Poking the Pillars: A Preliminary Evaluation of Integration, Diversity, and Creativity

  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18177/sym.2016.56.fr.11137
  • PDF: https://www.jstor.org/stable/26574446

An earlier version of this article was presented as part of the special session, "Integration, Diversity, and Creativity: Reflections on the 'Manifesto' from The College Music Society," at the Society for Music Theory annual meeting, St. Louis, October 29, 2015

This article provides a preliminary critical evaluation of the central tenets of the report of the CMS Task Force on the Undergraduate Music Major (TFUMM) in the context of current music theory, including concerns that I have heard raised by other theorists, and introduces how we might start to think about a broader, more flexible approach to curricular change.1 My role is not to give a comprehensive critique of the task force report, but to set the context for future discussions by examining some of the underlying premises of the report, and by exploring the discursive space in which we as a community of music theorists want to engage so that we can move beyond the TFUMM report productively.

Central to the TFUMM report are three "pillars": creativity, diversity, and integration. And what musician would want to argue against creativity, diversity, or integration in the broadest sense? But we need to move away from abstract concepts of creativity, diversity, and integration to a more detailed level so we can understand what is actually being proposed in the TFUMM report. And to do that, we need to poke a little bit at the premises behind these three pillars, beginning with creativity.

The underlying assertion of the creativity pillar is that what is termed "the conventional model of music study" contains a core deficiency: the "subordination of the creation of new work to the interpretative performance of older work."2 Thus the report proposes to replace the "hegemony" of the "interpretive performer" with the "contemporary improviser-composer-performer identity."3 This is more than simply incorporating additional opportunities for creativity into the curriculum; it is moving creativity to the core of a musician's education.

But we need to be very clear what is meant by creativity in this case, because the report is not talking about creativity writ large; instead, it posits a clear hierarchy within creativity, and the highest form of creativity—called "primary creative engagement" by the authors of the document—are the "creative processes of improvisation and composition."4 Performance of other people's works, a brilliant theory, or a compelling analysis of your own or others' works do not rise to the same level of creativity.

But creativity isn't that simple. Empirical research in creativity posits that creativity has multiple dimensions, and that creativity in different domains draws on different skills, abilities, and orientations. For example, a recent study of creativity by Kaufman et al assessed the relationships between general cognitive ability, divergent thinking, the personality traits of "Openness" and "Intellect," and creative achievement across the arts and sciences.5 The personality trait of Openness "reflects cognitive engagement with perception, fantasy, aesthetics, and emotions," and consistently predicted creative achievements in the arts (and in music, this was limited to performance and composition for this particular study).6 Intellect reflects "cognitive engagement with abstract and semantic information, primarily through reasoning," and especially as indicated by general cognitive ability, divergent thinking, intellectual curiosity, and drive, and consistently predicted high levels of creativity in areas that require the "application of reasoning and semantic ideation to an existing rational system," such as the sciences or mathematics.7 That is, different kinds of creativity align with different domains, and rely on different skills and abilities.

So the fundamental question is not really whether creativity is important—Bloom's revised taxonomy has been around a long time8 —or how moving creativity to the center of music education could be achieved; the question is whether an improviser-composer-performer-centric creativity is the primary goal for all music students, and whether we want to privilege TFUMM's particular version of creativity, or recognize and cultivate a broad range of creativities that operate across different domains, both within and outside of music.9

Even more specifically, the creativity of the improviser-composer-performer identity is posited with a specific goal: developing a contemporary "genuine global artistic identity."10 This ties to the second core deficiency that the report identifies—ethnocentrism—and the corresponding second pillar of diversity. Instead of sampling the so-called "multicultural marketplace," the report argues that an improviser-composer-performer can achieve "an authentic transcultural understanding that is the basis for an entirely new diversity paradigm...[that] opens up to deep celebration and embrace when contact with these cultures informs, and is informed by, the emergent creative voice."11

The report especially recommends music from African and African-American traditions, particularly jazz, as possessing a "modal-tonal-post-tonal spectrum that connects with today's musical world."12 (If the goal is to connect with today's musical world, we should note that jazz albums are the only ones that sell even fewer than classical albums—we value the study of jazz for other good reasons.13)  But the main concern about the diversity pillar is similar to the concern about the creativity pillar. Diverse repertoire in the field is growing, and as John Covach has pointed out, it is far easier to study popular music, including jazz, both as a student and a scholar these days—it can even be a benefit on the job market—and it is important to understand the cross-fertilization between jazz, rock, and classical traditions.14  Music theory has been an active contributor to this trend. As outgoing Society for Music Theory President L. Poundie Burstein noted during his presentation as part of the "President's Forum" at the College Music Society's national conference in fall 2015, the Society for Music Theory's annual meeting the previous week had actually "featured more presentations devoted to jazz, pop, and non-Western musics" than the CMS conference.15  And certainly there is even more room for growth in this area in our field, and even in the TFUMM report itself—music by women is never mentioned, for example, in the context of diversity.16

But what we are actually being asked to embrace is not diversity per se, but the use of diversity for the construction of an individual "genuine global artistic identity." I worry about what it means to encounter other cultures for the primary purpose of developing your own artistic voice; I worry whether this "genuine global artistic identity" will actually be available to all peoples and all cultures equally. But even more fundamentally, is this the primary reason we want to value diversity? How should diversity play a central role in music education?

