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TTTV048: Exploring MLT with Marilyn Lowe

By Tim Topham | Methods

Jul 08 2016

exploring mlt marilyn lowe

In today’s podcast we’re exploring MLT (Music Learning Theory) and how it applies to piano teaching, with Marilyn Lowe.

Marilyn Lowe searched for a long time for a piano method she loved. When she heard about Music Learning Theory it seemed to fill in a lot of the blanks…The only problem was there were no piano books based on Dr. Gordon’s ideas, so she had to write her own!

Marilyn Lowe Pic

Using the principles of Music Learning Theory, Marilyn devised her books Music Moves for Piano.

Students in her method learn rhythmic and melodic patterns first. They use these patterns to improvise, arrange, and learn pieces by rote, before being introduced to the notation. This is similar to the way we learn language, and core to the Music Learning Theory approach.

Marilyn has a fantastic insight into MLT and how to create well-rounded musicians. Take a listen to find out how she how and why she teaches this way.

Today’s Download Bundle

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why Dr. Gordon’s ideas appealed to Marilyn
  • How the pattern vocabulary is built up gradually in Music Moves for Piano
  • Why improvising in these patterns is such an important step in the process
  • The benefits of the MLT approach for students
  • How Music Learning Theory differs from Kodály, Orff and Dalcroze
  • How a typical Music Moves for Piano lesson might look
  • Why Marilyn prefers a moveable do solfa system

Items mentioned in this podcast:

Thank you for Tuning In!

There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, and I’m grateful that you’ve chosen mine.

Being a full-time teacher myself, I know how busy teachers are and how much time, effort and passion we put into our students. Sometimes, the last thing we want to do in our time off is listen to more piano teaching stuff! So, well done for using this time for self-improvement.

Whether you’re at the gym, on the bike or in the car, I know that you and your students will get lots out of what you learn in the long run. Just make sure you try out some of the ideas before they get lost in the business of your next lessons.

If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons on the left of the page.

Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes. Reviews are extremely helpful when it comes to show’s ranking and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally.

Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live.

What appeals to you most about the MLT approach?

Did you connect with the idea of teaching music the way we learn language?

Does the idea of teaching a vocabulary of patterns before teaching reading make sense to you?



About the Author

Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular TopCast show, blogs regularly at and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.

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