David Stephenson davidgstephenson at gmail.com
Mon Mar 23 20:13:03 PDT 2009

I appreciate all of your posts.  There's some great conversation going on.
I think Nigel has circumvented us to my original questions, and his response
is very well written.

My original "I wonder" thought was whether composition teachers are trained
in pedagogy regarding the music education sense of the word.  Are teaching
techniques instilled by composition teachers to future teachers of
composition?  Can they communicate the best ways to teach someone how to
write a fugue?  What are some creative ways to teach orchestration so
composers can learn to associate different instruments/families with
different timbres.  All of these questions are, of course, hypothetical...to
a point.  They are genuine compositional matters supported by theoretical
concepts.  I truly believe one cannot separate the two.  Yet, I get some
very creative (and logical) compositional material from my high school
students who only have a limited amount of theoretical knowledge.

In my opinion, more colleges need to include some form of composition
pedagogy in their curricula.  This idea raises more questions:

1. Who is responsible for teaching composers to teach composition--comp
professors or music ed professors?  Comp professors can rightfully claim
that it's their area of expertise.  Music ed professors are trained to help
future teachers learn how to teach.  Does that include composition
teachers?  Or, could it be a hybrid of both...a collaboration?

2. Who should take this course--theory/comp majors and/or music ed majors?

3. Because of the strain college music curricula face regarding total credit
hours for graduation, how do we fit this course in?  Is it a separate
course, or could it just be a unit in a class (e.g. Music Theory
Pedagogy--which I know is a course commonly offered in most graduate

Enough rambling on my part.  I welcome your discussion!

David G. Stephenson
Ph.D. candidate in music education
The University of South Carolina
davidgstephenson at gmail.com
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