This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
of music. Just as a single letter does not have meaning, a single pitch or duration does not have meaning without the context of other pitches and durations, which together form patterns. Therefore, Music Learning Theory educators teach their students tonal and rhythm patterns as the “vocabulary instruction” in music.

4. All children have music aptitude. Although individuals are different from one another and have different musical strengths and weaknesses, Gordon believed that all children can learn music and use music as a means of expression. He also believed that instruction should be designed to meet the individual learning needs of children by challenging those who learn more quickly and providing appropriate scaffold- ing for students who need it.

5. Rote learning is not enough. Teachers who follow Gor- don’s ideas want their students to be able to make musical decisions and become lifelong music learners and makers. This requires that they are able to make inferences musi- cally in the absence of a teacher. With language, teachers would not be satisfied if students could imitate and read the words of others but could not speak or write any of their own ideas. In music, improvisation and composition are the mu- sical equivalents of reading and writing in language, and, as a result, developing these skills is central to Music Learning Theory teachers.


Before closing, I would like to share a few of my memories of and reflections about Dr. Gordon to give readers who did not know him a better sense of who he was. I met Dr. Gor- don in 1980, when I attended my first of many Sugarloaf workshops that he taught outside of Philadelphia. In those workshops, Dr. Gordon was indefatigable.

He taught all

morning, most of the afternoon, and finished with an eve- ning session every day. He gave us time to eat and take a break in the afternoon, not because he needed it but because we did. Yet, even though I was sitting in a classroom for many hours a day, I was never bored. Dr. Gordon’s energy, the strength of his ideas, his enthusiasm for sharing them, and his desire to improve music teaching and learning were infectious. He was curious, in the best sense of the word, and he passed that curiosity on to his students.

As I returned to teaching that year, his words continued to invade my thoughts and change my practice in the class- room. It was clear that his work had validity, because my own musicianship was improving as a result of applying his ideas, as was the musicianship of my students.

next several years, his ideas continued to pull me in until I could not resist their siren call any longer. I went to pursue my doctorate with him at Temple University, and it was one


of the best decisions that I have ever made. At Temple, I was surrounded by brilliant colleagues, as Dr. Gordon had brought together a rich community of scholars. He was formulating his theory of preparatory audiation, and I sat on the floor with him every Tuesday as he taught very young children. Dr. Gordon was playful, loving, and full of mischief in his interactions with the children. It was a joy watching him teach. He was learning from the children as they learned from him.

After I graduated, Dr. Gordon and I taught together each summer at Michigan State for many years. Each year, he would live at my house, and we would work and live to- gether. He taught his theories in the morning, and I explored their practical application in the afternoon. Over those years, he reached hundreds of teachers not only from Michigan but from all over the world.

I watched him prepare the day’s lecture as he ate his bowl of oatmeal. He would write four or five words on a small piece of paper. Then he would proceed to deliver three hours of eloquent lecture based upon those words. Every time I heard him teach, even though I had heard similar lectures for many years, I would learn something new, partly because he always was growing and developing new ideas and partly because the information that he was presenting was so rich, multilayered, and complex that I heard new things each time.

One of the many things that I admired and valued most about Dr. Gordon was the fact that he was continually learning. He always wanted to know more, whether it be about philoso- phy, brain function, or what type of finish worked best on his gorgeous wood carvings. As a result, his ideas continued to evolve. This would make many scholars uncomfortable, but he saw this as a natural part of the learning process. He celebrated the evolution of his ideas and embraced it. I am grateful for the model that he provided to me of a lifelong learner: someone who found profound joy in learning and who was never content to rest on his laurels.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit with him in hospice in August. Although he tired quickly, he was still very much himself. Every day he read the Washington Post from front to back and was very much interested in current events. He even joked about the upcoming presidential elec- tion. He told me that he was grateful for the life that he had led and was satisfied with what he accomplished. He declared that he was ready to go and was curious about what came next, if anything. Even then his mind was full of in- quiry.

Over the

Dr. Gordon did something that few scholars in music edu- cation have accomplished. He built a significant body of research along a rich, connected line of inquiry. Throughout

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36