Wednesday 18 March 2020


Is teaching music any different than other subjects so that its methodology
requires a different approach?
Compare these questions about Music and Math. Answer these questions.
Do we learn Math for fun ? Do lonely singles suddenly decide to take a Math class? Is Math like Music as just a pleasant way to waste time?
Is there such a thing as serious music? If so, is it better than unserious music?
Can you teach "good taste" in music ? Would you even think about "good taste" in Math class ? Would you feel sadness, or joy over a particular Math problem? Would you prefer to write a song or a new Math problem? Is music really a creative subject ? Is Math a creative subject ? Is there always a perfectly correct result for a musical performance?
Is there always a perfectly correct result for a Math calculation?
Is Math physically involving?
Is Music physically involving?
Is one easier than the other?
Is one more important than the other? I won't answer these questions about differences between teaching Math
and Music. They are just to get you thinking.

A learner's motivations might be very different as is the subject matter.
A kid comes to a music lesson for different reasons,
sometimes the kid deeply wants to learn music,
sometimes the parents want to live vicariously through the child's success,
sometimes they are just curious to see where it goes,
sometimes the parent wants the kid to be busy and not with them.

An adult comes to a Music lesson because
they might have a hole in their life
they need to fill or find distraction from (lost love)
they simply love music
they might enjoy the social experience that music can provide
they might find music a form of escapism from a life of adult responsibilities.
they want to return to a nostalgic moment in their life through music.
they wish to gain confidence, social status & poise via music.

Are you noticing some of the important differences between Math and Music?

So there are differences in teaching and learning different subjects. Will that affect the lesson ?
Let's examine some of commonly important things about teaching both
Math and Music.
Both involve: practice. reading. stepping up through levels. concentrating on the processes. memorizing information. using models for practice & applying those models to different situations. organizing lesson materials. evaluating the results. improving consistency. using tools.
Examine some major differences in learning & teaching Music. Choice of being in that music lesson. Emotional connection to the subject music. High levels of multitasking with mental and physical connections in music.
e.g. reading, playing, looking ahead while tapping a foot,
naming notes simultaneously while thinking about countable value,
where it is played on different hands and coordinating this information
with 2 hands, feeling the right amount of tension and angles in picking
and fretting notes and listening and responding to the quality of sound
& possibly an external partner playing. Possibly singing to this at the same
time. Public performance which comes with subjective judgement of the task.

I often hear people talk about music as a "creative" subject.
Is it creative ?

If your purpose is to make exacting copies of existing work, is it creative?
Is creativity an important part of music education?
I know several high level teachers of music who have not written a song or tune.
Are they creative? It is certainly skillful.
I do write songs and tunes. I didn't at the start. For me it is skills, knowledge and
practice first. With some basic ideas, creativity can begin.
Creativity is enhanced by having a toolbox of these inputs.
Creativity is also enhanced by having the suggestion that making
something of your own can be part of the process.

Comparing Music to Math might lead you to think that Math isn't creative.
It could be but isn't often taught that way. A student could be asked to
solve a real life problem or question using Math.
This is very different from being told to answer Exercise 7b questions 1 to 10.
Think about it.
Cheers for now.

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