Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Power of Three: Learning Through Music

In an earlier post, I shared Yo-Yo Ma’s triangle: Reception, Communication and Content and how the three need to intersect in order for “magic” to happen. The use of triangles to represent conceptual models seems to thread throughout this program.  I decided to explore the symbolism behind this common shape. Interestingly, triangles represent some very important ideals: balance, strength and stability.

Larry Scripp, faculty member at New England Conservatory, bases his Music in Education model upon the triangular interplay of teacher, artist and scholar. Together all three can help transform education through engaging and authentic learning practices (teacher), aesthetic approaches to communicate learning (artist) and on-going evaluation to document effectiveness (scholar). Larry advocates for schools to hold music literacy as highly as it does language literacy, because the two mutually support each other.

Larry has built a network throughout the country called the Music in Education National Consortium (MIENC) in which schools are partnering with university and arts organizations to help bring an interdisciplinary approach to teaching through the Learning Through Music (LTM) model.  Here is a short video providing an overview of MIENC:

The five skills and their corresponding outcomes that Learning Through Music schools teach are:

  1. Listen = Listener/Perceiver
  2. Question = Questioner/Investigator
  3. Create = Creator/Inventor
  4. Perform = Performer/Interpreter
  5. Reflect = Reflective/Thinker
Fittingly, these five processes help nurture the scholar, teacher and artist in each and every student. What a beautiful goal for a school to have and the kind of citizen a community would want! 

As part of my work in the Abreu Fellowship, I will be focusing my energies on El Sistema pedagogy, curriculum and how the two translate to music education in the United States.   Larry Scripp's Learning through Music model provides a framework for addressing music literacy, as well as the National Standards for Music Education and will play an important role in the work I do in the area of curriculum development.   Thank you, Larry, for providing the Abreu Fellows with so many resources, research and meeting time to help digest the incredible work you have done.


  1. Yes and then stack those triangles on top of one another. Look at everything that Buckminster Fuller designed with triangles.

    I loved the way the children got to sit right up under the musicians in the orchestra. I wish our SASS kids could have that privilege with a performing organization. They would be talking about it for days. They are so isolated from such intimate experiences.
    I realize that this was mostly a symbolic act of many other things that were going on behind the scenes in regard to the concept of integrated learning.

    I just got done listening to Krista on Speaking of Faith. She mentioned El Systema and they put a link for it on their program page about the interview. Much said about the need for participatory inexperience in the arts for children and brain development.
    Ask every one to check this out. I'm so curious how it will affect them.

  2. Sorry:
    The interview was with Adele Diamond and her research as cognitive developmental neuroscientist who currently teaches at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

    I thought she has some very interesting insights on the development of empathy.

    Please forgive my spelling error for the word experience. I can't figure out how to enlarge my spell checker so I can read it.

  3. Thank you again, Sasuzukistrings! I plan to dedicate my next posting to brain research - summarizing a bit more from my Eric Jensen webinar on Teaching with Poverty in Mind and would like to include the link you provided to the Adele Diamond interview, as well as share some of her insights. I appreciate your contributions!