The Many Forms of Music Design

Music design takes as many forms as music itself. So before teaching it, determine which form to teach first. Consider the following- Music designs can be: For digital and/or live performancePerformed live and/or in a studioPerformed by acoustic and/or digital instrumentsRecorded or notNotated or notDesigned by one or more designersPerformed by the designer and/or other…

Sound as a Lens for Understanding our World

In addition to listening, playing, and creating music for its own sake, I believe the other primary value of music education is to learn about our world through its sounds. Here are four ways to put that into practice. Sound as a lens for: Understanding their own lived experience.What are the sounds of your life?…

My Teaching Values

Consider context Music, sound, and art as lenses for understanding our world Listen -> Play -> Create 1. Consider contextThe macro context: consider power, privilege, oppression, democracy, and morality. Try to do what is right to me.The specific context: consider health, safety, and the wants, needs, and experiences of the student and community. Assess and…

What Music can Teach

The purpose of this exercise was to challenge myself to organize everything I believe music can teach. Surely my thinking will evolve, and I will build on this as I continue to learn, think, and write. Listen, Play, Create By directly engaging with sound through listening, playing, or creating, we can learn to hear our…

Developing musical creativity: Music design

Where does original music come from? For people who can make it, it often feels easy. For those who cannot, it may feel impossible. Imagine this: every time I practice musical creativity, I am tending my musical garden. I start by wandering. I play little bits of music I have improvised and designed before, removing…

Developing musical creativity: Improvisation

Musical creativity: what is it? How does it work? How is it learned? And how should it be developed? Musical creativity is an inclusive term for all forms of creating original music. The two primary and distinct skills of musical creativity are improvisation and design. Improvisation is the process of making up music as you…

How we Process Experiences

Teaching is helping others learn. People learn through experiences. So to help me become a better teacher, I have been trying to understand how the brain processes experiences, emphasizing the parts most relevant to learning: 1. The self – consciousness and memory. who you are in the present moment based on everything you have experienced…

The 4 types of things that can be learned

In my experience, teachers think their course content is really important, and they privilege memorizing content knowledge over other kinds of learning. In order to resist this tendency in my own teaching, I have attempted to categorize everything that can be learned: Knowledge – rules and expectations, and content and interdisciplinary knowledge, on a spectrum…

All of Colorado’s Musics

My school music experience taught me that American music consisted of classical, jazz, and pop. It taught me that Chicago was home to world-class classical and jazz musicians, but it said nothing of its hip-hop, EDM, folk, or so many other musical cultures. Last month I moved to Denver. When I begin teaching here, I…

Facilitating Transformative Cognitive-Experiences

Elliot Eisner suggests that, “thinking and experiencing cannot be easily separated.” That, “no form of experience is possible without cognitive activity and that such activity is itself what we mean by thinking.” (Elliot Eisner, Cognition & Curriculum) Might it be clearer then if we consider them one and the same? Let’s call this concept “cognitive-experience”….