I’ve taught one session of every class I will be teaching this semester. So far so good, though getting through the syllabus took longer than I would have liked.
Teaching aural skills for the first time in a *very* long time now. Scared, but excited as well. Good to stretch out and get some experience with what may be the single most important part of the undergraduate theory curriculum. Plus, given the textbook I use for Form and Analysis and what I can see doing with Counterpoint, I may redefine the AS curriculum as an ongoing thing rather than just the four-semester basic undergraduate sequence. Ideally, you never stop using these skills.
(I guess this technically qualifies as Theory Thursday!)
Although I might live to regret mentioning this in case any potential employers find the blog, there is an area of music theory in which I have not had much teaching experience.
I haven’t taught aural skills/musicianship in a while, and I’m rusty.
What is the pedagogical purpose of musicianship/aural skills? We require aural skills because – and this is not meant to be sarcastic or obvious – it makes a musician better. The ability to sing a melody at sight will improve performance accuracy. The ability to internally hear intervals, chords and progressions will improve analysis, which in turn will lead to a performance that is a better reflection of the composer’s intent.* A musician needs to hear a piece internally before he or she plays/sings it.
What is the proper balance of theory/analysis and aural skills? Whoever unties that particular Gordian knot is going to be the King/Queen of All Theory Pedagogues. Even though I don’t officially teach the Aural Skills classes at my current institution, I do incorporate hearing and singing intervals/chords/bass lines into my theory classes as well as a small keyboard component. Music is, after all, an aural art.
Fellow theory teachers – what sorts of materials and techniques do you use in your aural skills classrooms?
*Ah, yes, “composer’s intent.” That old canard.