Using Figuring Out Melody as a CourseTextbook
This book began as an alternative way to teach tonal counterpoint. I didn’t set out to be iconoclastic. I simply had a hunch that there was a more effective way to give students the skills and understanding they need to compose with confidence and nuance.
In his preface to the 15 “Inventions,” Bach tells us that he wrote them as teaching pieces–not for keyboard players, but for composers. Over the years, I’ve come to look at most of his music in this way. There are powerful lessons for musicians who take time to pour over his scores. This is exactly what I do in Figuring Out Melody. And I believe its many observations will be of great benefit to your students.
In spite of (or perhaps because of) its “classical” base, Figuring Out Melody has attracted readers from a large array of styles and genres who want to bolster their skills and understanding of melody. In fact, this may well describe many students who currently enroll in your courses.
Back when the book was young, I realized that using this approach would require a substantial shift for instructors, so I wrote an overview that addressed three concerns I felt were germane:
- why a new approach is needed
- an overview of the main principles
- answers to commonly-asked questions
Below, you’ll find the (somewhat rickety) flyer I made at that time to expand on these themes. As you read it, I hope you feel inspired to teach this bright, young generation of musicians in new ways!