Reposition ‘The Elements’: How Students Talk about Music
Leslie Stewart Rose and June Countryman
Rose, L. S., & Countryman, J. (2013). Repositioning ‘the elements’: How students talk about music. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education 12(3): 45–64.
What interested me the most about this article is the fact that music teachers can be prone to have flaws within their teaching methods and how they look for new ways to teacher their students the curriculum; how creative they are in conveying the knowledge to them is critical in attracting the student’s attention and intriguing them to want to learn more about the subject at hand. It is, in my opinion, optimal to make teaching music fun but should have a limit to how much fun the students can have in which too much of it may cause the lessons to travel off course, making the method of teaching ineffective. What surprised, and frustrated, me the most about this article would be how music education should be “academcized” to be considered a real course; that is to transform the teaching method of content to become similar to teaching methods of academic courses. For example, one quote from the article stated: “We believe this inclination to academiking in music teaching is one result of music education’s perennially marginal status and the resulting need to be legitimized, valued, respected and funded.” This surprised me in which people view music education as not a course that can be taught to others and needs to follow a certain teaching method in order for it to be registered as an academic entity. This also frustrated me at how, in my opinion, music deserves to be respected not only as a course, but also as a professional career. I think that music is valuable to society in which it not only has an interesting history, but also the way music works and how it is incorporated into our everyday lives. If ever given the chance, students should learn more about music and enroll in music courses. One thing I would like to say to the author would be that this article was well written in terms of covering issues within music education and how it is taught. By sharing these issues, readers of this article are able to reflect on how music education or music in general has impacted their lives as well as what they can do as the bearers of this new profound knowledge to help integrate into academic streams how music education can be taught to students and think of innovative ways to transfer its knowledge.
Jan 21, 2018
Fumbling Towards Vulnerability: Moving Out of the Familiar for Music Education’s Sake
Dawe, L. (2016). Fumbling Towards Vulnerability: Moving Out of the Familiar for Music Education’s Sake, Canadian Music Educator, (57) 2, pp.22-24.
This article is very interesting to read, as it closely relates to how music teachers are constantly trying to find new methods convey the knowledge to students without losing the sense of the traditional aspects that go into teaching the curriculum, as observed in the previous article by Leslie Stewart Rose and June Countryman. However, what was interesting in the article by Leslie Dawe was how she reflected back upon personal experiences in which taught her valuable lessons when it comes to vulnerability in teaching music education. What surprised me was that I was able to relate to what Dawe was saying in this article on a personal level, as I experienced similar situations during my high school year. For example, I also auditioned for my jazz band during grade 12 and could feel the same vulnerability of creation when I had to improvise over different drum patterns and play multiple chord progressions. This article also frustrated me over the fact that the concept of creating new teaching methods as well as approaching music education with a constructivist approach is not put into practice enough. For example, the article states: “Risk taking within music making is something that most of us have experienced at some point, and we struggle with it. I am struggling with it.” This quote frustrated me because of how creativity in music education is for the most part ignored when teaching music education. Without the use of experimental practices, it may cause disinterest in the students, unable to enjoy or relate to concepts discussed in class. Furthermore, music teachers such as Dawe should not be struggling with it, but rather receive help from not only what she was taught previously, but also co-learn with her students in which she does attempt and receives promising results. I believe that creativity is an important component when it comes to prevent feelings of vulnerability in music teachers. As they contemplate ways to help make the content relatable to a student’s standpoint, they become more comfortable with being uncomfortable, that is to be able to recognize flaws within teaching and being able to calmly find a solution along with their students, similar to how a performer cannot improve their abilities without proper feedback from others. I would like to address how well written this article is to the author, and would like to say that by reflecting on past experiences is a good way for others to relate to. As stated earlier, readers who have similar experiences are able to relate to what the author is trying to say and connect on a personal level. When thinking of new ways to teach music education, try learning more about the students you are teaching and see if you can make that connection that intrigues students to want to learn more.
Jan 28, 2018
Unmasking the Hidden Curriculum in Canadian Music Education
Wasiak, E. (2017) Unmasking the Hidden Curriculum in Canadian Music Education Canadian Music Educator.
