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Planning for Music Literacy: An Inquiry

15 January, 2016 - 09:13
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The first step to take in music literacy is to find out which music-reading and music-writing skills are most necessary and useful for the type of musician that you would like to be. The next steps to develop a plan for gaining the necessary skills.

Music literacy includes skills, such as being able to read and write musical notations, that can be crucial to a musician's progress and success. However, different kinds of musicians may need different kinds of music literacy, and some find that they do not need it at all. For example, a classical guitarist needs to learn to read treble clef notation very accurately, while a country-music guitarist may find it more practical to begin with reading chord charts. A drummer may want to be able to read rhythms correctly, while a singer in a choir may simply want to be able to pick out the notes one at a time on a piano. (See How to read music for a more detailed discussion.)

Learning to read and write music is not an easy task; even music students with good teachers and plenty of opportunity to practice can take years to become very proficient at it. You may not want to spend a lot of time and energy perfecting skills that you do not need. This inquiry is designed to help you determine what kinds of music literacy are most necessary or useful for the kind of musician that you would like to be.

Note: If you are trying to plan a course in which students will gain music literacy skills, you may want to consider both the music curriculum goals and the types of literacy that might allow the students to pursue their own musical interests following the course.