positive reinforcement is essential to transition from one cycle of TST to the next.
The teacher must provide his or her students with activities to stimulate their aural learning. The methods of Kodaly, Dalcroze, and Orff are essential in this.
Example and Critique
The video below shows students attempting a pitch-matching exercise. The teacher is doing a good job of displaying hand signs and the students are following along fairly well. Some problems with this video are that the majority of the students are not on pitch. This problem could be remedied in a variety of ways. The teacher should make sure to give the students a clear starting pitch. In this specific case, the teacher should give pitches one at a time and not move on with the melody until every student is on the correct pitch.
The teacher could sing the melodic exercise first, individually, and ask the students to identify if the melody is moving upward or downward.
The teacher could hear small groups of children mimic the correct pitch so he can identify which students specifically are having trouble.
Teaching English-Language Learners
English Language Learners (ELLs) are students for whom English is not their first or primary language. These students comprise about 20% of the school population.
73% of ELLs are native Spanish speakers, however the remaining 17% could speak any other world language. Teachers who are multilingual will be better predisposed to providing the best educational experience for their ELL students. 40% of Latino students are placed in a lower grade level.
ELL students are neither stupid or disabled. They are working within the confines of the language that they know and understand. It is the job of the teacher to provide a safe and comfortable learning environment for the ELL students (like all students).
Assessing ELL students for language acquisition depends primarily on hearing them speak with their peers. Students may be shy or unsure of themselves speaking with an adult in a classroom setting opposed to yelling with their friends at recess. The teacher should do everything possible to observe the student's peer interaction together with his or her classroom performance to most accurately assess language acquisition.
If the teacher believes in the student's ability and has high expectations for the student, the student will rise to meet those expectations. If the teacher has low expectations for the student and shunts him or her to the side of the classroom activity, the student will become discouraged and frustrated.
Stages of Language Acquisition
Stage 1-Preproduction: "silent stage", child is listening more than he/she is speaking, will imitate peers in class, outgoing children will use motions to express themselves. This stage lasts between 0-6 months.
Stage 2-Early Production: Child will begin to pick up basic phrases ("That's mine", "Stop it", "Let's go", etc.). The child will use the language but is unsure of what a word is in English. Grammar is not conceivable in this stage. This stage lasts between 6 months-1 year.
Stage 3-Speech Emergence: Child understands more than he/she speaks, may leave out past tense or plurals, uses most of the vocabulary but may not grasp the full meaning. This stage lasts for 1-3 years.
Stage 4-Intermediate Fluency: Student fully comprehends, student may make a few grammatical errors. The time frame for this stage is 3-5 years.
Stage 5-Advanced Fluency: Speaks like a native, may even lose accent. This stage lasts for 5-7 years.
Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS): Day-to-day social language skills, usually acquired within 2 years of arrival to the US. ELLs learn social language by observing facial and body language, observing peer interaction, listening to vocal cues (phrasing, intonation), and observing the surrounding area for objects or pictures.
Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP): Formal academic language. Listening, reading, speaking, and writing about subject matter in more a formal setting. CALP skills are necessary for success in school. If child has no prior schooling in his/her native language, it may take 7-10 years for them to catch up to his/her peers.
Chapter 7: Rhythm and the Child
Rhythm and Child Development
Children notice rhythm as early as fetus-stage. Their mother's heartbeat provides a steady pulse while in utero, and this sense of rhythm and pulse stays with them into infancy. Infants hear and feel pulses within their everyday environment, from the rocking back and forth, to the sounds of music and television shows. Infants and toddlers respond to this constant but ever-changing pulse through bouncing, swaying, and rocking. As the child ages and progresses through his or her physical development, their rhythmic displays may also be dancing or jumping to the beat (middle-school dance style). By first grade, or 6 years of age, the child can keep a steady beat while singing, along with having the ability of differentiate between long and short notes and fast and slow notes. Children younger than first grade can sing, play, and dance using complicated rhythms, including syncopation and polyrhythm, however are not yet ready for formal notation. Beginning in first grade, notation for the quarter note and eighth note may be introduced. Grades 2-3 allow students to experiment with eighth, quarter, and half notes, eventually progressing to dotted quarter-and-eighth rhythms. The teacher should guide and assist the student's rhythmic learning through listening exercises. Rhythmic perception is somewhat inborn, but it must be nurtured like any other skill to enable to student to perform, read and write rhythms with ease.
Video Example of Rhythm Lesson
The video below shows a rhythm lesson involving triplets with an 11-year-old student. This video shows the introduction of the triplet, and shows the teacher's formative assessment of the students understanding. The main component of this lesson is performing and listening, reading the notes are introduced.
Rhythm in Speech
Spoken language is a natural connection and segue into rhythm in music. Words and phrases are musical when they are spoken over a pulse, certain words are spoken with longer or shorter durations, or some words are emphasized. Speech patterns are internalized by children because of their societal and cultural presence in our everyday lives, and listening and speaking prepares children for the listening and speaking/singing of music.