The final pillar of integration specifically proposes rethinking core musicianship, aural skills, and music theory. One specific proposal is a streamlined one-year theory core, so that "students may then use the remaining credits to pursue further studies, which might include the same theory...coursework...[but]...might also include coursework that covers important theoretical ...terrain but which is offered by faculty or areas not typically associated with [theory]."17  A second option would have individual departments or faculty areas determine their own curricular requirements, including designing and offering their own theory and musicianship core requirements and courses.18 Further suggestions include a fundamental redesign of the theory and aural skills sequence around the improviser-composer-performer model, an integration of not just theory and aural skills, but theory, aural skills and music history (in an updated version of comprehensive musicianship), and a core proficiency protocol at the end of the second year.19  (The suggestion of a core proficiency evaluation assumes a pretty traditional view of compartmentalizing core skills in the first two years rather than integrating skills development throughout the curriculum.) As part of the integration pillar, the TFUMM report also suggests integrating aural skills, composition, world music performance techniques, and theory into studio lessons.

These proposals are defined as innovative when set against the backdrop of the "conventional model of music study."20  Again, it is not integration itself that is a concern—if you having a thriving music therapy, music technology, or popular music program, for example, you may have already considered and possibly even implemented some of the curricular options proposed in the report. Rather it is two assumptions behind the proposed integration that are concerning. The first is the potential devaluation of disciplinarity and disciplinary expertise, especially of academic music study: the report assumes that anyone can and should teach theory, musicianship, or musicology, regardless of level, and that academic music study primarily exists for its utilitarian value for the improviser-composer-performer. I am not arguing that only theorists should teach theory courses, but rather that there is a deep educational value to disciplinary expertise that is lost if a student never encounters an "expert" in a given field as part of their study. The report acknowledges that some readers may interpret their suggestions in this way, writing that "[w]hile some may misinterpret our position as...leaving on the margins the study of music education and music scholarship, in fact we are arguing that replacing the former [interpretive performer] with the latter [improviser-composer-performer] will have the effect of bringing, in an organic and necessary way, those now-marginalized disciplines into the mainstream of music study."21 Yet this assumes that these disciplines are in fact marginalized, and there is no acknowledgement of the value of music theory, musicianship, or musicology in their own right beyond their allegedly problematic role in the core curriculum.

The second concern is the assumption that the effect of the so-called "traditional core curriculum" does not currently contribute in a meaningful way to a musician's education. We are told that present musicianship coursework is ineffective, that there is "an absence of effective pedagogy and relevant materials,...[a] focus on harmonic practice of distant eras at the exclusion of melody, rhythm, and harmony in contemporary contexts, ...[a] lack of thoughtful mind-body integration,...[and] aural training that is non-sequential yet locked into mundane and non-musical exercises, or disconnected from meaningful experiences in music."22 If only we were to adopt the report's proposals, "[m]usic theory [would become] an applied endeavor that is directly integrated into students' musical expression and understanding"—unlike now, of course.23

This is a classic straw person argument. And like many straw person arguments, a natural response is to become defensive: for example, when I read the TFUMM report's assertion that "[other disciplines'] teaching and learning are informed by unprecedented levels of research that render much of traditional music instruction at odds with what we know about perception, cognition, and motivation to learn," as someone who is immersed in pedagogical research across disciplines and is implementing these findings in my classroom and curriculum, I bristle; I think, "That's not me," and wonder what "traditional music instruction" they are talking about.24

But particularly disturbing is that some people did not have that reaction, and believed the assertions of the TFUMM report immediately and uncritically. When someone embraces a straw person argument, it is usually because of confirmation bias—when information that fits existing beliefs is given greater weight than other evidence that contradicts those beliefs, regardless of the quality of the evidence. And introducing more evidence or more convincing evidence will not correct this—in fact, the so-called "backfire effect" ensures that simply presenting factual information to counteract the straw person argument only leads to a deeper retrenchment of the initial beliefs.25

