29 SES 07, Alternative pedagogies in music education
Although several authors defend a shift to a more “music centred” and praxial approach to music teaching (Swanwick, 1999; Sloboda, 2055; Finney, 1999; Elliot, 1995), in Portugal we still assist to a system that maintains a traditional teaching practice, labelled by Sloboda as a type of teaching where “emphasis is on reproduction of musical artworks within the formal classical tradition” (2005:278). These authors characterize this kind of teaching as a pedagogical context where teachers affirm their superior knowledge and where most of the students don’t get significance and, in some cases, experience anxiety and humiliation (Sloboda, 2005:271) instead of being engaged in relevant musical experiences. In reaction to this kind of teaching, Elliot (1995) suggests the praxial approach to music teaching, defending that students should be able to perform, improvise, compose, arrange and conduct (1995:40). This approach is also defended by other authors that value the musical transactions between “musicers” instead of theoretical knowledge about music or a music teaching system that is focused in music listening or the replication of traditional repertoire.
Between October 2014 and May 2016 an action-research project with students from a music school in Portugal was carried out. This project intended to reflect about alternative pedagogical and artistic approaches in musical vocational teaching system in Portugal, and the changes that a traditional music teacher needs to make in his practice to put his students engaging in authentic, meaningful and rewarding music making. A more egalitarian relation between teacher and students in an exploratory context is required, and to the teacher and students is asked a more active posture and willingness to take risks and to construct, collectively, a new way to engage with music making based in problem-solving strategies. In the basis of this approach is the concept of "emancipation" of the students defended by Rancière and Freire’s idea of non-passive educator, claiming that the teacher’s attitude "implies decision, choices, intervention in the reality". (Freire, 1996:77). After having presented in ECER 2015 the preliminary conclusions of the first phase of an ongoing PhD project, this paper intends to reflect on the final conclusions of the project, that will be discussed and integrated in the future thesis.
The “praxial” approach defended by Elliot is opposed to a music education philosophy that “undervalue the process dimension of music: the actions of artistic and creative music making”, focusing in “the perception and contemplation of things rather than their creation – looking, listening or reading rather than making” (Elliott, 1995:30). Trying to explore alternatives we will use an approach we call “performative practice” or “engaged practice”. Naidu (2014:459) says that “Effective and engaged teaching practices are those that recognise the importance of making real world connections between the subject material taught, and the students’ experiences, through ‘engaged’ teaching and working to encourage the student to become reflexive and critical thinking societal participants.” It’s intended that students take the leading role in exploring and giving ideas to music creation, through improvisation, composing and conducting. Being those students already a product of several years of music learning in the “classical conservatoire tradition”, there is already resistance to new methods in the classroom, mainly the possibility to expand to new sonorities and to try different musical approaches in a collaborative setting. This “musical collaboration provides opportunities for children to expand upon their individual musical potential […] structuring creative music products in meaningful ways with minimal intervention from adults.”(Beegle, 2010:220)
BEEGLE, A. C. (2010). A Classroom-Based Study of Small-Group Planned Improvisation With Fifth-Grade Children. Journal of Research in Music Education 2010 58(3) 219:239 in http://online.uncg.edu/courses/mue704/readings/unit5/Beegle2010.pdf ELLIOT, D. (1995). Music Matters: A New Philosophy of Music Education. New York: Oxford University Press. FINNEY, J. (1999). The rights and wrongs of school music: considering the expressivist argument and its existential component. British Journal of Music Education (1999) 16:3, 237±44 FREIRE, P. (1996) Pedagogia da Autonomia: saberes necessários à prática educativa. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra. HALLAM, S. & CREECH, A., (Editors) (2010). Music Education in the 21st Century in the United Kingdom - Achievements, analysis and aspirations. Bedford Way Papers. Institute of Education, University of London NAIDU, M. (2014). Engaged Pedagogy and Performative Teaching: Examples from Teaching Practice Internationa Journal Edu Sci, 6(3): 459-468. RANCIÈRE, J. (2002). O mestre ignorante – Cinco lições sobre a emancipação intelectual. Belo Horizonte: Autentica SLOBODA, J. A. (2005). Exploring the musical mind: Cognition, emotion, ability, function. Oxford: Oxford University Press - LIVRO SWANWICK, K. (1999). Teaching Music Musically. Routledge, 1999
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