New Music Education Resources

Some Great Music Education Resources

Every so often, some visitor or another to the Music Library holds something up and says to us: “Well, people really ought to know about this” or “I wish I’d known earlier that you had something like this.” New and old resources alike await their advocates, so in that spirit, what you have here is an attempt to hold a few things up ourselves.

The Music Library is home to a wide-ranging array of materials on the history, philosophy, and practice of music education. But the first item on the agenda should probably be an announcement that the Libraries now provide access to the online version of RILM Abstracts of Musical Literature. A veritable powerhouse of support for research into all aspects of music, RILM is a comprehensive annotated bibliography, which includes indexing from 3,700 journals, documents monographs, catalogues, conference proceedings, and other publications. Current UArts faculty and students with up-to-date accounts will find not only materials surveyed since RILM began indexing contributed abstracts in 1967, but also a growing body of full-text options, owing to RILM’s recent integration into the family of EBSCOhost databases (scroll down the list here http://library.uarts.edu/eresources/articledb.html). (The Music Library also has the full run of hard copy volumes of RILM Abstractsfrom 1967-1999, should anyone prefer to browse print.) It is the most comprehensive attempt to organize the entire published record of literature about human music-making.

Of particular interest to music educators will be several Oxford “handbook” entries, including The Oxford Handbook of Music EducationThe Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Music EducationThe Oxford Handbook of Children’s Musical Cultures and The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies. A generation’s thought and experience are summarized from fields investigating musical creativity, community music-making, technologies of music teaching and learning, listening and playing in special needs contexts, music therapy, to say nothing of the moving target that is school music in our time.

Saint-Saëns started composing at the age of three, Chopin at the age of seven, Beethoven at the age of 12. Bach and Stravinsky were late bloomers, first writing music in their teens. Mary Lou Williams improvised at age five, Bix Beiderbecke at age seven, and Buddy Rich led his first band from the drumset at eleven. There have been many child composers and improvisers. For a long time now a successful pedagogical philosophy has developed based on the premise that the bric-a-brac of theory serves as an obstacle, not an avenue, to musical understanding. Learning by doing—creating sound sources, devising notation, playing ex tempore—was advocated as a classroom strategy as long ago as Brian Dennis’s Experimental Music in Schools of 1970  and Murray Schafer’s “Composer in the Classroom” (reprinted in The Thinking Ear).  Another Canadian, Rena Upitis, got enthusiastic results teaching composition to students in inner-city schools, and documented some of them in Can I Play You My Song?. MENC has gotten into the act with Why and How to Teach Music Composition, but perhaps the most in-depth analysis of methods for introducing such creativity into pre-K-8 classrooms is Joanna Glover’s Children Composing, 4-14.

There’s no shortage of ideas for lesson plans, and it’s certainly not up to those of us on the sidelines to recommend the best route to take. But it does seem like everyone can sometimes use a reminder of where the peg is to hang your hat: creativity happens because it’s rewarding (also known as fun). Just something appealing about these: Michiko Yurko’s Music Mind Games, addressed to all ages and skill levels ; and Mary Mazzacane’s Music Education Through Puppetry, which relates music lesson planning to the history of musical instruments, basic music concepts, and events in American history. Oh, and how to get your hands into puppetry—(it had to be said)—too.

The Oxford Handbook of Music Education Music Open Stacks MT 1 .O93 2012

The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Music Education Music Open Stacks MT 1 .O94 2012

The Oxford Handbook of Children’s Musical Cultures Music Open Stacks ML 83 .O94 2013

The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies Music Open Stacks QC 225 .o94 2012

Experimental Music in Schools Music Open Stacks MT 1 .D445E9 1970

The Thinking Ear: Complete Writings on Music Education Music REF MT 1 .S3T4 1986

Can I Play You My Song? Music REF MT 155 .U65C2 1992

Why and How to Teach Music Composition. Music Open Stacks MT155 .W59 2003

Children Composing, 4-14. Music REF MT155 .G56 2000

Music Mind Games Music MERA MT948 .Y87 1992

Music Education through Puppetry Music Open Stacks MT10 .M39M8 1984

Questions? Comments? Recommendations? We’d love to hear from you! Please contact Mark Germer, UArts Music Librarian, at 215-717-6293 or mgermer@uarts.edu.

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