All of which puts music theory in a difficult position in what is fundamentally a political argument. Although the document claims to invite dialog, as Poundie Burstein has noted, its language and construction actually close off space for dialog.26  Some institutions believed that the report contained official recommendations of the College Music Society and started pressuring departments to adopt them, partly because the tone of the document supports that interpretation, especially when it calls for a top-down approach in which deans and provosts apply pressure for curricular change. (A cover letter was added in 2015 to explain that the document at the time was a draft and does not—and will not—contain official recommendations from CMS). The rhetoric surrounding the document also contributes to this effect: for example, Patricia Campbell, the CMS president who appointed the task force, wrote in a recent Society for Ethnomusicology Newsletter that "[t]here is considerable enthusiasm for the report's recommendations, even as there is resistance from those who hold firmly to long-standing Eurocentric approaches to the education of music majors."27 The language of the report basically says that if you have vision and curiosity, value creativity and diversity, care about social justice and are "progressive"—which is pretty much how I like to think of myself—then of course you will support the report's self-described "unprecedented" recommendations.28

And in a sense, this language is not surprising: the authors chose to label their task force report as a "manifesto," which is by definition is a statement of positions. But as scholars, we value evidence, we value transparency—we value a dialog of interests, not competing statements of positions, and these occupy very different discursive spaces.29  And as tempting as it may be, the fact that many others accepted the underlying assumptions of the manifesto means that music theory cannot afford to ignore this conversation; in fact, the "manifesto" itself and its reception are evidence that music theory has not been engaging in these spaces as effectively as we need to.

So what would it look like to consider music education from a perspective of interests rather than positions? Rather than advocating for which model of musician we want everyone to be, it means going back the original question of the task force—what does it mean to be an educated musician in the twenty-first century—in a serious way: what do we want all of our students to know and do and understand? What do we want different slices of our student populations to know and do and understand? What do we want individual students to know and do and understand? Which outcomes from theory, aural skills, and musicianship support these goals? (There is an added layer for those with NASM accreditation as well.) And these outcomes are not just for professional musicians—beyond creativity, diversity, and integration in music, we need to ask how we equip our students for the different shapes their careers will take over their lifetimes.30  How do we help students become lifelong learners? While there will probably be some broad commonalities in the responses to these questions across institutions, I agree with the TFUMM report that the specifics of these answers should be local. And once there is an understanding of the outcomes we want for our students, there are multiple ways to get to those outcomes successfully, and these should also be decided locally and by faculty.

And we do not have to have these discussions and make these decisions in a closed room in the absence of evidence; the state of pedagogical research, and the scholarship of teaching and learning, including that in music, is better than this.31 We do not have to just assert what we think would work—while there is plenty of room for exploratory thinking, we can actually experiment and test and pilot and compare and evaluate what actually works and what doesn't work in a given context, then adjust our practices, and share that knowledge with others. That is, we can give pedagogical research the same respect and hold it to the same standards to which we would hold any research.

Finally, although this is beyond the scope of the task force's original charge, I want to advocate for a broader conversation. Much of the report seems aimed at addressing an underlying anxiety about the relevancy and role of music in society, in everything from career opportunities for music majors to issues of social justice, perhaps as a reflection of the anxiety around the current and much-discussed "disruption" of higher education in general. But as Robert Freeman has noted, focusing only on the curricula of music majors is not going to address the relevance of certain kinds of music or of college-level music study to broader society.32  We need to think not just about educating musicians, but about music education; not just about what it means to be an educated musician in the twenty-first century, but what an educated human in the twenty-first century needs to know about music. We need to think about how we engage non-majors, our colleagues across campus, and the community in our curricula, because by engaging that broad swath of talented and enthusiastic amateur musicians, and scientists, and designers, and scholars, and engineers, we can continue to tell our story of a broader view of the value of music, and of music theory.

 

Notes

1Ed Sarath, David Myers, Juan Chattah, Victoria Lindsay Levine, David Rudge, and Timothy Rice, "Transforming Music Study from its Foundations: A Manifesto for Progressive Change in the Undergraduate Preparation of Music Majors, Report of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Music Major" (November 2014). All references are to the currently available document labeled as a "conference version" at http://www.music.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1859:transforming-music-study-from-its-foundations-a-manifesto-for-progressive-change-in-the-undergraduate-preparation-of-music-majors.

2Sarath et al, 16.

3Sarath et al, 5-6, 18-19, 45.

4Sarath et al, 17. While the report acknowledges other kinds of creativity and that interpretive performance "represents a subset of the broader and more foundational creative spectrum that TFUMM values," the document clearly posits a "foundational" creativity of composition and improvisation, arguing that "[n]evertheless, it is also important to note the conspicuous absence of primary creative engagement, which improvising and composing embody" (p. 17, footnote 4). The authors also argue that this kind of creativity represents the more "authentic" roots of the European classical heritage.

