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Music: The Beginning Music Educator


Why do we apply different methodologies for teaching? To put it simply, every learner is different and experiences learning differently. These methodologies each provide ways for students to experience and conceptualize music in different ways and each sequences music learning in a natural progression to build on music knowledge.

Interested in becoming certified or getting trained in one or more of these methodologies? Check out the Professional Development tab.

Singing is essential to the Kodaly Method. Through the use of folk songs students explore musical concepts through the voice and through singing games. It focuses on singing in a sequence following the child's development and highlights a curriculum focusing on sound before sight. There is a great deal of emphasis on ear-training and building aural skills.

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Other Resources:

  • Brumfield, Susan. (2014). First, we sing! Kodály-inspired teaching for the music classroom. Milwauke, WI: Hal Leonard Corporation.

  • Gallo, Donna. (2015). A brief outline of kodály’s pedagogical philosophy. Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ.

  • Kite, T. S. (2014). Zoltán kodály: His contribution to music education. Kodály envoy, 40(3), 25-33.

  • Kuiper, K. (2015). Zoltán kodály: Hungarian composer. In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

The Suzuki method is based on a number of major tenets. The first is the idea of the mother tongue approach, which states that music can be learned in a similar way that language can be acquired. Training begins very young and is repetitive. Another tenet is the idea that innate musicianship does not exist and talent is something that can be learned; all children are capable of reaching a high level of musicianship. Parental involvement is essential to this methodology as is specific positive reinforcement. 

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Active and creative music making is an integral part of the Orff Schulwerk method. It thrives on music making and supports the conceptual and affective development of children. This method if built on active learning and the belief active learners develop a better, more thorough, and more long-term understanding of musical material and ideas. Improvisation is encouraged for the purpose of preparing children to solve problems in musical and other contexts.

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The philosophy of Dalcroze is to connect the body and the mind through spontaneous movement and music. The purpose of the method in schools is to educate the whole human body, not simply the brain, by incorporating meaningful movement into music learning. Dalcroze intended for the method to match the natural movements of children's play. Teachers who practice the Dalcroze method see the whole human body as an instrument. The movement done in the Dalcroze method is not meant to be performed, but experienced within a classroom setting to enrich the music education of students.

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The Gordon method, or Gordon Music Learning Theory, is centered on audiation, a term coined by Gordon that pertains to how a person hears music in their mind. Audiation is a cognitive process by which the brain gives meaning to musical sounds. It is through the development of audiation skills that students learn to understand music, which is the foundation for music appreciation. Additionally, like the Suzuki method, the Gordon Music Learning Theory believes every child has the aptitude to learn music and this can be accomplished through informal but sequential musical experiences to promote their optimal growth.

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Research in Music Education

It is great to be knowledgeable in any field your profession is in, but there is added responsibility in the teaching field. As an educator it is important to constantly strive to be a progressive facilitator of knowledge and stay up to date in the goings on of music education as well as knowing where to go to collect information for lesson and curriculum planning. Here are some resources to pursue continued learning in your field.

List of some music education journals:

Music Databases:

  • Music Index
    • Provides citations to articles and more covering all areas of classical and popular world of music (international focus). Articles date from 1979-present.
  • RILM Abstracts of Music Literature
    • Provides citations and abstracts to music articles (international focus) from 1969-present, with records in over 200 languages.

Education Databases:

  • Education Source
    • Provides citations and abstracts for more than 3,500 journals and contains full-text for more than 1,900 journals and 550 books. Covers all levels of education—from early childhood to higher education—as well as all educational specialties such as multilingual education, health education, and testing. Encompasses an international array of English-language periodicals, monographs, yearbooks and more. Early 20th century to present.
  • ERIC
    • The Education Resource Information Center (ERIC) provides access to educational literature and resources. This database provides access to information from journals included in the Current Index of Journals in Education and Resources in Education Index. The database contains abstracts and some full text of journal articles, reports, curricular materials, books, conference papers, etc.on education research and practice. 1966 – present.

Other Research Databases: