Selecting Quality Music, Part 1

Clinicians Richard Miles from Morehead State University, KY; Larry Blocher from Troy University, AL; and John Clinton, from University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK, presented “Selecting Quality Music: All Music May Not be Created Equal” at MENC’s Music Education Week. Here are some highlights from their session to make you more informed about selecting quality music for teaching.

Music = Textbook

Things to consider when selecting scores:


  • A well-conceived formal structure
  • Creative melodies and countermelodies
  • Harmonic imagination
  • Rhythmic vitality
  • Contrast in musical elements
  • Scoring that offers the “best” potential for all
  • Emotional impact


  • Do you like it?
  • Will your students like it? (potential)
  • Does if fit your situation?
  • Does it fit your educational goals?
  • Is the music worth the time you will need to spend on it?


  • Level of the ensemble
  • Ages of students in the ensemble
  • Instrumentation (strengths/weaknesses)
  • Expectations
  • Timeline

— Nicole Springer. August 11, 2010. © National Association for Music Education.