5Scott Barry Kaufman, Lena C. Quilty, Rachael G. Grazioplene, Jacob B. Hirsh, Jeremy R. Gray, Jordan B. Peterson, and Colin G. DeYoung, "Openness to Experience and Intellect Differentially Predict Creative Achievement in the Arts and Sciences," Journal of Personality (January 28, 2015), doi:10.1111/jopy. Other personality traits include Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Extraversion.

6Kaufman et al, 1-2. Extraversion was an additional independent predictor of artistic creativity.

7Kaufman et al, 1, 9.

8See also Deborah Rifkin and Philip Stoeker, "A Revised Taxonomy for Music Learning," Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 25 (2011), 155-189.

9This is not to say that improvisation and composition are not important for music theorists; most music theorists I know are highly skilled at both. But that is different from claiming a hierarchy among different types of creativity, and creativities across domains may be mutually reinforcing.

10Sarath et al, 19-20, 37-39.

11Sarath et al, 21.

12Sarath et al, 38.

13Mark Vanhoenacker, "Requiem: Classical music in America is dead," Slate (1/21/2014); http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2014/01/classical_music_sales_decline_is_classical_on_death_s_door.html. Vanhoenacker notes that "[j]ust 2.8 percent of albums sold in 2013 were categorized as classical. By comparison, rock took 35 percent; R&B 18 percent; soundtracks 4 percent. Only jazz, at 2.3 percent, is more incidental to the business of American music."

14John Covach, "Review of Robert Freeman, The Crisis of Classical Music in America: Lessons from the Life in the Education of Musicians (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014)," Music Theory Online 21/2 (June 2015).

15L. Poundie Burstein, presentation at the plenary session, "President's Forum: Continuing the Dialogue: Undergraduate Curriculum," College Music Society National Conference (November 7, 2015).

16Although the authors do not address the issue, the history of sexism, racism, and homophobia in jazz would have to be acknowledged and discussed in order to holistically address diversity in the curriculum.

17Sarath et al, 31-32.

18Sarath et al, 32.

19See responses to the report's music history recommendations in the Journal of Music History Pedagogy 5/2 (spring 2015).

20Sarath et al, 12.

21Sarath et al, 19.

22Sarath et al, 33-34.

23Sarath et al, 38.

24Sarath et al, 3.

25See, for example, Zachary Horne, Derek Powell, John E. Hummel, and Keith J. Holyoak, "Countering Antivaccination Attitudes," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112/33 (August 3, 2015), 10321-10324 (doi:10.1073/pnas.1504019112).

26L. Poundie Burstein, https://discuss.societymusictheory.org/discussion/264/cms-task-force-manifesto; see also http://president72.wix.com/smt-president-blog#!CMS-TaskForce-Manifesto/c193z/3E7D9A9E-AE83-4495-86A1-53CA568D27A2.

27Patricia Shehan Campbell, "The Task Force History and Response," Society for Ethnomusicology Newsletter 49/3 (summer 2015), 3-4.

28See, for example, Sarath et al, 16, 22, 23, 59.

29Discerning the difference between positions and interests forms the basis for principled or integrative negotiation and mediation, which focuses on shared solutions for mutual gain, with objective criteria to evaluate proposed solutions. See, for example, Laura Klaming, Jelle van Veenen, and Ronald Leenes, "I Want the Opposite of What You Want: Reducing Fixed-Pie Perceptions in Online Negotiations," Journal of Dispute Resolution 1/5 (2009), 1-24 (http://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/jdr/vol2009/iss1/5).

30Making sure students have the knowledge and skills they need to be successful is not the same as accepting the argument that is prevalent right now that the most important role of higher education is prepare a student for a job upon graduation. Rather, taking a longer view of education can help shift the conversation away from a vocationally oriented approach. The humanities are having similar discussions about how to frame the value of humanities study.

31See, for example, the meta-analysis of active learning research in Scott Freeman, Sarah L. Eddy, Miles McDonough, Michelle K. Smith, Nnadozie Okoroafor, Hannah Jordt, and Mary Pat Wenderoth, "Active Learning Increases Student Performance in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111/23 (May 12, 2014) 8410-8415 (doi:10.1073/pnas.1319030111).

32Robert Freeman, The Crisis of Classical Music in America: Lessons from the Life in the Education of Musicians (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014).

 

Bibliography

Aziz, Andrew. "Recomposition and the Sonata Theory Learning Laboratory." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy-Online 5 (2015). http://music.appstate.edu/node/3414. Accessed January 10, 2016.

BaileyShea, Matthew. "Teaching Agency and Narrative Analysis: The Chopin Preludes in E Minor and E Major." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 25 (2011): 9–38.