The Orff Approach: This approach uses chant syllables as the means to rhythmic accuracy. Words of one, two, and three syllables are used to denote different rhythmic durations and to help the students feel the difference in duration. Using names, colors, fruits, or animals can provide familiarity and a connection to the other parts of the students' lives while showing the difference in duration and emphasis that musical rhythms possess. Body percussion such as snapping, stomping, and clapping can be used in conjunction with the words at first. Eventually, ask the students to say the words silently while utilizing their movements to maintain the rhythm and pulse. Ask the students to graph or notate the rhythm informally, using lines or dots for whatever they feel is appropriate. The teacher may also institute a "rhythm circle" when introducing new rhythms to allow the students to experiment and create while understanding more about the way rhythms work with each other.
Rhythm in Movement
Creative movement shows that it is not always important for children to synchronize their movements to a beat or to their peers. Creative movement allows students to build their own personal repertory of movements that contain personal connotations for musical meanings. For example, Timmy may show "soft" by waving his right arm, and Jimmy may show "soft" by wiggling his toes. The idea behind creative movement is to allow children to explore movement and how it allows them to forge a personal connection with the music.
This video shows a creative movement class where the students are led through some activities but are given the freedom to perform in their own way.
Dance is more structured, in that certain steps are required to be able to follow along with square, line, circle, or partner dances. Synchronization and a sense of pulse are important for students to participate in dances. However, if students are not developmentally advanced enough for these skills to appear, the motions of the dance may still be taught. With the motions a sense of pulse and beat will eventually develop.
Video Example of Orff-Schulwerk Rhythm
This video displays an example of an Orff rhythm lesson using animal names with different syllables to create a rhythm-in-speech example. The students speak the names of the animals in time, which creates a subliminal feeling of rhythm that the students recognize again later on when using notated rhythms.
Children of any age enjoy movement. Movement is a natural part of our daily lives, and children especially use movement to discover what their bodies are capable of. Children more easily internalize rhythm because they have felt it in their daily activities, from walking to the pulse of a quarter note, to running 16th notes, to skipping syncopated beats. Through this motion and use in daily life, these rhythms hold meaning to children in a way that is impossible for notation to mimic. Body percussion or larger movements like running, walking, hopping, or jumping allow the children to express kinesthetically what they hear and feel. The "Big Three" of music methodology (Dalcroze, Orff, and Kodaly) all maintained that motion is an essential proponent of musical learning. Eurythmics, or using one's body to show the music, is an essential part of the Dalcroze method. Orff maintains that movement is "inseparable" as a musical component from the broader idea. Folk dances are widely used as a part of the Kodaly method, and are instituted as a means to learn pulse, pattern, and metric unit.

Pulse and Meter
Pulse is perhaps the most fundamental element of music. Pulse, or beat, is the underlying beat or stress in a piece of music.
Children may show a sensitivity to the pulse as early as toddler-age. This is displayed by rocking or swaying. Most children can clap a steady pulse by the age of 8.
Meter refers to the recurring pattern of stronger and weaker beats. Meter allows the listener to better hear phrasing and flow of a piece of music. Time signatures are the way to indicate the meter. The top number indicates the number of pulses in each measure, and the bottom number indicates the note value that receives the pulse. Children can come to understand meter through kinesthetic activities that allow them to feel the stronger and weaker beats.
These videos contain helpful explanations of the differences in types of meter and how to identify them. These videos could be used as a teaching tool for meter, culture (mention of the Renaissance in lesson 15), and rhythm.
Video Explanations
Other ways to help children feel meter is through speaking rhythms and using body percussion, or through conducting, where the strong beat is vertical and the weak beats are horizontal.
Durations and Their Patterns
Rhythmic Mnemonics and Notation
Polyrhythm and Syncopation
Chapter 8: The Playing Child
Developmental Sequence
Children's physical capabilities directly correlate to their ability to play a musical instrument. As we discussed in the last chapter, children develop a strong sense of rhythm as early as infancy, even though the muscle coordination necessary to utilize instruments effectively doesn't develop until much later on. By age 5, most children are able to alternate hands when hitting a drum. Fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are refined after 7 years of age.
The pedagogy of Shinichi Suzuki is based on the idea of "Talent Education", and is based on the idea that are children are inherently musical. Suzuki's method is based on the idea that children learn music the same way they learn speech, so his methodology is modeled on that with the 7 steps:
1) Begin early
2) Delayed notation reading until development of performance skills
3) Involve parents in lessons and practice
4) Developmentally appropriate musical literature
5) Private lessons and group classes
6) Repeat, review, reinforce
7) Aim for self-improvement, not competition
Most children are not trained with a specialized method like Suzuki, and it is important for children to be given instruments to play that match their developmental stage. Children are more likely to build musical performance techniques on an instrument that they are physically able to play without getting discouraged.
The Body as a Percussion Instrument
Our bodies are living, breathing instruments that have many different rhythmic capabilities. Clapping, snapping, patting, whistling, and clicking the tongue make various sounds that fascinate and interest children. In many African-American folk songs and dances, clapping and snapping are featured as a means to keep the beat or for ornamentation. Children will create their own body-percussion compositions from their personal repertory of motions and sounds. Children have the ability to perform large ensemble body percussion pieces, with different patterns and sounds layered on top of each other. Body percussion provides a precursor to playing pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments, in that the students are able to practice and learn the rhythms prior to worrying about instrumental technique. Many body percussion patterns can also be used on percussion instruments later on.
This video shows a group of children (they look to be about 9 or 10 years) using various parts of their body to produce different sounds and rhythms. Some of these rhythms are with teacher guidance and some are improvised.
