Wednesday, November 30, 2011
In elementary schools, children often learn to play instruments such as keyboards or recorders, sing in small choirs, and learn about the elements of musical sound and history of music. Although music education in many nations has traditionally emphasized Western classical music, in recent decades music educators tend to incorporate application and history of non-western music to give a well-rounded musical experience and teach multiculturalism and international understanding. In primary and secondary schools, students may often have the opportunity to perform in some type of musical ensemble, such as a choir, orchestra, or school band: concert band, marching band, or jazz band. In some secondary schools, additional music classes may also be available. In junior high school or its equivalent, music usually continues to be a required part of the curriculum.
At the university level, students in most arts and humanities programs may receive academic credit for taking music courses, which typically take the form of an overview course on the history of music, or a music appreciation course that focuses on listening to music and learning about different musical styles. In addition, most North American and European universities have some type of music ensemble in which students from various fields of study may participate such as a choir, concert band, marching band, or orchestra. Many universities also offer degree programs in the field of music education, allowing their students to become certified educators of primary and secondary school ensembles as well as beginner music classes. Advanced degrees can lead to university employment. These degrees come with the completion of varied technique classes, private instruction, numerous ensembles, and in depth observations of educators in the area. Music education departments in North American and European universities also often support interdisciplinary research in such areas as music psychology, music education historiography, educational ethnomusicology, sociomusicology, and philosophy of education.
The study of Western art music is increasingly common in music education outside of North America and Europe, including Asian nations such as South Korea, Japan, and China. At the same time, Western universities and colleges are widening their curriculum to include music of non-Western cultures, such as the music of Africa or Bali (e.g. Gamelan music), as well as even rock music (see popular music pedagogy).
Music education also takes place in individualized, life-long learning, and community contexts. Both amateur and professional musicians typically take music lessons, short private sessions with an individual teacher. Amateur musicians typically take lessons to learn musical rudiments and beginner- to intermediate-level musical techniques.
While instructional strategies are bound by the music teacher and the music curriculum in his or her area, many teachers rely heavily on one of many instructional methodologies that emerged in recent generations and developed rapidly during the latter half of the 20th Century:
Major international music education methods
Main article: eurhythmics
The Dalcroze method was developed in the early 20th century by Swiss musician and educator Émile Jaques-Dalcroze. The method is divided into three fundamental concepts - the use of solfege, improvisation, and eurhythmics. Sometimes referred to as "rhythmic gymnastics", eurhythmics teaches concepts of rhythm, structure, and musical expression using movement, and is the concept for which Dalcroze is best known. It focuses on allowing the student to gain physical awareness and experience of music through training that takes place through all of the senses, particularly kinesthetic. According to the Dalcroze method, music is the fundamental language of the human brain and therefore deeply connected to what human beings are.
Main article: Kodály Method
Depiction of Curwen's Solfege hand signs. This version includes the tonal tendencies and interesting titles for each tone.
Zoltán Kodály (1882–1967) was a prominent Hungarian music educator and composer who stressed the benefits of physical instruction and response to music. Although not really an educational method, his teachings reside within a fun, educational framework built on a solid grasp of basic music theory and music notation in various verbal and written forms. Kodály's primary goal was to instill a lifelong love of music in his students and felt that it was the duty of the child's school to provide this vital element of education. Some of Kodály's trademark teaching methods include the use of solfege hand signs, musical shorthand notation (stick notation), and rhythm solmization (verbalization). Even though most countries have properly used their own folk music traditions to construct their own sequence of instruction, America primarily uses the Hungarian sequence even though Hungarian folk music is completely different from American.
Main article: Orff Schulwerk
Carl Orff was a prominent German composer. The Orff Schulwerk is considered an "approach" to music education. It begins with a student's innate abilities to engage in rudimentary forms of music, using basic rhythms and melodies. Orff considers the whole body a percussive instrument and students are led to develop their music abilities in a way that parallels the development of western music. The approach encourages improvisation and discourages adult pressures and mechanical drill, fostering student self-discovery. Carl Orff developed a special group of instruments, including modifications of the glockenspiel, xylophone, metallophone, drum, and other percussion instruments to accommodate the requirements of the Schulwerk courses.
