The book comes in a very useable format – A4 in size and spiral bound so that it will open and stay flat on the music stand. The layout and design are clear and straightforward – though with modern printing techniques I always like to see some colour as this helps to highlight important points. There are numerous useable musical examples and to her credit Patricia Gane makes many of the pages available for photocopying – a must when teaching larger groups of students.
The introduction to the book covers some basics on the role of students, teachers and lessons in general. A line I particularly liked was “the lesson should be about much more than rectifying problems”, a thought which follows the ethos of this site – use the time between lessons for problem solving.
There are a number of chapters covering different aspects of instrumental development: warming up, pulse and rhythm, musical elements, scales and chords, melodies, improvising and composing and finally making music. Each chapter has a number of projects and exercises which can be applied in instrumental lessons. For example the chapter on “Making Melodies” has projects for “Understanding how musical phrases fit together”, “Making up melodies” and “Using rounds as a creative resource”, each of these being further broken down into three or four exercises.
As a source of exercises for use in group instrumental lessons this book could prove useful to teachers – I would doubt its application to individual lessons though. The ideas and concepts are useful but would need to be applied in a slightly different way for individuals. The topics covered are necessarily generic in nature so whilst the lack of instrumental specifics could be seen by some as negative, for those teaching mixed groups or large classes it is a positive.
Overall I was disappointed not to find anything relating to music practice in this book but that is not it”s purpose. If the subtitle “creative ideas for instrumental teachers” had the words “group” or “class” added I think this would position the book more appropriately and make it a useful resource for teachers working in those areas.
Enjoy your practice!
Making Music – creative ideas for instrumental teachers by Patricia M. Gane (2006, Oxford University Press, ISBN: 0-19-322201-9) is available from:[amazon asin=0193222019&template=htp price]