Finding Spaces for Collaborative Pedagogy
in Music Education
By Drew X Coles
Sponsored by Teachers College, Columbia University Master of Arts in Music and Music Education
Our field of music education is a realm that offers a unique opportunity for collaborative learning. This is because music is a social art form that requires individuals to work together to create and perform. Therefore, music education is an inherently collaborative pedagogical process, where teachers and students can work together to create an environment that encourages creative expression, musical exploration, and ultimately further collaboration.
Collaboration in music education involves a process where students and teachers work together to develop and achieve shared goals. This approach to teaching and learning is particularly important in music education because it allows students to develop a deeper understanding of widely used pedagogical standard measures of student learning outcomes while building important social and emotional skills such as communication, empathy, and leadership.
One way that music education can be collaborative is through ensemble-based learning. Collaborative approaches in the ensemble space involve students working together in groups to create and perform music. Ensemble-based learning requires students to develop their listening and communication skills as they learn to work together to create a cohesive musical performance. Through this process, students learn to collaborate, negotiate, and problem-solve as they work to create a shared musical vision.
Another way that music education can be collaborative is through composition-based learning. This approach involves students working together to compose their own music. Through this process, students learn to listen to one another, offer feedback, and work together to develop a shared musical vision from the ground up. Composition-based learning encourages students to take risks, experiment, and explore their creativity while learning to work collaboratively with others.
In addition to ensemble and composition-based learning, technology-based learning can also be a collaborative pedagogical process. Technology provides an opportunity for students and teachers to work together to create and manipulate music using digital tools. This approach to music education encourages students to develop their digital literacy skills while also learning to collaborate with others to achieve their musical goals.
“In order to create a collaborative pedagogical process in music education, teachers must be willing to embrace a student-centered approach to teaching.”
In order to create a collaborative pedagogical process in music education, teachers must be willing to embrace a student-centered approach to teaching. This means providing opportunities for students to take ownership of their learning, work collaboratively with others, and develop their own musical identities. Teachers can facilitate this process by creating a safe and supportive learning environment, providing opportunities for students to work together, and offering feedback that encourages growth and development.
In conclusion, music education can be a collaborative pedagogical process that encourages students to develop important social and emotional skills while also learning to create and perform music. Collaboration in music education requires teachers and students to work together to develop a shared musical vision, to develop a shared pedagogical vision, to communicate effectively, and to support one another in achieving their musical goals.
At Teachers College, we’re working very hard to create spaces that foster pedagogical collaboration. We believe that by embracing a student-centered approach to teaching, music educators can create an environment that encourages creative expression, musical exploration, and open collaboration, ultimately leading to a deeper and more meaningful musical learning experience.
About the author:
Drew X Coles is a producer, serial entrepreneur, educator, and scholar. Drew serves as a member of the faculty at Teachers College, Columbia University where he directs a hybrid graduate degree program in Music and Music Education and teaches courses in pedagogy, entrepreneurship, and production.
His scholarly interests include: the construct of success as it applies to post-secondary students, culturally responsive pedagogy in the music classroom, the use of technology in the applied studio, mentorship in music higher education, Jazz pedagogy, improvisation pedagogy, comprehensive musicianship coursework and curricula, artistic entrepreneurship, and quantitative research methods in music education.
Drew holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York at Potsdam, a Masters degree in Jazz Performance from Queens College of the City University of New York, and an M.B.A. from the Metropolitan College of New York. Drew earned his Doctorate in Music Education at Teachers College, Columbia University after defending his dissertation on the perceptions among musicians on the construct of career success. Additionally, Drew holds certificates in Strategic Management from the International Business Management Institute, Financial Markets from Yale University, Leading for equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education from the University of Michigan, and Disruptive Innovation from Harvard Business School.
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May 25, 2023. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)