Main article: Suzuki method
The Suzuki method was developed by Shinichi Suzuki in Japan shortly after World War II, and it uses music education to enrich the lives and moral character of its students. The movement rests on the double premise that "all children can be well educated" in music, and that learning to play music at a high level also involves learning certain character traits or virtues which make a person's soul more beautiful. The primary method for achieving this is centered around creating the same environment for learning music that a person has for learning their native language. This 'ideal' environment includes love, high-quality examples, praise, rote training and repetition, and a time-table set by the student's developmental readiness for learning a particular technique. While the Suzuki Method is quite popular internationally, within Japan its influence is less significant than the Yamaha Method, founded by Genichi Kawakami in association with the Yamaha Music Foundation.
Main article: O'Connor Method
On November 16, 2009, Mark O'Connor released books 1 and 2 of his 10-book O'Connor Method - A New American School of String Playing for string teachers and students of the violin designed to "guide students gradually through the development of pedagogical and musical techniques necessary to become a proficient, well-rounded musician through a carefully planned succession of pieces." Pieces cover a wide range of genres, and include: folk melodies such as "Amazing Grace," "Cielito Lindo" and "Buffalo Gals," American Classical tunes such as Copland's "Hoedown," two themes from Dvorak's New World Symphony, and O'Connor's "Appalachia Waltz." The series also contains short essays about topics including famous American fiddlers such as Thomas Jefferson and Davy Crockett, the history of Gypsies and Mariachi, and various dances. Teacher training sessions based on the method take place around the country.
Other notable methods
In addition to the four major international methods described above, other approaches have been influential. Lesser-known methods are described below:
Gordon Music Learning Theory
This method is based on an extensive body of research and field testing by Edwin E. Gordon and others. Music Learning Theory provides the music teacher a comprehensive method for teaching musicianship through audiation, Gordon's term for hearing music in the mind with understanding. Teaching methods help music teachers establish sequential curricular objectives in accord with their own teaching styles and beliefs.
World Music Pedagogy
The growth of cultural diversity within school-age populations prompted music educators from the 1960s onward to diversify the content of the music curriculum, and to work with ethnomusicologists and some of the world's artist-musicians in establishing instructional practices relevant to the musical traditions. 'World music pedagogy' was coined by Patricia Shehan Campbell to describe world music content and practice in elementary and secondary school music programs. Pioneers of the movement, especially Barbara Reeder Lundquist and William M. Anderson, influenced a second generation of music educators (including Bryan J. Burton, Mary Goetze, Ellen McCullough-Brabson, and Mary Shamrock) to design and deliver curricular models to teachers of music of various levels and specializations.
Deriving influence from both Kodály methodology and Gordon's Music Learning Theory, Conversational Solfege was developed by Dr. John M. Feierabend, chair of music education at the Hartt School at the University of Hartford. The philosophy of this method is to view music as an aural art with a literature based curriculum. The sequence of this methodology involves a 12 step process to teach music literacy. Steps include rhythm and tonal patterns and decoding the patterns using syllables and notation. Unlike traditional Kodály method, this method follows Kodály's actual instructions and uses a sequence based on American folk songs instead of using the sequence that is used in Hungary based on Hungarian folk songs.
This early-childhood approach sometimes referred to as the Sensory-Motor Approach to Music was developed by the violinist Madeleine Carabo-Cone. This approach involves using props, costumes, and toys for children to learn basic musical concepts of staff, note duration, and the piano keyboard. The concrete environment of the specially planned classroom allows the child to learn the fundamentals of music by exploring through touch.
Main article: MMCP
The Manhattanville Music Curriculum Project was developed in 1965 and is an alternative method in shaping positive attitudes toward music education. This creative approach centers around the student being the musician and involved in the discovery process. The teacher gives the student freedom to create, perform, improvise, conduct, research, and investigate different facets of music in a spiral curriculum.
History of music education in the United States
After the preaching of Reverend Thomas Symmes, the first singing school was created in 1717 in Boston, Massachusetts for the purposes of improving singing and music reading in the church. These singing schools gradually spread throughout the colonies. Reverend John Tufts published An Introduction to the Singing of Psalm Tunes Using Non-Traditional Notation which is regarded as the first music textbook in the colonies. Between 1700 to 1820, more than 375 tune books would be published by such authors as Samuel Holyoke, Francis Hopkinson, William Billings, and Oliver Holden.
