Monday, January 14, 2008

Writing & Speaking Musically

Is there a dictionary somewhere out there that may facilitate one's ability to write and speak about music with understanding, articulation, clarity, and inclination? I'm not talking, necessarily, about a dictionary of musical terms. Terms we were forced to learn and regurgitate for music theory and history exams during our undergrad years. There are plenty of those. I'm talking about a dictionary of words that may help one to become adept at recreating a musical experience through written and/or spoken commentary.

It's pretty discouraging when your own students comment on music as if they've never done it before...Maybe they haven't. I'm sure many of you have heard the perennial descriptions of music by your students that start something like this:

It sounds kind of like....Uh....
I don't know how to describe it....
The guitar part just rocks....
I liked when....

Well...Maybe in order to combat this lack of fluency when describing music we need to go to the sources that allow us to consume and ponder articulate thought and commentary about music.

I'm talking about music journalism.

Let's start with you all, the music educators of our world. How many of you read and/or write concert or album reviews? How many of you require your students to? Well...If you do one, then do the other. If you do both, more power to you. If you haven't done either, now is the time to.

It is paramount that we, as music educators, create and implement reading and writing experiences in our classrooms that stretch our students' abilities to communicate with musical understanding and inclination.

It is our obligation to help students build a vocabulary that will allow for mature, well thought out, articulate, and eloquent written and oral communication of music commentary.

The following is one contribution towards the facilitation of such objectives or goals:

Check out our Musically Inclined Dictionary. A one stop shop that my students visit to find and/or contribute a word in the name of music commentary and discourse.

So...Why not create an online dictionary for your students? Here's what I would do....It's quite simple:

1. Go to www.pbwiki.com. Set up a pbwiki page for your class' music dictionary. It's free!!!
2. Give students the password you have chosen for access to the page so they can add words they discover to be useful in conveying music.
3. Start creating experiences that will allow your students to use this resource extensively.

I'd like to hear what other music educators are doing to facilitate the maturation of our students' abilities to comment on, in both written and oral form, music.

Enjoy Being...

2 comments:

Joseph Pisano said...

Leo,

Fantastic post. I've not thought about the idea of musical description quite like that. This is a great project for people of all grades and abilities.

I checked out the Musically Inclined dictionary Wiki you linked to. It is a great idea.

You NEED to keep blogging! Tell all your friends about it and your blog! :)

Best regards,

J. Pisano

leo park said...

Joe,

Thanks for the positive feedback. As soon as I get a few more posts up, I'll probably be asking for your help in getting this out.

Leo