The Brummitt-Taylor Music Listening Program:

A Non-directed Approach

What Is It?

The Brummitt-Taylor Music Listening Program is a daily, non-directed approach to music listening that can be used school-wide or in individual classrooms. One composer is featured each week and one selected work of that composer is repeated each day over the school's PA system, or on a portable stereo. A prepared script for each day accompanies the musical selection, informing listeners of the name of the composer, the name of the composition, and artistic characteristics of the featured work. 
Using carefully selected music of master composers, the program opens the door for young people to the genius and craftsmanship of art music. It is easiest to understand the design of the Brummitt-Taylor Music Listening Program: A Non-Directed Approach by looking at the most obvious aspects of the program. These include:
  • composer and composition of the week
  • the scripts
  • repetition of music ( a five-year plan )
  • music that is creative and interesting
  • length of composition (under five minutes)
  • complete works or movements

Composer and Composition of the Week

The single most critical factor in achieving the outcomes of the non-directed listening program is repeated listening to the same composition. This program is organized to present one composer and one composition for each week. The composition is played daily. This means the feature composition of the week is heard at least five times during a regular school week. Familiarity provides the opportunity to get to know a composition. What we tend to know, we tend to like.
While there is research to support this concept, we need only think of our own experiences to realize it is just common sense:  How does a pop tune get to be in the top 40? How do novels become best sellers? Why do we read aloud to children? Why do advertisers use the same ad for a period of time? Why do companies have visual symbols, such as logos and trademarks? The answer? The more familiar we are with something, the more likely we are to be able to tell whether we like it or not, whether we want it in our lives or not.

Does It Work?

This uniquely designed program, developed over ten years and field-tested with thousands of students, has shown exciting results in student knowledge of the music and creativity of composers. The program has been enthusiastically received by students, teachers, administrators, and parents, and successfully implemented in a variety of school settings.

It is in use across Canada and the United States, and in several countries around the world.  It is estimated more than a half-million children listen to classical music daily through this program.

Program Materials

The materials include a comprehensive resource book for teachers containing:
  • a five year program
  • a list of 131 musical selections organized by composer
  • daily scripts for each musical selection
  • learning outcomes
  • steps for successful implementation
  • extension activities
  • reference materials
  • a set of eight compact disks containing all musical selections

Effective Music Education

  • cost-effective – 30¢ a day to provide quality music as a vital part of students' daily routine
  • can be used by both specialist and non-specialist teachers
  • five years of music listening with NO additional teacher preparation

Students Say:

"The violin sounds nice and beautiful. It makes my mind clear."

(Grade 4 student on Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik)  


"It's very exciting. You can see pictures or scenes with horses."

(Grade 6 student on "Hoe-Down" from Rodeo by Aaron Copland)


"I wonder if Haydn had a favourite song out of all the songs he's written."

(Grade 4 student after hearing the first movement of Haydn's Symphony No. 6)


Sample scripts

  • Aaron Copland
    Fanfare For The Common Man
  • Antonio Vivaldi
    Oboe Concerto In D Minor
  • FAQ
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