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#1236967 - 07/25/09 04:03 AM Teaching Music History
AdlerAugen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 200
Loc: Hawaii
So, I'm trying to incorporate as much of music in general into my students' lessons. I've not been teaching for very long, but I want to add a regimen of music history into the mix. What I'm looking for is a sort of music history book which focuses on the lives of composers, is not too in depth (as in short enough to keep a kid's attention) on any particular composer, is able to be read by younger ones and still informative for older students. Also, I would love if it cited its sources so I could double check with those and compare them to others for reliability.

Now, that said, I'm almost ready to write up little papers on all the composers my students are learning.
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#1237056 - 07/25/09 11:45 AM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: AdlerAugen]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
Alfred's has a *decent* publication called "Accent on Composers" -- but I have a few problems with it.

#1 -- it's designed for school band classes because. It's obvious because they leave out composers like Chopin and Schumann and put in Elgar and Ives instead.

#2 -- The writing is succinct but a little juvenile and choppy at times. As a musicologist I take issue with some of their "facts" as well.

#3 -- The Listening CD has chopped up versions of everything so you only get the first 2 minutes of each piece. It's hard to teach kids about form and structure when you don't include the entire piece.

I'm launching a 12 week intro to music history course for homeschool kids this fall, and while I've used the Alfred's book as a base guide, I've ended up writing all the listening guides and a lot of composer bios on my own.

I would suggest as secondary "fact-checking" sources:

"The Enjoyment of Music" by Kristine Forney (my graduate advisor =) ) This is the top selling music appreciation book and is used in universities all over the country for entry level classes.

"History of Western Music" (7th or 8th edition) by Burkholder (used to be Grout) should also be in your library. It is more in depth than Forney's book.

Otherwise if you've got some money to blow, buy a subscription to the Oxford Journals so you have full access to the Grove Dictionary. Having access to that is the one reason I'll join my alumni association when I finish my MA this Fall.

~Jennifer Eklund
_________________________
FREE 90-page eBook of sheet music: www.pianopronto.com/specialoffer

Piano Pronto Music Books: www.pianopronto.com

BA in Piano/MA Musicology



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#1237066 - 07/25/09 12:01 PM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: AdlerAugen]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1644
Loc: northern California
I use a reproducible book called "Focus on Composers", Teacher Created Materials is the publisher. John and Patty Carratello, authors. This book is for the younger students, pre-teen I would say. Short biographies on composers and activity pages for the kids to do.
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#1237198 - 07/25/09 03:52 PM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: Barb860]
J Cortese Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 357
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Maybe Wikibooks ... ?
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#1237207 - 07/25/09 04:05 PM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: AdlerAugen]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7315
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: AdlerAugen
So, I'm trying to incorporate as much of music in general into my students' lessons. I've not been teaching for very long, but I want to add a regimen of music history into the mix. What I'm looking for is a sort of music history book which focuses on the lives of composers, is not too in depth (as in short enough to keep a kid's attention) on any particular composer, is able to be read by younger ones and still informative for older students. Also, I would love if it cited its sources so I could double check with those and compare them to others for reliability.

Now, that said, I'm almost ready to write up little papers on all the composers my students are learning.


Have you considered group lessons for material like this? Also, if you're not familiar with it, Piano Explorer is a magazine for students, similar to Weekly Reader, if you remember those. Except that it comes once a month, 10 times a year. It does feature a composer of the month.

You can check it out here.

I order them in bulk, and the students' enrollment fees help cover the cost of this.

John
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1237242 - 07/25/09 04:54 PM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Check out the Composers Fandex. It is easy for kids to handle, and fun to look at!
http://www.amazon.com/Composers-Fandex-Family-Field-Guides/dp/0761112065
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It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1237396 - 07/25/09 09:58 PM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
AdlerAugen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 200
Loc: Hawaii
Actually, my textbook from my music history course (just finished my sequence this spring) is "A History of Western Music" 7th ed., Burkholder, Grout, and Palisca listed as the authors.

Also, the studio I teach at gets piano explorer, enough to hand out to all the students, and I do send it home with kids to read. However, since it's only once a month I wanted a way to be more systematic about my approach to teaching music history, and be able to teach kids about particular pieces they may be working on (or arrangements thereof) without taking the lesson time with a lecture.

and still being in University, our library subscribes to many great resources, including that students can get full access to the grove dictionary online (and I believe there's a printed edition in the library as well) and naxos. They are both excellent resources for learning about music (naxos for being able to find just about anything you look for).

"Focus on Composers" I shall look into, as well as "Composers Fandex."

EDIT: Even better, if whatever book relates the composers time periods to each other (besides just birth and death dates) and to other events in history, that would be awesome. For example, "J.S. Bach lived from 1685 to 1750. In his lifetime Moses Mendelssohn, the famous German-Jewish philosopher and grandfather of another famous composer (Felix Mendelssohn), was born--in 1729 to be precise."

Now, that's just a couple of sentences that relates two composers together by another important figure. I'd love to see a book for kids do something similar, though perhaps with less complexity in the writing.


