Edwin Gordon & Music Learning Theory
Edwin E. Gordon is probably America’s leading theorist of music education and learning, particularly as it regards the young. He was a bassist for Gene Krupa in the 1950s before going into academic work. Gordon’s primary focus was on the phenomenon of “audiation” or inner-hearing: when a person knows a song or piece of music well enough to be able to actually hear it in his or her head. Developing children’s inner hearing is an important part of teaching music literacy.
Gordon’s field is known today as “Music Learning Theory.” Not everyone will want to spend time looking at all the research, but there are a lot of very useful ideas in Gordon’s work; The Gordon Institute for Music Learning is one place to explore music learning theory, on-line. Books, teaching tools, and song collections inspired or affirmed by Gordon’s work are available from GIA Publications.
They also publish the Conversational Solfege series written by John Feierabend, a Kodály specialist and professor at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music.