In 1832, Lowell Mason and George Webb formed the Boston Academy of Music with the purposes of teaching singing and theory as well as methods of teaching music. Mason published his Manuel of Instruction in 1834 which were based upon the music education works of Pestalozzian System of Education founded by Swiss educator Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. This handbook gradually became used by many singing school teachers. From 1837-1838, the Boston School Committee allowed Lowell Mason to teach music in the Hawes School as a demonstration. This is regarded as the first time music education was introduced to public schools in the United States. In 1838 the Boston School Committee approved the inclusion of music in the curriculum and Lowell Mason became the first recognized supervisor of elementary music. In later years Luther Whiting Mason became the Supervisor of Music in Boston and spread music education into all levels of public education (grammar, primary, and high school). During the middle of the 19th century, Boston became the model to which many other cities across the United States included and shaped their public school music education programs. Music methodology for teachers as a course was first introduced in the Normal School. The concept of classroom teachers in a school that taught music under the direction of a music supervisor was the standard model for public school music education during this century. (See also: Music education in the United States)
Early 20th century
In the United States, teaching colleges with four year degree programs developed from the Normal Schools and included music. Oberlin Conservatory first offered the Bachelor of Music Education degree. Osbourne G. McCarthy, and American music educator introduced details for studying music for credit in Chelsea High School. Notable events in the history of music education in the early 20th century also include:
Founding of the Music Supervisor's National Conference (changed to Music Educators National Conference in 1934, later MENC: The National Association for Music Education in 1998, and currently The National Association for Music Education - NAfME) in Keokuk, Iowa in 1907.
Rise of the school band and orchestra movement leading to performance oriented school music programs.
Growth in music methods publications.
Frances Elliot Clark develops and promotes phonograph record libraries for school use.
Carl Seashore and his Measures of Musical Talent music aptitude test starts testing people in music.
Middle 20th century to 21st century
The following table illustrates some notable developments from this period:
Historical Importance for Music Education
The Child's Bill of Rights in Music
A student-centered philosophy was formally espoused by MENC.
The American School Band Directors Association formed
The band movement becomes organized.
Launch of Sputnik
Increased curricular focus on science, math, technology with less emphasis on music education.
Contemporary Music Project
The purpose of the project was to make contemporary music relevant in children by placing quality composers and performers in the learning environment. Leads to the Comprehensive Musicianship movement.
American Choral Directors Association formed
The choral movement becomes organized.
Federally supported development of arts education focusing on quality music classroom literature. Juilliard Project leads to the compilation and publication of musical works from major historical eras for elementary and secondary schools.
National Endowment for the Arts
Federal financial support and recognition of the value music has in society.
Establishment of a unified and ecletic philosophy of music education. Specific emphasis on youth music, special education music, urban music, and electronic music.
35 Objectives listed by MENC for quality music education programs in public schools. Published and recommended for music educators to follow.
The Ann Arbor Symposium
Emphasized the impact of learning theory in music education in the areas of: auditory perception, motor learning, child development, cognitive skills, memory processing, affect, and motivation.
Becoming Human Through Music symposium
"The Wesleyan Symposium on the Perspectives of Social Anthropology in the Teaching and Learning of Music" (Middletown, Connecticut, August 6–10, 1984). Emphasized the importance of cultural context in music education and the cultural implications of rapidly changing demographics in the United States.
Multicultural Symposium in Music Education
Growing out of the awareness of the increasing diversity of the American School population, the three-day Symposium for music teachers was co-sponsored by MENC, the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the Smithsonian Institution, in order to provide models, materials, and methods for teaching music of the world's cultures to school children and youth.
National Standards for Music Education
For much of the 1980s, there was a call for educational reform and accountability in all curricular subjects. This led to the National Standards for Music Education introduced by MENC. The MENC standards were adopted by some states, while other states have produced their own standards or largely eschewed the standards movement.
The Housewright Symposium / Vision 2020
Examined changing philosophies and practices and predicted how American music education will (or should) look in the year 2020.
Tanglewood II: Charting the Future
Reflected on the 40 years of change in music education since the first Tanglewood Symposium of 1967, developing a declaration regarding priorities for the next forty years.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Should I be in the room during my child's music lesson?
As a professional service, we see this a lot. Of course you LOVE your little Mozart-to-be to pieces and want to control every aspect of their lives to make sure it's just perfect. Unfortunately, you can't. Part of learning, a VERY important part, is learning to do it on your own. Navigating those waters and finding their way alone. Remember, your children will spend a larger time as adults then they do as children and our most important job is to create self-sufficient and confident, independent adult.
