Swimming and Singing

Water is a place of movement; here children perform movement activities and collect movement experiences that are uniquely possible within this element. [1]

Learning music is uniquely possible in the world of notes. For children, singing is the first and most crucial step.
This corresponding statement about music is just as applicable as that of swimming. This is beyond reasonable doubt.  Nonetheless:

Our Music education is, for the most part not learning music, but instead an education about music.

  • There is, for example, genre study. Romantic, baroque, how instruments are constructed and utilized within consecutive genres etc…, a wide field. In some cases, genre becomes as removed from music learning as would be an education in the production of bathing suits from learning to swim.
  • There are, for example, the study of composer’s personas and personal history. Why? Famous athletes are not central to sports education, nor are famous physicists pivotal to Physics instruction. The biography of an author may be mentioned, but is never the subject of their distinguished contribution to literary education and a painters persona only colors art education
  • There are the themes, within which one loses themselves to the surroundings of music. These include:

→ Music in our city – where we embark towards social and cultural studies
→ Music and film – where we become engaged in optical techniques and sound engineering
→ Music and theater – where we speak of famous entertainers
→ Music an commercials – where the conversation roots itself into “Functionsof Marketing”

Without a doubt these themes are interesting, but we should not allow them to become the essential goal of our education and in doing so lose sight of our original objective:

Children should be „musically fit“

One only learns to swim in the water. Within music education, we must likewise enable musical experiences. Learning music is only possible within the sphere of music, not at its perimeter. We must build the basics of tonal understanding before we divulge into theoretic details.

[1] Curriculum for an elementary school in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany


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