Non Pitched Percussion Instruments


Bongo drums
Goblet drum
Finger cymbals

Double iron agogo bells

Importance of Non-pitched Percussion
Non-pitched percussion, or rhythm instruments are common everywhere that children frequent, including school, church/temple, and daycare centers. Rhythm instruments can be played individually or in a group setting. The various instruments provide different timbres and types of sounds for children to experiment with and learn about. These instruments can be classified as membranophones (drums that produce sound through the vibration of a skin or membrane), or idiophones (instruments of metal, wood, or gourd that are shaken, tapped, or scraped).
Classrooms usually have woodblocks, cymbals, triangles, tambourines, bells, gongs, claves, bongo drums, conga drums, goblet drums, djembe drums, and guiros.
Children begin to realize that there are many rhythmic components to music after he ideas of pulse and meter have been understood. If the students are able to keep the steady pulse, they then realize that they can chant multiple syllables in the space of that one pulse. They begin to look at rhythm as a sort of musical ornamentation.
Rhythmic durations are divisions or elongations of the basic pulse. It is possible to teach children about durations mathematically (using the rhythm tree), but it is easier for them to understand these durations in patterns. Associating certain rhythmic patterns with songs the children have sung or learned in class allows them to build recognition and be able to identify these rhythms. The teacher may encourage improvisation based on a certain rhythmic pattern, allow the children to identify these rhythms in unfamiliar songs, and eventually to notate these rhythms. The Kodaly method offers a sequential method for teaching rhythmic patterns based on the folk songs that children learn at a very young age. First, children should learn quarter and 8th note patterns, followed by the half note, 16th note patterns, syncopation, and compound meter patterns. The teacher should begin with songs in duple (simple) meter and gradually move to compound meter.
The objective in any sort of rhythmic teaching (or musical teaching), is literacy. Providing the students activities with which to build literacy in an enjoyable way is always preferable to talking about it. There are many folk songs or pop songs that a teacher can use to familiarize the children with different rhythmic patterns.
The video below shows a young girl's ballet class. The girls use their personal movement repertory and sense of pulse to participate in synchronized group and solo dances.
Exploratory Movement-Based Musical Experiences
To gain sensitivity to music through movement, children need to have an awareness of: locomotor (spacial) and non-locomotor (stationary) movement, the relationship of their bodies to other people or objects, and the related qualities of space, time, and energy in music and movement.
Children enjoy learning about their bodies and movement capabilities,
and the teacher can direct the students activities that will increase their body awareness.
Children can problem-solve or think critically using their bodies as the answer, if questions are presented as creative imagery or a similar medium through which the children can respond.
Action songs are a helpful tool when teaching exploratory movement. Action songs develop coordination, synchronization in rhythmic movement, and singing. Action songs add movements that illustrate or coincide with the text or meaning of the song. Children's traditional songs incorporate games, and many of these games have been passed down because of the joy and happiness they bring children.
Counting songs and clapping songs are also action songs, and children appreciate having the goal of the song in mind during learning.
Action Song Example
The video below shows a group of children singing along to "London Bridge is Falling Down" and acting out the words. This is a good example of an action song, especially for beginners, but more motions could be added for older or more advanced students.
Dalcroze Eurythmics
Emile Jaques-Dalcroze (see Ch. 3), developed the most comprehensive method for rhythmic training in the 20th century.
His method recognizes the need for movement as the foundational aspect of true musicianship, and uses movement as the vehicle for good communication between the mind, ear, and body.
Eurythmics (good rhythm), is an alternative to dance or gymnastics, and can be integrated into the classroom using drums, keyboard, or other music as the stimulus for physical response.
When using a composed piece, the teacher should analyze rhythmic and melodic lines, phrasing, and expression. The teacher must feel comfortable and confident in the piece, and be able to actively assess his or her students during the course of the lesson while accurately performing the piece.
Incorporating Dalcroze eurythmics will increase students' listening abilities and allow them full musical literacy.
These videos display a multitude of Dalcroze eurythmics exercises the teacher may use in his/her classroom to facilitate eurythmics learning.
Creative Movement
Movement is a valuable pedagogical learning tool as a way to demonstrate perception and recognition, along with providing an artistic outlet for students.
The teacher needs to realize the placement that movement will hold in his/her curriculum, whether it is an instructional process that leads to rhythmic accuracy, expressiveness, or pitch accuracy; or if movement is meant as a complement to another lesson.
In a formative movement assessment, the teacher should ask specific questions in regards to the students' ongoing musical progress. For example, "Is Timmy in time with the rest of class? Is he clapping the beat accurately? Is he able to display the assigned musical quality in eurythmics?" Movement has the potential to be a "filler" of class time with the students gaining no knowledge from it. When students are able to accurately learn through movement, the results are tremendous. In a summative assessment, clear progress should be illustrated over the course of the year in terms of the student recognizing and using the body as an instrument and conduit.
Movement should be integrated into most, if not all, musical experiences because movement serves as a necessary part of their musical development and cohesion between body, ear, and mind.
The teacher must be able to tailor the movement activities for his/her class size, attention span, and educational background.
Creative movement is a form of dance that is not structured and has no sequence of steps to learn. It uses questions and challenges to allow the students to think critically.
Children should be encouraged to use their breath, body, sounds, shapes, accents, levels, and paths, rather than being told or shown what to do. Creative movement is the ultimate constructivist movement experience.
