Over the years, I’ve shared about an expressive movement resource I use off and on during preschool lessons and early elementary group classes from John Feierabend called Move It!: Expressive Movements with Classical Music for All Ages.
The series includes 20 dances set to Classical works from Brahms’s “Waltz in A-flat” to Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet.” The movements reflect both the form and expressive quality of the music. They’re really fun, and my kids have always enjoyed them.
During COVID times, I found myself wanting to give a small assignment like this for my preschool kids to do at home. Unfortunately, the series I have is only available on DVD. So, I went searching for other options available online and quickly came across a large number of videos on YouTube.
These videos make for a fun and quick “focus activity” to use at the start of lessons or group classes for preschool or early to mid-elementary students.
You could also use them at the beginning of group lessons as you’re waiting for everyone to arrive for the class. Students can join in as they enter the studio.
Do it along to the video, or learn it yourself and have them follow you.
Are you interested in music education?
If so, you may consider adding Discovering Music from the Inside Out: An Autobiography by Edwin E. Gordon to your reading list.
In this review, I’ll briefly share why I love this book, a few key quotes, and some fun and interesting facts.
In this autobiography, Dr. Gordon (1927-2015) shares his journey as a musician, music educator, and researcher. Through these experiences and influences, he began to question how music is conventionally taught, ultimately leading him to become the “founding father” of Music Learning Theory (MLT).
If you’re looking to learn more about Music Learning Theory, then this book should be one of the first books you grab. Hearing Dr. Gordon talk about his own experiences and thought-process that brought him to research more deeply how we learn music is a lovely soft primer into what can often feel like the “daunting” world of MLT.
That being said, I strongly believe that you don’t have to be interested in MLT or even necessarily enjoy autobiographies for this book to be a really good choice.
Anyone who is simply a curious music educator will find his journey inspiring, thought-provoking, and even relatable.
I found it to be quite a delightful read and loved that it was an easily-consumable 130 pages.
Teaching is from the outside in whereas learning is from the inside out. (Page 102)
Over my years of teaching, I’ve encountered several lists of tunes to harmonize using primary chords. Often, however, they’re either not very comprehensive, or they include a lot of tunes that students these days have never heard because they only include folk tunes and a couple of Christmas songs.
Last summer, I started a studio-wide harmonization focus that lasted through the summer and fall. After continually having students look at the song list and shake their heads that they didn’t know many of the songs, I finally decided it was time to compile my own list.
This comprehensive list includes 147 tunes (traditional, popular, and Christmas). The list progresses from tunes that only use a tonic chord to those that use four chords (I, IV, V, vi). They are mostly in major tonality (of course, because we live in the Western World), but there are also some minor tunes.
They are also not tied to any particular chord progression (such as I-IV-V-I or I-vi-IV-V). It will be up to you and your student(s) to determine when the harmonic changes occur within each tune.
Besides sharing this free download, I thought we could chat briefly about what it means to “harmonize” tunes.
This past year I was blessed to get the chance to present for several local associations and state and national conferences. Up until about three years ago, I found the idea of presenting terrifying, intimidating, and completely out of my reach.
Luckily, my inner drive, curiosity, and motivation didn’t let those feelings of fear and inadequacy stop me from giving it a shot. In return, I have realized speaking to other teachers is more rewarding than intimidating, more energizing than terrifying, and more within reach to those who persevere (and continually polish those proposals LOL).
Psst…If you’re interested in what I’ve learned along my presenting journey then check out the post Tips for Presenting: Tools, Resources, and a Pep Talk.
Let’s take a quick peek at those of you I was able to be with this past year!
First Applications of Music Learning Theory
My friend, Joy Morin, and I have been excited to get our first duo session out there. It’s exciting not only because it’s a session we put together and can present together, but because we’re able to share what we’ve been learning about applying Music Learning Theory in piano lessons.
Jump over to the Alfred Music Blog to read my guest post, Audiation: The Foundation of Music Learning Theory.
Following the 2017 NCKP Conference in Chicago, my travel buddy, Joy Morin and I had a few days to explore Chicago. It was great having a little brain break anyway!
I’m going to first share with you a little of our 3-day P.T. vacay followed by some of the great things I attended at the GIML (Gordon Institute for Music Learning) Conference. If you’re not familiar, the conference focuses on teaching inspired by Music Learning Theory (MLT).
Joy and I did a two-week training course in MLT and its practical application for piano in Boston, August 2016 so this was the perfect follow-up.
Chicago Food and Fun
In Laverne and Shirley style, we took to bikes and did the 10 mile(ish) lake shore bike track – we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day.
As I was driving to my studio this morning I was thinking about the early years of piano instruction. While they’re often the hardest for parents and children to get through, the first few months and years are the most important for several reasons.
First, we must engage our music students in a way that fosters a love of and a successful experience at making music. Second, we must develop a healthy technique so they have freedom at the piano from the start. Third, we need to introduce students to a variety of sounds, tonalities, and meters so they can hear, think, and engage in music with understanding.
That’s a whole lot of goodness wrapped up into a student’s first experience at the piano!
Today I’m to going to share my thoughts on a book called Little Gems for Piano and how rote pieces like these can cover all three of these critical areas in one. We will focus especially on the last one as it is part of the philosophy I am slowing working to incorporate in my teaching called Music Learning Theory (MLT) by the late Dr. Edwin Gordon. Continue reading
In celebration of the one-year anniversary of Piano Pantry, I wanted to do something big for you all as a “thank you” for giving this newbie (me!) a shot in this blogosphere world. So THANK YOU!
Here’s the kicker – I’m only giving away items that I currently use and love. Three days will be prizes worth around $20 including one “foodie” giveaway, and two days will be BIG with one worth up to $75 and the other worth $90.
Today’s Giveaway is sponsored by Marilyn Lowe, author, and creator of Music Moves for Piano. I was blessed to get to know Marilyn and be trained by her during my training in Music Learning Theory and Music Moves for Piano through the Gordon Institute August 2016 in Boston. You can read more about that here.
Are you interested in learning more about Music Learning Theory (MLT)?
Are you faculty at a college/university and teaching general music, instrumental, or choral methods courses within a music education program?
If so, you may be eligible to apply for the Carol Gordon Professional Development Scholarship of The Gordon Institute for Music Learning.
It is generally due around early to mid-May. Download the application and read more here.
This past August, I attended a two-week training in Boston through GIML.
If you’re interested in reading about my experiences, check out my posts:
Joy and Amy on Music Learning Theory
Piano Teacher Adventure: MLT in Boston
I haven’t written much about how I use MLT in lessons yet, but I’m sure I will share more in the future. In the meantime, I plan to attend the GIML Conference this summer following NCKP. It will be a week of learning in Chicago!