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Teaching for Musical Understanding

Third Edition

Jackie Wiggins

Publication Date - 03 November 2014

ISBN: 9780199371730

288 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

An approach to music education, grounded in theory and practice


Ideal for introductory music education, philosophy and psychology of music education, and music education methods courses, Teaching for Musical Understanding explains current research-based theories of how students learn in order to show prospective and practicing music teachers how to teach effectively. Author Jackie Wiggins draws on her twenty-two years of experience teaching K-12 music and twenty years of teaching in higher education to demonstrate how theory applies to music education. The text is deeply grounded in the work of social constructivist theorists and researchers in both education and music education.

The third edition takes a cultural psychology perspective, giving more attention to sociocultural influences and to the roles of learner agency in learning process. It includes in-depth examples of assessment practices in music classrooms, stories "from the trenches," and more extensive use of endnotes and citations.

New to this Edition

  • Takes a cultural psychology perspective, giving more attention to sociocultural influences and to the roles of learner agency in learning process
  • Includes in-depth examples of assessment practices in music classrooms, stories "from the trenches," and more extensive use of endnotes and citations

About the Author(s)

Jackie Wiggins is Distinguished Professor Emerita of Music Education and former Director of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Oakland University.

Previous Publication Date(s)

January 2008
October 2000


"One of the best books of its kind. Teaching for Musical Understanding is written with great style and authority."--Carlos X. Rodriguez, University of Michigan

"An excellent mix of the theoretical and the practical. It is exactly what entry-level undergraduate music education majors need as a first text in the field."--Frank Heuser, UCLA

"The only comprehensive discussion that applies theory to music education."--Joseph Pignato, SUNY Oneonta

Table of Contents

    * Each chapter ends with selected resources
    1. Learning: An Embodied, Constructive Process
    Contemporary Understandings About Learning
    Understanding as Schema
    Understanding as Metaphor
    Understanding as Image
    Understanding as Embodied
    Implications for Teaching
    Contexts for Learning
    2. Learning: A Sociocultural, Constructive Process
    A Social Constructivist Vision of Learning
    Learning is a Holistic Process
    Learning is Experiential, Not Necessarily Sequential
    Learning Requires Learner Agency
    Learner Agency and Teacher Power
    A Social Constructivist Music Learning Community
    3. Learning Music through Embodied, Constructive Process
    Conceptualizing Music
    Our Metaphorical Understanding of Music Concepts
    Elements or Dimensions of Music?
    Metadimensions of Music
    Dimensions as Points of Entry: A Doorway In
    How do we Construct our Concepts of Music?
    Constructing Concepts in Context
    Teaching for Musical Understanding
    4. Learning Music through Sociocultural, Constructive Process
    Teacher Role: Scaffolding Learners
    Scaffolding Learners
    Establishing a Supportive Learning Environment
    Finding Out What Learners Know
    Encouraging Expression of Musical Ideas
    Focusing Learner Energy
    Monitoring Learner Understanding and Progress
    Providing a Model of Musicianship
    Learner Roles
    A Social Constructivist Music Learning Community
    5. Music Learning as Musical Problem Solving
    Learning Through Problem Solving
    Learning and Teaching Music Through Problem Solving
    Planning Musical Problems
    What Will Learners Be Learning?
    The Musical Context
    Organizing the Experience
    Lesson Planning
    Planning the Problem
    6. Performing, Listening and Creating Problems
    Performing Problems
    Listening Problems
    Creating Problems
    Composing and Arranging
    Media for Composing
    Musical Dimensions as Points of Entry for Composing
    Organizing Small-Group Composing
    Dimensions as Points of Entry for Improvising
    Improvising Within Structures
    Music Learners as Creative Musicians
    7. Thinking About Learners in Planning Musical Problems
    Entry-level Experiences for Young Learners
    Nature of Problems for Young Learners
    Entry-level Experiences for Older Beginners
    Middle-Level Experiences
    More Complex Experiences
    Sample Lesson and Unit Plans
    8. Entry-Level Musical Problems
    Lesson 8.1 Identifying and Representing Beat
    Lesson 8.2 Identifying and Representing Duration and Pitch
    Lesson 8.3 (For Older Beginners) Entry-Level Exploration of Pitch and Duration
    Lesson 8.4 Exploring Contour and Direction through Listening
    Lesson 8.5 Using a Song to Develop a Class Performance
    Lesson 8.6 Experiencing Style
    Lesson 8.7 A Musical Conversation
    Sample of Student Work
    9. Middle-Level Musical Problems
    Lesson 9.1 Experiencing and Creating with Dynamics
    Sample of Student Work
    Lesson 9.2 Analyzing and Creating a Melody
    Samples of Student Work
    Lesson 9.3 Effects of Tempo Change
    Sample of Student Work
    Lesson 9.4 Timbre: Using Alternate Sound Sources
    Lesson 9.5 Tonal Center
    Lesson 9.6 What Do You Hear?
    10. Planning Units of Study
    Planning a Unit on Texture
    Unit: Texture
    Lesson 10.1 Melody and Countermelody
    Lesson 10.2 Representing Texture (Score Reading)
    Lesson 10.3 Solo and Ensemble
    Sample Student Work
    Unit: Monothematic Works
    Lesson 10.5 Creating Interest through Expressive Qualities
    Samples of Student Work
    Unit: Meter (2-4 Class Sessions)
    Lesson 10.6 Identifying Meter (1 Session)
    Lesson 10.7 Compose a Piece That Changes Meter
    Unit: Arranging a Round
    Lesson 10.8 Learning the Round
    Lesson 10.9 Arranging the Round
    Sample of Student Work
    11. Complex Musical Problems
    Unit: Bithematic Forms (Verse and Refrain, ABA Form, etc.) (3-6 Class Sessions)
    Lesson 11.1 Hearing Bithematic Form
    Lesson 11.2 Composing in Bithematic Form
    Samples of Student Work
    Lesson 11.3 A More Extended Bithematic Work
    Unit: Harmonic Structure (4 Sessions)
    Lesson 11.4 Introducing Tonic and Dominant Harmonies
    Lesson 11.5 Using Tonic and Dominant Harmonies
    Sample of Student Work
    Lesson 11.6 Hearing Tonic, Dominant, and Subdominant Harmonies
    Lesson 11.7 Singing Chordal Harmonies
    Unit: Theme and Variation (6-8 Sessions)
    Lesson 11.8 Introducing the Idea of Variation
    Lesson 11.9 Analyzing a Theme and Variation
    Lesson 11.10 Composing Variations on a Theme
    Samples of Student Work
    Unit: The Blues (4-6 Sessions)
    Lesson 11.11 Introducing the Blues
    Unit: Variations On A Ground Bass (6-8 Sessions)
    Sample of Student Work
    12. Connecting to Other Ways of Understanding
    Interdisciplinary Learning in K-12 Settings
    Interdisciplinary Learning through Process and Conceptual Connections
    Process Connections
    Conceptual Connections
    An Arts-infused Curriculum
    Point of View
    Stories and Illustrations
    Egyptian Art
    Role of the Individual within a Group
    Wood Sculptures
    Some Closing Thoughts
    Appendix A: Music for Lessons
    Appendix B: Classroom Materials
    Appendix C: Directions for Games

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