Please note that due to the time sensitive nature of blog posts, links, and social networking including twitter feeds, these references will often be inactive. If a specific website link (URL) is used in an article it can be copied and pasted into the address field of a web browser to see if it is active.

Music Futures Comes to Canada: Article

by Deanna Peluso on January 25, 2012 in Research to Practice , Resources

Dr. Susan O’Neill and Dr. Kevin Bespflug have written an informative and fascinating article for the most recent Winter 2011 edition of the Canadian Music Educator – Research to Practice.

The article is a report of a research-practice collaboration that combined informal music learning practices and youth-led participatory action research with Grade 7 beginner band students at a school in British Columbia.




Project for Awesome & The Coalition for Music Education

by Deanna Peluso on January 22, 2012 in Announcements , Resources

A very interesting short YouTube video about Project Awesome, supporting the Coalition for Music Education and the importance of being involved in music.

To learn more about the Coalition for Music Education, you can go to , and to learn more about Project for Awesome, you can go to .




Books Resource: MENC Handbook of Research on Music Learning (Vol. 1 and 2)

by Deanna Peluso on November 2, 2011 in Announcements , Books , Research Material , Resources

A fantastic new book resource that aims to bridge the gap between theory, research and practice in music education and learning:

The MENC Handbook of Research on Music Learning (Edited by Richard Colwell and Peter R. Webster).

Volume 1: Strategies Volume 2: Application

Order online at Oxford University Press 
Enter Promo code 28862 to get 20% off!

Contributors for Volume 1: Strategies

1. How Learning Theories Shape Our Understanding of Music Learners – Susan A. O’Neill and Yaroslav Senyshyn

2. Construction of Music Learning – Peter R. Webster

3. Roles of Direct Instruction, Critical Thinking, and Transfer in the Design of Curriculum for Music Learning – Richard Colwell

4. Musical Development: Revisiting a Generic Theory – Keith Swanwick

5. Biological and Environmental Factors in Music Cognition and Learning – Steven M. Demorest

6. Motivation and Achievement – Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia, Martin L. Maehr, and Paul R. Pintrich

7. Motivation to Learn Music: A Discussion of Some Key Elements – Bret P. Smith

Contributors for Volume 2: Application

1. Contemporary Research on Music Listening: A Holistic View – Rob E. Dunn

2. The Acquisition of Music Reading Skills – Donald A. Hodges and D. Brett Nolker

3. Music, Movement, and Learning – Carlos R. Abril

4. Self-Regulation of Musical Learning: A Social Cognitive Perspective on Developing Performance Skills – Gary E. McPherson and Barry J. Zimmerman

5. Research on Elementary and Secondary School Singing – Kenneth H. Phillips and Sandra M. Doneski

6. Music Learning in Special Education: Focus on Autism and Developmental Disabilities – Elise S. Sobol

7. Music Learning in Early Childhood: A Review of Psychological, Educational, and Neuromusical Research – Wilfried Gruhn

Praise for Volume 1: Strategies
“Learning in relation to music is a highly complex process and understanding this process from a theoretical, curricular, and pedagogical perspective raises enormous challenges for scholars, teachers, and students. In this book a stellar international cast of leaders in music education systematically addresses important facets of music learning with comprehensive reviews of the current research base for each topic…Colwell and Webster have created an invaluable and essential resource nthat should be in the hands of every music educator and scholar.” —Lee Bartel, Associate Professor, University of Toronto; Director, Canadian Music Education Research Centre“Thinking in the field of music education has expanded in unprecedented ways with the start of the new century. This handbook captures and portrays many of the new avenues of thought that underlie the practice of music education. Highly readable, yet with the depth of though and insight one expects from the most scholarly of works, this book provides the perfect “jumping off point” for many new and exciting areas of research…This is a “must have” book for graduate students and advanced scholars in the field.” —Robert Cutietta, Dean Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California

Praise for Volume 2: Applications
“For thinking musicians intrigued with the intricacies of human musical learning, and who may well be teaching music learners in any number of settings and
situations, Oxford’s Handbook on Music Learning provides plenty of engaging ideas and perspectives to know and reflect upon. The span of topics is vast, from learning theory to musical development, motivation, critical thinking, and insights on the acquisition of key skills that embrace music listening, music reading, singing, and very much more. From practice to theory and back again, the compendium of essays encompass classic research and late-breaking work by scholars across the fields of music, education, psychology, and sociology, principally, with attention also to anthropology, biology, and neuromusical research.” —Patricia Shehan Campbell, Donald E. Peterson Professor of Music, University of Washington“The MENC Handbook of Research on Music Learning…seeks especially to help fill the gaps between theory, research, and practice. The good news is that it succeeds admirably. There is simply nothing comparable. The bad news? There isn’t any!” —Paul Lehman, Professor Emeritus, School of Music, University of Michigan, Past President, MENC: The National Association for Music Education




The little elementary school that could…and DID!

by Student Series on July 20, 2011 in Student Perspectives

Series: Student Perspectives

I want to talk about a local elementary school from my perspective as a student teacher who has been inspired by witnessing what wonders can be achieved when a staff works together to support the music program in their school.

The school I am referring to, along with being rich in so many ways, has a staff that is rich in resources when it comes to the fine arts. There is a music specialist, who teaches music, band and choir, there is a grade four teacher, who grew a wonderful choir program before the current music teacher joined the school, there is a grade one teacher, who is a visual artist and her daughter, a dancer who has volunteered to teach dance club at the school for several years. There have been two artist in residence projects; a totem pole and a mural where all the students had the opportunity to participate in building pieces of art that stay in the school as a legacy. For many years, I have been the accompanist at the school whenever one was needed.

And finally, there is a principal, who grew up in community theatre, participated in team sports and is a skilled community builder, facilitator and leader. The music teacher and the principal decided in April of 2010 to take on the huge task of producing a full length musical, with a live professional orchestra, and bring it to a theatre with lights and sounds and a set and costumes, charge tickets and fill the house. And they decided that every student in the school would be part of the show! By the time I had the pleasure of sitting in the audience enjoying the fruits of their labours, nine months of work had transpired. Here is a link to the blog that tracked much of the journey:

There were 39 actors and a 110 voice choir on stage for 90 minutes. On opening night when the orchestra (consisting of freelance musicians and music teachers in the district donating their time) was playing the overture, I looked around the theatre and noted that many of these 285 audience members have never been to a live musical and most of the people on stage have never performed in a live show. What a thrill! These are experiences that can change lives.

Because of a talented director, a cooperative staff and a forward thinking principal, the songs and scenes were polished and clear. Much of the year?s curriculum in all the classes made room for this project. The staff worked tirelessly to make sure everyone was prepared and everyone was included. Huge canvass paintings were drawn and painted by students. A talented parent had built the costumes with donated fabric, the set was built by the local high school woodshop students, and parents were helping backstage. Primary students? art decorated the theatre lobby, the custodian helped with the load in and out of the theatre, the school secretary and playground supervisor were tearing tickets at the door and the head teacher was directing traffic with all of the students and buses and schedules to contend with. In order for an elementary school to pull something like this off, the timing, the skills and the resources have to be just right and someone needs to be able to recognize the moment and seize it! I am so proud to have witnessed such a remarkable achievement; most especially because it is a public school and because each and every student took part and owned their part.

And now, as I enter the teaching profession inside the public school system, I have the experience of knowing what is possible if all of the right circumstances are present. And I can do my part to build community, cultivate cross curricular activities and aspire to great school wide achievements!

By: Joan MacLean (Simon Fraser University)




The Value of Music Education

by Student Series on July 18, 2011 in Student Perspectives

Series: Student Perspectives

Are music teachers valued in our school system? Is it true that many school administrators do not consider music as a core academic subject? What about the funding for music programs? Is music education not considered a priority in our schools? It is this attitude towards music education that makes it difficult for many students to appreciate the true worth of music. Students are more likely to view music as a form of entertainment instead of education unless the attitudes of music education change.

Of course it is true that music education is not needed for graduation requirements or college-entry, but this does not mean music education is less important than mathematics or science education. There are many benefits to music education which include: success in society, success in school, success in developing intelligence, and success in life. Why is the value of music education taken for granted when there are so many rewards in this field?

There are many studies which suggest that music education has a positive impact in other areas of students’ lives. Many educators feel music education improves a student’s self-discipline, dexterity, coordination, self-esteem, thinking skills, listening skills, creative abilities and personal expression. We’ve all heard that music enhances our mathematical skills and in a sense, this can be true. Think of all the beats in a measure, the notes in a chord, and what an octave or a fifth represents. There is definitely mathematics involved in musical instruction. In the article, The Correlation Between Music and Math: A Neurobiology Perspective, by Cindy Zhan, the author writes,  “Studies done mostly in children of young age show that their academic performance increases after a certain period of music education and training. One particular study published in the journal ‘Nature’ showed that when groups of first graders were given music instruction that emphasized sequential skill development and musical games involving rhythm and pitch, after six months, the students scored significantly better in math than students in groups that received traditional music instruction.”

There is also plenty of research which suggests that music has a positive effect on students’ reading. As students learn to read notation, this also enhances their abilities to read, listen and memorize.