If you have chosen a professional service for your lessons that does appropriate background checks, etc. then be present in the house and within ear shot of the lessons but do NOT allow your child to see you. This is a time for them to make a personal connection with their instructor and it is a time to allow the professional instructor to do their job. When Mom and Dad are hovering in the room it is a distraction to not only the educator but most importantly the child. Who's in charge? Mom, my teacher? Who do I look at, look to when I have a question? Allow the teacher and student to form their own path and keep your personal opinions and expectations tabled for the time.
If you child is in a group learning experience this is even more important. Pretend for a second that you are a child again. Do you want your Mom and Dad hanging out in the room with you and your friends/peers during a fun activity? I am guessing not. Your child loves you but also wants and needs to be allowed to bask in the fun of the group learning experience without distraction, etc.
Beyond a situation which is dangerous, you should feel confident that you have done your due diligence in choosing the appropriate service and allow the process to take place without interruption. You just may be surprised about what your child is able to accomplish, on their own! :)
The Music Momma
Friday, November 11, 2011
Math and music have always been considered closely connected in many ways. It is widely believed that students who do well in music also excel in math. Some research shows that starting music lessons at a young age enhances math ability . One theory is that music strengthens the neural chords that transmit information between the two hemispheres of the brains.
It is interesting to know that each of the members of the first place winning team of this year’s Los Angeles County Chapter Math Counts Competition from Palos Verdes Intermediate School (PVIS), plays a musical instrument. Also, each of the eight team members placed in the top ten of individual competition.
Let’s take a look at some of the basic components of music such as rhythm, tone and pitch, and see what math has to do with them. Also, read this article about how math related to piano training.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
The moment has arrived. Your little baby has sprouted wings and is ready to leave the nest – at least for a few hours. Preschool looms on the horizon.
So how important is this? It turns out, very. Those crayons and pipe cleaners may look innocent enough, but how and where they're introduced can have long-reaching ramifications.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, preschool plays a large role in later academic success. "Children in high quality preschools display better language, cognitive, and social skills than children who attended low quality programs." They have longer attention spans, stronger social abilities, and better language and math skills well into their elementary school careers. In fact, 20 or 30 odd years after they've put down their wooden blocks and stepped away from the sand table, they're still reaping the benefits – they're more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to hold high paying jobs, even more likely to own their own house.
While most schools offer some amount of circle time and fingerpaint, they are not all the same. Here's how to sort through the preschool mumbo jumbo, and pick the right place for your child.
What to Consider
1.Credentials. Currently, only Georgia and Oklahoma offer free preschool to all the kids in their state. Most preschools are privately run. That means they make their own rules. Make sure the schools you are considering employ teachers that have earned early childhood education degrees. Ask if the school itself is accredited. For more information, go to www.naeyc.org, the website for the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
2.Hours. There's a difference between day care and preschool. Day care often offers more hours for kids of working parents, in a less scheduled environment. Preschool programs tend to be shorter, and more structured. Decide your needs and look for a program that correlates.
3.Discipline. We all hope to raise perfect angels, but let's get real – a major part of young development is testing boundaries. Ask how the school deals with behavior such as hitting or biting. Ask how they deal with conflict – do they believe children should work things out themselves? Do they believe in "time outs"? It's important that you agree with a school's disciplinary approach and trust their judgement – small children have a hard time with mixed messages.
4.Nutrition. One of the great things about preschool is that children are positively influenced by their peers – they may not touch fruit at home, but if everyone else is eating apples, they might be coerced to try them. Of course, they may also be negatively influenced. Does the school provide lunch and/or snacks or will you pack them from home? If they supply the goods, ask what they serve. Pretzels and cheese cubes, or cookies and milk? Don't choose a school with a teacher who loves to bake if you don't want your kids eating sweets. If your child has food allergies, make sure they can ensure their safety.
5.Look at the Art. A picture is worth a thousand words, so look at what's hanging on the walls. Does everything look the same? Is all the crayon within the lines? Some schools emphasize facts: "Trees are green." Others encourage imagination: "Interesting. I've never seen a baby growing on a tree before!"
6.Visiting. Does the school have an open door policy? Can parents visit at any time, or are there set days for observation?
7.Safety. How does the school ensure student safety? How do they keep track of pickups at the end of the day?
8.Philosophy. More brain development occurs in the first five years of life than at any point thereafter. Educators have different views and approaches, even as early as the preschool years. Some schools are completely "play based," others have kids as young as three or four tracing numbers and letters to prepare them for kindergarten. It all comes down to learning style.