Callahan, Michael R. "Teaching and Learning Undergraduate Music Theory at the Keyboard: Challenges, Solutions, and Impacts," Music Theory Online 21/3 (2015). http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.15.21.3/mto.15.21.3.callahan.html. Accessed November 30, 2015.

______. "Teaching Baroque Counterpoint Through Improvisation: An Introductory Curriculum in Stylistic Fluency." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 26 (2012): 61–99.

Gross, Austin. "The Improvisation of Figuration Preludes and the Enduring Value of Bach Family Pedagogy." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 27 (2013): 19–45.

Hoag, Melissa. "Hearing 'What Might Have Been': Using Recomposition to Foster Music Appreciation in the Theory Classroom." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 27 (2013): 47–69.

Hughes, James. "Using Pop-Culture Tools to Reinforce the Learning of Basic Music Theory as Transformations." In Pop-Culture Pedagogy in the Music Classroom: Teaching Tools from American Idol to YouTube, edited by Nicole Biamonte, 95–108. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2011.

Johnson, Shersten. "Recomposition as Low-Stakes Analysis." Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy 2 (2014). http://flipcamp.org/engagingstudents2/essays/johnson.html. Accessed September 23, 2015.

Kleppinger, Stanley V. "Strategies for Introducing Pitch-Class Set Theory in the Undergraduate Classroom." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 24 (2010): 131–56.

Laitz, Steven G. Skills and Musicianship Workbook to Accompany The Complete Musician. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

MacLachlan, Heather. "Teaching Traditional Music Theory with Popular Songs: Pitch Structures." In Pop-Culture Pedagogy in the Music Classroom: Teaching Tools from American Idol to YouTube, edited by Nicole Biamonte, 73–94. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2011.

Marvin, Elizabeth West. "The Core Curricula in Music Theory-Development and Pedagogical Trends." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 26 (2012): 255-263.

Ng, Samuel. "Recorded Performances as Text in the Music Theory Classroom." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 28 (2014): 87–119.

Phillips, Joel, Paul Murphy, Elizabeth West Marvin, and Jane Piper Clendinning. The Musician's Guide to Aural Skills. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011.

Porter, William. "Why is Improvisation So Difficult?" Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 27 (2013): 7–18.

Rifkin, Deborah. "Cultivating Creativity in the Music Theory Classroom: Telling Tales with Texture and Timbre."Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy 2 (2014). http://flipcamp.org/engagingstudents2/essays/rifkin.html. Accessed January 10, 2016.

______, and Philip Stoecker. "A Revised Taxonomy for Music Learning." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 25 (2011): 155–89.

Ristow,Gregory, Kathy Thomsen, and Diane Urista. "Dalcroze's Approach to Solfège and Ear Training for the Undergraduate Aural Skills Curriculum." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 28 (2014): 121–160.

Rogers, Michael. Teaching Approaches in Music Theory: An Overview of Pedagogical Philosophies. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2004.

Rogers, Nancy. "Modernizing the Minuet Composition Project." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 27 (2013): 71–110.

Root, Jena. Applied Music Fundamentals. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Rosenberg, Nancy. "Popular Music in the College Music Theory Class: Rhythm and Meter." In Pop-Culture Pedagogy in the Music Classroom: Teaching Tools from American Idol to YouTube, edited by Nicole Biamonte, 47–72. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2011.

Salley, Keith. "On the Integration of Aural Skills and Formal Analysis through Popular Music." In Pop-Culture Pedagogy in the Music Classroom: Teaching Tools from American Idol to YouTube, edited by Nicole Biamonte, 109–32. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2011.

Schubert, Peter. "Global Perspective on Music Theory Pedagogy: Thinking in Music." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 25 (2011): 217–34.

______. "Peter Schubert: YouTube" [YouTube channel featuring instructional videos on improvisation of Renaissance canons]. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPdwE21gqS7voKPI2GDs_-A. Accessed October 5, 2015.

______. Modal Counterpoint: Renaissance Style. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

______. "Teaching Music Analysis through Improvisation." Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy 2 (2014). http://flipcamp.org/engagingstudents2/essays/schubert.html. Accessed September 23, 2015.

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Stevens, Daniel B. "Breaking (Musical) Stuff as an Act of (Music) Criticism." Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy 3 (2015). http://flipcamp.org/engagingstudents3/essays/stevens1.html. Accessed September 23, 2015

______. "Inverting Analysis." Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy 3 (2015).http://flipcamp.org/engagingstudents3/essays/stevens2.html. Accessed September 23, 2015.

"Transforming Music Study from its Foundations," College Music Society website, http://www.music.org/pdf/tfumm_report.pdf, 17. Accessed January 10, 2016.

