This Too is Music guides and motivates teachers to foster playful and motivating classroom conditions that enable elementary students to thrive as musicians in every way-as singers, improvisers, critical listeners, storytellers, dancers, performers, and composers. Told through anecdotes and illustrated with musical examples, the book explores how all of these aspects of music making are intertwined, quelling any doubts teachers may have regarding their abilities to create an environment where children can improvise, dance, compose, and notate their musical offerings. While the book acknowledges the importance of traditional approaches to teaching notation and performance, the emphasis is on the student's point of view, illustrating how young musicians can learn when their musical ideas are honored and celebrated. Various teaching ideas are presented-some exploratory in nature, others involving direct instruction. Regardless of their nature, all of the activities arise from research on children's musical development in general and their development of notational systems in particular. The ideas and activities have been tested in multiple elementary-classroom environments and pre-service settings. The activities center on music through movement, song, various types of performances, improvisation, and composition and notational development.
These activities, which encompass both small-scale classroom lessons and large-scale productions, engage children across subjects, including language, drama, and mathematics. Activities encompass both small-scale classroom lessons and large-scale productions. The book underscores the timeless quality of this pedagogy; even in our digital age, this musical environment appeals to children. The work invites readers to adapt the ideas to their own teaching settings, showing both pre-service and established teachers that they can teach music creatively to build community and to inspire all who enter there.
Rena Upitis is Professor of Education at Queen's University. She has advanced diplomas in piano and vocal performance and has taught elementary school music in both Canada and the United States. Her research and curriculum projects have explored teacher, artist, and student transformation through the arts. Author of six books, she has secured over $8 million dollars in research funding, and currently serves as Principal Investigator for the project called Transforming Music Education with Digital Tools.
"When I first read This Too Is Music, it completely changed my view of how music could be taught. It was revolutionary-years ahead of its time. My teachers loved it; the book provided ways for all of us to embed music in our teaching and to view subject disciplines in totally new ways."
--Helen Turnbull, Retired Principal, Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, Ontario, Canada
"In this text, Dr. Rena Upitis combines the best ideas from two books she published nearly 30 years ago, with intriguing insights from students featured in her first editions, who are now adults in their 40s. The ideas for guiding children in improvisation, composition, and notational development were seminal when first published and are now more valuable than ever, as music teachers seek ways to integrate composition and improvisation into their classroom teaching."
--Dr. Maud Hickey, Associate Professor of Music Education, Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University
"I read This Too Is Music back in 2003, and I immediately felt like I knew Rena. It was amongst my top five favourite books that I read while studying for my Masters in Music Education at Reading University. And I still quote the story about the little boy whom Rena 'allowed' into her school choir-and who, by being permitted to be there, found his singing voice. Brilliant!"
--Sharon Mark-Teggart, Director and Co-Founder, The Curious Piano Teachers
"Many people will use this book as a source of ideas to help them teach music. Others will use it for ideas to help them teach-period. But those who will gain most from it will use it to think about themselves, about their own learning, and about learning itself. Images of learning gleaned from watching Rena Upitis work with children have become a permanent part of my thinking. And of such gems there is no richer source than Rena's work."
--Dr. Seymour Papert, Former Professor of Media Technology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author of Mindstorms: Children, computers, and powerful ideas. From the preface for This Too Is Music (1990)