Jeanell Carrigan, Unlocking the Score

How often have we said as teachers: “My student is so unmusical? She/he doesn’t know what to do with a phrase. It is all so boring! I don’t know how to get my student to have any feeling for the music! We just don’t have any idea what tempo to play. There is no recording of this composition – I have no idea what to do with it. Of course for some works we can always just put on YouTube and get the students to copy what someone else does!”  


The students who are good copiers can always imitate the YouTube versions of their pieces but is that in the end really teaching them anything? This address will present some of my current research, which deals with creating methods of analysis that lead to interpretation.  As a colleague has recently written, teaching is “From Here to Autonomy!” This means teaching students from the very early stages to be able to make musical decisions by themselves based on what they can glean from the material that is the score - students, who, after a short amount of instruction, can teach themselves and be independent learners. 

  • What is in the score that will lead students to make musical and ultimately performance decisions? 

  • How can students interpret the musical parameters (on the score) that will lead to them making decisions? 

  • How do they arrive at the conclusions that lead to those musical decisions? 

This presentation will focus on analysis which leads to developing an interpretation and an outcome of meaningful performances.  


How long is the presentation? 

15 minutes


What do you need to view the presentation? 

A browser capable of playing YouTube video.

Audio output (speakers)



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