APPENDIX

A Bibliography

of music theory pedagogy articles published since the beginning of 2010 that include a substantial focus on

Integration, Diversity, Creativity

compiled by Melissa Hoag, Oakland University

Sources: all music theory pedagogy journals, plus the College Music Symposium, as well as relevant edited collections of essays

Articles focusing on Integration

Auerbach, Brent. "Pedagogical Applications of the Video Game Dance Dance Revolution to Aural Skills Instruction." Music Theory Online 16/1 (2010). http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.10.16.1/mto.10.16.1.auerbach.html. Accessed September 10, 2015.

Bannan, Nicholas. "Embodied Music Theory: New Pedagogy for Creative and Aural Development." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 24 (2010): 197–216.

Callahan, Michael. "Teaching and Learning Undergraduate Music Theory at the Keyboard: Challenges, Solutions, and Impacts." Music Theory Online 21/3 (2015). http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.15.21.3/mto.15.21.3.callahan.html.

Accessed October 5, 2015.

Check, John. "Back to School: A Report on the Institute for Music Theory Pedagogy." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 28 (2014): 59–66.

Report describes presentations that addressed integration:

- "Intersections Between Analysis and Performance" (Brian Alegant)

- "Linking Aural Skills Teaching to Perception and Performance" (Ted Goldman)

- "Bringing it all Together: Model Composition" (Steve Laitz)

Hoag, Melissa."Seven strategies for enabling student success in the first-year music theory sequence." Music Theory Pedagogy-Online 1 (2013).

Ng, Samuel. "Recorded Performances as Text in the Music Theory Classroom." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 28 (2014): 87–119.

Oravitz, Michael. "The Use of Caplin/Schoenberg Thematic Prototypes in Melodic Dictations." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 26 (2012): 101–38.

Porter, William. "Why is Improvisation So Difficult?" Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 27 (2013): 7–18.

Salley, Keith. "On the Integration of Aural Skills and Formal Analysis through Popular Music." In Nicole Biamonte, ed., Pop-Culture Pedagogy in the Music Classroom: Teaching Tools from American Idol to YouTube. Scarecrow Press, 2011: 109–132.

Schubert, Peter."My Undergraduate Skills-Intensive Counterpoint Learning Environment (MUSICLE)." Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy 1 (2013). http://www.flipcamp.org/engagingstudents/. Accessed October 5, 2015.

Stevens, Daniel B. "Breaking (Musical) Stuff as an Act of (Music) Criticism." Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy 3 (2015). http://flipcamp.org/engagingstudents3/essays/stevens1.html. Accessed September 23, 2015.

Articles focusing on Diversity

Auerbach, Brent. "Pedagogical Applications of the Video Game Dance Dance Revolution to Aural Skills Instruction." Music Theory Online 16/1 (2010). http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.10.16.1/mto.10.16.1.auerbach.html. Accessed September 10, 2015.

______, Brett Aarden, and Mathonwy Bostock. "DDR at the Crossroads: A Report on a Pilot Study to Integrate Music Video-Game Technology into the Aural-Skills Classroom." In Nicole Biamonte, ed., Pop-Culture Pedagogy in the Music Classroom: Teaching Tools from American Idol to YouTube. Scarecrow Press, 2011: 149–72.

Biamonte, Nicole. "Musical Representation in the Video Games Guitar Hero and Rock Band." In Nicole Biamonte, ed., Pop-Culture Pedagogy in the Music Classroom: Teaching Tools from American Idol to YouTube. Scarecrow Press, 2011: 133–48.

Check, John. "Back to School: A Report on the Institute for Music Theory Pedagogy." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 28 (2014): 59–66.

Report includes the following presentation, which addressed diversity in the theory classroom:

- "Pop Music in the Theory Classroom" (John Covach)

de Clerq, Trevor. "Grooves, Drones, and Loops: Enhancing Aural Skills Exercises with Rock Music Contexts." Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy 2 (2014). http://flipcamp.org/engagingstudents2/essays/declercq.html. Accessed September 23, 2015.

Hoag, Melissa. "Hearing 'What Might Have Been': Using Recomposition to Foster Music Appreciation in the Theory Classroom." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 27 (2013): 47–69.

______. "Seven strategies for enabling student success in the first-year music theory sequence." Music Theory Pedagogy-Online 1 (2013).

Hughes, James R. "Using Pop-Culture Tools to Reinforce the Learning of Basic Music Theory as Transformations." In Nicole Biamonte, ed., Pop-Culture Pedagogy in the Music Classroom: Teaching Tools from American Idol to YouTube. Scarecrow Press, 2011: 95–108.

Julien, Patricia. "How to Write a Jazz Composition's Chord Progression." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 26 (2012): 29–58.

Kulma, Dave, and Meghan Naxer. "Beyond Part Writing: Modernizing the Curriculum." Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy 2 (2014).

http://flipcamp.org/engagingstudents2/essays/kulmaNaxer.html. Accessed September 23, 2015.