Music also develops the intellect and develops parts of the brain that no other activities can achieve. Tedd Judd in a speech at the 1984 conference on the Biology of Music-Making entitled, “A Neurologist Looks at Musical Behavior”, comes to the conclusion that involvement in music involves many parts of the interconnected brain (Roehmann, 1988). Dr. Jean Houston of the Foundation for Mind Research says that children without access to an arts program are actually damaging their brain. They are not being exposed to non-verbal modalities which help them learn skills like reading, writing and math much more easily (Roehmann, 1988).

Music education should be given more priority and not treated simply as an elective. If young students only realized the benefits that music education provides them, perhaps more students would enroll in music education classes versus home economics.

I chose the following two links because I believe they give a positive outlook on music education. The first link directs you to a teaching blog. This particular entry is about keeping music in the classroom alive. The second link is a music advocacy video which I found very inspiring.


Dynamite Lesson Plan: a teaching blog, “Nothing captivates learners like a dynamite lesson plan. URL:

Music Education Advocacy video – Youtube. URL:

By: Delicia Hoogwoud (Student Teacher)

Bio: I am currently a Student teacher at Simon Fraser University, aspiring to be an intermediate teacher in the near future. I have a Bachelors of Arts – Psychology major and am working towards my teaching certificate. The reason I chose the Music Advocacy link is because I believe music should be valued in our school system. I find that many students and parents alike treat music class as an elective and second priority to academic subjects. The reason I feel passionately about this is because I grew up treating my piano lessons as second best. I truly love the piano and music in general, but once I reached grade eleven, I found my grades in certain academic subjects were suffering. I figured that I was not spending enough time studying and made a quick decision to quick my piano lessons. I believed that this was the solution to improve my schooling. In hindsight, I wish I never quit my lessons, but back then I thought it was for the best. This just proves how our school system, parents, and society can sometimes dictate our decisions. Why should music be thought of as less important than other subjects?



Rethinking Music Education for Students with Hearing Loss

by Student Series on July 15, 2011 in Research to Practice , Student Perspectives

Series: Student Perspectives

Last year, I had the opportunity to work with a piano student who had cochlear prosthesis (or implants) in both ears. What a challenge, yet very rewarding experience, this was to face as a piano teacher. One of my general observations about this child was her intensely keen sense of rhythm as she quickly ploughed through the beginner stages of learning piano. Her body language, as she played, indicated that she thoroughly enjoyed playing and creating her own music.

I recently stumbled upon an article, “The engagement in musical activities of young children with varied hearing abilities”, concerning music education and hard-of-hearing/deaf children in Music Education Research. In this study, Chen-Hafteck and Schraer-Joiner (2011) share a qualitative research method used to observe and understand the musical experiences and engagement of young children (ages 3-4). The children involved in the study had a wide range of hearing abilities (or hearing loss).

Article: Chen-Hafteck, L. & L. Schraer-Joiner. (2011). The engagement in musical activities of young children with varied hearing abilities. Music Education Research, 13(1), 93-106.

What stood out for me in this study was the focus on observing students’ responses to musical activities and the importance placed on self-initiation in extending and creatively engaging in the musical activities. The researchers were not concerned with outcomes and skills as we tend to be as teachers.

This coming December, I will complete my PDP as an elementary school teacher. The reality is that we, elementary teachers, will come into contact with more and more students with hearing aids and/or cochlear prosthesis.

Technological advancements are having a major impact on children and hearing. For example they now do hearing screens on all newborn children. Just a year ago my friend’s newborn daughter was found to have hearing deficiencies in both ears – she had hearing aids two weeks after she was born!

The big question for me is: How will I ensure that the learning needs of all my students, including students with hearing loss, are met in the music classroom?

Chen-Hafteck and Schraer-Joiner (2011) put it beautifully:

“[Music educators] will need to reconsider the parameters of what is means to be musical” (p.104).

Students with hearing loss have the capabilities to learn and engage in musical activities, but it is up to us as music educators to ensure that we embrace the different and unexpected ways they may do so and that we provide opportunities for them to be as successful in the music classroom as the other students.

By: Christina Driegen

Elementary PDP student at Simon Fraser University


Website Resource: Noise to our Ears

by Student Series on July 13, 2011 in Student Perspectives

Series: Student Perspectives

Since working in the field of speech and hearing, I find myself amazed to learn how many every day events can be damaging to the ears, and that is not limited to the Rock music that I listen to. While searching for answers to clarify some of my concerns regarding sound and noise in relation to my hearing, I came across an in-depth Canadian website devoted to providing information and musicians and hearing loss.

Musician’s Clinics of CanadaUpon reading through the resources on the website, I was surprised but pleased to find out that two famous musicians, Paul Dean and Bruce Cockburn had taken an interest about informing the public about the potentials of hearing loss if people don’t protect their ears appropriately.

“Once your hearing goes, it won’t come back. There goes your ability to appreciate a good show! Protect your hearing.” – Bruce Cockbrun (Singer/Songwriter)

The site offers valuable information, which is useful not only for musicians, but everyone interested in learning more on the topic of protecting their hearing. After reading a number of the articles, I wonder how many youngsters listening to music on their iPods are fully aware that they may become candidates for hearing aids in their late 20’s or early 30’s. In my view this is one area of concern, which needs a higher level of public awareness.

“It’s not just music. I drive my motorcycle, mow the lawn, water-ski, power boats… all the fun stuff can damage your ears. Don’t stop doing them. Just protect yourself while doing them. I now wear ear protection and wished I got them years ago. Earplugs are essential.” – Paul Dean (Loverboy – Guitarist/Songwriter)

One of the articles that really surprised me was about both Mozart and Beethoven, and that they had damage to their hearing. I urge you to explore the website to read the articles, and especially the articles “Music to Our Ears” and “Hearing Aids that Hear the Music”.

I highly suggest reading through the many resources available on the website “Musicians’ Clinics of Canada “, where there is plenty of relevant information pertaining to musicians and the prevention of hearing loss, as well as historical quotes from famous musicians and songwriters.

By: Education Student at Simon Fraser University



Improvised Lessons: Resources in Practice

by Selected Authors on July 11, 2011 in Research to Practice , Resources

This year, Douglas Friesen’s article in Exploring Social Justice: How Music Education Might Matter and Augusto Monk’s CMEA journal articles inspired me to focus on improvisation with my elementary students.

Doug’s website, , has fabulous improvisation/communication activities but they are geared towards high school students. Here are my elementary music teaching adaptations for some of the activities. I’m as classically trained as they come – if I can do it, so can you. We just need open minds and ears.

Graphic Score – I gave a physical copy of the score to each group and no concrete examples of how to “read” the music (otherwise they copy the examples). We did this activity after creating “sound stories” which seemed to help with their readiness. The students loved it; “It’s awesome, we actually figured it out!” Standing back and observing I enjoyed seeing “strong” music students out of their comfort zone and brilliant ideas/interpretations coming from other voices. When the students presented their original pieces based on the graphic score they chose to play and then explain or the reverse. With the graphic score from Doug’s website I heard an “African horror song” played on a ukulele, spoons, maracas, and djembe as well as an ode to Hannah Montana and a skit about a raccoon. Hilarious.

Music to Dancing – SO fun for the little ones and especially getting classroom teachers, when they pick up their classes, involved.

Sounds in a Circle – This takes practice and I started with only one sound as the young ones were not used to focusing on more than one sound at a time. It was fun to see that, in this activity, passing a sung note around the circle was a comfortable/no pressure thing to do.

Eye Contact – After we played this game it changed the way I taught – I cue with my eyes for most transitions now and the students also cue each other with looks. A powerful lesson! I found that after the first game it helped for me to get out of the circle so that students wouldn’t look to me for guidance/affirmation. This works best with a variety of instruments so it sounds cool too.

Counting by Zen – After trying to count to 10 we sang Do – Do. If certain classes really were stuck I gave them an example of how other classes cued one another (tapping head etc.). Again, this worked best with me out of the circle.

Football (Murray Schafer’s game) – the noisiest and therefore their favourite! I left out the goalkeeper role (5th paragraph in Douglas’s explanation). The team making the noise has to be cued to start before the other team passes their sound down the line. As the referee I listened carefully to detect a change.

Wingspan /Revolving Trios – I found that this game worked best if the solo voice was a mallet instruments (a metallophone worked best) and the “wings” were percussion, ukulele, or hand bells. Even the grade 1s played confidently and commented that improvisation sounds great with a back-up band.

Hand Signal Conducting – Again, this is activity is amazing for eye contact/communication. I had four different kinds instruments on four different benches and switched every 5 minutes to increase their excitement. My students came up with some hilarious signals (which I kept forgetting) and older students loved chance to “free” conduct.

And there you have it. The other activities seemed too advanced for my students but if you can make them work – let me know!

Cheers and thanks Doug!

Katherine Fraser






Website Resource: Music Matters within Music Education

by Student Series on July 8, 2011 in Student Perspectives

Series: Student Perspectives

As an education student who will one day be teaching music at an elementary school level, as well as a dedicated choral singer for the last 15 years, I would like to draw your attention to David Elliot, author of Music Matters: A New Philosophy of Music Education. Elliot is a strong advocate for the importance of music education in our classrooms. His book and website are a fabulous resource for educators as well as students.

Within it, Elliot describes his philosophy around music education and his reasoning behind it’s importance, he discusses what he feels music educators should teach and he goes into great detail about how music education should be taught.

