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Teaching General MusicApproaches, Issues, and Viewpoints$
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Carlos R. Abril and Brent M. Gault

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199328093

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199328093.001.0001

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Music Learning Theory

Music Learning Theory

A Theoretical Framework in Action

(p.183) Chapter Nine Music Learning Theory
Teaching General Music

Cynthia Crump Taggart

Oxford University Press

Music learning theory (MLT), which was developed by Edwin Gordon, provides a theoretical framework for teaching music. At its core is the goal of developing audiation skills so that students can become musically independent. MLT is built upon research focusing on the similarities between the music and language learning processes; acquiring a sense of syntactical structure is central to both. This focus on syntax differentiates MLT from most other music learning approaches. The two primary components of MLT instruction are learning sequence activities (i.e., tonal and rhythm pattern instruction) and classroom activities. These combine to form a whole-part-whole approach to teaching music, with classroom activities serving as the wholes, and pattern instruction serving as the part. Individualizing instruction to meet the musical needs of each child is fundamental to MLT. This chapter explores the theoretical underpinnings of MLT, how it unfolds in practice, and its strengths and weaknesses.

Keywords:   music learning theory, Edwin Gordon, audiation, music aptitude, psychology of music, music cognition

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