Edited by AdlerAugen (07/25/09 10:52 PM)
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#1237426 - 07/25/09 11:09 PM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: AdlerAugen]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
The Alfred's publication relates the composers via timelines and stylistic similarities/differences as well as what was going on in regular history.
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FREE 90-page eBook of sheet music: www.pianopronto.com/specialoffer

Piano Pronto Music Books: www.pianopronto.com

BA in Piano/MA Musicology



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#1237434 - 07/25/09 11:25 PM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: Jennifer Eklund]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5423
Loc: Orange County, CA
I love Grout's book. Why is everyone so bored by it???
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#1237457 - 07/26/09 12:49 AM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: AZNpiano]
J Cortese Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 357
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
I love Grout's book. Why is everyone so bored by it???


I'm not. I grabbed it off of Amazon.com for fun a while back and have been enjoying weekend mojitos and pizzas with it at the local Italian place.
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#1237463 - 07/26/09 01:11 AM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: J Cortese]
AdlerAugen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 200
Loc: Hawaii
Grout's book is only boring when you have to read it for class. Afterwards, it can be found quite enjoyable.
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#1237468 - 07/26/09 01:39 AM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: AdlerAugen]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5455
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: AdlerAugen
Grout's book is only boring when you have to read it for class. Afterwards, it can be found quite enjoyable.


+1

Cathy
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#1237516 - 07/26/09 09:01 AM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: AdlerAugen]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7315
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
In our group lesson, we do a composer of the month, which tracks the Piano Explorer composer. I will generally play something by the composer, have students play something, if it's in their repertoire, and may play orchestral excerpts for them as well. As most of my students are younger, we talk about the times in history, what might have been happening here in the USA, and also, what their great, great grand parents might have been doing. In other words, try to personalize it somewhat. By the way, I have assigned them a report, with 10 specific questions to answer, on the composer. The best report, by age group, gets a composer bust.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1240284 - 07/30/09 10:42 AM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: AdlerAugen]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
Re: Grout, I happened to run into this "study space" that apparently goes along with the book, with listening labs, quizzes etc. Grout - study space
(In case it's useful to anyone)

KS

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#1258931 - 08/30/09 10:25 AM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: keystring]
Shifra Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/28/09
Posts: 2
For fairly young children, the Young Person's Guide to Music History by Carolyn Jones Campbell is pretty good. It is a three volume set, with each volume $4.50.

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#1259723 - 08/31/09 03:35 PM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: keystring]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
Yup, the Norton publications have open access "Study Space" for their publications.

I'm teaching "Listener's Approach to Music" for college freshman (non-majors) this semester and the "Enjoyment of Music Essential Listening Edition" is the text we're using.

http://www.wwnorton.com/college/music/enj10/essentials/

A lot of the website stuff is open access, or if you buy the eBook you get codes that allow you to access all of the Listening Guides (most are interactive) and other "premium material". It's actually a really good deal and the Essentials edition would be very usable for kids. It's intended to be a non-technical approach.

Sorry have to plug the book -- the author is my Grad advisor =)

~Jennifer Eklund
_________________________
FREE 90-page eBook of sheet music: www.pianopronto.com/specialoffer

Piano Pronto Music Books: www.pianopronto.com

BA in Piano/MA Musicology



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#1270910 - 09/19/09 07:26 AM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: Jennifer Eklund]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
Jennifer, I've spent time exploring the site and the rich support material there. I already have the Grout so for now I'm exploring this in tangent without the text. If my experience means anything, then I wonder if this might be the ideal book for adult students. It has music history like the Grout, but it also goes into more music basics and patches quite a few holes. I don't have the judgment of a music teacher or trained musician, but perhaps you would like to pass on my studentish enthusiasm to your grad advisor.

KS

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#1271173 - 09/19/09 04:56 PM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: keystring]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
This topic started July 25, came back August 30, and again, today, September 19th. Just in time for me to add something!

Music history can be incorporated as needed on the assignment pages of our students 3-ring-notebooks. If we use a computer to develop music history and composer biography pages, it could be printed for including in their current assignment pages. Just enough info to support the piece we are teaching would be the most helpful with a photo of the composer and some links to further information for the older students.

Once created, a Music History page in our computers is available for the next student who is assigned the same piece.

It then leads to us make a list of all (example) "Schumann" pieces that we consider essential and to have a check off process under the Schumann list for when it is finished. We would not need to list them in order of importance or order of assigning - random is fine.

It then leads to the idea of "Listening Assignments" as well as pieces they are going to be learning and performing. Something that might be on today's listening assignment might be actually started a year from now.

The above are ways to co-ordinate several needs on one piece of paper.

Wouldn't that be helpful to them and to us!

Betty

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#1272011 - 09/21/09 10:00 AM Re: Teaching Music History [Re: J Cortese]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11474
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I second the Piano Explorers magazine. It not only has a composer of the month with in-depth information, but there are games, jokes, puzzles, and a student composition in each one. They also have articles on practice tips and other helpful topics. I think the kids really love to get one in their folder each month. If it's a composer whom they may not have ever played before, I'll take some time to play a recording or if I can, play some of the music myself.
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