Elliot believes that music making and music listening has important values. He feels that it enables self-growth and self-knowledge in students of all ages and it provides a rich emotional experience that occurs only while enjoying music. Elliot feels that all students are able to achieve these values through the development of musicianship and leadership. He also feels that music education can increase student’s self-esteem and self-identity.

Another point Elliot makes is his belief that music making can extend student’s ability to express, through music making, emotions, representations of people, places and things, as well as the understanding of culture and ideology. This range of creativity, in his view, should be taught collaboratively with music theory and technique. He feels that musical expression and creativity helps preserve a sense of community that understanding music from diverse cultures allows students to better understand their own musical practice as well as a better understanding of the global community.

Elliot’s book can provide all who read it with a stronger understanding of the importance of music education and how to best incorporate music creation into the classroom.

You can also find his website at . Within his website, he discusses his book and his philosophy as well as critiques of his philosophy. I would highly recommend checking it out.

By: Education Student at Simon Fraser University




Book Review: The Perfect Blend by Timothy Seelig

by Student Series on July 6, 2011 in Books , Choral Music , Student Perspectives

Series: Student Perspectives

When I was on my practicum someone recommended me the book “The Perfect Blend” by Timothy Seelig .  Timothy Seelig was a professional opera singer, who now conducts a choir full time. He encourages each singer in his choir to sing to the best of his or her ability, and in his book has created or passed down many tricks and techniques to help do so.  He believes that the warm-up is the most important part of a rehearsal.  I couldn’t agree more!  I find that students carry around a lot of pressure in school and warm-ups are a time where they can release and forget any stress in order to get ready and engage in a productive rehearsal.

This book was a godsend when conducting my first few choir practices.  It is a very easy read, and you don’t even have to read it in sequential order or even in its entirety, you will still get much out of it!  The book has over 100 Vocal warm-ups, with a variety of goals taking the choir through stretching, posture, breathing, registers and resonators.  I found this book helpful because you could turn to any page and there would be something different on it.  I was constantly highlighting, book marking and taking note of the exercises, recording if they worked well or if they didn’t.  One thing that I especially enjoyed about the book is that there were explanations for every exercise given.  Like Timothy Seelig, I agree that it is hard to make a choir do something that may seem odd or look kind of funny if they can’t see the purpose or validity behind it.  By giving the choir reasoning behind the warm-ups, I found that they were more likely to “buy in” to what it was I was trying to get them to do.  This book had a picture to go along with all of the exercises, as well as written notation of the warm-ups, and a DVD that showed examples of his choir performing all of them.  I strongly recommend that every teacher choir teacher has this book in their “tool box”.  Most of the exercises can be used for any age group.  I purchased the book through amazon, enjoy!

By: Education Student at Simon Fraser University




Cadence of The World

by Student Series on July 4, 2011 in Student Perspectives , Videos

Series: Student Perspectives

In the busy world full of rushing around there is Baraka, a film documentary with no commentary allowing for the music and rhythm in the world around to rise above the noise as the audience to find their own timing with the symphony of the world.

IMDB Link to Baraka (1992)Have you ever noticed when you are in an unfamiliar place that ‘tick’ ‘tick’ ‘tick’ of a clock on the wall? At first it is bothersome and you wonder why anyone would have bought such a noisy clock and put it on the wall, then as you sit and listen that same ‘tick’ ‘tick’ ‘tick’ becomes a calming rhythm that no longer bothers you. Whether you have sat in a coffee shop, a hallway on campus, in traffic or on transit you have heard the busy world all around you. I like to think that Baraka puts the world into perspective, and allows anyone who views it an opportunity to see the natural music and rhythm in the world around them.

Baraka captured the power and essence of life itself in 24 countries on 70mm. This world-wide tour moves around the globe looking at the natural and human rhythms of life. The film has a synesthesia like quality as the local instruments are played as the soundtrack for the vast and colourful landscapes, while showcasing native inhabitants. The life-affirming rhythms of various religious rituals call on the most basic beat and natural beat of life found in the heart. Baraka uses only sounds and music and, without the utterance of a word, challenges the viewer to behold the gift and blessing of the world.

Baraka moves back and forth between images of places and people; for example,  an image of waves crashing against rocks, this same constant back and forth, is then echoed in the throat singing of a tribe. Music is heard in the migration of birds in flight and women swatting flies away from their faces. The viewer is awakened by the power of the waterfall and the potential of a steaming volcano, while the rain brings promise to the dry plains of Africa. As the film progresses, images of a forest standing tall in stillness and silence are broken by the buzz of a chainsaw. In this shift Baraka challenges the viewer to take note and brings warning with deforestation and factory production. Perhaps we have all gotten too stuck on the conveyer belt of our lives to notice when the dynamite explodes. The crack of a falling of a tree echoes that of thunder both strong examples of the earth’s percussion.

Time lapsed film rushes by with traffic, we are no longer traveling around the world, and can too easily see ourselves in this hustle and bustle. I believe that this film can help to expand our ideas of what music is and how we define it. May I challenge you that the next time you sit, start by simply watching the natural beat of a person’s gait as they walk by.

By: Stephannie Moran
Future Primary Teacher
Simon Fraser University Student



The Future of Music Education Through Collaboration

by Student Series on July 1, 2011 in Student Perspectives

Series: Student Perspectives

Upon reading an article by Estelle Jorgensen entitled ‘School Music Education and Change’, I was forced to think about the importance of music teachers collaborating and working together to further the cause of music education, and making it more of a priority in the public system.

Article: Jorgensen, Estelle R. “School Music Education and Change.” Music Educators Journal 96.4 (2010): 21-27Jorgensen points out that often schools only have one music teacher, and that person alone has to work very hard to make a strong music program at that school. She discusses that feelings of isolation that can occur, and that music teachers by themselves do not have a strong voice to determine what happens in terms of music education at a government level. There is hope though!

Music educators that work in public schools are often not the only music teachers influencing the lives of their students. Many music teachers outside of the school system can help speak up and work towards making music education a higher priority. Together, music educators and generalist teachers alike can use their voices to influence what is put in the curricula, and how students are assessed.

Through collaboration, it may also be possible to change the way that some members of the public view music – as an optional elective course with limited real-world benefits. In reality, I agree with Jorgensen when she discusses the way that music ‘fosters social and leadership skills in our students, and gives them the opportunities to express themselves musically […so that they] may better understand their own culture and their own selves’. I think this is an awesome quote that encompasses what we need to strive to do more of as music teachers – to work together to make music a priority, and to help students and parents see the value and importance of music education.

By: Education Student at Simon Fraser University




Paul Harvey on the Arts

by Student Series on June 29, 2011 in Student Perspectives

Series: Student Perspectives

“Should we not be putting all our emphasis on reading, writing and math? The ‘back-tobasics curricula,’ while it has merit, ignores the most urgent void in our present system – absence of self-discipline. The arts, inspiring – indeed requiring – self-discipline, may be more ‘basic’ to our nation survival than traditional credit courses. Presently, we are spending 29 times more on science than on the arts, and the result so far is worldwide intellectual embarrassment.”
– Paul Harvey (syndicated radio show host, ABC news 1991)

This statement was as true in 1991, as it is today. So often we are so concerned with ensuring that students have access to the basics that Paul Harvey has noted. And while I agree that these basics are important, the self-discipline that is taught through the arts, and more specifically music is a basic requirement in our lives. I have experienced a lack of interest by students in really sticking to something and working through it, and I believe that this is due to an emerging age of technology, where almost everything is just being handed to them, in where many students have forgotten what it means to use self-control and persistence when something is more work than expected. In a world where “me, me, me” and “more, more, more” seem to reign, students are losing the ability to think critically and use self-discipline to persist. I’m all for teaching the students the traditional basics, but let’s encourage students to also take classes that teach them to think outside the box, maintain self-discipline, express themselves and through all of this, develop a love for learning and betterment of themselves.

By: Education Student at Simon Fraser University



Incorporating Music Cross Curricular – Science Perspective

by Student Series on June 27, 2011 in Research to Practice , Student Perspectives

Series: Student Perspectives

As a pre-service secondary science teacher, I am always looking for ways to incorporate the arts into the science curriculum. Drama and fine arts seem to be the easier subjects to integrate on a cross curricular platform due to their visual nature, yet within science it appears that many ideas typically include the standard creation of lab safety skits or poster projects. Furthermore, I believe music is often overlooked in science, as well as in many other school subject areas, yet has great potential for application on a cross curricular platform.

Most of the time when music is incorporated it involves rewriting the lyrics of a song to encourage and motivate students to study and memorize a concept. The creativity comes in when writing lyrics to fit with the rhythms of a song as well as simplifying the concepts into short verses.

Nathanael Hsu from Shaker Heights High School, Ohio, USA has created a couple songs to help his students with the complicated cellular processes. The one which I was first introduced to was his cellular respiration song “Cell Respiration” based on “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas: .

Doug Edmonds from Wood Oaks Junior High School, Illinois, USA is another science teacher who has been rewriting lyrics to popular tunes with science-oriented lyrics. His YouTube channel can be found here .

I am amazed by both teachers and their use of popular, catchy tunes to get their students, as well as students from around the world, learning complex science concepts. Not only have these songs become handy memory tools, they seem to be an upbeat way to assist students in decreasing their anxiety and focus during a test or exam.

