To be able to listen to, perform and create music, musicians depend on a conceptual understanding of music.

All cultures in the world conceptualise music differently. Some cultures do not separate dance, instrumental accompaniment, and songs. Their music tells stories, performs rituals, and celebrates life. However, Western approaches conceptualise and describe music as a multidimensional structured whole and musicians use these structures to listen to, create, and perform music.

This page will introduce you to learning material that will help you to understand music and music teaching.

Fundamentals of music: takes you to an exciting music literacy learning experience.

Conceptualising music: explains the multidimensional structured whole of music – the starting point of musical thinking.

Music developmental phases: shares the developmental stages of learners and how the music teacher should take these phases into consideration when planning music-making activities.

Musical activities: shares music learning experiences that can be used in class to help learners to construct an understanding of music through analytical listening, creating and performing.

Fundamentals of Music

Listen and Learn – Music Made Easy

is a music textbook which looks at the fundamentals of music through the lens of sounds from around the world. In this series we show that ALL music is based on the same foundations and that all music should be valued equally.

Contact the International Library of African Music (ILAM) at Rhodes University should you want to buy the hard-copy with a teacher guide. The book contains chapters on Fundamentals of music, Building blocks of music, Musical tools, and Music theory.

The videos introduces topics which relate to the South African Creative Arts Grade 7 – 9 syllabus. Download and use in your classroom.

Conceptualisation of music

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explains the understanding of music as a whole.

Music can be understood as a relationship between both process and product.

Musicians use the ‘tools’ of music to create (compose, arrange or improvise) the product. These ‘tools’ are the concepts of music organised in an authentic combination. The combination of concepts allows the musician to perform a musical work in such a way that the listener hears the combination of concepts as a unified whole.

Through participation in musical experiences learners should construct their own understanding of process and product – regardless of the learners’ age in order to become independent musicians.

Activities for skill development

This section includes ideas to support the teacher in planning learning activities:

(click on image to enlarge – all images can be downloaded as PDFs)


Please feel free to contact us should you require any further support: