A Curricular Framework for Teaching Effective Music Teaching Behavior: When to be Effective in Which Way


Alan J. Gumm

Central Michigan University



Research-based models of effective music teaching behaviors are essential curriculum for music teacher education. However, any distinct model of effectiveness alone does not indicate whether a teacher is effective, but instead only a particular way a teacher is effective.

A multidimensional model of music teaching style is proposed as a balanced and parsimonious curricular framework for music teacher education coursework, inservice workshops, and research. The modelŐs eight dimensions present learnable patterns of teaching behavior that lead to a balance of learning outcomes. Two higher-order factors make practical the philosophical distinctions of realism versus idealism and pragmatism; psychological distinctions of behaviorism versus cognitivism and metacognitivism; and historical distinctions of a traditional teacher-centered performance approach versus a progressive child-centered constructivist approach. Developmental stages present a plausible curricular sequence.

Four dimensions are effective in getting students to carry out teacher-directed performance tasks and jointly form the higher-order factor Breadth of Activities. Assertive Teaching expands on a model of sequential patterns of instruction and a model of direct unsupportive teaching behaviors. Nonverbal Motivation combines a model of magnitude of conductor behavior, or teacher intensity, with effective rehearsal pacing. Time Efficiency comprises behaviors associated with duration of teacher verbal behavior and student time on task. Positive Learning Environment combines a teacher-approval model, otherwise called contingent praise, with a supportive teaching style model.

Four dimensions are effective in getting students to understand music for themselves, and jointly form the higher-order factor Depth of Student Learning. Group Dynamics comprises cooperative learning techniques effective in developing interdependence and leadership. Music Concept Learning comprises questioning skills effective in developing critical thinking and comprehensive musicianship. Artistic Music Performance comprises metaphor, modeling, and movement techniques effective in matching performance skills with an expressive musical image. Student Independence comprises dialogue, evaluative questioning, and encouraging behaviors effective in nurturing music evaluation, creativity, and affect.

A curricular sequence is suggested by a progression of stages in which different music teaching style dimensions develop. From an inefficient Self-Reflective Stage, music teachers develop Assertive Teaching and Time Efficiency in a teacher-centered Broadening Stage. Nonverbal Motivation complements the goals of this stage by maintaining teacher-directed activity without verbal interruptions. An Interdependent Transition follows in which teachers promote student-oriented Group Dynamics. In a student learning-centered Deepening Stage, teachers develop Positive Learning Environment and Music Concept Learning, and further develop Group Dynamics and Time Efficiency. Artistic Music Performance and Student Independence complement the goals of this stage. Positive Learning Environment, which bridges both factors of breadth and depth, is perhaps the most generally effective dimension of music teaching style.