In this series of music education posts, I would like to introduce you to the most popular methods for teaching music. In my last post of the series, I will talk about Feierabend.
John Martin Feierabend (born November 29, 1952) is an American music education researcher, pedagogue and author. He is currently the Director of Music Education for the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. Feierabend actually created two music ed methods: First Steps in Music, a music and movement program for infants through elementary-aged children; and Conversational Solfege, a music literacy method suitable for elementary through college-aged students. He believes everyone has the right to musical literacy.
Feierabend’s methodologies combine the teachings of Edwin Gordon and Zoltan Kodaly. Through his research, he found that singing and aural discrimination abilities become more similar in students who echo patterns that are easy to sing. He concluded that better singing skills are fostered in children who are taught with echo patterns varied in difficulty, and aural discrimination abilities are improved if echoed patterns are easy to sing.
3. Types of music and instruments
Feierabend is committed to collecting, preserving, and teaching the diverse folk music of our country and using that folk music as a bridge to help children understand and enjoy classical music. Therefore, teachers always use simple folk and classical music, and the children’s voices are the main instruments.
4. Typical lesson
In a typical First Steps in Music lesson, the goal is to guide children towards singing tunefully, beautifully, and artfully. A teacher might begin with vocal warmups that allow for pitch exploration, such as siren calls, before moving on to singing echo songs or song stories in which the children are active participants. With very young children, movement and rhythm exercises are key. In a typical Conversational Solfege lesson, teachers emphasize the same ideas with more in-depth study. Other instruments may be introduced as students begin to learn musical reading and writing skills.
“It should not be unreasonable to expect all adults to be able to clap their hands in time to the cheering at a sporting event. Dad should be able to sing happy birthday to his son or daughter without hearing, ‘Don’t sing, Dad.’ A couple should be able to dance in time to the music at their wedding… [and] a mother or father should be able to soothe their infant with a lullaby and rock to the beat of that lullaby.” -Dr. John Martin Feierabend
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