Lindsay Brazell

Music Educator and Creative Professional

Intro To Teaching Music Appreciation

This semester I am embarking on a journey through a course I have never taught, the always popular (and sometimes not by student choice), Music Appreciation.

If I am being completely honest, our state textbook is embarrassing, and I am too ashamed to tell you what it is, but I will be using it as sparsely as I can. To give you an idea, there is a picture of Kelly Clarkson winning American Idol in it. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Kelly Clarkson, but American Idol is not a teaching tool for appreciators, or future appreciators of music. That’s just me, though.

While sticking to the curriculum as best as I can, I do have a vision for the class. The majority of my students are non music folk, and my intention is to impress upon them that there are people in the world who make every dollar they have via the arts industry. I want them to see the value of the arts in society. And most importantly, I want them to have a better understanding of music and how it works.

Of course, some topics of discussion won’t be that exciting for them. I need to make it relevant to their worlds if they are going to care or pay attention. I know they won’t care about Renaissance choral music the way I do, but I’m going to tell them why I do anyway. And to be fair, I’ll let them explain to me why they care about Justin Bieber and One Direction, and I will do my very best to appreciate their opinion, even though they are wrong. (Just kidding!!! Or am I?….) I just want them to come away appreciating the arts on a different level than they do upon entering the class.

But really, I am nervous and excited to teach the course. I want my students to have a better understanding of music works and how it came to be, but I also want to to be relevant to their own interests. Why do they like the music they do? How can they talk about their music on an intellectual level? Why don’t they think my Moses Hogan playlist is as awesome as I do?

And maybe I’ll trick a few of them into liking choral music, or at least thinking the virtual choir is cool. 😉

I plan to post along the way to share what is working/majorly failing, and I hope to share some resources I find, so please start sharing!


Do you teach Music Appreciation? I’d love to see any resources you use and like! Leave a comment below, or continue the conversation on Twitter @LindsayBrazell.


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About Lindsay

I’m Lindsay, a choral music educator by day, a singer-songwriter by evening, and a writer when time allows. You can find my latest album, The Room I Found – Lindsay Morelli on iTunes.

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