Movement may be inspired by a picture, story, song, poem, melody, rhythmic pattern, or symphonic work. The teacher must make sure to reinforce the desired concept, as creative movement is all-encompassing, and it may be difficult to single out specific areas or qualities. The teacher should inform the students of the concept they are learning and continue to point it out during the course of the lesson.
Creative movement offers students the opportunity to be original and play with music and their bodies. Children learn music as a way to communicate with their bodies.
Dance is movement with a purpose. It is choreographed and premeditated, along with being rehearsed.
The end goal is usually a performance of some sort.
Dance requires a fair amount of training, physical ability and technique. It is an art form, found in cultures all over the world. Folk dances are a great place to start for beginners, especially line or circle dances. The first ones for young students to attempt should have footwork that is simple and repetitive. Folk dances are natural, simple, stylized and culturally appropriate. They offer a means of socialization and educational and cultural enrichment. The melodies can be played on classroom instruments or sung. Most folk songs are also readily available through iTunes, Youtube, or Spotify.
The video below shows a comparison between creative movement and dance.
Rhythm can be learned aurally at first, and aural learning is important in many cultures. However, the ultimate goal is complete musical literacy, which cannot be achieved without some sort of notation. There are rhythmic mnemonics to help students internalize rhythms and ease the transition to formal notation. In the Orff-Schulwerk method, each rhythmic duration is given an individual specific word in a certain category. The categories are made up of words that are familiar to the children and relevant in their daily lives. For example, if the category of words is "fruits", "peach" could be a quarter note, "app-le" is designated for eighth notes, and "pine-app-le" could be triplets. The Kodaly system uses French Cheve syllables, which begin with a hard "t" sound, and an "ah" on sustained notes. The most important part of using a mnemonics system is consistency, and the use of a mnemonics system will help the students better understand formal notation in time. When teaching notation, the teacher should aurally teach the students the rhythm first before assigning notation to it. Dalcroze teaches students to draw a horizontal line, the length of which corresponds to the length of the note. These dashes are eventually turned into note-heads and stems. Kodaly uses only the stems of notes to dictate any note value shorter than a half note to save children from coloring in note-heads. By 1st grade, children are prepared to notate rhythms using different shapes, syllables, or words. By 4th grade, children should be able to read and write using formal notation. Singing, chanting, and moving must come before notation.
Polyrhythm is the term given when there are two or more rhythms occurring simultaneously. In order to perform polyrhythm, the students must have a strong sense of pulse and be able to sing, chant, or play rhythms. Most children have the ability to perform polyrhythm by 3rd grade. Even at this age, the teacher must take care how he or she sequences the lessons involving polyrhythm so as to keep the rhythms sounding clean and steady.
Syncopation is when the accent falls on a normally weak beat, and the normally strong-sounding beat is unaccented. Notation for syncopation should not be shown prior to middle school, however students should be listening to syncopated rhythms prior to learning notation.
The teacher can also keep an eye on the students ability to stay in the assigned meter by noting their accented and unaccented beats.Regularly assessing durational patterns will provide necessary feedback.
For a formative assessment of children's rhythmic abilities, the teacher can regularly assess their ability to keep a steady beat.
At the end of the semester or school year, the teacher may ask students to perform a certain rhythmic pattern in small groups or pairs, or write a dictated rhythm with notation, or improvise using only certain durations. The possibilities are endless!
Pitched Instruments
Children can play melodies and accompaniment on pitched percussion instruments.
Tone bells
Lap piano
Orff Instruments
The Orff method uses barred pitched percussion instruments. These instruments are created out of bars of metal or wood that are laid across a frame, and are considered special because of their unusually good tone quality. They sound by being struck with mallets made of yarn, wood, rubber, or plastic. The range of the instruments is from a C to an A, or an octave plus a sixth. The barred instruments are placed in front of the students on the floor and the students sit cross-legged or on their knees. The bars should be hit near the middle, and the mallets should be held similar to a hairbrush or toothbrush. The bars of these instruments are removable, so the teacher may remove any notes that not in the song being played. Barred instruments are most frequently used as an accompaniment with an ostinato or drone, however are also very effective as melody instruments in improvisation. Barred instruments may also help lead to musical literacy in that different rhythmic and pitch-centered activities may be performed using these instruments. For example, the teacher may speak or clap a rhythm and ask the students to play it on their instruments, adding their own pitches to create a melody. The teacher could also ask the students to play back the pitches they hear the teacher sing. Tone bells belong to the Orff family, and provide a nice harmonic accompaniment. Certain bells may be selected to underline certain chords in the accompaniment.
Video Example of Orff Instruments
This video is an example of the various activities teachers have at their disposal with Orff instruments.
The Recorder
The recorder is a woodwind instrument dating back to the European Renaissance. The recorder is the next step towards playing traditional band and orchestra instruments in that the breathing and fingering techniques are similar to the flute, clarinet, oboe, English horn, saxophone, etc.
The recorder should be introduced after the students have mastered playing percussion instruments and have the necessary fine motor skills. The recorder provides students with a better model through which to study melodic contour. The teacher may teach the recorder through the use of solfege in familiar folk songs while showing the correct fingerings on the instrument. There is a wide repertoire of songs available for teaching the recorder, from folk songs for beginners, to Native American or East Asian music for more advanced students.