During my search for ways to incorporate the arts into the science curriculum, I also came upon the article “Using Music in the Science Classroom” submitted by Caroline Molyneux from Balshaw’s Church of England High School, UK. (The Original article can be found here: ). In this article, Molyneux explained her pilot project using “music of the day” to connect certain songs to certain lessons, where students were motivated to search for the link between the music, the lesson title and objectives which were displayed on the board at the beginning of class. Molyneux highlighted that “pupils had begun to guess the outcomes of the lesson before [she] had introduced anything other than the lesson title!” In addition, she also found that playing music used in past lessons brought back memories and helped students recall facts and skills learned that day.

In addition, I think it is important that we do not forget the “musical intelligence” as described in Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory, especially in modern day society, where we see many students tuning into their iPods and other music devices. From this, I pose the questions: Why not use music as a way to connect students’ knowledge? Are there other suggests in ways music can be incorporated into science or other school curriculum?

~Jennifer Sun (Simon Fraser University)




UBC Summer Music Camp and Institute

by Student Series on June 24, 2011 in Events , Student Perspectives

Series: Student Perspectives

Last summer I had the pleasure of taking part in UBC’s two week music camp with the vocal department.  Though I had heard of it in the past, I had always assumed it was a music camp for teenagers. But, surprisingly it is for musicians of all ages!  In the interest of saving time, I stayed on campus for the duration of the camp.  It is at this point that I feel I should mention that this camp is fairly expensive, and even more so if you decide to stay on campus.  Not all parents are capable of sending their children to such a camp, especially if it is for the purposes of inquiry and exploration.  However, the teachers I worked with were amazing, the performance experience was invaluable, and the experience unforgettable.

As someone who has studied music privately, but not in university, this camp was a wonderful experience.  To do nothing but sing everyday for two weeks was a pleasure, and the knowledge and experienced I gained was incredible.  At the camp I met singers of all ages, including public school teachers seeking to improve their art and to have the experience of being a student themselves once again.  I believe for teachers to truly be lifelong learners they must put themselves in the position of being a student, so that they can be reminded of the stress and anxieties that accompany it.  In addition, if these teachers are specifically music teachers, they can utilize what they have learned in the classroom when they return to teaching in the fall.

A music camp such as this is also a great opportunity for students to try studying nothing but music everyday for a short period of time, which can help them to decide if it’s something they would like to do in the university setting.  For example, there was a young girl who was attending the camp from overseas and also had been accepted into the music program in the fall.  She had a great voice and was an engaging performer, but the demands of the camp (private lessons, vocal coaching’s, master classes, ensemble rehearsals) turned out to be too much for her, and she unfortunately ended up dropping out of the camp.  Whatever the problem was (first time away from home, anxiety, etc.) she at least had the opportunity to reconsider her career choice, or perhaps return when she was more ready.  If high school music teachers and music educators had the opportunity to become aware of this camp, and all it has to offer, I feel that they could suggest it to their students, especially if those students are considering studying music in within their post-secondary education.

Information about the UBC Summer Music Institute and the camp can be found here: .

By: Candace Lee
Student Teacher at Simon Fraser University
Research Interests:  Secondary Language Arts, Music Education, Social Justice/ Responsibility

Biography:  I have a B.A. in English Literature and completed my short practicum this spring at Port Moody Secondary School.  In the fall I will be completing my long practicum in a Middle School teaching grade eight.  I studied piano privately for 12 years as a child, and have taken private voice lessons for over approximately ten years.  I am an active performer in a local vocal trio called “Kindred Spirits” and take part in festivals around the lower mainland.



Multicultural Music Education

by Student Series on June 22, 2011 in Multicultural Education , Research to Practice , Student Perspectives

Series: Student Perspectives

I came across an article that talked about the importance of multicultural music education. It is attached in PDF format here:
Article: Multicultural Music Education – Building an Appreciative Audience by M. Weidknecht
This article summarized some research done in regards to how children reacted when they heard music from another culture.  The study took about 180 grade six students and divided them into two groups.  One group listened to Indonesian Gamelan music after doing some multicultural education and the other group did not.  The study showed that the students in the group that had done some multicultural activities were more open and appreciative to music that was different from what they normally hear.

I found this article really interesting because I taught music for a few years and I did a world music unit every year.  I would teach the students about instruments and styles from other cultures and then play them some music where you could hear these elements.  I would often have a student offer more information about certain instruments because it was part of their culture or heritage.  This is one way that learning about music from other cultures can celebrate and welcome students from all kinds of backgrounds.  I would also have the students create Venn Diagrams to compare music that they normally listened to, to the piece that they just heard.  This could help them to see the common threads between all cultures in music and other cultural aspects.

One of the first things that I did before I played any multicultural music was to have a discussion with the class whether they were kindergarten or grade seven, about appropriate responses to music.  I did not do this the first time that I played multicultural music and some students laughed at what they heard.  All it took was a reminder that in laughing at someone else’s culture you are making fun of them, and the students were more open after that.  I like how this article reinforced the idea that students do need a bit of discussion and/or activities to open their minds to things that are different, but the benefits of learning about music from other cultures definitely make it worth it.

By: Education Student at Simon Fraser University



Music Curriculum Integration: Advocacy and Issues

by Student Series on June 20, 2011 in Student Perspectives

Series: Student Perspectives

It is a common perception in our education system, and has been for decades, that arts education is an “add-on” subject. Despite being a required subject deemed by the British Columbia Ministry of Education, Fine Arts curriculum often has minimal hours applied to its subject areas in a weekly schedule and is often the first to be reduced when teachers are tight on time or school cutbacks occur. Even without cutbacks, the Fine Arts Integrated Resource Package (IRP), which includes dance, drama, visual arts and music are often amalgamated into one or two fifty minute blocks a week.

There are several reasons that the above mentioned occur, such as funding, excessive amounts of IRPs to cover, availability of materials, but I believe it is primarily due to a lack of training and knowledge of the generalist teacher in these areas, societies perception towards the value of the arts, and accessibility of materials and training. This last point is particularly poignant with respect to music education. Even as a trained musician, I have found it exceedingly difficult to find accessible and usable materials that I can incorporate into the classroom. If you are not a music specialist in the education system, finding methods to incorporate music education into the curriculum is very challenging, thus many teachers would quickly give up. For this reason, I advocate the need for music specialist to take on the role and responsibility to make music education accessible and usable to the generalist teacher.

We must be advocates for arts integration in all subject areas. We all know that Gardner identified musical intelligence as an independent intelligence, yet in an era were diversified learning and cross-curricular education is expected standard practice, music stands alone. We as music educators can help make music education more accessible to generalist teachers and encourage them to incorporate music throughout their humanities, science and mathematics.  It may be as simple as providing world music for a teachers socials studies unit, or an activity that looks at how musical vibrations can be measured in waves and fractions, to providing workshops for colleagues after school or during professional development days.

While it is not my intention to stand on my soap box and harold a call to action, my plea comes from my own frustration to incorporate the music cross-curricularly. I am not a music specialist, just a musician. I believe in the value and extreme importance of arts education in our schools, but if I struggle to incorporate music into my lesson and come up empty handed, those who don’t yet fully understand the importance of integrating music and arts education into the curriculum won’t get past the starting line without support and help from those of us who can.

By: Andra Lincke
SFU PDP student/ TOC/Visual Artist/pianist/
Research interests: curriculum development/arts integration/social justice



Conference: Music Learning, Benefits for the 21st Century Learner

by Deanna Peluso on June 13, 2011 in Announcements , Call for Papers , Events

Conference: Music Learning: Benefits for the 21st-century Learner/L’apprentissage de la musique : son apport pour la vie de l’apprenant du 21e siècle

Location: Centre des Congrès de Québec in Quebec city, Quebec, Canada

Date: November 22 – 24 2012/ 22 au 24 novembre 2012

For more information: Music Learning, Benefits for the 21st Century Learner

Pour plus d’information: L’apprentissage de la musique, son apport pour la vie de l’apprenant du 21e siècle

Submission Information:

The Observatoire interdisciplinaire de création et de recherche en musique (OICRM) and the Fédération des associations des musiciens éducateurs du Québec (FAMEQ) will host the conference  ‘’Music Learning: Benefits for the 21st-century Learner’’ with the support of the Société québécoise de recherche en musique (SQRM), and the Journées francophones de recherche en éducation musicale (JFREM). This international conference, to take place at the Québec Conference Center in November 2012, forms part of the activities of the Groupe de recherche en pédagogie instrumentale et musicale (GRePIM/Center of Excellence in Music Pedagogy) affiliated with the OICRM.

This event will bring together researchers and active practitioners in the areas of musical and instrumental pedagogy who study issues related to music learning and are interested in improving teacher practice. The conferences will focus on collective and individual learning of music in different contexts: school (preschool, elementary, secondary), college, university, and community music.

This conference will include scientific presentations by internationally respected researchers, conferences that pair practicing music teachers with researchers, scientific contributions (oral paper presentations and posters), narratives or analyses of practice and workshops. These events will take place in the two official languages of Canada, French or English. Researchers in the area of collective music education, instrumental pedagogy researchers, professors and other staff that work in music or pedagogical institutions as well as practicing music teachers are the target audience for this exceptional conference.

