My music classroom has changed over the past 25 years. As a 12 year old piano student, I was disengaged and only found enjoyment when I self taught myself “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. It was at this point I learnt what a chord was! My piano teacher only taught classical music. Today I am an excellent sight reader because of these experiences. I had very limited classroom music in primary school and none at secondary level. When you look at self-learners like Leclercq Pop Culture by Leclerqc and his associated success, one has to question the way and what we teach in schools. self-learners
In my teaching practice experience, I have found the key to engagement is music choice. Let the student decide what they want to play/learn. The tricky part comes next!
Musical Futures pedagogy is a breath of fresh air for my classroom music programs. Getting students to play first is the key. As Richard Gill says “Sound before Symbol”. I first met Richard at Maryborough Music Conference 2015 and watched his improvising session using a limited choice of notes. If Leclercq had been involved in Musical Futures, he would have the opportunity to self-learn or collaborate within his friendship group. The pedagogy Musical Futures is based on Lucy Green’s research “…it focuses on one of the central ways in which popular musicians first acquire their skills – that is, listening to a recording, picking out a part, and attempting to play it by ear, usually with little or no formal guidance.”
I followed Richard’s lead earlier this year with my year 7 music classes. We performed Goyte’s “Somebody that I used to know”. All students improvised on their instrument of choice, by limiting their tone set to two or three notes/chords. Through this engagement, we have discussed and experienced tonality, chords, progressions, graphic notation, improvisation, dynamics, motifs, part singing, texture and mood.
In summation, I believe that the future of music education is a bit of a balancing act with a change in pedagogy required (Musical Futures) and keeping a focus on the important elements of music. These can only be taught AFTER students are engaged and THROUGHOUT the process of learning. As Lucy Green says “How can I help this pupil achieve this particular goal” The video interview is found here. Lucy Green – Music Futures
Clearly the role of the teacher is shifting and will require more ongoing and timely professional development offerings in areas like technology and pedagogy.
http://makingmusicmag.com/love-your-larynx/After a long hot summer I’m sure we’ve all been drinking lots of water. As the days get cooler keep this habit up. It’s good for your vocal chords. Check the link for other ways you can keep your voice healthy.
April is Autism Awareness Month, and at The Autistic Beekeeper, Stef talks about the reluctance of many people — including close friends and family — to even utter the word “autism.”
A great video showing keyboard skills. twelve bar blues improvisation
Getting ready for next term’s lessons, I found this document a real help in shaping activities. Thanks to the amazing William Bauer.
My focus, this weekend, is on my year 7 & 8 music course (9 weeks into 18 week course) is composition and performance. The performance is using friendship groups. The composition task is open to the student using any format (Isle of Tune, Incredibox, Mad Pad, looping software, live, notated or there own choice) musiclearningats-june2012
The fabulous Stephen Heppell, my experiences with Musical Futures and seeing students learn is what inspires me.
I’m not a young educator and have struggled throughout my teaching career to make a change. Make learning fun, use ICT’s, engage students, change the content, change the curriculum and assessment etc. These are some of my cries.
The future world for our future learners should involve creating flexible learning spaces with access to all technologies. A phone might be just the ticket for a learner, whereas another learner may require a laptop. Devices are to suit the student not the curriculum. At my school, all students in year 7,8 and 9 are supplied with a mini Ipad with years 10,11 & 12 supplied with a Mac Air. These devices are locked and students can not download music or apps that they might require. This is not ideal and rather inflexible. In my music classes students bring their own phone, which contains their music.
James Humberstone talks about the importance of learning spaces in his video learning spaces. He discusses the differences between a technology inspired learning space and a Steiner learning space. Unfortunately, my school has a standard “traditional” classroom with whiteboard, desks, chairs and a tv at the centre of the room. This space transforms magically into a music room then disappears again to a “traditional” classroom for the French or History teacher to use.
Their future is changing with many companies building their own schools within the workplace. Students will build their own learning environment either physically or digitally. Students teaching each other, offering peer support and engaged in learning, is what the future will be. Teaching and learning via Skype is another example of change.
A few years ago I was asked to to conduct singing lessons via internet. I baulked and didn’t think I could do so. My concerns were low quality sound and picture and deep inside my lack of confidence in using such technology. Today is different and I will do so! There is little to be gained and much to be lost by restricting use of technology in music classrooms. Bauer (2014) tells us how technology has become ubiquitous and has resulted in a “flattened earth” within which our students reside where knowledge is completely accessible and communication is instant.
Any space can be a learning space. Look around your school and find somewhere no-one uses. Stephen Heppell mentions staircases as learning spaces. As a music teacher, we often find ourselves teaching in the bowels of buildings, in regular classrooms that magically turn into music spaces, on the verandah of a building or even in a tin shed with no power.
I also believe that we must put students at the centre AND NOT THE CURRICULUM.See the article below. I have highlighted the bits that “floated my boat”.
“In Dubai, as a member of the Academic Council for GEMS Education, I visited two remarkably different international schools that put students at the centre. Aside from a few set lessons, students were given the power to plan what they were going to do each week and when. They had extensive access to online resources, connecting with teachers, students and experts in various fields. They typically worked in small groups, developing the crucial teamwork skills that will be required in the workforce. Their lessons were often project-based and driven by their personal interests. Teachers took on a mentoring and coaching role; older students, too, mentored younger children, deepening their own knowledge of the subject as they passed it on. Teachers and students spoke enthusiastically about the positive difference this has made. ”
This is very “Musical Futures” pedagogy. I have embarked on this pedagogy over the past three years with the outcome of increased enrolment in elective music for years 9 and 10. This pedagogy also fits nicely with the Certificate II, III & IV Music courses where students learn by using their practical skills that have meaning in their world. musical futures ear playing
We need to create a culture of creativity and innovation in both our schools and the bureaucracy that surrounds them. How can we teach our students to be creative thinkers, able to adapt to whatever life throws at them, when the system itself is stifling and controlling?
The future jobs for our students will require creativity, innovation and teamwork which should be a crucial consideration for educational leaders.
As James Humberstone says in his video “students can learn autonomously” when referring to the use of technology. student learn autonomously. In my teaching practice, students go to my blog, are mostly intrinsically motivated, know what they are doing and what equipment, friends, setups they will require for their lesson. I feel I am lighting a candle for the path of the future of music education.