This picture shows pretty good posture on the recorder. The most important thing is to be relaxed without slouching to allow for proper breath control.
The autoharp is an American instrument that plays an important role in folk songs and certain regional music.
The autoharp is generally used as an accompaniment instrument. It is good for children because a key is pressed that will eliminate all tones besides the ones in the requested chord. This is helpful ear training for young students. The video below explains proper autoharp technique and the different parts of the instrument.
The guitar is an extremely popular chordal accompaniment instrument. Children see and hear it everywhere, from pop songs to country tunes, and in movies and films.
This prominence motivates many students to learn guitar before they have the fine motor skills to play it. Most children have the physical capacity around fourth grade. Classical or folk style guitars with nylon strings are easier for children to handle and the nylon is easier on the fingers than steel strings. Most of the learning on guitar comes from demonstration and experimentation. There are multiple strumming patterns, and the pattern depends on the style of the song. Learning the guitar has a sort of built in motivation, in that some songs can be played with as few as one or two chords. This allows the students to feel as though they are improving by playing real repertoire. One downside of the guitar is tuning the 6 strings. This may be difficult for beginning students, but through the use of pitch matching activities the student will eventually learn to tune his or her guitar. The videos below are a great resource for learning the parts of the guitar, strumming patterns, and the different pitches and how to form chords.
Keyboard instruments are the most popular instrument in America. Over 50% of the homes in America have a keyboard instrument. Some are relatively cheap and have color-coded keys so that children can learn familiar folk songs or pop melodies.
Many schools own at least one upright or baby grand acoustic piano for choral use. When the piano is in tune, it provides a valuable accompaniment or melodic experimentation. Children can learn about intervals, scales, pitch-matching, ascending/descending, etc. Developing facility on the keyboard is a useful part of musical development.
Some schools have "piano labs", or a classroom set of electronic keyboards. Electronic keyboards provide a useful learning tool (for more information see Chapter 3: Music In Education).
The video below provides a good basis for learning piano, and is good specifically for older students. Young students would find a good start with posture and hand position, with most of the learning coming from experimentation and improvisation.
Assessment of Playing Instruments
A formative assessment of playing instruments can be done by looking at tone quality, musical accuracy, ease of playing, musical expression, performance. Some questions to ask yourself and the students in these categories are as follows: Is the tone quality pleasing, or is it scratchy, breathy, or squeaky? What does the performer need to change to improve tone quality? Are the rhythms, pitches, and fingerings accurate? Are your transitions smooth? Is the music culturally appropriate and stylistically pleasing? Can you perform the piece as a solo from start to finish?
The teacher can also ask the parents to encourage at home practice, and even to sign off on daily or weekly practice sheets. Providing individual assessment and leading the children into the realm of self-assessment and critical thinking are invaluable.
A summative assessment can be completed by a checklist of standardized songs, scales, or etudes posted in the classroom or the classroom webpage. As each student progresses through these checkpoints, a sticker or other marker may be used to show the class's progress. Part of the evaluation may be the ability to play a solo as well as blend into an ensemble, or switch between percussion instruments.
Learning to play an instrument provides enhanced musical learning and literacy. Playing an instrument provides a useful outlet for emotions and stress, and teaches discipline and the importance of hard work and dedication.
Chapter 9: The Listening Child
The Centrality of Listening
Listening is at the heart of music, as music is an aural art form. Many, if not most cultures, transmit music aurally without using any sort of notation. Developing the musician's ear is crucial to their musical learning and literacy. Composer R. Murray Schaefer advocates for a method known as "ear-cleaning" to assist in aural development. "Ear-cleaning" consists of getting rid of background noise and focused listening, which can be difficult in a society so entrenched in noise. The teacher must also work with the students on active, rather than passive, listening. Passive listening is when a person is studying, cleaning, reading, or otherwise mentally occupied and uses music simply as background, without listening to the words or nuances. Passive listening is more standard and natural, particularly to younger children. Active listening, or "deep listening" requires complete focus and attention to repeated patterns, melodic contour, or the like. The student will also benefit from listening to a variety of musical types.
Growth in Listening
As early as 3 months, children can match pitch vocally. Between 6-8 months, children acquire a sense of musical phrase and how it relates to their culture's music. By preschool children have acquired a small musical vocabulary to describe what they hear. Children are able to describe tone, color, dynamics, tempo, and style first, and grow to be able to describe pitch, rhythm, and form around the age of 4 years. Everyone can aurally identify hundreds, if not thousands of songs. People may also attach personal meaning to some songs. Teachers who want their students to love music may choose repertoire that has relevance in his or her students' lives and is an appropriate difficulty level (for more information see Chapter 4). Children from preschool through age 8 are more open to many different types of music, so this is an optimal time to introduce them to many different varieties of music that possesses different qualities. Around 9 or 10 years, children begin to display sensitivity to music that is culturally accepted, rejecting music that their peers or culture do not condone. Children around this age prefer music that is fast, loud, and has a strong pulse, rather than slow, soft, and light music. Teachers must continue to encourage children to be open to multiple types of music. As adolescents mature into adults, they will be more open to different types of music, but will always associate specific musical genres with their life. Humans are drawn to music that is complex and familiar, and we can focus on subtle musical changes, along with being able to change their attitude about different genres through education. Musical preferences also be affected by a person's gender, ethnic background, personality, or socioeconomic status.