What interested me the most about this article would be the true meaning behind Music Education in which it closely ties with life teachings within society; gender, freedom, and identity to name a few. According to my own interpretations, this article mainly focuses on how, as a society, we must be inclusive when it comes to engaging and interacting with other within a learning environment, regardless of who the students are, where they come from, or what they believe in. I think that it is good for students, acting as individuals, to connect with each other through music curriculum but it is also crucial to not forget how they are viewed in society. What surprised and frustrated me the most about this article would be how teachers may be attempting to try their hardest to ignore their society identity which results in only offending their students; ironically what teachers are trying to avoid in the first place. For example, in the article, it states: “Undoubtedly, there are many good reasons to study classical music; however, within the context of Canada’s rapidly diversifying population and changing attitudes about sexuality, gender, race, and religion, continuing to adhere to an outdated Eurocentric music education canon leaves many students feeling unrepresented, misrepresented, and/or excluded.” This quote frustrated me at how there seems to still be social discrimination within modern society. Does this mean that students of diverse ethnic race should conform to the expectations society has placed for them? If not, then how can society learn to include them when it comes to teaching traditional pedagogy? I think that it is important for society to realize that it is not about attempting to ignore the differences within students, but rather to guide them all in a direction that helps students achieve greatness. In addition to commenting on this well written article by the author, how might music educators use your suggestions in order to be able to apply them in teaching traditional music pedagogy? Are there some ideas that may be impossible to convey to society today and how can we adjust them to make it so?
February 4, 2018
The Invisible Student: Understanding Social Identity Construction within Performing Ensembles
Ryan M. Hourigan
Hourigan, R. M. (2009). The invisible student: Understanding social identity construction within performing ensembles. Music Educators Journal, 34-38.
What interested me about this article would be reading about the suggestions the author writes to help promote social interaction between students through the life of an “invisible” student named Jason, in which being invisible is being socially challenged. These suggestions help create possible solutions for music teachers and band directors to use to fix the problems Jason goes through in his life as a musician in his high school band. These solutions not only help overcome Jason’s challenges, but also help raise awareness for all invisible students. I agree that it is important for invisible students to realize that they should not in any way feel invisible to others and that they always have the potential to easily interact amongst fellow students. However, it is also significant to note that these socially challenged student should be able to break out of their unsocial “bubble” and go at their own pace to prevent further insecurities. It should be up to the student if they are ready and comfortable enough to begin improving their social skills. What surprised, as well as frustrated, me the most about this article would be what Jason has to go through during his life as he was observed. His life appears to be very negative towards himself, in which he believes that he is alone and has no one to socialize with, in addition to occasional events of bullying. In the article, the author states: “In my research with Jason, I found that the students around him did not know him. Students can have a tendency to separate from students who are different.” After reading about what goes his daily life, I sympathize with Jason myself, as I also had a difficult time making friends during my first days of elementary school. I believe that the hardest challenge for me was what were kind of friends I wanted, which Jason may have also questioned himself about. What kind of friends would Jason want to have? It may be more helpful to learn more about Jason’s personality before pairing him with fellow students; perhaps finding a student who has similar traits as him or students outside of his band and music classrooms. Instead of hoping for the best for Jason, the people who know him should be able to take action themselves to help encourage him to find the same joy in others as he does in music. The author uses excellent suggestions to help produce both short and long-term resolutions to help these invisible students overcome their social challenges. I would like to ask the author that would it be of best interest for ensembles to do group events outside of music, in order to strengthen the bond amongst the members? By doing this, will it help invisible students such as Jason truly overcome the feeling of loneliness? What advice can be suggested to invisible students to help them slowly appeal to their classmates in the long-term?
February 4, 2018
Think Everything’s “Normal?” Then It’s Time to Reconsider and Promote a New Narrative of Disability
Serres, D. Think Everything’s “Normal?” Then It’s Time to Reconsider and Promote a New Narrative of Disability. Retrieved from http://organizingchange.org/think-everythings-normal-then-its-time-to-reconsider-and-promote-a-new-narrative-of-disability/
This article interested me with providing more insight regarding to this concept of the “culture of normalcy”; how it impacts many institutions and social groups within modern society. I enjoyed reading about these factors and made me think about things I would have never thought about that it was influenced by normalcy. However, what frustrated me about this article would be how the idea of a “normal” human being often views the ones with disabilities as different and out of place, implying that a disability is something that should be overcome, rather than have society adapt and accept, and suggest that the disabled should follow an almost realized “normal way of life”. For example, the media tends use the concept of the hero and the villain to stereotypically view people with disabilities as the ones, where the villains, the people with disabilities, are seen defeated by the heroes, the “normal”. The media portrays these conquered villains with having weaknesses that are exploited by the hero, linking to the discrimination of disability. I believe that such portrayal is a bad influence when it comes to communicating ideas about disabilities and that the representing media should create new ways to change how disability can be declared as. More specifically, in relation to the education system, where students are observed by teachers and education officials acknowledge their skills and competence, placing these “labels” that separate the average student from the ones with special disabilities. From my experience as a student, I was able to relate to this in which my grade 5 class in elementary school spent time with the students of the special education class, that is, the class for students with disabilities. Looking back at my past, I am surprised at how I was involved with something so significant that I was not paying any attention to. In this article, the author states: “The ‘Culture of Normalcy’ already has countless people trying to break it down, and replace it with values based on recognizing all people. We just have to keep pushing.” I believe that individuality is something very valuable to keep and should be acknowledged as not negative but as something interesting or intriguing, perhaps further informing our society what it means to have such disabilities. By doing this, there would be no need to have a way of life that is normal. With everyone having their own abilities and disabilities, our society is able to adapt towards accepting for who people are, regardless of what they can and cannot do. It was also very interesting to me to take note of the solutions we can take to help embrace people with disabilities. By doing this, the author helps the reader feel conscious of what they can do for themselves and encourages them to approach disabilities in a positive way. I think that these solutions are very helpful to reduce discrimination of disabilities and instead promotes them to strengthen the bond between the so called normal and not normal people of society. What I would like to ask the author would be that assuming that everyone do in fact perform all these actions, do you think that there will still be some form of discrimination towards people with disabilities? If so then why do you think that is? I would like to thank you for sharing this well written article.
