It’s that time of year — time to pull out my Trick-or-Treat! rhythm game! During the weeks leading up to Halloween, I like to use my Trick-or-Treat rhythm game at pretty much every student’s lesson. It’s a fun way to make students “earn” their treat, and it’s such a great game for building their rhythm skills. Best of all, they LOVE this game!Continue reading “Getting out my Trick-or-Treat rhythm game!”
In recent conversations with a couple of piano teachers, I was asked there is a review available here on my blog about Music Play, a book I like to draw from for movement and ear/audiation activities with my young daughter and my piano students. Look no further, friends — here’s my full review!Continue reading “Review: “Music Play” Early Childhood Music Curriculum by Edwin E. Gordon et al.”
In my last post, I mentioned I am delivering a presentation for NCKP 2021’s Virtual Conference tomorrow. My presentation shares about a personal research project conducting early childhood music (ECM) activities with my daughter throughout her first year of life. It’s been fun and rewarding to see Aria’s musical development up close, and I am learning so much from the process. I have hundreds of videos I’ve been collecting, logging, and analyzing!
I thought it might be fun to share a video of Aria here on my blog, for my readers as well as for any NCKP conference attendees interested in seeing a more recent video clip. The video below was taken a few days ago, with Aria at 17 months old.
The ECM activities I do with Aria are based on Edwin E. Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT). I took a two-week summer certification training Early Childhood Music Level 1 offered through the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (see GIML.org) back in 2017, and have been putting my training to good use since Aria was born in February of 2020. I took the Piano Level 1 certification the summer prior to that, which I blogged about here.
Here is the video, as well as a short description of what you’ll observe in the video.Continue reading “Early Childhood Music with my 17mo Daughter”
This was definitely a highlight of my summer — hosting a third annual Piano Teacher Retreat! This involved three days and fourteen teachers exploring this year’s theme: rhythm and Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT). I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed our shared three days of discussing, learning, laughing, and musicking. It was such an honor and pleasure to spend this time with this wonderful group of teachers.
The event was held at my home in Bowling Green, Ohio, August 1-3, 2019. Nine of us stayed overnight here in my home, while the other five were hosted at my colleagues’ homes nearby.
These ladies arrived with coordinating black-and-white, and red-white-and-blue! 🙂
We began our first day by breaking out into small groups to research some introductory information about Edwin E. Gordon’s Music Learning Theory.Continue reading “2019 Piano Teacher Retreat Highlights”
Over the past few of years, I’ve been reading my way through a handful of the dozens of books written by Dr. Edwin E. Gordon (1927-2015), thinker extraordinaire in the realm of music learning theory. Although I found his writing style requires some getting-used-to — due partly to the necessity of learning the terminology he uses — I have found it extremely worthwhile to do so as I strive to incorporate aspects of his Music Learning Theory (MLT) into my practice as a piano teacher.
In this article, I’d like to present a list of the Gordon books I’ve read so far, accompanied by brief descriptions what each book addresses. My hope is that this article will provide useful recommendations for those interested in Gordon’s MLT and wondering which of his book(s) to read first. For this reason, the books are listed in order by how highly I would recommend them to someone new to Gordon’s writings. Each review below includes a link to where the book can be purchased from GIA Publications or Amazon. As I read more of Gordon’s books, I plan to add more descriptions to this list.
Before I begin, I’d like to preface by saying that there is a book about MLT that was not authored by Gordon that I would recommend reading before reading Gordon’s books. That book is Eric Bluestine’s The Ways Children Learn Music (GIA Publications | Amazon). Bluestine’s book offers an excellent, friendly primer of the premises of MLT and the shortcomings of conventional music education. I consider it a must-read for any music teacher. Read my full review of Eric’s book here.
Now, let’s get on to discussing Gordon’s books!
Discovering Music from the Inside Out: An Autobiography – Revised edition, by Edwin E. Gordon
Published in 2006 and revised in 2014, Gordon’s autobiography is a wonderful read. It tells the story of his early life growing up as a boy, his careers as a working musician (including playing bass for the Gene Krupa Band), and his work as a professor and researcher. The book sheds light on the circumstances that prompted Gordon to examine the way music is conventionally taught, the nature of music aptitude, and how we learn music.
This book was fun to read, and I consider it a great starting point for anyone even mildly interested in Gordon’s Music Learning Theory. Bottom line: If you are interested in music education and you enjoy autobiographies, I would recommend this book to you.
Just thought I’d pass along information about the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (GIML) training that is to occur this summer (July-August, 2018) in the Boston area at Brookline Music School.
This is the certification I received in the summer of 2016 to learn more about applying Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT) to piano teaching. It was quite a commitment of time and money but I feel it is the most important investment I have made into myself as a piano teacher, aside from earning my music degrees.
Here’s where you can read about my experience taking GIML’s Piano Certification Course. Read more about GIML’s Professional Development Level Course offerings here.