The deadline for submissions is August 15, 2011

For more information and to submit a proposal, consult the attached file, or visit the Conference website:





Very Young Composers: Looking at Music Education Initiatives

by Student Series on May 30, 2011 in Orchestral Music , Research to Practice , Student Perspectives , Videos

Series: Student Perspectives

I am a classical bassoonist and contrabassoonist, and am proud to write that! I love orchestral music; there is no experience so wondrous or powerful as listening to a great symphony, or playing the works of a great composer, old or new. But sometimes I fear that the orchestra is losing its audience, and will soon become extinct. Funding for classical music in Canada, especially the province of British Columbia, is diminishing. But worse, I don’t see audiences actively engaged in listening to classical music; rather, I see audiences going to the opera, or symphony, or chamber music recital (etc.) with an air of elitist intellectualism, rather than a desire to share in a communal experience. The act of going to the symphony, for example, has become something for the highly educated, the “upper class” in society, and not something for everyone. Luckily this issue is being remedied through the music education outreach programs of some major North American symphonies.

The New York Philharmonic: a name that inspires awe to any classical musician. But to me, a new music educator, the name means much more. The NY Phil has come up with an outreach program called The Very Young Composers Project, which is aptly described in this video:

VIDEO: School Partnership ProgramThis project is absolutely innovative and spectacular! Not only do students receive instruction in recorder, and not only are students given the opportunity to see NY Phil musicians in concert (both at their school in chamber ensembles and at Lincoln Center in the Avery Fisher Hall as the full orchestra), but students are given the opportunity to write and compose music, that is then played by professional musicians. The students involved in this project get to experience firsthand what classical music really is, and get to become a part of the music community. This is truly hands-on music education, made available to diverse children and communities.

So the question remains, what are Canadian orchestras doing to encourage music education and music outreach? Well, being a Vancouverite, I looked up some programs that the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra offers. The VSO has two programs – VSO Connects elementary and VSO Connects secondary – that are quite amazing and innovative! Both programs are described in these links:

In essence, these programs bring symphony musicians into Lower Mainland schools, and give students the opportunity to interact with professional orchestral musicians in many diverse ways. The secondary program is especially poignant, as it teaches students the discipline and dedication it takes to excel in music (a skill that can be transferred to any field of study). And Maestro Bramwell Tovey is a known advocate for music education, as well as being an amazing entertainer, conductor, and musician. The VSO also offers school concerts for young people:

These programs are inclusive, and invite young people into the life of the orchestra. They are designed to make classical music and the symphony orchestra accessible to everyone. This will, in turn, create an audience of music lovers who do not feel threatened by the concert hall, or feel that an orchestra concert is a place for only the elite. These programs exhibit the real aim of music of all genres: to bring people together, to experience emotions together on a grand scale, and to indulge in the absolute beauty of music. The orchestra, the symphony, and classical music are meant for everyone.

To end this post I have included a link to the New York Philharmonic playing Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, the “New World Symphony,” one of my favourite pieces:

VIDEO: Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9

(The work is incredibly innovative for its time – Dvorak included snippets from Native American and African American music that he heard when visiting the United States in the late 1800’s. The piece could easily be discussed in a music classroom.)

By: Rebecca Norman (Simon Fraser University)

New teacher-on-call, Burnaby School District and Simon Fraser University education student

Research Interests: Performance of classical music, classical music outreach/accessibility



Book Review: The Music Lesson by Victor Wooten (2006)

by Student Series on May 25, 2011 in Books , Research to Practice , Student Perspectives

Series: Student Perspectives

The book, “The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music ”  by Victor L. Wooten (2006, Berkley Publishing Group), was recommended to me by one of my musical mentors with the statement:

“You can ignore anything else I’ve ever told you, just believe me on this one thing: go and read The Music Lesson.  It will change your life.”

“Sure thing!” I agreed, and then promptly forgot about it for a good six months before stumbling across the book at Chapters one afternoon.  I recalled what my teacher had said, and bought the book.  I took it home and almost read the whole thing in one sitting.  He was right!

Anyone who plays the bass or has an interest in modern jazz, funk, fusion, or world music has most likely heard of the virtuoso Victor Wooten:

YouTube Video of Victor Wooten 

A veritable bass wizard, the story goes that he was approached to write a book on bass technique and instead produced this philosophical look at what music is, why we play it, and what it really means to be a “musician”

The Music Lesson is told as a first person narrative, with the protagonist supposedly being Wooten himself.  He tells the story of a teacher named Michael who walks uninvited into his life one day (literally) and begins giving him all kinds of out of the box lessons on music.  He breaks music down into twelve comprising elements, and gives a lesson on each: Groove, Notes, Articulation/Duration, Technique, Emotion/Feel, Dynamics, Rhythm/Tempo, Tone, Phrasing, Space/Rest, Listening, and what he calls “The Dream”.

I read this book after I had graduated with my B.Mus in classical trumpet, worked extensively as a freelance jazz player, taught for years, played, recorded, and toured the country as the singer/guitarist of an original rock band, done session work on several albums, written and arranged for film and performing groups… and The Music Lesson changed the way I’ve approached everything musical I’ve done since and heavily shaped my educational credo.

Beyond the deeper message of the “why” we play music, The Music Lesson contains many practical tips for the aspiring musician.  Nuggets of truth like “Most people play louder to get someone’s attention, but playing quieter can stop a bull from charging”, and “Never lose the groove in order to find a note” are great advice for playing better, while deeper philosophical ideas like “If you stopped playing notes, Music would still exist,” will have you analyzing your approach and listening in a more meaningful way.

So go and read The Music Lesson. I hope it’ll change your life and that of your students as it did mine!

~Jonathan Sykes (Simon Fraser University)



Top Five Music Education Websites

by Ian DeLong on May 23, 2011 in Research to Practice

I have compiled a list of my top five music education websites that I think are very useful for music educators. While most of these websites are most suitable for elementary aged students, we encourage our readership to let us know about other great websites and how these sites could be used in educational settings and in research.

# 1

I love this site because it gives so much great scientific information about how sound is produced. It can be used to supplement a science unit or a music unit and introduces the topic of the science of sound in a fun and motivating way!

# 2

This is such a great site for discovering the orchestra. Kids are introduced to the various instruments of the orchestra and are given audio examples which highlight each section. There are also some great interactive games and activities which show how instruments are constructed and how the sound is produced.

# 3

This is a great site for kids, teachers and parents with lots of great resources and information. There are instrument labs and lots of great games and activities as well as information on great composers.

# 4

This is a great site for teaching theory. It builds theoretical skill sequentially and supports kids in having a deep understanding of the workings of music. It is a great springboard to other activities and can be a foundation to a great unit on musical theory!

# 5

This site advocates for music participation amongst youth. The site is run by a group of researchers interested in creating opportunities for collaborative practice between youth and adults. It is very inspirational and gives insight into contemporary music education.



Orff and the Opera

by Ian DeLong on May 9, 2011 in Research to Practice , Resources

I have been creating operas with kids for several years now and I am always amazed at the kids as they enthusiastically engage with the creation process. As the momentum of our production ramps up, so too does their imagination, creativity and unwavering commitment to the process. In community, we create an artistic emblem of our communal values and come to understand curriculum through the arts. This has been my first year teaching at a fine arts school and through observation and research, I have come to understand how the arts can offer a deep penetrating engagement with the curriculum.

Although the Orff Schulwerk has always been highly influential for me when creating operas with children, this year I have really delved into Orff as the foundation for our musical compositions. I have completed the first two levels of Orff teacher training at Vancouver Community College and am completing the third and final level this summer. The kids are able to musically depict their ideas and have already begun to compose an overture and an opening chorus for the opera. Leitmotifs have brought continuity to the overall composition and the kids have demonstrated a vast knowledge of rhythm, tempo, dynamics, pitch, timbre, articulation, texture, melody and harmony. They are able to convey musical meaning and Orff methodology has enabled their musical expressions.

It is truly inspirational to see this kind of musical engagement and ingenuity. I have found myself humming their melodies and know that musical innovation through the operatic curriculum has not only empowered these young composers and enabled their identification with the operatic form but in turn  the music itself is empowered as it is representative of a people, a culture, a time and place. With so much of contemporary musical engagement being defined by the mass produced corporately enforced popular culture, it is essential that kids learn how to engage with musical composition. Instead of apathetic-passive-reception, kids are empowered  to compose through enthusiastic-active-expression and like the flutter of a butterfly’s wing, their contributions will alter forever our global musical soundscape.

For further information about the three levels of Orff Schulwerk certification that run every summer at Vancouver Community College please visit the following link to the BC Orff Chapter:

BC Orff Chapter

You may also find information regarding Orff Schulwerk certification programs through your local Orff Chapter.

Photograph retrieved from



“Music Monday’s my favourite day of all!”

by Susan O’Neill on May 2, 2011 in Research to Practice

“Music Monday’s my favourite day of all!” is what one student told me this morning at Kitchener Elementary School in Burnaby, British Columbia. Over 1,700 schools from across Canada celebrated music by singing together at the same time on Monday, May 2, 2011. At precisely 10am in Burnaby, students from Kindergarten to Grade 7 sang this year’s Music Monday song “Tomorrow is Coming” by Luke Doucet. The song was led by their Music Teacher, Mrs. Minichiello who invited me to join them in celebrating the event.

