Tag Archive: Music

Artistic beginnings: A case study of everyday arts usage in one preschool’s classrooms (Education Papers posted on March 24th, 2013 )

This qualitative case study in one nursery school setting identifies the everyday music, drama, dance, and visual art practices of classroom teachers and the reasons behind these practices. IT also examines the formal and informal background and education of the teachers to determine if these factors play a role in their use of the arts. Through questionnaires, interviews, observations, journals, lesson plan analysis and arts activity logs, three teachers were intensively examined with five others participating to a lesser extent. Overall teachers were found to use visual art and music more than drama and dance; however, they used visual art in different ways and for different reasons than music. While visual art and drama were more creative in that children were allowed to create their own artwork, music activities were primarily made up of whole group singing and helped children transition from one activity to another or learn class routines. Dance was utilized the least and often grew out of the music in the form of motions or gestures. Both teachers’ formal education as well as their own childhood arts experiences were found to influence their approach to teaching the arts in their classroom. Although teachers in this study were highly educated with most having or working towards a graduate degree, few had any classes instructing them on how to best utilize the arts with young children. This study revealed an array of reasoning behind using the arts in the classroom including addressing different learning styles and needs, teaching or reinforcing other subject areas, for socialization purposes, helping children learn routines, and engaging or focusing their behavior. The study recommends that more opportunities be made available for musical and movement-based exploration or play in the classroom, and that teachers be given some guidance in what developmental growth looks like in each art form so that they may best facilitate opportunities for children to construct knowledge in these areas. Additionally, early childhood teacher training programs should reexamine their arts education requirements as teachers of young children spend so much of their day using these materials and are often given little preparation.

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Teaching jazz concepts in the vocal jazz ensemble rehearsal (Education Papers posted on March 19th, 2013 )

The inherent difficulty with any student vocal jazz ensemble is the time needed for students to master their parts. Many directors are wary of teaching jazz concepts in rehearsal for fear they will not have time to prepare for performance. The goal of this project is to provide directors possible ways to efficiently incorporate important aspects of jazz styles—namely rhythmic feel, song form, improvisation, and harmony—into the rehearsal by showing connections between these concepts and the literature the ensemble is learning. Doing so will benefit students musically, and result in better performances of their repertoire. These improved performances will come as a result of students being more competent and confident in jazz style. Through the investigation of written material on vocal jazz pedagogy and an in-depth consideration of four contrasting arrangements, this paper will present ways to incorporate fundamental aspects of the jazz idiom into the rehearsal setting.

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No Child Left Behind: Determining the impact of policy on music education (Education Papers posted on March 17th, 2013 )

The purpose of this study was to ascertain the impact of No Child Left Behind on music education in the State of Ohio. To accomplish this goal, the researcher sought to determine the attitude toward music education among Ohios public school principals and the relative status of the music programs in their schools since the passing of this federal legislation. Survey research methods were employed to obtain the necessary data. A 25-item questionnaire was created by the researcher, validated by experts, and pilot tested with a small group of Ohio principals. Ten Likert-type items were utilized to measure principals attitudes while the remaining items helped the researcher determine the relative status of music programs with regard to staffing, student access, instructional time, and course offerings. The questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 246 public school principals in Ohio. Usable returns were received from 179 principals, resulting in a response rate of 73%. The overall attitude toward music education among Ohio principals was favorable. On a scale ranging from 6 to 36, the mean attitudinal score among principals was 25.1 with a standard deviation of 3.1. Significant differences between the attitudes of principals serving in “excellent” or “effective” schools and the principals of “academic watch” or “academic emergency” schools were revealed. When considering the expectation of principals that music teachers devote some of their instructional time to other subjects, 43% of Ohios music programs record a weaker status since the passage of No Child Left Behind. Finally, testimonials provided by several principals confirm that No Child Left Behind remains a contributing factor in principals policy decisions that affect music education.

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Balinese gender wayang performance technique: A pedagogical system for the non-Balinese scholar (Education Papers posted on March 17th, 2013 )

Balinese gender wayang shadow play music) performance technique was investigated using information acquired through traditional oral transmission. This information was confirmed by analysing video footage of the Balinese gender wayang master, Bapak I Wayan Loceng, of the village of Sukawati, Gianyar district, Bali, Indonesia, who passed away in 2006. Preliminary performance issues were examined including instruments, mallets, performance setting, seating and posture, and mallet grip. Gender wayang playing technique was examined in terms of physical movements, which were organized into categories including the Basic stroke, Basic dampening, interval movements, special techniques and mallet trajectory. This was done by analysing transcriptions of traditional repertoire. Technical categories were ordered according to a logical pedagogical progression. Balinese music pedagogy was investigated, including traditional maguru panggul teaching with the mallet) pedagogy, Locengs adaptations to traditional Balinese pedagogy, and recommendations for gender wayang pedagogy outside Bali. Issues of transcription and notation were investigated. The polos part of the traditional piece, Tulang Lindung, was transcribed into Western notation and analysed in detail with an emphasis on performance technique, musical construction and pedagogy. Exercises were developed in each technical category to aid in technical development. Results were organised according to a logical pedagogical progression and presented as a comprehensive guide to assist in the development of the non-Balinese gender wayang musician.

