Music Instruction in School, at Home and Online

Music instruction refers to any lesson involving music and instruments to create music. It can be part of a school’s curriculum or as a special class for students who are musically inclined. Examples include music instruction on voice, piano, guitar, drums, and flute, among many others. Music teachers have the responsibility to teach students with the basic elements of music, playing instruments, and forming groups such as choirs or bands in a school. However, music teachers may also provide private lessons at the student’s home or in their music studios. There are also music instructions available online which provide step-by-step procedures in written, audio or video formats.

Music instruction usually starts in elementary schools where children are taught how to play instruments such as the keyboard, sing in choirs or school plays, and learn about the elements and history of music. In high school, music instruction may continue as part of the curriculum but can also be offered as an elective for those who are talented in singing and playing musical instruments. Academic credits are also provided in the tertiary level for arts and humanities programs. This often includes the history of music, music appreciation and different musical styles. However, a student can also choose to major in music.

Music instruction in the United States can be traced back to the 17th century when music played an important part in traditions and religion. The first singing school was established in 1717 in Boston, Massachusetts which provided lessons on improving singing and music reading in the church. Subsequently the Boston Academy of Music was formed for teaching singing and theory and the methods of teaching music. In early 20th century, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio was the first to offer the Bachelor of Music Education degree. Nowadays, schools have a wide variety of options available for students on music course offerings and even entire degree programs especially for online music education.

Music teachers nowadays, are those who are graduates of music education and are hired in educational institutions or musicians who share their talents by providing private lessons or similar to apprenticeship. They are also available online where they often publish step-by-step procedures in how to play instruments and other how-to’s, tips, and lessons on the history of music and other details in music appreciation. Music teachers and the schools where they teach at can adopt their own standards for teaching music. However, the National Association for Music Education has created “The National Standards for Music Education” which include:

Singing – involves singing alone and with others
Performing – using instruments, alone or with others
Improvising – melodies, variations and accompaniments
Composing and arranging music with specific guidelines
Reading and notating music
Listening to, analyzing and describing music
Evaluating music and music performances
Understanding the relationships between music and other arts
Understanding music in relation to history and culture

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