Learning in music theory/composition classes is most effective when students are actively involved and have quality aural experiences. Performing, working in small groups, active listening, creating, moving to music, and independent projects result in deeper learning than lectures and worksheets. Courses in music theory/composition, therefore, should provide opportunities for creating (electronic samples, small compositions, choral/orchestral arrangement, …); performing (voice, guitar/ukulele, keyboard, percussion, handbells, electronic generated music and other instruments); responding (movement, listening-based classes such as music history and literature); and making connections to other arts, disciplines, cultures, and personal life. Because creating, performing, responding, and connecting are the modes through which musical understandings are achieved, even theory-based classes should include appropriate performing and creating activities. Recommended activities, such as listening, performing, creating, improvising, and responding are efficient hands-on learning modes, attract and hold the students’ interest, and give students a key to lifelong enjoyment of music.
- Composing and arranging music is an important creative activity and a means of personal expression. The performance of one’s own musical work is a source of great satisfaction as well as an important way of sharing musical inspiration with others. These creative activities are possible at any age, depending upon a person’s level of music skills and knowledge.
- Students learn to appreciate music when they understand the elements of music and the way those elements are organized to create a music composition. Performance with understanding requires this same analysis and discussion. The ability to analyze music is the foundation for meaningful learning and participation in most other aspects of music experience.
- Much like letters and words in a novel or a poem, music notation represents another language or symbolic system of communication. Unlike the written or spoken word, music and music notation transcend the boundaries of countries and cultures. Reading and notating music gives the students access to a vast body of contemporary and historical music literature, as well as to a unique mode of personal expression.
*Standards maps may be reproduced provided that credit is given to the WMEA Standards Committee.