In February, Sinfini Music published a blog post that was picked up by the National Foundation for Music Education regarding students being able to read and write standard notation. As a classical music proponents, Sinfini and the author Charlotte Garnder advocate that every musician should have ample education in standard notation.
Dr. Evan Tobias of Arizona State University wrote this rebuttal a couple days later that I just got around to reading. It’s well worth your time if you are like me and don’t think all music needs to be notated on a staff. Here’s an excerpt:
“Whether ‘reading music’ should be an essential requirement of children learning music depends on the context, young persons’ goals, and what one means by ‘read music’ among other factors.”
Read Dr. Tobias’ entire blog post here.
(Full disclosure: I invited Dr. Tobias to present at the University of Rochester Institute for Popular Music Educators’ Workshop this past year.)
3 thoughts on “Read this: Should reading music be a requirement for children learning music? A response”
I just finished an inquiry with my grade 9 music class into communication and we looked at verbal instructions (spoken and written), non verbal cues and graphic scores. They had to create a score and live rehearsal recording for part of Charlie Chaplin’s film “Modern Times” and we are about to turn one of their graphic scores into common practice notation (CPN). I’m hoping that after this inquiry they’ll see that being a great communicator as a musician is more than being able to read CPN, but also how useful it can be in some instances to be able to read and write CPN. Then it’s up to them how much emphasis they place on CPN.
I will always have students who pursue music with no interest in reading CPN (and a majority of musical cultures focus on listening rather than reading), so I’d rather stay open-minded to the variety of ways my students want to inquire into Music. 10% of my students are interested in a traditional music education, so I’m trying to provide an environment where students can also choose to focus on those skills too. It’s an interesting educational experiment and I’m still refining my ideas, but I like being kept on my toes as a music teacher.
That’s a really great lesson to teach them and a cool way to approach it. Let me know how it goes on Twitter or Facebook or even back here.
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