Please Wait a Moment

Music Theory and Applications for the Dance Teacher

Two musicians on stage playing violin and banjo, while female dancer performs in front of them

June 10 - September 1, 2024

Professor: Jon Anderson

Tuition: $550 member / $625 non-member

12 Weeks; 3 NDEO-Endorsed PDCs

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Understanding music is an essential tool for a successful dance teacher. In a classroom setting, it is beneficial to be able to articulate to your students where rhythmic patterns lie, and where specific accents of movements occur. The first half of this course will raise awareness of the relationship between music and dance, covering the concepts of Beat, Pulse, Meter, Tempo, Dynamics, Articulation, and Phrasing. You will be given an opportunity to explore and apply to dance the concepts learned and write a short musical score to demonstrate your overall comprehension. In the second half of the course, we will continue to examine the symbiotic relationships that exist between music and dance, finding meaningful ways to express those relationships in your teaching. Based on newly acquired musical knowledge and aided with a cadre of tools, you will identify musical resources that support teaching and choreography needs. You will learn how to make effective music choices reflecting choreographic intent, build personal music libraries, and how to effectively communicate with live musicians in class and performance. In practicums, you will deconstruct a musical score and build a choreographic study derived from the musical structure. Finally, each student will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with Professor Anderson in a composer/choreographer project with the instructor composing music for you based on your articulated choreographic intent. By the end of this course, you will have a very organic understanding of your relationship with music. 

Book required: None

Questions about this Course?  Email

Past Student Testimonials

"The course was excellent. The content was split up appropriately and covered an incredible amount of information. Not only did I brush up on all of my musical knowledge, but I learned from this course in a pedagogical perspective."

"This was the most engaging online course I've been involved in."

"It helped me to understand music and all of the components within a piece of music. By understanding how to analyze a piece of music it allows you to enhance choreographic ideas to compliment the music selection."

"Professor Anderson was an excellent instructor. He was thorough and clear with his expectations, his content, and his delivery. He went above and beyond to provide excellent feedback and in depth information to every student in a timely (incredibly fast) manner."

"Music in relation to dance is one of my deficiencies as a dancer, and therefore as a teacher. This course has helped me to be more confident with counting different patterns, including different kinds of music in my classes, and really investigating music before I begin choreography."

"I absolutely loved this course. Learning about different music applications was very interesting to me. I enjoyed the ability to create music and choreography. It helped me grow in my musicality as a choreographer."

"As a choreographer I felt like it gave me new perspectives and ways to approach the creative process. It was a very inspiring program and the professor was clear and helpful. Assignments felt purposeful and useful and the final project alone makes the entire course worthwhile. "

"I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to go through that collaborative process in this course. Feedback was thorough and incredibly insightful."

"I liked learning about music - the different types of music -- polonaise, mazurka, etc, how that music is counted (from a musicians perspective) as well as the choreographic tool of using an invention to structure your movement. I have come away with a much clearer understanding of written music and I am looking forward to implementing that understanding in my teaching."

Professor Bio

Jon Anderson is associate professor of music composition at Wayne State University (Detroit, MI) and composes a variety of acoustic and electroacoustic music. Having frequently collaborated with dance artists, his research centers on kinesthetic approaches to creating music. His music has received honors, awards, invitations and performances from the Society of Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS), the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), the NYC Electronic Music Festival, the National Dance Education Organization, Judson Memorial Church, Triskelion Arts, the Symposium for Arts & Technology, the International Society for Music Education, the Pierre Schaefer International Competition of Computer Music, the Cuban Institute of Music & National Laboratory of Electroacoustic Music, the Society of Composers, Inc (SCI), Electroacoustic Barn Dance Festival, the Studio 300 BYTE Gallery International Exhibition, the Florida Electronic Music Festival (FEMF), Electronic Music Midwest, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Friends & Enemies of New Music, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, SCI/ASCAP, and Voices of Change. Anderson is the resident composer for the modern dance company Take Root Dance.

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