Have you heard of “audiation” before, but perhaps weren’t exactly sure what it meant? Have you wondered: why do we need this new word? Why should audiation matter to us as musicians and music educators?
Audiation isn’t an idea that is going away anytime soon. We are going to continue hearing more about audiation within music education circles. As the term “audiation” is becoming more widely known and increasingly used, it would benefit us to ensure that we have a clear and accurate understanding of the term.
Why did Edwin Gordon coin the term “audiation”?
The term “audiation” was coined around 1976 by music professor, researcher, theorist, and author Dr. Edwin Gordon (1927-2015). Audiation is the central focus of a collection of theories about how music is learned, known as Music Learning Theory (MLT).
Audiation refers to a mental process that is both a natural and integral part of music making — and has been since the beginning of time — but has gone unnamed (at least, in the English language) until Gordon came along.
There is power to naming something. Giving something a name means acknowledging it. Continue reading “What is Audiation, Exactly?”
“Music literacy involves more than being able to read and write music notation.”
“All learning begins with the ear, not the eye, and learning music, of course, is no exception.”
— Edwin Gordon
We’ve accomplished so much in the realm piano pedagogy over the decades. So many fine teachers, fine books, and fine pedagogical piano literature.
The music education community can tout similar advancements, and yet we piano teachers tend to know so little of them. We know little of the theories and recent research regarding music learning, and of the approaches music educators use in the school systems. Does anyone else find it odd?
There seems to be a certain degree of separation between the worlds of piano pedagogy and music education. We don’t interact much. We took separate courses while in college. We have separate professional organizations.
Do we piano pedagogues consider ourselves under the same umbrella as music educators?
Since taking the Piano Certification Course through the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (GIML) last August, I have been slowly but surely working towards integrating Music Learning Theory (MLT) principles into my teaching approach.
Much of this integration is subtle at this point and yet, it is having a definite impact on my students.
I’ve also had the opportunity to experiment more directly with an MLT-based teaching approach in a couple of new group music classes I’ve been offering over the past few months.
The first opportunity arose when one of my piano parents asked if I might consider doing some kind of group music class with her two piano students as well as three of her other children who take lessons in guitar, flute, and violin. She was interested in her kids receiving additional help with rhythm, theory, and more, to support their private lessons. I told her more about the GIML training I received and how I felt it would be ideal for her kids and that I would be thrilled to have the opportunity to experiment more with this approach. So, now I’m teaching a weekly 30-minute group music class (not geared towards piano playing) with 5 siblings between the ages of 7 and 12. Afterwards, I give the two piano students their private lessons.
The second opportunity arose when a local violin teacher reached out to me asking about lessons for her 4-year-old son. Ultimately, we settled on having a weekly 30-minute group class with her son as well as her two other young children. The five of us are exploring music together using the Music Play early childhood music curriculum as the basis.
So far with both classes, I’ve been loosely following the lesson plan outline that Marilyn Lowe suggests in her Keyboard Games (KG) books (see image below). I’m pulling songs and rhythm chants from her KG books, Music Play, and the ECMC Songs and Chants Without Words, Book One.
[See previous post: 2016 GIML Training (2): A Great First Week]
On Saturday, I returned from a fruitful and enjoyable two-week stay in Brookline, Massachusetts, receiving Piano Certification training through the Gordon Institute for Music Learning. I am still processing everything I learned, but am excited to begin sharing about the experience with you all.
As I mentioned in the last post, we were in class from 9:00am-4:30pm each day. It was like being back in school!
Our teachers for this course were Marilyn Lowe, Jennifer Fisher, and intern Janna Olson.
Marilyn is the author of the Music Moves for Piano method, the only piano method to-date that is based on Edwin Gordon’s work.
We spent class time listening to lectures, discussing learning theories, and participating in movement and singing activities.
In the evenings, we studied and read from Dr. Gordon’s tome, “Learning Sequences in Music.” Eating cannoli made the studying even sweeter.
Each day, we were assigned to compose a melody in a particular mode (major, harmonic minor, dorian, phrygian, etc.). The following day, we shared our melodies with the group.
Between the two weeks of training, we found time to explore Boston.
Here we are exploring the Harvard campus in Cambridge.
And here is a group of us enjoying dinner at a classmate’s home nearby. (Thanks for hosting, Rachel!)
Here I am with Marilyn, after receiving certification.
And here I am with my travel buddy, Amy Chaplin of PianoPantry.com.
By the way, Amy and I used Airbnb.com to find a place to stay during the course. This was our first experience using Airbnb, and I can happily say it was a positive one. We stayed in a third story of an old Victorian home. Our apartment was absolutely perfect for us. I definitely intend to use airbnb for future trips.
Here is a group photo of our entire class.
In upcoming weeks and months, I look forward to incorporating what I learned into my teaching. Stay tuned for more on this.
In the meantime, be sure to check out the blog post that Amy just posted with her own summary of our experience in Boston.
Happy weekend, friends!
Update: Read more about Music Learning Theory (MLT) here.