Dr. Mark Turner

Tips for Elementary Music Specialists
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Professional Development:
A Suggested Reading List

by Dr. Mark Turner
Associate Professor of Music
Early Childhood and Elementary Specialist
SFA School of Music
[email protected]


  • Wiggins, Jackie. Teaching for Musical Understanding. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001.

An excellent resource for those interested in moving towards a more student-centered music curriculum.  Many, many classroom tested strategies.  Wiggins presents a straightforward, easy to follow text that can help any professional incorporate child-centered creative activities into her/his classroom. 

After a brief overview of child-centered practices and learning theory, Wiggins presents several model lessons for beginning, intermediate, and advances music learners.  While not available as yet, the publisher will also make available more lessons on their web site.  A CD accompanies the text.

  • Gopnik, Alison, Andrew N. Meltzoff, and Patricia K. Kuhl. The Scientist in the Crib: Minds, Brains,
    and How Children Learn
    New York: William Morrow and Company, 1999.

A MUST read.  This text condenses 40 years of brain research into an easily accessible format.  Written for the layman, the authors present well documented research findings and real world examples that aid in understanding the sometimes complex world of science.  If you know of anyone who works with children or has children, get this book for them.  A wonderful baby shower gift!

  • Shehan-Campbell, Patricia. Music in Their Heads: Music and Its Meaning in Children's Lives. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Shehan-Campbell takes you inside the musical minds of children.  Her book documents the formal and informal musical thinking of three groups of children over the course of one year.

The book is "chock full" of wonderful observations made by children about their musical worlds.  Shehan-Campbell artfully weaves their personal stories into a delightful narrative and commentary on music, children, and the state of music education in the United States.

The book is an eye opener.

  • Wing, Liz (ed). The Mountain Lake Reader: Conversations on the Study and Practice of Music Teaching.

If you are interested in the "cutting edge" of music education, these readers are for you.  Currently available in two volumes (1999, 2001), these publications give professional music specialists something to think about.  Written and edited to debunk the notion that academic writing is dry and lifeless, individual articles contain ideas and insights that may alter the way you see yourself, your job, your children, and music education.

For information about the Readers visit http://www.mtsu.edu/~nboone/.


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