The words on the chart paper at the front of the assembly hall said that the aim of Music Monday was to:

  • Inspire public celebration, awareness and discussion
  • Fill the skies with music
  • Music as a pillar to a well-balanced educational experience
  • United by one piece of music

The students were also asked: “Why is Music Monday a good idea?” Here are some of their responses:

  • To celebrate music
  • It’s Fun!
  • It is awesome!
  • It celebrates the people who made good songs
  • The song is fantastic
  • We learn new songs and old songs
  • When you are feeling sad, you can go on the Music Monday website and sing with the songs
  • We celebrate people who like to sing a lot
  • Because it is fun to sing Music Monday songs
  • It’s good for the world because when one person sings a song and passes it on to another person then it will go on and on until the world is happy.

The students’ artwork on the Music Monday theme covered the wall of the assembly hall.

The students also created the letters SING during a dress rehearsal last Friday (because of rain today they were unable to repeat it but the photos were up to remind them of their special effort).

Music Monday is an initiative of the Coalition for Music Education. For further information visit:




Engaging Music Students In Participatory Research & Advocacy

by Deanna Peluso on April 28, 2011 in Research to Practice , Resources

In the Spring 2011 issue of the Canadian Music Educator, you will find Dr. Susan O’Neill’s article on “Engaging Music Students In Participatory Research And Advocacy”. You can find the full article here: Engaging Music Students In Participatory Research And Advocacy The article provides an insightful discussion of youth participatory cultures and advocacy within music education, while addressing the theme of research and practice.

Abstract: This article offers a rationale for incorporating participatory research and advocacy into music education programs. The aim is to increase music students’ involvement in music and their valuing of music learning through a participatory process that promotes inclusiveness, ownership, empowerment, innovation, and connectedness. It describes some of the ways that young people, teachers and researchers might work together on research and advocacy efforts to build and strengthen support for music education in their classroom, school and community.

Remember that you can find a selection of the Canadian Music Educator columns by Dr. Susan O’Neill, the Senior Editor of the Biennial Book Series: Research to Practice on the page in your left tab of this website – labelled “Canadian Music Educator”.



Irish Music Education: Connecting Research to Practice

by Deanna Peluso on April 25, 2011 in Research to Practice , Resources

A new website has recently been set up to support Music Education in Ireland, and has a focus on Connecting Research to Practice. You can find the website at:

Irish Music Education

“ is a resource for the music education community in Ireland. It seeks to be inclusive of all practices and genres and bring together the diverse strands of Irish music education.

It is a point of reference and contact for those who wish to know about Irish music education and a point of engagement and discussion for those who wish to participate in and contribute to the further development of Irish music education in all its forms.

Irish Music Education aims to:

  • Connect the diverse strands of music education in Ireland.
  • Raise awareness of the variety of practices in music education and of the current initiatives being carried out in these.
  • Draw on the understanding of the music education community to provide reliable and research led information on music education in Ireland.
  • Engage the music education community with this resource in order to stimulate debate and discussionon issues affecting music education in Ireland.
  • Foster the exchange of ideas, knowledge, resources and expertise.
  • Be a collective forum for initiatives which connect music education research with music education practice.
  • Create opportunities for further research and research partnerships.
  • Provide a point of connection for conferences, seminars and research and practice groups and document the work of practice groups, reading groups and other initiatives within Irish Music Education.
  • Be a flexible resource that can respond to the emerging support needs of research and practice in music education”

You will find a variety of resources at the site, ranging from events, conferences, discussion groups and articles that create connections between research and practice in music education.

The CMEA/Acme Research to Practice Blog continues to provide our readers with resources for music education. Stay tuned for new information and resources.



Kodaly Society of Canada Grant & Scholarship Opportunities

by Deanna Peluso on April 21, 2011 in Announcements , Resources

Announcement: Kodaly Society of Canada Scholarship For Members and Grant for Education ProvidersKODALY SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION

The Kodály Society of Canada is pleased to offer to its members the following scholarship for 2011-2012:  $500 to be used toward study in a recognized Kodály summer or academic year certification course. This year the scholarship is established in memory of Victoria Kodaly educator Irene Baird Fast.

Please include:

  • Personal data (name, mailing address, email, phone, current KSC membership affiliation)
  • Proof of acceptance from institution where applicant has been accepted for Kodály study (or relevant correspondence, if the application is in process)
  • Previous education (all post-secondary degrees and diplomas, dates, institutions)
  • Information on previous Kodály study or workshop experience (institutions, subjects studied, instructors, dates)
  • Relevant employment experience and current position
  • A paragraph on why the applicant wants education in the Kodály concept
  • Letter of reference with contact information.  Include length & reason for acquaintance with the applicant, and an assessment of the applicant’s suitability for music education leadership

Scholarship money will be sent to the successful applicant following confirmation of participation in the course.

Kodaly Scholarship Application

Send completed application to be received no later than June 15, 2011 to:

Connie Foss More, KSC President

989 Wagonwood Place

Victoria, BC  V8X 4M1

email: phone 250-658-3407

KODÁLY SOCIETY OF CANADA: GRANT APPLICATION FORM for Education ProvidersThe Kodály Society of Canada has established a policy by which limited funds will be available each academic year to assist providers of music education in funding a Kodály clinician(s) at institutions or workshops/conferences, for a Kodály-based offering. Preference will be given to non-KSC affiliated organizations. To be considered for this opportunity, please complete the application form below.

Applications received by the cut-off date will be considered by members of the KSC Executive. The criteria for acceptance of a proposal are that the classes/workshop/conference session(s):

  • Will be delivered by a practicing Kodály musician-educator
  • Will be delivered by a member of KSC, or another national/international Kodály organization
  • Will exemplify excellence in Kodály pedagogy

Please send the completed application as found below (or for more information) by email to:

Connie F. More:

KSC Clinician Grant Application

The application deadline for the 2011-12 academic year is June 15, 2011 (valid July 2011-June 2012)

For Membership information or a list of Kodaly Society of Canada previously-vetted clinicians go to their website:  



What People Are Saying…

by Susan O’Neill on April 18, 2011 in Research to Practice

Estelle Jorgensen, Professor of Music (Music Education), Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, USA says:

My own view is a “this is with that” approach implying tension between things that, practically speaking, do not normally go together and sometimes cannot be put together. I use a dramatic metaphor in which people on the stage move about, one coming into the foreground and the other back; sometimes embracing, other times distant, sometimes speaking, other times silent. Such a dynamic view pictures the ways in which teachers and researchers act in relation to the theories and practices they consider. Rather than an ontological view of theory and practice, my focus is epistemological and functional, on how people work their way through the theories and practices of which they aware, how they adjudicate them, and how they decide to act in their particular lived situations. This is also an improvisatory and rhapsodic view of teaching and learning because it suggests that these situations are dynamic rather than static, ends cannot be accurately foreseen, and teachers and their students interact in ways that are “in the moment,” often serendipitous and unexpected. (p. 29-30).


Jorgensen, R. E. (2005). Four philosophical models of the relation between theory and practice. Philosophy of Music Education Review, 13(1), 21-36.

Estelle Jorgensen is Professor of Music (Music Education) at Indiana University, USA. She is editor of Philosophy of Music Education and the founding chair of the Philosophy SRIG of MENC, and is the founding co-chair of the International Society for the Philosophy of Music Education. She is the author of In Search of Music Education (University of Illinois Press, 1997), Transforming Music Education (Indiana University Press, 2003), The Art of Teaching Music (Indiana University Press, 2008), the forthcoming Pictures of Music Education (Indiana University Press, 2011), and is a frequent contributor to leading research journals in music education internationally.



A Music Educator’s Credo

by Susan O’Neill on April 11, 2011 in Critical Thinking , Research to Practice

I often ask my student teachers to write their own personal philosophy or credo as a music educator. The act of articulating one’s beliefs to others can help provide clarity and direction as one continues to develop professionally. Our philosophy of education often exists on an unconscious level until we recognize and examine the influence it has on the decisions we make in our teaching practice.

A credo is not a mere repetition of platitudes and slogans. Slogans are effective devices for promoting a cause because they are capable of drawing an audience in and uniting them to support a common goal. But slogans are often empty of meaning; they do not provide a valid basis from which to make decisions or inform teaching practice. For example, saying “I believe all children can learn music” can be a powerful statement but it needs to be paired with what the teacher means by “learning music” and/or a description of how the teacher arrived at the conclusion that “all children can learn music”. Without the supporting meaning or explanation, the statement is more slogan than substance. Care must be taken to ensure that others understand the meaning that is intended. In this way we avoid a credo that merely describes and prescribes and yet explains nothing. Sloganeering deprives educators of a language in which they can formulate, reflect, and critically examine their beliefs and values to determine whether they are congruent with their actions.

Credos often contain metaphors because they provide a language for meaning making. Metaphors do not just stand for something we believe in – they are like a map that can provide us with new insights or a “handle” on the unfamiliar. In his book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicarneral Mind, Julian Jaynes (1976) identifies metaphor as our main instrument of understanding. A popular metaphor is the teacher as a gardener, who is responsible for nourishing students from “seedlings” so that they are able to thrive and grow to their full potential. John Holt once said: “We can think of ourselves not as teachers but as gardeners. A gardener does not ‘grow’ flowers; he tries to give them what he thinks they need and they grow by themselves.”

