Whole Music Learning is the name I’ve given to my version of music learning that uses a logical whole-part-whole sequence. Whole-part-whole simply means we learn a song as a whole first, break it down into the parts necessary to understand and play it with understanding, then put it back together again into a whole song that we can express in a musically meaningful way because it’s our song.
I didn’t come up with this idea. Though not yet in the mainstream, there is an increasing number of music educators who believe this is the most effective way we learn music. My Whole Music Learning approach emerged from my many experiences, influences, and, most significantly, my time studying with music learning theorist Dr. Edwin Gordon.
Dr. Gordon used to say that we mistakenly teach the way we were taught and think that’s how we learned. But we may have learned despite our teaching. Or, perhaps we didn’t learn at all, which is the subject for an upcoming blog especially for the many people who feel excluded from the world of music making.
My story is that I learned badly, with many gaps in my overall understanding of music. Fortunately for me, I became aware of this while I was in a supportive environment in which I learned how to be a much more dynamic and effective musician, and teacher.
In Part 2, I’ll tell you how this came about.