John Feierabend ‘First Steps in Music’: The Musical Workout

Presented by: Dr John Feierabend

20-22 August, 2018

Australian Catholic University (ACU)
Graham Street, Fitzroy, Victoria

The First Steps in Music curriculum is designed to prepare children to become musical in three ways:

  1. Tuneful – to have tunes in their heads and learn to coordinate their voices to sing those tunes.
  2. Beatful – to feel the pulse of music and how that pulse is grouped in either 2s or 3s.
  3. Artful – to be moved by music in the many ways music can elicit a meaningful response.

All adults should be tuneful, beatful and artful so they can participate in the music that is interwoven throughout our lives. Adults who are tuneful can sing lullabies to their babies, sing “Happy Birthday” to their children and friends, sing in worship services, and join others in singing ceremonial songs like alma maters or heritage favorites. Adults who are beatful can rock on the beat while singing that lullaby, can dance at their wedding or their friend’s wedding, and can clap their hands in time with others at a sporting event. Adults who are artful are moved by music and seek out venues to share artful experiences with others in concert halls, in community bands and choirs or listening to National Public Radio. Artful adults enjoy being moved by music.

Adults who are tuneful, beatful and artful are also better able to participate in a community and are able to enjoy opportunities to sing together with others, dance together with others and share listening to beautiful music together with others.

Children who learn to be tuneful, beatful and artful before they leave elementary school will grow to be adults who can benefit from what music can offer. Those that go on to sing in choirs or play an instrument will do so in a more musical manner. Those that do not choose to later sing in choirs or play an instrument will still be enriched by being able to share music in their daily lives.

The First Steps in Music curriculum is a musical workout that grows tuneful, beatful and artful individuals There are eight different activities in each workout. And, like aerobics, in the beginning some participants will likely be clumsy in some aspects of the workout, but if they give it their best, they are bound to improve! And, like an aerobics workout, the more one participates the better the effect. Balancing repetition and variety is key to each workout being effective and interesting.

Following are the 8 musical workout activities:

  1. Pitch Exploration (Vocal Warm-ups)
  2. Fragment Singing, Echo Songs, Call and Response Songs
  3. Simple Songs
  4. Arioso (Child created tunes)
  5. Songtales
  6. Movement Exploration (Movement Warm-ups)
  7. Movement for Form and Expression
  8. Movement with the Beat

There are aspects of tuneful, beatful and artful development in most of these activities but especially tuneful are #1, #2, #3 and #4….especially beatful is #8 and especially artful are #5, #6 and #7.

This course provides activities for children as young as 3 but appropriate for any aged child that needs to further develop their tuneful, beatful, & artful abilities. Folk songs and rhymes as well as classical music are the primary source materials that are used to develop their musical minds & abilities. This pedagogical approach contains everything you need to lead a music class for preschool and early primary students, including: Echo Songs, Call-and-Response Songs, Simple Songs, SongTales, Action Songs, Circle Games, Beat Motion Activities, and more. Ample time will be spent on exploring complete lesson plans for a three-year curriculum. Participants who successfully complete this course will receive an official certificate of completion from the Feierabend Association for Music Education.

Monday & Tuesday:                        Wednesday:

9.00-11.00am – Session 1                     9.00am-11.00am – Session 1
11.00-11.20am – Morning tea              11.00-11.20am – Morning Tea
11.20am-1.20pm – Session 2                11.20am-1.20pm – Session 2
1.20-2.20pm – Lunch                             1.20-2.00pm – Lunch
2.20-4.00pm – Session 3                       2.00-3.00pm – Session 3

Online registration

$590 – VOSA & Other Orff Association Members
$640 – Non-Members
$570 – Students/Pensioners/ Concession Card Holders/OS Residents

A light morning tea consisting of fresh fruit will be provided each day.  Lunch can be BYO or purchased at the ACU canteen.

Registration includes the course text “First Steps in Music for Preschool & Beyond” which will be provided on the first day of the course at registration, downloadable notes, morning tea, & 3 days course tuition.

Note:  The First Steps in Music for Preschool & Beyond resource is required for each person attending this course.  If you already have a copy of this text, please contact Sharon at 

Register at:

FAME Certification
This course is 20 hours, and, if fully completed, you will receive a FAME Certificate.