As you can imagine, just as the role of a teacher changes throughout the day, so does his/her metaphor. And, just as every teacher has his/her own style of teaching; every teacher’s metaphor for teaching may be different.

What is your favorite metaphor for a music educator?

Read some famous credos by following the links below:

  1. My pedagogic creed by John Dewey (one of the most significant educational philosophers of the 20th century).
  2. My credo by Albert Einstein.
  3. Paulo Freire emphasizes social justice and education for the liberation of the oppressed.
  4. Johann Pestalozzi emphasized the educational potential of everyday life, social justice, and education for the poor and oppressed.

What People Are Saying…

by Susan O’Neill on April 4, 2011 in Research to Practice

Lucy Green, Professor of Music Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, UK says:

I think the next steps in the development of informal learning in music education should—as in any field of education—involve both research and practice. So far as I’m concerned, and I think this is shared by all the authors in this journal issue, the more research that can be done on informal/aural or other learning practices that have hitherto lain largely outside formal music education the better. But at the same time, and again I think this is shared by all the authors, we should be careful as a profession not to do too much research which is merely descriptive. To me the point of doing research is not only to describe something that is worth describing, or that hasn’t been described before. It is also to ask: what action is needed, and how can we do research which will inform action? To paraphrase a famous statement: the point of research is surely not to describe the world but to change it. (p. 131)


Green, L. (2009). Response to special issue of ‘Action, criticism and theory for music education’ concerning ‘Music, informal learning and the school: A new classroom pedagogy’. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education 8/2: 120–132. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education Electronic Article

Lucy Green’s main research interests are in the sociology and philosophy of music, with special relation to education, social reproduction, musical meaning, gender, identity, ideology, youth, the pop/classical split, popular music, informal learning and innovative pedagogy. She lead the informal learning ‘pathfinder’ in the UK national ‘Musical Futures’ project. This involved developing and evaluating the adaptation of popular musicians’ informal learning practices for the classroom environment. For further information on Musical Futures, including the teacher resource pack, see:



Bringing Passion to Research and Practice

by Ian DeLong on March 28, 2011 in Choral Music , Research to Practice

Opera! It is the commingling of music, drama, visual art, movement and poetic narrative. It elevates our senses and inspires our awareness. A group of us during the course of our doctoral research have been creating an opera. It has become the site for social reform and a creative impetus for change. We have created a synthesized amalgam of our communal experiences and have come to a consensus in community about ethical and aesthetic issues with regard to education and life in general.

I have a passion for opera and it is this passion that has informed much of my research and teaching practice. Many people may chuckle as they envision a class of grade ones creating an operatic work but in my experience, some extremely rich educational experiences have occurred during the operatic creation process. The process involves narrative analysis, libretto creation, musical composition, set design, drama,dance and of course costumes and props. All the things that kids naturally gravitate toward through their imaginations are incorporated in the operatic form.

A year ago, with my grade 1 class, we created an operatic puppet show which introduced another layer of meaning making into this already rich educational medium. This year I am teaching grade 4 at a fine arts school and am excited as we incorporate our studies of First Nations’ legends into the operatic creation process. As integral to my research and my practice, my passion for the operatic form has invigorated my teaching and philosophy. What other passions have helped educators bridge the gap between research and practice? Let us know!

Here is the link for the Vancouver Opera’s “Music! Words! Opera!” program and other programs that help educators bring the operatic creation process to the classroom:

“Music! Words! Opera!” is an international program so also consult your local opera company’s website for the educational programs that they offer.



Bridging the Research to Practice Gap

by Susan O’Neill on March 24, 2011 in Research to Practice

In a recent ASCD Community Blog post, Professor Ed Pajak, Chair of the ASCD Annual Conference Research-Review Commission says, “To bridge the gap between education research and classroom practice, both sides need to adapt.” ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) is an educational leadership organization with over 160,000 members in 148 countries. For more information visit:

Pajak’s blog is reproduced below from the link:

In the classroom, including research perspectives in teacher preparation and professional development is a good way to bridge the research-to-practice gap. Action research that encourages teachers to use research techniques to improve their own practice and research initiatives that collaborate with teachers are also shrinking the gap.

But the research side needs to change too, Pajak says:

It’s my belief research becomes less applicable the narrower its focus. Anyone who works in a school deals with a holistic reality, with a lot of complex concerns and interacting factors. Researchers tend to avoid those kinds of questions—they’re hard to explain and study. But those are the kinds of issues educators are really working with. That’s where I think researchers need to change and broaden their focus so that [education research] has more applicability to the real problems practitioners face.

What would make music education research more useful to your practice?



Place, Space and Time for Music Learning?

by Susan O’Neill on March 21, 2011 in Research to Practice

A few years ago I was involved in research at a large secondary school where the music teacher was having problems recruiting and retaining students. Although many music educators share this concern it had become an alarming issue at this particular school. To put it bluntly, the students were afraid to go to the music room. The music room was located at the back of the school, at the very end of a long corridor that contained mostly unoccupied rooms. This location made good practical sense to the school administrators because any sounds coming from the music room were unlikely to disturb other classes. However, this same isolated and deserted corridor provided a great place for a gang of troublesome students to gather without supervision. They would occupy this space before and after school, and at various other times during the day. Members of this gang would bully and intimidate the students who attempted to walk past them to get to the music room. The gang also threatened to beat up any student who told a teacher about what they were doing. Music students starting dropping out of music classes and it became increasingly difficult to recruit students to play in the school’s music ensembles. The music teacher complained repeatedly to the school authorities about the situation, and the gang would get moved on from the corridor for a week or two, but these efforts were not sustained and the gang would resume their occupation of the corridor. For those music students who remained in the music program, morale was at an all time low. This was not only because of the gang of students who bullied them, but also because no one seemed to notice, or if they did notice they did not seem to care or do enough to ensure that the music students had a place for music learning.

This incident may be rare, but it reminds us that just because we may have an adequate space (physical and geographical) and amount of time (length and duration) for music education, we also need a place. We are self-locating creatures by nature both literally and metaphorically. Consider how important location and place is by how often we use the preposition “in”, for example: “in a band”, “in a choir”, “lost in the music”, “in the middle of learning a new song”, “in the school musical”, “in second place in the competition”. The American philosopher Edward Casey, who is known for his important work on indigenous approaches to place, reminds us “to live is to live locally, and to know is first of all to know the place one is in.” We must first understand where we are in order to adapt to the various obstacles and advantages that we might encounter as we navigate toward our destination. Helping music students acquire a new power of navigation can make all the difference. It might inspire students to continue rather than give up music learning altogether. We are also capable of imagining new destinations, and if we care enough about those destinations and acquire the resources necessary to get there, we can gain a degree of direction and control over our lives. In thinking literally and metaphorically about the situation at the school that I described, I am wondering: Do we need to find a new destination for the music room (a new place) or do we need a new way to navigate toward (and around) the music room (place) we already have?




Top 10 Music Education Blogs

by Deanna Peluso on March 16, 2011 in Research to Practice, Resources

1. Consortium for Digital, Popular and Participatory Culture in Music Education

One of my favourite blogs on “creating and expanding opportunities for people to learn and engage with music in our ever changing society”. As my research interests revolve around emerging technology and our continually changing society, this blog has become an essential resource for me.

2. Sound Education

A blog by a husband-wife team of music educators and musicians. A refreshing blog with viewpoints, articles and information that provides thought-provoking discussions about music education and a music educator’s life.

3. Henry Jenkins: Confessions of an Aca-Fan Blog

While this site is not directly related to music education, the work of Henry Jenkins is a fantastic resource that takes on an academic perspective on media literacy, participatory culture and the gaming world, while making it relatable to the reader and quite relevant to the contemporary music educator.   (Note: Many youth are engaging in musical activities that are interconnected with the gaming culture, such as Rock Band, Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution).

4. Jason Heath’s Double Bass Blog

One of my favourite blogs to go to for information on the double bass in music education, though don’t let that scare you away if you don’t teach or play the double bass. It has a wealth of information and articles that are relevant to music educators of all genres, especially those interested in string instruments.

5. Africlassical

A blog that focuses on African classical music. Everything from history and discussions on black composers, musicians, heritage, education and more. It updates often, which is a fabulous additional feature of the blog.

6. The official blog of the British Columbia Association of Community Music Schools

This blog not only is updated quite frequently, it is the source of everything from book reviews, videos and commentary on Music Education. It is a wonderful resource for everything to do with music and Arts education.

7. Music Education Highlights from an Undergrad Blog

A great blog that documents the challenges and positive experiences of an Undergraduate Music Education student doing a teaching practicum. An nice change of pace from the traditional music education blogs out there.

8. Thomas J. West Music Blog

While this blog has a variety of topics on music education, including tips for teachers and articles on band and on composition, I have found a particular post called ” Teaching Expressive Music Making – Beyond the Black Dots” to be especially insightful. Definitely worth reading, just be sure to click on the “blog” section of the website.

9. Music Anthology on Music, Culture, Improvisation and Spirituality

A fairly interesting blog on everything from music, media, culture, improvisation, spirituality and history. If you don’t mind a few articles here and there that aren’t directly related to music education, it is an interesting blog. Worth a quick look.

