All posts tagged: teaching

musical notes

All Cows Eat Grass

Most of you will know EXACTLY what I am referencing here.
If you were trained as a musician in the last 30 years, then this is most likely how you learned to read music.
If you are a musician, trained recently, and don’t know what I’m talking about, then I have to say that I am glad for you. Because this is not how to learn, or to teach, reading music.

fingers on piano keys

To teach or to play?

So you want to include games in your music lessons, but don’t know where to start? I’m certain that all music teachers have felt the same at some point or another. The biggest worry that we all have is that we play games that are not connected to learning, that we are wasting precious minutes just to make sure we are the ‘fun’ music teacher. We really are skilled at overthinking music teaching. The problem often lies (as it usually does) in not planning effectively. Worried that a student is looking bored, you jump in and fix the boredom with a quick movement game. Concerned that a student is not listening to you, you make up a game to incorporate and alter their misbehaviour. Over time, this leads to lots of music games being incorporated (which can seem fantastic) but not much time spent at the instrument, or focusing on any particular skill. The only question that you need to ask yourself to solve this problem is this: “What skill do I want my student …

Which came first: the rhythm or the melody?

Ah, the age-old question. The first time I realised that this was a matter of contention was when I was on a student placement (as a classroom teacher, not a music teacher). The music teacher was talking about how she never introduced pitch until Grade 3 (age 8), because children simply didn’t understand it before that. According to what she was saying, she only worked on rhythm with children in the first few years of school. Now, in her defense, she did in fact do a lot of singing with her students. What she really meant was that did not teach the western structures surrounding scales, melody and harmony. Was she right? At the time, I was horrified. And I have to say that I hope you’re a bit horrified too. Why, I wonder. You, as a music teacher yourself (or an enthusiast, anyway) will probably already have an answer. To state it plainly, to teach rhythm without any mention of melody, would be like telling a child to only eat the skin of an …

audio e guitars guitars music

What’s in a Resource?

Our shop has launched! And now that it has, we decided that it was time to explain how the resources at the music educator work. The aim of all music resources sold on this website is to make music teachers jobs easier, every day. With that in mind, let’s explore exactly how we are doing that! First of all, every resource we create comes with a ‘How to use this resource’ page. As a professional yourself, chances are you could always figure out how to use a worksheet, play a game or teach a lesson. But why should you spend that time working it out? This part of our resource tries to make your use of our resource as straightforward as possible. Secondly, when you use one of our resources that involve note reading (on a grand staff), that there is colour coding involved. This is purposefully entirely random. As so many people have differing associations, colours were chosen simply to support students who that would find the correspondence helpful. The simple work around is …

Why I Discourage Perfect Pitch

I’ll never forget the look that I shared with a friend of mine after one of our first University music tests. It wasn’t even a high stakes situation. It was simply a pre-assessment to determine what class we should join for our aural studies. As you learn really quickly in a music degree, it’s not about where you start, it’s about how hard you work to get where you want to go. So even though the test wasn’t easy, we all left free in the knowledge that it didn’t determine any of our final grades. We all went to get the obligatory midday coffee, and one student just couldn’t resist it. He had to have his moment of glory. “I know he didn’t ask for it, but on that final transcription, I included that it was in A Major, just to show that I knew it.” Now, to give context, many of the rest of us had struggled on the final task. It was 5 bars of piano music, with no key signature, time signature …