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John Feierabend Resources

John Feierabend is considered one of the leading authorities on music and movement development. His teaching has provided thousands of teachers and their students with the materials and techniques to help build community through music by evoking enthusiastic participation of all people. To that end his approach strives for all people to become tuneful, beatful and artful through research based and developmentally appropriate pedagogies that use quality literature.

Dr. Feierabend continues to be committed to collecting, preserving and teaching the diverse folk music of our country and using that folk music as a bridge to help children understand and enjoy classical music. Dr. Feierabend's research has resulted in two music methods: First Steps in Music, a music and movement program for infants through early elementary aged children and Conversational Solfege, a music literacy method for use in general music classes.

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The First Steps in Music series is an attempt to preserve the rich repertoire of traditional and folk literature, and to enable today's families to recall and learn songs and rhymes that have nurtured wonder and joy in young people for generations. The authentic affection, innocence, and wonder of these songs and rhymes have the potential to plant the seeds of lifelong sensitivity and imagination.

The songs and rhymes contained in our classes have been gathered over the past twenty years. Many of the most interesting examples were collected from the elderly, who often recalled songs and/or rhymes with great affection, reminding them of loving moments theY had shared with young people in the past.

The First Steps in Music curriculum is based on an extensive survey of research related to the development of singing and movement skills in young children, as well as many years of practical experience sharing musical activities with this younger age. It is this combination of a research-based curriculum, quality literature, and practical experience that makes the First Steps in Music curriculum unique.


First Steps in Music Series

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FolksongBook Image

Feierabend Folksong Picture Books

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With the Conversational Solfege approach, music literacy starts with great literature and an "ear-before-eye" philosophy that correlates with the National Standards. Great songs are broken down into their component parts and then reassembled so that students can bring greater musical understanding to everything they do. Conversational Solfege is a dynamic and captivating second-through-eighth grade general music program that enables students to become independent musical thinkers with the help of a rich variety of folk and classical music.

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The Feierabend Association for Music Education (FAME) was founded in 2012 to celebrate and share the unique teachings of Dr. John Feierabend with a wider audience of music educators.

The specific objectives and purposes of FAME are:

  1. to promote the Feierabend philosophy of music education in the United States and in other countries and to encourage the aesthetic, musical and general growth of the individual at all stages of development;
  2. to promote the Feierabend philosophy that all people have the potential to become tuneful, beatful and artful, and that this should be developed as early as possible in childhood with the goal that all people will develop an interest in seeking out opportunities to sing together, dance together and be moved by expressive music.
  3. to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and encourage the application of the Feierabend philosophy to the multi-ethnic, multicultural musical heritage of the United States and the world at large
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The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion webpage for the First Steps in Music curriculum is presented by GIA Publications in collaboration with the Feierabend Association for Music Education. It is our sincere belief that children and music educators deserve only the very best materials, and our purpose in creating this webpage is to provide educators with information and resources regarding the recent revision of First Steps in Music.

When new information about the racist histories and context of some of the folk songs in the First Steps curriculum was brought to our attention, the Feierabend Association for Music Education (FAME) formed a committee to develop a set of standards for determining whether repertoire may be used with young children without being harmful, derogatory, or disrespectful.

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