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 come across 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 head 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 you can harmonize using only the tonic chord, to tunes that use four chords (I, IV, V, vi).
The tunes are, of course, mostly in major (because, well, we live in the Western World), but there are some minor tunes as well.
Keep in mind, these are not tunes tied to any particular chord progression such as I-IV-V-I or I-vi-IV-V. It’s up to the person harmonizing to figure out what chords to use and when.
First, let’s talk a little about what it means to harmonize and how to teach harmonization.
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).
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.
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).
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 experienceatmaking 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 Pianoand 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.
I haven’t written a lot about how I use MLT in lessons yet but I’m sure I will share more in the future. In the meantime, I’m planning on attending the GIML Conference this summer following NCKP. It will be a week of learning in Chicago!
Being the music nerds we self-admittedly are, as part of our nightly study routine, Joy and I thought it would be beneficial to take turns reading out loud every term in the glossary of our text Learning Sequences in Music. We wanted to be sure we understood the meaning of all the new words thrown at us. You may be laughing, but it was quite helpful, especially for this first video you’re about to see!
A 16-hour car ride at some point in time requires a car game. Thus, on our way back from Boston, was born the Alphabet Game MLT Style. (I realize for many of you some of the terms will be meaningless, but I thought you would still get a kick out of it.) 🙂
If you want a bit more substance than our alphabet game, a few days after we returned, we recorded a video summary video for you!
Welcome to Piano Pantry where we talk about piano teaching, loving food, and living life. I'm Amy, my husband Drew and I live in Indiana. My favorite things include Mexican food, reading, organizing, and spending time with those I love.
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