[Smt-talk] Aural Skills curriculum question

Eric Knechtges eric.t.knechtges at gmail.com
Sun Jan 24 20:55:56 PST 2010

Dear collective wisdom,

     We are in the process of re-vamping our Aural Skills sequence at
Northern Kentucky University.  We have recently adopted a dictation
textbook, which for the moment shall remain nameless -- while it has many
nice features, one of the major shortcomings is that it stops after
introducing augmented sixth chords, modulations to distantly related keys,

     Our Aural Skills sequence is separated into half-semesters -- it is the
last half-semester in the sequence that we are struggling for material.  We
are agreed that there should be some emphasis on music of the 20th century,
but are uncertain which focus to take.

1)  In addition to obvious things such as modes, etc., should the focus be
on attempting to sight-sing and take dictation on things like pitch class
sets and tone rows?

2)  Or, should we take a jazz approach, which could be more practical, in
which we get them to sight-sing common jazz idioms and recognize common
harmonic progressions, etc.?

Keep in mind that this is only eight weeks.  We just don't have time to do
an adequate job on both.  Pedagogically, I'm inclined toward the latter, but
I'm curious what is employed at other institutions.

Both public and private replies are welcome... and soon, since decisions
need to be made ASAP!

Thank you all,

Eric Knechtges, DM
Assistant Professor, Coordinator of Composition/Theory/Aural Skills,
Northern Kentucky University
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