File this under: books I should have read in my college general music class but will now read knowing that it will either inspire me or make me feel like a bad teacher...
The Ways Children Children Learn Music: An Introduction and Practical Guide to Music Learning Theory (Revised Edition) by Eric Bluestine is a great introduction to the sometimes thorny field of Music Learning Theory. An alternate title could be "Gordon Music Learning Theory for Dummies"- based on the research and ideas of Edwin E. Gordon. (I hadn't heard of him either before reading this book....)
Some worthwhile quotes from Mr. Bluestine:
Music class is not simply a stop-gap during the school day during which students can relax between the "important" subjects; music is more than simply a source of entertainment, more than a means of raising the self-esteem of a relatively small segment of the student population. Music is a discipline as well as an art. And, like other disciplines, it's worthy of study for it's own sake.
We are not educating our students to become indpendendent musicians and independent musical thinkers...We music teachers should design a curriculum to help us teach better so that our students can grow musically and approach, maybe even surpass, our level of musical proficiency.
Let's teach our students to strive not for perfect imitation, but for imperfect audiation. Why imperfect? Because a musician who audiates the music she performs is never satisfied with her performance. There is always "something wrong"-audiationally, technically- with the phrasing, dynamic choices, articulation, intonation, or rhythmic accuracy. Perhaps only the musician herself is aware that there's a problem. A music student who imitates has no such problems. Her perfect imitation leads to perfect satisfaction. By contrast, the mark of any true musician, of any serious artist, is dissatisfaction-and a life of thrilling and unending artistic growth.