MacLachlan, Heather. "Teaching Traditional Music Theory with Popular Songs: Pitch Structures." Includes appendix with examples. In Nicole Biamonte, ed., Pop-Culture Pedagogy in the Music Classroom: Teaching Tools from American Idol to YouTube. Scarecrow Press, 2011: 73–94.

Malawey, Victoria. "An Analytic Model for Examining Cover Songs and Their Sources." In Nicole Biamonte, ed., Pop-Culture Pedagogy in the Music Classroom: Teaching Tools from American Idol to YouTube. Scarecrow Press, 2011: 203–32.

Musso, Paul. "Utilizing The Tone Row in Jazz Pedagogy: A Technique to Create Tonal Harmony in an Atonal Environment." Music Theory Pedagogy-Online 3 (2014).

Rogers, Nancy. "Modernizing the Minuet Composition Project." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 27 (2013): 71–110.

Rosenberg, Nancy. "Bach, Beck, and Björk Walk into a Bar: Reclassifying Harmonic Progressions to Accommodate Popular Music Repertoire in the Traditional Music Theory Class." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 28 (2014): 163–209.

______. "Popular Music in the College Music Theory Class: Rhythm and Meter." Includes appendices with resources and examples. In Nicole Biamonte, ed., Pop-Culture Pedagogy in the Music Classroom: Teaching Tools from American Idol to YouTube. Scarecrow Press, 2011: 47–72.

Salley, Keith. "On the Integration of Aural Skills and Formal Analysis through Popular Music." In Nicole Biamonte, ed., Pop-Culture Pedagogy in the Music Classroom: Teaching Tools from American Idol to YouTube. Scarecrow Press, 2011: 109–132.

Articles focusing on Creativity (composition [C] or improvisation )

Aziz, Andrew. "Recomposition and the Sonata Theory Learning Laboratory." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy-Online 5 (2015). http://music.appstate.edu/node/3414. Accessed January 10, 2016. C

Callahan, Michael. "Improvising Motives: Applications of Michael Wiedeburg's Pedagogy of Modular Diminutions." Intégral 24 (2010): 29-56. I, C

______. "Teaching and Learning Undergraduate Music Theory at the Keyboard: Challenges, Solutions, and Impacts." Music Theory Online 21/3 (2015). http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.15.21.3/mto.15.21.3.callahan.html.

Accessed October 5, 2015. I

______. "Teaching Baroque Counterpoint Through Improvisation: An Introductory Curriculum in Stylistic Fluency." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 26 (2012): 61–99. I

Check, John. "Back to School: A Report on the Institute for Music Theory Pedagogy." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 28 (2014): 59–66.

Report describes presentations at the institute on such varied topics as:

- "Bringing it all Together: Model Composition" (Steve Laitz) C

- "Tonal Improvisation in the Undergraduate Curriculum" (Steve Laitz). I

Gross, Austin. "The Improvisation of Figuration Preludes and the Enduring Value of Bach Family Pedagogy." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 27 (2013): 19–45. I

Hoag, Melissa. "Hearing 'What Might Have Been': Using Recomposition to Foster Music Appreciation in the Theory Classroom." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 27 (2013): 47–69. C

______. "Seven strategies for enabling student success in the first-year music theory sequence." Music Theory Pedagogy-Online 1 (2013). C

Johnson, Vicky. "Proficiency-Based Learning with Muscle in a Music Theory Classroom." Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy 3 (2015). C

http://flipcamp.org/engagingstudents3/essays/johnson.html. Accessed September 24, 2015.

Johnson, Shersten. "Recomposition as Low-Stakes Analysis." Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy 2 (2014). C

http://flipcamp.org/engagingstudents2/essays/johnson.html. Accessed September 23, 2015.

Julien, Patricia. "How to Write a Jazz Composition's Chord Progression." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 26 (2012): 29–58. C

Lodewyckx, David, and Pieter Bergé. "Partimento, Waer bestu bleven? Partimento in the European Classroom: Pedagogical Considerations and Perspectives." Music Theory and Analysis 1/1-2 (2014): 146–69. C

Michaelsen, Garrett. "Improvising to Learn/Learning to Improvise: Designing Scaffolded Group Improvisations for the Music Theory Classroom." Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy 2 (2014). I

http://flipcamp.org/engagingstudents2/essays/michaelsen.html. Accessed September 23, 2015.

Palmer, Michael C. "Learning Basic Music Theory through Improvisation: Implications for Including Improvisation in the University Curriculum." College Music Symposium 54 (2014). I

http://symposium.music.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=10844:learning-basic-music-theory-through-improvisation-implications-for-including-improvisation-in-the-university-curriculum. Accessed October 5, 2015.

