I was very excited to see my friend Barbara Freedman’s book arrive at the Texas Music Educators Association’s 2013 Conference last week! This book is sure to become a best-seller and is worthy of serious consideration from any music teacher looking to teach music concepts through the creative process of music composition. The book is published by Oxford University Press and available now in print and Kindle editions.
The true beauty of this book is how Freedman masterfully weaves music compositional concepts into the technological tapestry of today’s 21st Century classroom -every “kid” introduced to this curriculum is going to absolutely love her approach to creative compositional learning and have fun doing it! It’s priced to sell at less than $35.00 for paperback and even less for the Kindle version.
The book is easy to read and fun to explore. It includes a number of useful appendices and is divided into three main sections:
- Introduction to Music Composition
In this section, students will explore the basics of electronic music composition from introducing software and exploring loops to composing drum beats and rhythms to writing melodies.
- Developing Basic Musical Skills
In the second section, Freedman takes the reader on a tour that includes basic keyboard theory, harmony, and harmonic form to mixing and remixing audio. Assignments include composing brief melodies over chord progressions and creating ringtones.
- Developing More Advanced Composition Skills
The final section sequentially builds upon what was learned in the first two sections and includes the exploration of non-chord tones, advanced audio editing, and ends with the exploration of music for video
“…the true beauty of this book is how Freedman masterfully weaves music compositional concepts into the technological tapestry of today’s 21st Century classroom -every “kid” introduced to this curriculum is going to absolutely love her approach to creative compositional learning and have fun doing it!”
Teaching Music Through Composition features 60 lesson plans in 29 separate units of study and includes assignment sheets, work sheets, and handouts. With it’s own extensive companion website, there are literally hundreds of tangible resources available to the classroom teacher including audio samples, video clips and MIDI files. For those “weary” of these types of technology, the author states, “No foreknowledge of specific softwares or computers necessary. Beginners welcome!”
The official book description:
Teaching Music through Composition offers a practical, fully multimedia curriculum designed to teach basic musical concepts through the creative process of music composition. Author and award-winning music educator Barbara Freedman presents classroom-tested ways of teaching composition with technology as a tool with which students can create, edit, save, and reproduce music. As Freedman demonstrates, technology allows a musical experience for all skill levels in opportunities never before available to compose manipulate, instantly listen to music electronically and even print standard Western music notation for others to play without having to know much about traditional music theory or notation. All students can have meaningful hands-on applied learning experiences that will impact not only their music experience and learning but also their understanding and comfort with 21st century technology.
Whether the primary focus of your class is to use technology to create music or to explore using technology in a unit or two, this book will show you how it can be done with practical, tried-and-true lesson plans and student activities.
Stunning reviews by music experts in the field:
“Barbara Freedman has created the go-to resource for music educators, providing classroom tested lessons, projects, tips, and materials that will get any music educator up and running with a comprehensive approach to facilitating creative and relevant music-making experiences for their students. Freedman, a singular force in music technology thinking and practice, writes in an approachable, clear, and jargon-free style that will take the fear out of the equation for newcomers while also providing terrific projects and a unique perspective for experienced teachers. ‘Teach music, the technology will follow’ has become Freedman’s rallying cry, and with Teaching Music Through Composition she has put her motto into practice. Every music teacher should add this incredible resource to their library, and investigate ways to implement these strategies into their programs.”–James Frankel, Head of Digital Education for the Music Sales Group; Adjunct Professor, Teachers College Columbia University
“Teaching Music Through Composition: A Curriculum Using Technology is an excellent and practical guide for music educators striving to reach the ‘Other 80%’ (non-traditional music students). Drawing from her experience teaching one of the leading high school music technology programs in United States, Barbara Freedman shares her field-tested approaches for utilizing technology to unlock students’ creativity and passion for music. This an essential addition to the library of all teachers of technology-based music
classes.” —Dr. Rick Dammers, Associate Professor of Music Education, Rowan University
“In Teaching Music through Composition, Freedman provides music educators a new and comprehensive curriculum for teaching all aspects of music at the secondary level. Freedman’s approach acknowledges and exploits the prevalence of technology in our schools, the hands-on engagement with the elements of music made possible by these tools, and our increased understanding that students learn music best by ‘doing’ it. The book’s well-thought-out sequence of activities, refined over many years of practice, are delivered in a straight-forward, down-to-earth manner that comes as no surprise to those who have followed Freedman’s teaching and career. Furthermore, the book’s premise – that by focusing on musical goals, students (and teachers) will be less distracted by the technology used to accomplish them – is right on target!”–Dr. Scott Watson, Music Teacher, Parkland School District (Allentown, Pennsylvania), and Author, Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity (OUP)
“Barbara Freeman’s clearly outlined lessons emphasize the ‘cool factor’ that draws students into music learning and skill development. The ‘tips’ highlight Freedman’s wisdom and successful classroom experiences.”–Sandi MacLeod, Executive Director of Music-COMP
Official OUP Bio of Barbra Freedman:
Named a TI:ME Music Teacher of the Year, Barbara Freedman has been teaching Electronic Music & Audio Engineering at Greenwich High School in Connecticut since 2001. She is an author, consultant, trainer, and frequent presenter/clinician at local, state, and national in-service conferences and events.
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Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D., is an industry innovator, educator, clinician and lecturer, trumpeter and conductor, and the creator of many music and education websites. He is currently the Vice President of Innovation and Engagement at Keystone Ridge Designs, Inc. After twenty-three years as a professor and administrator in higher education, he made the move into industry in 2018.
As one of the youngest full professors in Grove City’s history, he served in many capacities during his tenure including Professor of music, Director of Music and Fine Arts Technology, Technical Director of the Pew Fine Arts Center, Associate/Assistant Chair of Music and Fine Arts, Director of Jazz Studies.
He finished his tenure at the college as the Director of Bands, where he directed the college’s Symphonic Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, Pep Band, and various smaller ensembles. He continues to guest direct bands, consult with music programs, and adjudicate ensembles and programs today.
He has been named a TI:ME Teacher of the Year, received the JEN Jazz Educator Award, the PA Citation of Excellence, and named a “member for life” of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association. He is a past Vice President of the Technology Institute for Music Educators, an associate member of the American Bandmasters Association, a past President of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association, and a member of various education and music honoraries.
He has written for numerous publications including DCI Magazine, Teaching Music Magazine, SBO, and was the Educational Editor for In-Tune Monthly Magazine for eight years; he has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications.
He is an active conductor, trumpeter, clinician, and educator. Find out more at his website: jpisano.com.