Stephanie Lewis - Music & Education Talks expert

Music Lessons Ingredients

Are you a music teacher? Get ready for some useful tips

In this video, Stephanie introduces some basic concepts that can truly help music teachers.

Released on October 3, 2018

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi there, it's me, Stephanie, together with VSM. If my last video talked about surviving the first few weeks of a new academic year at school, then this video aims to help as regards structuring course content irrespective of the age range. The first thing to address is, of course, the importance of a balanced musical diet, and by that, I mean performing, listening/repertoire, theory, and composition. This must be seen at all ages, and I mean all. Let's go through each aspect, one by one.

Arguably, the most important factor is listening/repertoire as it touches upon a number of issues. Firstly, listening links the brain and analytical ear up more closely, something that is simply not done in any other subject, with the possible exception of dance. Musical analysis, in turn, leads to greater elaboration of thought, and through this, widens up musical and non-musical vocabulary, communication skills.

Another factor to bear in mind when dealing with listening is that this establishes repertoire, hopefully all stars and arrows. A carefully considered repertoire provides a basis for where an individual can potentially discover the world of music as a lifelong explorer. As most of our students will not become professional musicians, cultivating curiosity is essential for preventing that caught-in the-rut, slightly yawn-worthy student state of, "Right, it's not my music. It's not my style." We've all heard it, yeah? It'll also help to ensure that music out of the commercial global sphere has some sort of chance in wearing the economic storms essential for the survival of professional independent musicians. You know, we have a responsibility to them, after all.

Now, if listening is tightly tied up with communication, then so is theory and written music. If you don't teach the rudiments of written music, then you prevent a common musical language from developing, and this creates difficulties in chatting about music, already, by the time a child is about eight. Not sharing a common language of communication also slows down, considerably, the process of learning. In my opinion, you should be starting to introduce music reading, writing at around age six, seven, no later, as the children already have the necessary mathematical knowledge to easily deal with this.

As regards performance, this should be a good mix between singing and instrumental. Please, no more young children singing for the entire music lesson, or conversely, teenagers who only perform instrumentally.

And finally, composition. It's experimental, creative, organizational, analytical. There should always be room for this type of experience.

Now, how to address these curricular matters effectively in programs for various age groups. Well, in the coming videos, I'll be suggesting ways in which each aspect can be suitably addressed. I'll also provide some downloadable materials that will hopefully be of assistance to you. So, see you next time for a review of, specifically, listening/repertoire in music education. Looking forward to it. Bye.
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