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Early solo works for the piano by three contemporary Chinese-American composers: Performance analysis and pedagogical perspectives (Education Papers posted on March 17th, 2013 )

Music is a universal language. IT traverses geographical boundaries, political differences, language barriers, ethnic backgrounds, and cultural traditions. As a result of instantaneous global communication, the twenty-first century musical world, in particular, has become an exciting avenue of exchange and a cultural melting pot for musicians of different backgrounds, experiences, and influences. Chinese-American composers Tan Dun b. 1957), Lu Pei b. 1956), and Chen Yi b. 1953), stand as excellent representatives of this new generation that seeks to explore and bridge musical traditions. Their music is a natural hybrid of tradition and avant-garde, technology and natural sounds, classical and popular practices, Eastern and Western elements. The selected solo piano works by the three composers in this monograph reveal early compositional and cultural influences in the composers musical growth. Stylistic analysis of each work is presented with emphasis on performance interpretation. Parameters of the analysis include overall form and dramatic shape, general characteristics, motivic development, harmonic and melodic organization, and diversity of rhythm and texture. The synthesis of Chinese elements and Western techniques in the works will be surveyed. IT is the authors intention that this analysis will impose a more comprehensive understanding of the music, resulting in a convincing interpretation. Pedagogical perspectives of the works discussed in the monograph serve as general suggestions for teachers in assisting their adventurous students to survey this creative repertoire by these contemporary Chinese-American composers.

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Story of Jephtah: An oratorio by Giacomo Carissimi. English translation and dramatic staging (Education Papers posted on March 16th, 2013 )

Although the Latin oratorio Jephtah by Giacomo Carissimi 1605-74) is well known to the scholarly and musicological communities, the work has remained relatively inaccessible to general audiences in the United States for a variety of reasons. The lengthy Latin text poses problems for inexperienced church and school singers in the United States, most of whom neither read nor understand Latin. Moreover, many American church congregations and school concert audiences lack the musical sophistication required to follow an English translation in a concert program while simultaneously assimilating a complex work such as Jephtah, leaving them with an incomplete sense of the drama and religious themes of the libretto. This is true even of a relatively sophisticated group such as the Eastern Arizona College A Cappella Choir who I conducted for my lecture-recital performance of Jephtah. In short, the challenge of language provides an obstacle that distances general audiences and many singers from the emotional impact of the story. The research undertaken for my lecture-recital and the accompanying document has suggested the following solutions to these problems. The scope and drama of Jephtah can be rendered more accessible to performers and audiences if the oratorio is performed in a fluent English translation that respects the word placement and the meaning of the original text while capturing the energy and drama of Carissimis musical setting. The power and expression of Carissimis music can be realized through historically-informed vocal production in the choir. The instrumentalists can be trained to accurately perform seventeenth-century continuo realization. To strengthen the understandability and impact of the drama and the religious themes of the story, I staged the oratorio with blocking, gestures, costumes, and properties. Although no systematic attempt was made to assess in impact of this manner of performance upon the ensemble or the audience, this approach to performance appeared to be well received by both. This success suggests that this is an effective way to introduce general audiences to this work.

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The effect of instruction with song-related tonal patterns on second graders’ pitch reading accuracy (Education Papers posted on March 15th, 2013 )