February 25, 2018
Another Perspective: The iPad Is a REAL Musical Instrument
David A. Williams
Williams, D. A. (2014). Another Perspective The iPad Is a REAL Musical Instrument. Music Educators Journal, 101(1), 93-98.
What interested me the most about this article was how the author talks about the use of electronic devices such as iPads as musical instruments within ensembles. In addition to discussing topics that relate to the significance of iPads as instruments, the author compares its attributes to real musical instruments and how both require a person to operate. I believe that it is a good idea to provide students, who may be uninterested in music making or unable to play musical instruments correctly, with something other than an instrument that creates a new, creative way to produce music in the classroom; electronic devices provide ensembles with new sounds with the help of music applications teachers can download onto their iPads. By doing this, ensembles are able to make use of instruments they may not have been in possession of before and now enabled to expand their repertoire. However, what frustrated me in this article would be how using devices such as iPads may indeed stray off the tradition path of playing original music instruments; playing an instrument on a touch screen does not give the same experience as it would be playing the actual instrument. For example, if a student wanted to learn a guitar, they would practice strumming the strings as well as pressing down on the fretboard. On an iPad, students are restricted to only a compact touch screen, where they feel neither the strings or frets. In the article, the author states: “Although some might balk at considering the iPad a real musical instrument, the reality is that it offers myriad possibilities for ensemble playing and music learning.” This quote relates to the idea of how students are capable of obtaining more knowledge through the use of iPads, in addition to expanding the use of instruments, as discussed earlier. With iPads teachers are able to download applications that help students learn or practice ideas and concepts taught within the classroom, for example, such as musical pitches, chords, and notation. However, iPads may also serve as a possible distraction to the student’s learning experience, as electronic devices such as iPads are often used for entertainment purposes. As our technology advances in society, is it of best interest for the iPad to replace the traditional teaching methods through pen and paper? How would teachers incorporate using iPads without causing distraction amongst students. I appreciate how the author compares what the iPad and traditional instruments have in common, expressing his ideas to raise awareness to such a controversial topic.
March 18, 2018
Toward Convergence: Adapting Music Education to Contemporary Society and Participatory Culture
Evan S. Tobias
Tobias, E. S. (2013). Toward Convergence Adapting Music Education to Contemporary Society and Participatory Culture. Music Educators Journal, 99(4), 29-36.
I found this article to be interesting by how the author discusses the possible ways society engages with music themselves through a number of practices, such as arranging and covering, as well as how it impacts both music educators and students alike. I found this article well connected with Dr. Cayari’s workshop in which we got the opportunity to explore and experiment with a variety of music-making applications. I believe that using these practices to engage in such participatory culture is an excellent way for students to become intrigued with the learning process of teaching music, bringing out the potential of creativity and imagination within students. Furthermore, participatory culture does not only apply to people studying or have a career in music, but most likely anyone is able to partake in these practice, regardless of whether or not they do have musical experience or not; one of the practices include creating tutorials where people teach others how to recreate the music they wish to learn how to perform. What surprised and frustrated me the most about this article would be the consideration of Copyright and Fair Use of songs utilized by music educators. Having to go through such a complicated and confusing process just to receive permission to use a song in aspects such as the practices in participatory culture, in my opinion, seems unfair. In the article, the author explains: “It is critical that music educators dialogue with all parties affected by copyright law, fair use, and contemporary music practices to develop guidelines for moving forward. This means involving students in conversations and decisions related to their own and original creators’ rights when licensing music or corresponding with composers and rights holders about what they wish to do with original works.” If a song is to be released to the public domain, then the public should already have rights to utilizing a song. Besides economic and credential issues, what will the music industry gain from giving permission to songs released to the public? If a person purchases a song via physical or digital copy, then they should already have rights to the song. Does that mean that they still need to ask permission to use the song they purchased the rights for having it? I really enjoyed how the author provides great insight on expanding the creativity of music educators on a new, entertaining level of pedagogy for their students.