Music Outside the Lines is an informative and practical resource for all who are invested in making music composition an integral part of curriculum. Author Maud Hickey offers both a well-grounded justification for teaching music composition and also a compendium of useful instructional ideas and classroom activities. Hickey begins with a rationale for teachers to begin composition activities in their own classrooms, with a thoughtful argument that demonstrates that all music teachers possess the skills and training needed to take children along the path toward composing satisfying musical compositions even if they themselves have never taken formal composition lessons. She also addresses some of the stickier issues that affect teaching music composition in schools such as assessment, notation, and technology. Most importantly, she introduces a curricular model for teaching composition, a model which provides an array of composition activities to try in both the music classrooms and studio. These activities encourage musical and creative growth through music composition; while they are organized in logical units corresponding to well-known teaching modules, they also offer jumping off points for music teachers to exercise their own creative thinking and create music composition activities that are customized to their classes and needs.
As a whole, Music Outside the Lines both successfully reasons that music composition should be at the core of school music curriculum and also provides inservice and preservice educators with an essential resource and compendium of practical tips and plans for fulfilling this goal.
Maud Hickey is Associate Professor of Music Education in the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She has contributed scholarly writings on composition and improvisation to a range of journals, including the Journal of Research in Music Education, Music Educators Journal, General Music Today, College Music Symposium, Quarterly Journal of Music Teaching and Learning, and Research Studies in Music Education.