Motive, Mode and Mood

Optimizing students’ individual approach to music

MOTIVE is the work of our hearts.
MOOD is how we stay in rhythm and dynamics.
MODE is where knowledge is gained and utitlized.

Three decades into teaching music, I‘m convinced that when it comes to music education, there must be a bigger purpose than pure passion and interest.

It has to drive the students and encourage them to do more than just learning music as a hobby. What begins as a hobby can become a livelihood, and I am proud to have a large number of my students who are now artists, professional musicians and even teachers of music themselves.

And apart from preparing them for music exams and performances, I believe that every student can, and should write and perform their original compositions.

Here is one of the unique programs I have created to optimize the students’ individual approach to music, and tailored to draw out their fullest potential:

Practice Plan
Pyramid of Progress

Tri-M –
Motive, Mood, Mode

“Balance the control instead of controlling the balance.”

Tri-M is a methodology.

Most of us think that learning how to play music by going to school or taking up classes is done with the objective of acquiring knowledge, especially since music falls under the Mode category. But Mode consists of the theory of music scales and harmonies, and makes up only 33% of music creation.

Mood is underpinned by dynamics and rhythm – the flow of music playing or writing intrinsically linked to the human essence. This forms the other 33% of music creation.

But the most important component in any music creation is that of Motive.

Motive is the work of the heart which inspires you. It becomes the reason you pick up an instrument, write a composition, become a performer, etc. With Motive, you are pushed to reach your goals and progress.

So Motive takes up 33%, leaving us with the last 1%, and that 1% is you.

From my perspective, I will drive that 1% towards Motive, because Mood and Mode will be on our creative palette and they will help complete the picture.

Practice Plan

There are many steps to learning but the most crucial and essential are these 4 points:

BulletPGenre study (gather, immerse, study, define, read and revise)
BulletPMusic Theory
BulletP3 pillars of writing improvisation

  • – Technique (the instruments and musicianship)
  • – Genre repertoire (the standards/songs)
  • – Genre language (by ear and listen in-depth e.g. from micro phrases into big picture)

BulletPPractice Plan (which is what I will talk about here).