Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Music as a Language - Reading Together - The Training of the Music Teacher

In this first chapter, Home presents her ideas on why all students should learn music and how a beginning teacher should tackle the job of teaching music.

Why All Students Should Learn Music

Even though this book was written about one hundred years ago, our society continues to debate the importance of music lessons in schools. We are all too familiar with the stories of school districts cutting back on music departments first when budgets need to be slashed.

So, the question remains, is music an important part of an education? Home argues that it is, and that it should be viewed as vital as teaching a child how to read, write and spell his own language. "The child should be trained when quite young to think in terms of music, in the same way in which it is trained to think in its mother tongue." (loc: 47)

Home also puts forth that music education should be done as a group lesson, in order to best equip children. "The fundamental work should be taken in class, not at an individual lesson, and should be compulsory for all children." (loc: 48) This does not preclude the good purpose that individual lessons serve, but those lessons should be supplementary to structured music classes.

How Does a Beginning Teacher Teach Music

Home presents the functions that she thinks a music teacher should both grasp and master. A teacher "will learn how to organize the general musical life of a schol, through the medium of ear-training and song classes, recitals, music clubs, etc., but will [also] be ready and proud to show initiative in other directions. (loc: 87)

Some Extra Thoughts

I found the presuppostions that the teacher would be a young woman and that her salary would not cover all the out-of-class work that she did, curious. I wonder why it has been (and still is) the pervading idea that teachers are paid for their classroom work, but that any work done outside of the classroom is on their own time, without compensation. Is it not about time that we recognize - and reimburse - teachers for both their teaching and their preparation?

note: I'm reading this book from through my Kindle app, so quotations are shown by the location in the Kindle document.

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