Intelligent Music Teaching: Essays on the Core Principles of Effective Instruction.[website] Intelligent Music Teaching: Essays on the Core Principles of Effective Instruction, by Robert Duke. Learning and Behavior Resources, (1401 The High Rd., Austin, Texas 78746), 2005. 176 pp.
Reading Robert Duke's newly published collection of essays is like witnessing a lecture by this influential music educator: energetic, thought-provoking, incisive incisive /in·ci·sive/ (-si´siv)
1. having the power or quality of cutting.
2. pertaining to the incisor teeth.
1. Having the power to cut. and down-to-earth. Not every teacher will agree with Duke's premise that successful music teaching can be measured just as a "trial lawyer's work is evaluated based on his record of winning cases." But many teachers will benefit immediately from his applications to the studio and classroom of the "expansive, rich body of data that illuminates the processes of knowledge acquisition and skill development."
Duke's educational beliefs--and prejudices--are well-supported throughout the collection. He believes a music lesson can, and should, be as carefully planned as a military maneuver with goals clearly identified, strategy precisely outlined and tactics minutely executed. He then proceeds to describe those goals, strategies and tactics in as distinct and disciplined a manner as he would expect of any teacher under his guidance. As the supervisor of a piano class program for many years, I found myself nodding my head in agreement throughout the book. His essays on "Sequencing Instruction" and "Transfer" alone make this book essential reading for my graduate assistants and pedagogy classes. But to enjoy the essays like individual dishes on a buffet obscures what I believe is the book's fundamental "ritornello ri·tor·nel·lo
n. pl. ri·tor·nel·li or ri·tor·nel·los
1. An instrumental interlude recurring after each stanza in a vocal work.
2. A passage or section for full orchestra in a concerto or aria.
3. ": remember that what you're teaching is not necessarily what the student is learning.
Duke hits so many "home runs" that he's bound to strikeout strike·out
n. Baseball Abbr. K or SO
An out made by a batter charged with three strikes and credited to the pitcher who threw the strikes.
Noun 1. occasionally. The most conspicuous example involves a comparison of teaching piano and teaching statistics in which he illustrates how a discussion of the "big picture" helps students understand a statistics formula, but a similar discussion of the emotions of the music does not aid the execution of a "delicate quality" on the piano. Another odd assertion is that moving a violin violin, family of stringed musical instruments having wooden bodies whose backs and fronts are slightly convex, the fronts pierced by two f-hole-shaped resonance holes. bow, for example, in space, has no value for teaching a student to improve control of that same bow when applied to the string--Abby Whiteside is turning over in her grave! If such analogous experiences have no power, then why does every student's performance of a baroque baroque, in art and architecture
baroque (bərōk`), in art and architecture, a style developed in Europe, England, and the Americas during the 17th and early 18th cent. minuet minuet (mĭnyĕt`), French dance, originally from Poitou, introduced at the court of Louis XIV in 1650. It became popular during the 17th and 18th cent. spontaneously improve after I've taught them the dance steps?
At times Duke's reach exceeds his grasp, but there is so much complex and vital information that he clearly does grasp, that musician-teachers of every type will find this book a "must-read." Reviewed by Christopher Hepp, Lawerence, Kansas.
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