Porter, William. "Why is Improvisation So Difficult?" Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 27 (2013): 7–18. I

Rabinovitch, Gilad and Johnandrew Slominski. "Towards a Galant Pedagogy: Partimenti and Schemata as Tools in the Pedagogy of Eighteenth-Century Style Improvisation." Music Theory Online 21/3 (2015). I

Rifkin, Deborah, and Philip Stoecker. "A Revised Taxonomy for Music Learning." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 25 (2011): 155–89. I

Ristow, Gregory, Kathy Thomsen, and Diane Urista. "Dalcroze's Approach to Solfège

and Ear Training for the Undergraduate Aural Skills Curriculum."Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 28 (2014): 121–60. I

Rogers, Nancy. "Modernizing the Minuet Composition Project." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 27 (2013): 71–110. C

Schubert, Peter. "Global Perspective on Music Theory Pedagogy: Thinking in Music." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 25 (2011): 217–34. C, I

______."My Undergraduate Skills-Intensive Counterpoint Learning Environment (MUSICLE)." Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy 1 (2013). C, I http://www.flipcamp.org/engagingstudents/. Accessed October 5, 2015.

______. "Peter Schubert: YouTube" [YouTube channel featuring instructional videos on improvisation of Renaissance canons]. I https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPdwE21gqS7voKPI2GDs_-A. Accessed October 5, 2015.

______. "Teaching Music Analysis through Improvisation." Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy 2 (2014). I http://flipcamp.org/engagingstudents2/essays/schubert.html. Accessed September 23, 2015.

Silbermann, Peter. "Teaching Classic Era Style Through Keyboard Accompaniment." Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 26 (2012): 141–89. C

Stevens, Daniel B. "Breaking (Musical) Stuff as an Act of (Music) Criticism." Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy 3 (2015). C http://flipcamp.org/engagingstudents3/essays/stevens1.html. Accessed September 23, 2015.

______. "Inverting Analysis." Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy 3 (2015). C http://flipcamp.org/engagingstudents3/essays/stevens2.html. Accessed September 23, 2015.

Textbooks that address one or more of the three pillars

Carr, Maureen, and Bruce Benward, with Taylor Greer, Eric McKee, and Phillip Torbert. Sight Singing Complete. 8th ed. McGraw Hill Education, 2015.

Jones, Evan, and Matthew Shaftel, with Juan Chattah. Aural Skills in Context: A Comprehensive Approach to Sight Singing, Ear Training, Keyboard Harmony, and Improvisation. Oxford University Press, 2013.

Laitz, Steven G. Skills and Musicianship Workbook to accompany The Complete Musician. 3rded. Oxford University Press, 2012.

Philips, Joel, Paul Murphy, Elizabeth West Marvin, and Jane Piper Clendinning. The Musician's Guide to Aural Skills. 2nd ed. W. W. Norton & Company, 2011.

Rogers, Nancy, and Robert W. Ottman. Music for Sight Singing. 9th ed. Pearson, 2013.

Root, Jena. Applied Music Fundamentals. Oxford University Press, 2013.

Schubert, Peter. Modal Counterpoint. Second Edition. Oxford University Press, 2007.

Snodgrass, Jennifer S. Contemporary Musicianship: Analysis and the Artist. Oxford University Press, 2015.

 

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Last modified on Friday, 08/03/2019

Elizabeth Sayrs

Elizabeth Sayrs received her B.A. in Music from Wellesley, where she graduated as the Katharine Malone Scholar. She completed her M.A. in Music Theory at the Eastman School of Music as a Sproull Fellow, and earned the Ph.D. in Music Theory from Ohio State, completing her dissertation with the assistance of a Presidential Dissertation Fellowship. Sayrs has presented her work on 19th-century music, cognitive linguistics and music, pedagogy, and gender studies and music at numerous regional and national conferences. Articles and reviews have been published in College Music Symposium, the Journal of Schenkerian Studies, Music Theory Online, and Music Theory Spectrum; in addition, the book chapter "Playing the 'Science Card': Science as Metaphor in the Practice of Music Theory," with co-author Gregory Proctor, was published in "What Kind of Theory is Music Theory? Epistemological Exercises in Music Theory and Analysis," edited by Per F. Broman and Nora Engebretsen. Her e-text, "MFun: Music Fundamentals" was published by MacGAMUT Music Software International in 2012. She currently serves as the editor of the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy.

Prior to her appointment at Ohio University, Dr. Sayrs served on the faculty at the University of California, Santa Barbara; Valparaiso University; The Ohio State University; and the University of Saskatchewan, where she was awarded the Dwaine Nelson Teaching Award. In 2007, she received the Ohio University School of Music Distinguished Teaching Award.

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