Second grade students N = 193) in three urban elementary schools in Pennsylvania received sightsinging instruction for 15 sessions of general music classes, each 25 minutes in length. The children read notation and sang four-note tonal patterns, with one new pattern presented each session and all previously learned patterns practiced at the beginning and end of each session. During each session a new song with an activity was learned by rote and sung. In the 16th session all 15 patterns were reviewed. Independent variables included instructional treatment, school, and sex. Variations in instructional treatment included singing the patterns with solfege or loo, and singing a related or unrelated song. Related songs used the pattern as the first four notes of the song. The following four treatment conditions were randomly assigned to classrooms: 1) solfege/related song; 2) solfege/unrelated song; 3) loo/related song; 4) loo/unrelated song. The children were individually tested at three points in time on their ability to read and sing the patterns: a pretest prior to instruction; a posttest after the 16 sessions; and a retention test that followed an additional eight weeks of no sightsinging instruction. For each test, the children sightsang patterns learned in class familiar patterns) and 10 patterns which had not been practiced unfamiliar patterns) to assess the ability to transfer learning. Sightsinging performance was evaluated for pitch and contour accuracy. Also examined were correlations of sightsinging scores with pitch matching, tonal discrimination using the IMMA, school ability using the Otis-Lennon Test, and reading fluency using Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills DIBELS). The instruction resulted in a significant improvement in sightsinging achievement. Nonsignificant differences from posttest to retention test for all treatment groups indicated that students performance in sightsinging remained statistically stable. Significant improvement in singing unfamiliar patterns indicated that skills transferred. Treatment effectiveness differed according to pattern type. For familiar patterns, contour accuracy scores were significantly higher in the solfege condition. For unfamiliar patterns, however, contour accuracy scores were significantly higher in the loo condition. Learning related songs during instruction had no significant effect on students ability to sightsing the patterns. Pitch matching correlated highly with sightsinging note accuracy, but moderately with contour accuracy. Sightsinging scores correlated moderately with IMMA and school ability scores.

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Facilitating praxial music education at the East Boston youth center, Zumix (Education Papers posted on March 14th, 2013 )

Zumix is a small nonprofit organization located in a low income area of East Boston that offers after-school music programs to youth. Program facilitators and participants explore a variety of musical genres and music processes that range from hip-hop beatmaking and songwriting classes to four-part vocal choirs and folk and popular music ensembles. The praxis-based pedagogy at Zumix creates an educational paradigm that accounts for the varied, changing, and in-between states of music-culture at the organization. This study is based on fieldwork as an assistant administrator, youth mentor, evaluator, and program co-facilitator at Zumix between fall 2005 and spring 2008. The thesis examines the relevance of music education pedagogy to the field of ethnomusicology to demonstrate how praxis oriented music education facilitates community and personal growth for youth across ethnic and racial lines.

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Going back “Into the Woods”: Mentoring in a community youth theater program (Education Papers posted on March 13th, 2013 )

My final creative project was an original production of the musical Into the Woods by Stephan Sondheim, a project in which the power of mentoring youth and role-modeling is combined with effective education in the performing arts. I implemented a formal mentoring component within Canandaigua Youtheatre, a community theatre camp, in which a group of older, more experienced high school students created a collaborative mentor relationship with a group of younger adolescents. Over the previous years I had mentored a group of students who are now completing high school. This year, I encouraged my mentees to mentor a younger student and help them create the same characterization in the musical. The younger students portrayed the character in Act 1 and the older students portrayed the same character in Act 2. I reached out to a multi-aged and inclusive group of dedicated musical theatre students, their families, and their larger community. I developed insights about what worked well, how IT did so, and the most important things I learned as an educator and artistic director. These things were the relationships, inclusion, and the artistic choices to support them.

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Characteristics of music education programs in public schools of Jamaica (Education Papers posted on March 10th, 2013 )

The purpose of this study was to assess the characteristics of music education in Jamaican public schools and to investigate possible inequalities in access to music education programs based on school level, school locale, and school enrollment. A questionnaire, gathering information on a broad range of educational factors related to the music programs and music teachers was sent to the 977 public schools in the country. Of the 320 schools that replied, 105 offered music programs. Follow-up interviews were conducted with 25 selected music teachers from schools with music programs. Schools were classified as elementary or secondary, rural or urban, and small or large. Music programs existed in approximately a third of public schools in Jamaica, mainly in secondary, urban, and large schools. Teachers in these groups were predominantly male and music specialists, while teachers in elementary, rural, and small schools were mainly classroom teachers, female, and had been teaching for significantly longer than their counterparts. Approximately 10% of teachers providing music instruction reported not having any formal training in music. Secondary, urban, and large schools had more choral programs and entered a higher number of pieces in competitions than their counterparts. Music examinations of the Caribbean Examination Council were done in only a few secondary schools and most students were successful. Respondents generally considered resources and facilities for music programs inadequate, and viewed colleagues, administration and parents as being supportive of music programs, but considered the national government to be unsupportive. Most teachers had not encountered students with disabilities in their music classes. This study is timely within the context of current initiatives in education in the country such as the Reform of Secondary Education program and the report by the Task Force on Educational Reform in Education. IT is hoped that deficiencies will be addressed to continue the long tradition of a vibrant music culture in Jamaica, and to ensure access to high quality music programs for every child.

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