Music Learning Theory

What is “music learning theory”, exactly?

I first encountered music learning theory as an undergraduate student in September of 2008, when Hope College (Holland, Michigan) hosted Dr. Edwin E. Gordon (1927-2015) for a five-day visit. I was fascinated by everything Gordon had to say and have carried his influence with me as I went on to complete a Masters degree and start an independent piano studio in following years. In the summers of 2016 and 2017 respectively, I completed the Piano certification and Early Childhood Music certification offered by the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (see GIML.org). The implications of Gordon’s work regarding how we can best teach music resonates with me, and so I continue to familiarize myself with his research and writings.

Music learning theory is a relatively new subject area within academia gaining increasing recognition and respect in recent decades. While music education and early childhood music communities currently are largely familiar with the concept, piano teachers as a whole are mostly unfamiliar with music learning theory.

To those new to music learning theory, its name might suggest that it is systematic way to teach music theory. In fact, music learning theory has little to do with music theory; nor is it a curriculum.

To those who happen to hold a strong association between the term “music learning theory” and Edwin E. Gordon, the term might seem synonymous with Gordon’s work. The subject area, however, is larger than one individual’s work — no matter how great his or her contributions. Gordon’s own Music Learning Theory (MLT) exists within the larger subject area known as music learning theory.

I’d like to make some clarifications about the subject of music learning theory. In this short article, I will define the subject of music learning theory and discuss possible benefits for piano teachers who choose to familiarize themselves with music learning theory.

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Music Learning Theory, Professional Development

Joy and Amy Talk About Music Learning Theory

Greetings!

Back from our Boston trip for GIML training, Amy and I thought it would be fun and constructive to have a conversation to debrief, and at the same time create a video to share, about Music Learning Theory (MLT).

Here’s what is covered in our video:

  • 3:00 Who was Edwin Gordon.
  • 9:45 Who is Marilyn Lowe.
  • 13:25 What is audiation and how is it developed.
  • 22:00 How we each plan to start incorporating elements of MLT into our lessons.
  • 25:45 What resources are available for teachers who want to learn more about MLT.

Books mentioned in the video:

Just for kicks, here’s one more video. Amy and I had a bit of fun in the car on the drive back home from Boston playing the alphabet car game using MLT terms that we learned during the course. :)

Update: Read What Is Audiation, Exactly?

Conferences, improving as a teacher, Music Learning Theory

2016 GIML Training (2): A Great First Week

[See previous post: 2015 GIML Training (1): The Adventure Begins]

I’ve had a great first week in Boston for the Piano Certification Course training sponsored by the Gordon Institute of Music Learning (GIML).

Here is a photo of Amy and I standing in front of Brookline Music School, which is hosting the training.

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Continue reading “2016 GIML Training (2): A Great First Week”