Charles Hoffer, Ph.D.

Professor of Music

College of Fine Arts

2003 Awardee

Charles Hoffer has spent a half century teaching students and teachers how to appreciate music.

In recent years, Hoffer has focused on developing new materials, including interactive technologies, to facilitate music appreciation courses. His textbook, Music Listening Today, employs an interactive CD that allows students to “see” music graphically while it is being played. The CD also includes interactive quizzes that build students’ music listening skills.

“Today’s college students are used to hearing music on a very superficial level – they tend to treat it as ‘sonic wallpaper,’” Hoffer says. “Such ‘listening’ to music is quite inadequate for the music of Bach, Brahms, Bartok, and even Brubeck. Students need help and guidance in learning to listen perceptively.”

Hoffer’s textbook, Teaching Music in the Secondary Schools, has dominated the textbook market on this subject since it was first published in 1964, and recently had its fifth printing.

Hoffer says his future research interests focus on understanding the best pedagogical approach to teaching music using new technologies, enhancing the practice quizzes included on the CD, and creating a DVD that presents portions of operas, ballets and musicals, which are an integral part of music appreciation courses.