Active Involvement in Listening (Early Childhood)
The teacher plays a vital role in his/her students' aural development through appropriate songs and teaching strategies. For young children, listening to music is not a passive activity. The musical energy translates into physical energy, through which young children have the means to express the style and tone of the music. A research study conducted by Sims (1986) found that students will listen more actively when the teacher appears to be actively listening, through maintaining eye contact and modeling movements. Chapter 8 provides more information on rhythm activities.
The video on the left is an example of an early childhood movement listening activity. This activity is successful at encouraging the children to listen and respond to the music how they see fit.
Building Aural Perception
Active listening programs have several goals:
Increasing the student's aural perception (sensitivity to music and musical events)
Displaying musical concepts and reinforcing them
Building each student's aural repertoire to extend over a range of musical styles, cultures, and genres
Giving the student the ability to contextualize music
Linking physical or emotional responses to their perceptions
Perceptive listening requires a fair amount of focus. There are several activities teachers can do with their students to promote perceptive listening:
With eyes closed, ask the students to identify a certain object by the sound it makes after it has been dropped on the floor. Also ask the students to do this with a classmate's voice.
Have some students play different rhythm instruments from behind a screen while the rest of the class identifies what they hear.
Ask the children to shape the upward and downward melodic motion from a slide whistle with their eyes closed
Eliminating the visual aspect in these exercises helps students to focus completely on aural stimuli, leading to more active listening throughout. Active listening may also be promoted through movement.
Active Listening Example
The video on the left shows a group of kindergartners who are playing percussion instruments along with their teacher, who is playing chords and singing the melody. This takes active listening skills if the teacher is not cuing the students by showing them when to play. If they have to listen and remember where in the song they should play, this could be a formative assessment on active listening. The video on the right is an example of the slide whistle exercise described above. The teacher in the video guides her students by modeling the movements rather than allowing them to express the sound for themselves.
Deep listening requires teachers to use their specialized musical skills (analytical listening, performing, arranging, conducting, and communication) to engage and encourage students to derive a deeper meaning from music. All music used in the classroom should be given a cultural and historical context so that the students can take the greatest meaning from it. There are 3 phases of deep listening:
1. Attentive Listening: The teacher focuses the students' attention on a certain aspect of the music through the use of diagrams. Each time listening to the piece can be the focus of a new aspect (dynamics, rhythm, form, etc).
2. Engaged Listening: The student is more a part of the music, rather than a separate entity. The student may tap the beat, play an ostinato, or sing a melody to become more involved in the music and thus listen more carefully to see how their part fits in with the other parts.
3. Enactive Listening: This stage of listening involves the student at deeper levels. For example, learning to perform a piece in style or performing with phrasing that stays true to the meaning behind that specific work. It takes focused listening and a lot of practice to reach this level of musical ability and comfort. This level is most effective when used from middle school into adulthood.
Student Construction of Listening Experiences
Building an Aural Repertoire
Listening Sequence
Assessment of Listening
Once children express and attitude or feeling about a piece of music, they should be guided to explain what about the music leads them to feel this way.
Chapter 10: The Creating Child
Studies suggest that using a constructivist, or student-led learning approach allows students to build critical thinking and problem-solving skills more so than if they are directed by a teacher. The students may use multiple modalities to represent or describe what they perceive as important musical events. To allow this approach to work effectively, the teacher must give the activities basic structure and select the music, but the responses should be entirely student-generated. These activities may be done individually, in small groups, or as a class. The students may respond to the music however they see fit, by speaking about it, writing about it, drawing diagrams to describe it, moving to it, or improvising a new piece over top of it. These response-based exercises require multiple listenings, so a shorter piece or excerpt should be chosen.
Espeland and a group of Norwegian music educators created a program called "Music in Use", and it advocates for children drawing their own "maps" of the music. These maps may include anything from timbral changes to dynamic shape to melodic contour.

Teachers should play a recorded work multiple times throughout the semester or year so that the students will internalize it into their long-term memory, rather than viewing it as a "one-and-done" piece.
This internalization can be done using deep-listening, as discussed previously, or it can be achieved using a holistic approach, also called gestalt. In this approach, the children first hear the music as a whole, it is later broken up into smaller parts, and eventually the focus returns to the piece as a whole. Ideally, all pieces studied should span a wide range of styles, cultures, and time periods, and the teacher may organize these pieces to follow a theme (i.e.-November is European Classical Month!).
There are many resources for pieces that are well-performed; while YouTube may sometimes be hit-or-miss, there are "Best Of" albums by famous performers that are inexpensive and easy to come by, or memberships to online music databases. No matter what pieces are the focus for the classroom's music, there are many resources available to find it and utilize it.
A listening sequence involves a series of steps (developed by Sandra L. Stauffer) designed to help children learn a piece through aural means only.
Step 1: Prepare-Children must be prepared to hear the piece. One example is Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet, which contains an entire back-story. Students may be prepared to listen to the ballet after having an adapted version of the story read to them in class. Preparation may also include an introduction to the history and culture of a certain piece of music or musical genre. A way to prepare aurally is to teach a certain rhythmic or melodic pattern independent of the musical piece so that the children have something to listen for when they eventually hear the music.
Step 2: Listen-Play or perform the recorded piece, then assess the class's feelings or ideas through a discussion or individual activity.
