Integrating the music learning theory of Edwin E. Gordon with a beginning saxophone curriculum
The Music Learning Theory of Edwin E. Gordon provides a framework for music education. This theory describes how people learn when learning musical content and provides a systematic approach to developing the ability to audiate, that is, to hear and comprehend music for which the sound is not necessarily physically present. When these skills and musical content are sequenced appropriately, learning takes place more effectively. This, in turn, improves motivation and overall musical achievement.
Instrumentalists benefit from instruction based on Music Learning Theory by first learning to audiate musical content, then learning the executive skills necessary to perform what has been audiated. However, a survey of readily available method books for beginning saxophone study shows very few resources suited to this type of instruction. Traditional methods for ensemble and private instruction emphasize visual learning over aural in the beginning stages, lean heavily toward Major tonality at the expense of others such as Minor, and organize the rhythmic elements according to time values derived from notation instead of rhythmic function derived from audiation. One resource, Jump Right In: The Instrumental Series, addresses audiation in the framework of Music Learning Theory for ensemble instruction. For the private studio teacher who wishes to use Music Learning Theory principles, there are no resources adapted specifically to the saxophone. This thesis seeks to fill the need for a beginning method adapted to private instruction for the saxophone.
First, the document presents a detailed overview of Gordon's theory, including appropriate teaching procedures and techniques for each level of learning. Next, it reviews literature relating to Music Learning Theory, with special attention to its application to instrumental music, and examines selected saxophone methods for ensemble and individual study. It then synthesizes principles for appropriate sequences for teaching saxophone technical concepts such as tone production, articulation, and technical development. Finally, it combines the elements of Music Learning Theory and saxophone pedagogical principles to create the foundation for a beginning method adapted to private instruction for the saxophone.
0522: Music education