Music Learning Theory

  • Gordon, E. (1989). Audiation, music learning theory, music aptitude, and creativity. In C. P. Doane & J. W. Richmond (eds.). Proceedings of the suncoast music education forum on creativity. University of South Florida.


    Gordon suggests that creativity per se cannot be taught, but that readiness for creative thinking can be fostered. Audiation is a prerequisite to creative thinking in sounds, according to Gordon. Rather than retaining all tonal and rhythmic patterns in memory, "Only the essential patterns are retained in audiation" (p. 77). It is through the process of audiation that musical meaning is given to imagined sounds. Music Aptitude, meanwhile, is a developmental measure of a person's potential of audiate tonal or rhythmic patterns. Gordon makes many comparisons between his music learning theory and language learning theory. He suggests that "without acquiring an audiation vocabulary that includes a large number of tonal patterns and a large number of rhythm patterns in as many tonalities and meters as possible, levels of music aptitude notwithstanding, one will not have the necessary readiness to become musically creative" (p. 80).