Step 3: Activate and Participate-Listen to the music again, and ask the children to participate somehow (i.e.-Marching like soldiers to the Nutcracker Ballet)
Step 4: Question and Discuss-Discussion and assessment should be ongoing throughout the sequence, and should gauge the students' feelings, perceptions, and ideas about the music and how it relates to their lives.
Step 5: Listen Again- Listen to the recording again quietly
Step 6: Extend the Listening-Have students respond to the music by composing their own pieces that are similar, listening to music that is similar, or listen to music that is vastly different.
Formative Assessment: One common way to assess if students grasp a specific concept is to make a "What do you hear?" chart. These charts or worksheets may ask questions like "do you hear a beat, or is there no beat?", "Do you hear the quarter note and 8th note rhythm?", and so on. To assess recognition, portions of studied works could be played, and the students should be encouraged to respond with what they remember about the piece.
Summative Assessment: As children age and mature they can more readily connect their feelings to the music. Visual or kinesthetic responses may be easier and more enjoyable for the students than spoken responses. Visual responses, such as the musical maps from Music in Use, may be kept in a portfolio and discussed in parent-teacher conferences, or when the students move to a new music teacher.
Using listening to educate one's students prepares them for a lifetime of problem solving and critical thinking, along with a heightened sense of aural perception. The teacher must actively continue to listen to new works herself, in order to present an attitude of discovery and curiosity to the students when learning about new music.
The Importance of Creativity

Everything that young children perform or accomplish musically is the result of his or her personal creation. Children have a desire to produce something, and when they are able to express this desire through music, they are overjoyed. Campbell uses the term "musical utterances" to describe the small discoveries that children make musically, such as vocalizing or plunking notes on a piano or guitar. These utterances are a means of communication through music. Creative impulses appear in children of all ages, and the music classroom is one of the ideal places to cultivate these impulses and turn them into skill and talent. Depriving children of the opportunity to compose, improvise, and arrange is severely detrimental to their musical abilities; and these aspects of music should be included in any musical program of any age.
Developmental Sequence
Creative musical development is the result of the child's musical environment, their musical awareness, and their individual personality and intellectual traits. Enculturation of music plays an important role in this, as the different types of music children are exposed to gives them a wider library to draw from as composers themselves. As children gain more musical experience and knowledge, they are able to produce higher levels of creative output. The teacher must foster an environment of comfort and creativity in his or her classroom and expose his or her students to creative thinking early on, so that is seems commonplace. Children need to be exposed to composing, arranging, and improvising by kindergarten, so that they have time to gain experience and comfort on different instruments while learning how to musically express themselves. There is no definite developmental sequence for creativity, because everyone has a different level of natural creativity and experience and must work within their personal confines before being able to move upward and onward (refer to Ch. 2, Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development). The most important job of the teacher in this regard is to allow students time to gain comfort and knowledge about creative expression while continuing to foster the students' musical growth.
Creative Thinking
Most of the time, children are asked convergent-thinking questions. These are questions that have a single correct answer, with no "gray area" for opinion to muddle with fact. Naming composers, notes, rhythms, and symbols are all examples of convergent thinking. Even in performance, playing the correct notes and rhythms is strongly encouraged if not required. There is some room for creativity in the musical interpretation of the piece, however most of the thinking is convergent thinking. Creative thinking requires divergent thinking, where there are many possible answers. For example, children may be introduced to a new instrument and invited to try multiple techniques for performing it.
Webster (1990) developed a theory of creative musical thinking. In this theory, the qualities of divergent thinking are:
Extensiveness-the number of musical ideas that are generated by the student
Flexibility-the student's ease in moving between different parameters such as loud/soft or fast/slow
Originality-the uniqueness of the student's ideas
These qualities interact with the other factors in a student's musical life, such as the individual's musical sensitivity, ability to audiate pitches and rhythms, and attention to aesthetics. The responsibility of the teacher is to provide an environment conducive to the development of these various skills and understandings.
The video below shows an interview with a student who has a physical disability talking about the ways that her teachers use adaptive instruction to accommodate her disability.
Creative Processes: Exploration and Discovery
This is the first stage of the creative process. Children must be given the opportunity to experiment with different sounds and objects, whether it is through their voice, body percussion, or rhythm instruments. In this sort of free, unguided musical exploration, children are building a repertoire of sounds, feelings, timbres, and pitches from which to draw from later on. A way to jump-start musical exploration would be to provide every student with an object (let's say a pencil) and ask them to come up with as many sounds as possible using that one object in a time span of one minute. The teacher may provide guidance by asking questions such as "is that a long sound, or a short sound?" The teacher may also begin to discuss dynamics and other musical terms that will have more relevancy later on.
Researcher Stevens (2003) theorized that free musical play and exploration should be provided to the students on a regular basis in the music classroom. The teacher should set up the room so that children can cycle through the different categories of instruments (i.e., barred Orff instruments by the door, bells by the window, non-pitched percussion by the piano, etc.) without worrying about performance or even proper technique. This time is meaningful to children as they can create music that is important to them without being under a musical microscope.
Creative Processes: Improvisation
Improvisation is unrepeated, unrehearsed, and informal music-making. Improvisation with young children allows for exploration and self-learning in a free setting.
There are two types of improvisation:
Free Improvisation is where children of all ages and ability levels are encouraged to play with and experiment with different instruments or objects to discover the multitude of possible sounds. This is not just exploration, as the students are creating a full piece of music with a definitive end and beginning. However, this music will never be heard again, and is a valuable learning tool for the students and how they interact in a group musically.
Structured Improvisation is where the improvisation is guided or structured by the teacher. The teacher may ask each student to use a different percussion instrument and engage in an individual musical question-and-answer session, where the teacher asks a musical question and the student(s) respond with a musical answer.
Each of the Big Three methodologists includes improvisation as an essential component of their practice. Dalcroze students are expected to listen to a teacher's improvisation at the piano and then to continue the piece individually in the same style and key as the teacher's. Kodaly students would be asked to invent a four-beat rhythmic pattern or pentatonic melodic pattern, and after building their personal repertory, would be expected to improvise a longer piece of music. Students of the Orff-Schulwerk method are supposed to invent the "B" section of a ternary-style piece, where the "A'" section is fixed and known. The students would be provided with xylophones and can expect to be performing in front of the class.
Jazz and African drumming music can also provide a good basis for improvisation.
Improvisation is important for for musical growth because it allows for students to expand on musical ideas and learn instrumental technique while working with their peers in an exciting way.
Creative Processes: Composition
Composing is a refined, rehearsed, and formalized version of improvisation. Composing is thought-out and premeditated music-making. The teacher must make sure to provide an appropriate environment for students to compose, by giving them space to work individually or in small groups, instruments with which to experiment, the time allotted for the activity, maintaining the focus of the students, and the limitations of the composition. With very young children, the teacher may wish to make composing a large group, guided activity, with the teacher pulling ideas from the group and refining them in front of the entire class. By the end of first grade, children have gained the social maturity and focus to be able to work in small groups. As the students gain familiarity with the compositional process, they will be able to work in small groups.
Researcher Wiggins (2003) observed the compositional cycle: brainstorming--> instrument selection-->selection of performer(s) and conductor or leader-->evaluations, rehearsal, and performance. This cycle continues until after the performance, when the students are able to receive feedback and adjust their composition accordingly. Working in musical groups assists the students' musical thinking and cognitive function through being able to challenge and work with each other's ideas.
Children tend to start using pictorial notation, moving through to symbolic notation, and then eventually using formalized or discrete notation. They will add notation of any kind to music they have already mapped out through an aural plan and are continuing to edit and improve upon. Children are natural creators and inventors, constantly singing improvised songs or creating clapping or dancing games. The teacher should encourage and allow for their students' self-created spontaneous song through rhythm circles or even just a free play period. Older students could be encouraged to record any composed pieces to build a portfolio. The teacher may wish to teach a formal, standardized process for composing.
Composition (Continued)
An example of a formal composition plan is as follows:
Select topic/title, use adjectives to describe the style of the piece
Invent a poem using the descriptive words on the board, the poem may tell a story or just be descriptive, have the students chant it in rhythm with a chordal accompaniment.
Have the children experiment with different melodies for the poem
Record the class favorite and continue to add accompaniments and allow the students to suggest new melodies or rhythms to add to the accompaniment.
As children grow they prefer to work individually or in small groups with friends. The teacher may provide his or her students with "learning centers" devoted to composition with computers, keyboards, and a multitude of instruments to experiment with. In this setting the teacher is an observer and guide for the students to achieve their own learning.
The video below describes a mapping method to teach young children composition. This video is very helpful and adaptable to a multitude of songs or classes
The creative process relies heavily on self-assessment and critique. Students will learn how to discuss their own work critically and how to offer advice to their peers without causing conflict.
Formative Evaluations: Webster (2003) suggested that there are three stages in the self-assessment process. The first is known as the "formative" stage, where the students are discovering how to work with music. The teacher must ask questions that offer suggestions for improvement without directing the students' attention one way or another. The second stage is known as "craftsmanship", and in this stage the students are familiar with the critiquing process and require the teacher's assistance to act as a consultant or guidance counselor, offering advice for specific problems that may arise in their compositions. The third stage is considered the expert stage, where the teacher is the mentor. This stage doesn't typically occur until high school or college. The questions below may be helpful in assessing a student's work or work-in-progress:
Did the composition follow the rubric, and if so, how well?
How did the student assess himself, and was it effective?
Has the piece improved after revisions, or is the student "spinning his or her wheels"?
Was the revision process successful? What needs to change about the student's critical thinking?
Summative Evaluations: The teacher may keep folders of each student's compositions, noting how and why they have improved over the course of a year or semester. This assessment could also note the student's attentiveness, classroom attitude, and self-assessment capabilities. The teacher may also assess the students through asking them to complete a "flash-composition" where they must compose a 16-bar phrase in a class period.
The Rewards of Nurturing Creativity in Music
Offering students the opportunity to create will give them a sense of pride and confidence in their musical abilities, along with giving them a tangible product. They will be able to express themselves musically, and possess a musical encyclopedia, along with being able to self-assess and think critically.
Teaching music is a balancing act between equal exposure to performing, listening, reading, writing, and creating. Teachers want to teach the things that are most familiar, and so their students' education may lack in certain areas where the teacher is less comfortable. The teacher must overcome his or her discomfort to provide his or her students with the most well-rounded musical education possible.
Children are naturally creative and musical, and the teacher must nurture and guide the students' development towards musical excellence.
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