10. Tanbur Music Education Blog: Interactive Website Links for Primary and Secondary Music

This blog is really a collection of links that are useful to primary and secondary music teachers. Though keep in mind that it can be a little confusing as it is primarily a site for links.




New Book for Music Education (Now Available)

by Deanna Peluso on March 15, 2011 in Announcements , Books , Resources

A new book for Music Education is now available from Oxford University Press. It is called A Cultural Psychology of Music Educationby Margaret S. Barrett.

You can find the book at the Oxford University Press website , and there are details about the book in PDF form by clicking here .

Description: “Recent studies in music education have investigated the ways in which different groups construe music and music education, and the ways in which these constructions are culturally bound.

A Cultural Psychology of Music Education explores the ways in which the discipline of cultural psychology can contribute to our understanding of how music development occurs in a range of cultural settings, and the subsequent implications of such understanding for the theory and practice of music education.

The book opens with an overview of the theoretical underpinnings of a cultural psychology of music education. Ten eminent music education scholars and researchers provide chapters that illustrate the application of this approach to key issues in music education; its theory and practice. These chapters provide opportunities to look more deeply into the practices of music education in order to understand the role culture plays in shaping children’s musical learning and thinking, the learning and teaching of music teachers, the formal and informal institutions and structures within and through which learn ing and teaching occur, and, the intersection of these processes and structures in the development of musical thought and practice.

As the first major publication to explore a cultural psychology of music, this volume signals new directions for the study of music educational theory and practice, and the continuing transformation of the discipline. It draws together a number of music education researchers working within a cultural psychology framework establishing a basic reference in this developing field. A fascinating subject, this volume will be of interest to music educators, students and researchers of music education, and music psychologists”.


Music, Digital Media & the Changing Classroom

by Deanna Peluso on March 7, 2011 in Media Literacy , Technology

I have been contemplating the changing landscape of the contemporary music classroom, where students are now engaging with music and digital media in novel ways. This was inspired by a particular excerpt from “Aliens in the Classroom? Promoting Effective Knowledge Exchange” in the Canadian Music Educator :

“There is no shortage of discussion in education today about how dramatically different young people’s learning experiences are compared to even a generation ago. Increasingly fast-paced and high-tech lives are associated with fragmented, fluid, diffuse, and noisy learning experiences. Increased mobility, social networking, mass media, globalization, and multicutluralism have amplified music learners’ social connections and their exposure to diverse musical practices. Students have instantaneous access to varied music resources, an immeasurable amount of music choices, and an unprecedented amount of autonomy over their own learning decisions.”

Excerpt by The Senior Editor of the Biennial Book Series: Research to Practice – Susan O’Neill (Read full article here)

Response (by Deanna):

Emerging technology has transformed how youth engage with music and media, and this inundation of technology can be seen both inside and outside the classroom. Looking at most groups of teenagers – you will find smart-phones, iPods, and earbuds holding them in a hermetically sealed bubble of musical technology. Contemporary educators are now faced with students arriving in their classrooms with existing literacies and knowledge that inform their ways of making meaning and communicating. It is becoming apparent that students’ knowledge of music creation is now primarily derived from their interactions with digital media outside of the classroom, more specifically the Internet, where they are finding ways to edit, create and re-appropriate music as their own. A quick glance at the popular video sharing website – YouTube – it is evident that youth are posting their own creations of music, movies and media as forms of expression and ways of communicating with the online community. As music educators, how can we find ways to incorporate these new forms of musical expression into our classrooms, and how can we help our students gain the skills and tools that will enable them to think critically about these forms of musical expression?

What are your thoughts?


Deanna Peluso



Music Monday: Coalition for Music Education

by Deanna Peluso on February 24, 2011 in Announcements , Events

Finding ways to celebrate music and the importance it plays in our lives is especially important. In 2005, an annual national event began called Music Monday. It is organized by the Coalition for Music Education and is an event for celebrating the importance of music in our lives and especially in our schools.

It is on the first Monday of May each year and at the same point during that day across the country.

Schools, communities, ensembles and participants across the country are united by one piece of music!

For detailed information about the event, I highly recommend you go to the Music Monday website ( .

This year’s song is by Luke Doucet and is called Tomorrow Is Coming.

Be sure to check out Music Monday !


Minding the Gap

by Ian DeLong on February 7, 2011 in Research to Practice

The difficulty I’m having between navigating through the process of full time academic study in the PhD program at SFU and working full time as a classroom teacher in a fine arts school has manifested as anxiety. I wake up Monday mornings with my stomach in knots because I have not been able to cope with the concurrent demands of these two roles. For some reason education students are not being funded in their graduate work and this is enough to dishearten the best of scholars. I graduated my master’s of education program with a fantastic grade point average and I felt that this would ensure me enough funding to allow me to only work part time; however, upon receiving no funding, yet aspiring still to pursue a dream of academic work, I was forced to support my scholastic endeavors by working full time.

As educators, we know what this means. Teaching is not a 9 to 3 job. The time at work averages about 9 hours and then there is the marking,the special needs, the performances, all the things that I go home and stew about so as to ensure the success of my students. Teaching by itself is an all-consuming profession. At the best of times it is difficult to achieve balance. How on earth then, am I expected to cope? I have exhausted the avenues and myself. When the university offered me no funding, I decided to try for some private scholarships. The application process was

grueling and met ultimately with rejection. It required time that I did not have to give, so I gave up on that route. I’m also no longer pushing myself academically. I now have a very strong rationale about scholarship in education. Do what you can and make it count, but don’t do it for the grades because most likely there will not be any funding. Do it for yourself!

It is here then that I ask us to mind the gap. What gap? There’s a gap between scholarship and the practicing professional. The research is having trouble making its way to fruition in the classroom context. I am an anomaly in the teaching profession. Only a few of us decide to pursue a PhD. My current situation, allows for little, other than my responsibilities as a scholar and a classroom teacher. Every aspect of my being is a site for academic research. Even my dreams have become a focal point for my analysis. What are we asking of the teaching profession and how is it unreasonable to expect teachers to forfeit their lives so as to be apprised of the vast body of contemporary research while teaching, especially when funding has been diminished to such an extent?

The teacher as an archetype is fascinating to me since the societal pressures and expectations upon the teacher are strenuous at best. The teacher creates but is also created. The teacher conforms to the expectations. The public demands a certain product, a differentiated product, a product that serves the community, group, and individual. We must be informed about how best to fulfill our teaching role. The research should inform our practice. With all the challenges of contemporary life, how do we ensure that educators have access to the research? How do we ensure the validity of our teaching practice? How do we cope with the demands on the practicing researcher?

Baxevanis, A. (Photographer). (2009). Mind the gap. [Web]. Retrieved from×224.jpg



Welcome to the Research to Practice Blog

by Ian DeLong on February 6, 2011 in Announcements , Books , Resources

The purpose of this blog is to help bridge the gap between contemporary research in music education and the practicing educator. It is our hope that this blog will create an interactive forum for discussion of research and practice issues from various perspectives. We encourage our readers’ comments, questions, information and descriptions of events, as well as research and collaborative opportunities. It is our sincere hope that collaboration between researchers and practitioners will increase the likelihood that research findings will be translated into practice and that the topics of interest to practitioners will inform future research.The blog will be updated regularly and topics for the blogs will be chosen to highlight various issues in music education. Topics will also be chosen to create discussions that will prepare readers for issues in music education that will be included in the CMEA/Acme biennial book: Personhood  and  Music  Learning:  Multidisciplinary  Perspectives  and  Narrative  Voices. The following are the titles for the proposed chapters and each of the contributing authors:

1.  “It’s not a job. It’s who I am! The construction, deconstruction and reconstruction sites of the intersecting professional and personal lives of music learners”  by Carol Beynon

2.  “The role of choir singing in the construction of gender identity in the adolescent male’s personhood”  by Alfonso Jesus Elorriaga Llor

3.  “Narratives in a virtual place : A cyber ethnographic case study of music learning in one online music ‘community of practice’” by Janice Waldron

4.  “Louise Rose : Self-declared life-long learner” by Mary Kennedy

5.  “Making sense of self making sense of music” by Mark Whale

6.  “Uncovering the hidden music in academic collaboration” by Shelley M. Griffin & Rodger J. Beatty

7.  “Making music for children as a funky mama : Salient skills, knowledge, and understandings” by Ben Bolden

8.  “On the podium : Exploring the self-identity of exemplary women conductors” by Janet S. Brenneman

9.  “The balancing act of a lifelong music learner” by Lisa Lorenzino

10. “Turntablism and music education” by Karen Snell

11. “I feel therefore I am”  by Joan Thompson

12. “Forms and forms : Negotiating identities”  by Barbara Graham

13. “Popular music, identity, and emotional competence in adolescents : Implications for the classroom”  by Sandra Bosacki & Susan O’Neill

14. “Music and self in the context of complex needs” by Graham Welch & Adam Ockelford

15. “A personal journey through education, science, philosophy, and music towards understanding how and why music affects us, and what such understanding might mean for music education” by Robert Walker

16. “Promoting social development through music : National System of Youth Symphonic Orchestras of Columbia. A case study” by Constanza Rincon

17. “The performing professor : Conflicts of identity and work in faculties of education” Terry Sefton & Jonathan Bayley

18.  “The role of personal experience in the formation of musical knowledge : Results of an ethnographic study of four Canadian jazz musicians”  by Paul Louth