Standard 3: The teacher of PK-12 music has skills in reading and writing music.
Music literacy is one of the most valuable and fundamental skills that my students can have to become independent musicians. Deficiency in reading and writing music can create a huge obstacle for music development in students - being able to read music with the same ease that they read English will make their musical lives more fulfilling. This doesn’t mean that they will be able to play a piece of music the moment they pick it up, but they will understand the notation and have the tools and skills they need to work their way through it on their own. Being in a variety of ensembles I have had the opportunity to read from a variety of sources and formats in many different settings. In instrumental ensembles I have read from individual parts for flute, horn, trombone, percussion, and strings. Each come with their own challenges and approach to the music. Students will be aware of the physical aspect of playing their instrument in a way that doesn’t interfere with reading the music. They will also understand the unique notation symbols for their instrument. A portato marking for a wind instrument doesn’t mean the same thing for stringed instruments, or a stopped marking for horns means something different for a triangle player, and students need to be aware of these differences. In choral ensembles I have performed from a wide range of score formats - individual parts, full scores, vocal-only scores. One of the most valuable experiences I’ve had in choral music is performing with the Chancel Choir at First United Methodist Church every Sunday. We rehearse a piece for an hour and perform it later at the service. Being able to quickly learn a piece and sight-read hymns has translated into better sight-reading and aural skills in instrumental ensembles. One aspect of choral scores that I enjoy is the being able to see all the parts. This gives the performer a deeper understanding of their individual role within the ensemble and of the entire piece. I hope to give my instrumental students the same opportunity by giving them electronic access to full scores or project it in the front of the classroom to aid in class discussion and analysis. A valuable strategy to aid with reading music is reading familiar music such as pop music or film music. Having a melody already in mind before reading notation for it helps create the visual and aural relationship between the written music and the sounding pitches and rhythms. My students will be aware of the benefits of musical literacy and be given the tools and strategies to be independent musicians.