The Experience of Teaching General Music

the experience of teaching general music

This book is a wonderful book to have in your own personal collection of teaching and music books.  The authors are Betty W. Atterbury and Carol P. Richarson.   I personally love this book because it is directed multiple times to the beginning music teacher and gives helpful tips on how not only to teach music to all age groups, but also the most effective ways to do it and keep your classroom under control while still having fun with the children.

One of my favorite aspects about the book is how  practical and easy it is to follow.  The table of contents has everything broken down so that everything is easy to access and understand.  The way the book is actually laid out is for each chapter is they present a case study, a practice teaching script for that case, and then they give a detailed description of what you need to know is important about the students and the lesson.

Each chapter builds off of the next so that as the kids get older they are challenged more.  The first two chapters are about more about the teacher and evaluating music teaching, which I found extremely helpful for beginning teachers.  Chapters 3-10 are focused on the students and various ways they can learn music.  The authors start out with learning music through singing then go to learning through listening, moving, playing instruments, composing, and lastly reading.  There are both primary and intermediate levels for each chapter.  Chapter 11 covers real teachers in the real world.

Chapter 11 was helpful to me because it explains the other various jobs and roles you will be playing and expected to fulfill as a teacher.  It also gives case studies where you would have to interact with other teachers, school attendants, and parents.  I really enjoyed how you could tell that the authors care for students and music.  At the end of this chapter, the authors talk about how every child deserves a music education.  After the last chapter there are additional listening resources and listening selections from the book.

It also talks about great teaching methods such as Kodaly and Piaget and how to apply those methods in your classroom.  Overall this book is a great asset when beginning teaching, or even if you’ve taught for years but are looking for more classroom ideas.  I’ll end this post with my favorite line in the book , “The goal of all music instruction is to enhance the inherent musicality of each child.”


Dalcroze Method

     This is a research project that I did in my Music in the Elementary Classroom.  Emile Jaques Dalcroze (July 6, 1865- July 1, 1950) was a Swiss composer that developed eurhythmics, a method of learning music through movement.  His teaching method consists of 3 main elements: Eurhythmics, solfege, and improvisation.  Eurhythmics, as I’ve said before, is musical expression through movement.  Solfege helps develop ear training and sight-singing skills.  Improvisation is using instruments, movement, and voice to help learn music.  

     To understand Dalcroze method, you need to know a little about his background.  He began teaching as a pedagogue at the Geneva Conservatory, where  he taught harmony and solfege.  His education philosophy is that the body is the instrument and that it must be trained first.  His main purpose in all of this was to help students develop an inner ear without the help of instruments.  He then realized that the aspects of music that are more connected to the senses are rhythm and movement, so he created eurhythmics.  

     There are three objectives of eurhythmics.  The first is mental and emotional- awareness, concentration, social integration, realization, and expression of nuances.  The second is physical-  to make the performance accurate, to develop personal expressiveness through performance, and to make the performance easier.  The third objective is musical- quickness, precision, comfort expressive personal response to the listening, analysis, writing, and improvisation.  

     You can see eurhthmics in other teachers’ work such as Orff Schulwerk and is most common in public school education.  

     Many games and activities have been created based of off Dalcroze method. This link goes to an article with some examples of activities and how they work. 1. method.

     I also found an interview with a teacher, Sean Hartley, who has used Dalcroze method to teach.  Here is the link to view the interview. 1.

     There are many different examples of students using movement to understand music on youtube.  I found a couple good examples.  1.  2.   3.   4.   5.




The Ocean

The Ocean

This is a song that I wrote while at the beach.  In the chorus I ask “what will you  be when it’s your turn because after I teach the song, I will have the students break into groups and write their own verse about a sea animal.

Objective- The student will write one verse for the song “The Ocean”.

Listening Activity Lesson

Listening Activity Lesson

This lesson is a listening activity where I would play songs for my classes and have them fill out these activity pages.  These sheets are easy to access and what I really like about them is that they have different difficulty levels.  I could even make this activity a bell ringer.

There is a link to the site that has the sheets that you can  print out.

The student will fill out the listening activity sheets while listening to songs.

Two is Better Than One

Two is Better Than One

This small piece is a recorder piece that I wrote for my instrumental section of my lesson on the book “On the Night You Were Born”. The book is about making each child feel special and telling them that there is no other person exactly like them and that we are all unique and perfect the way we are. I decided to make my recorder a duet and title it “Two is Better Than One” to show the students that even though there are two separate melodies, when sounded together they make harmonies, just like even though there is no two people exactly the same, we still have friends and family that we make harmonies with too.

The student will play “Two is Better Than One” with the recorder using the notes A, C, D, F, and G.

Creating Songs

Creating Songs

These are some creativity activities that I thought would be fun to do. There is an activity for older age groups and a separate one for younger age groups.

The student will write new words to a nursery rhyme.

The student will create a hand puppet.