September 19, 2013 at 8:13 pm #29201
An area of interest for me is composition and how to engage music educators who haven’t been taught to compose or to engage students in composition activities. I believe it must begin with teacher ed, so for 8 years I’ve had a composition mentor to assist my college students in music theory class so that when they go out to teach they will have had the experience twice (theory II and IV) to compose with a professional composer. Our university offers composition, but music ed students don’t generally have time in their schedules to take it. We work composing into a variety of courses within the program so that they have personal experience with it from a variety of perspectives. For example, in elementary methods this week, I had students research various special needs and strategies to include them in their classrooms. Instead of a paper or presentation, they had to compose a song educating the rest of the class about these special students. It was great fun and they all learned more from that (IMHO) than from a blog or a discussion. Some students found it awkward, but did it anyway. Some found that songwriting was a natural for them and they were able to shine, when perhaps a writing assignment would be awkward for them. Being aware of students strengths and weaknesses can help them be leaders in their own way. Composing is one way for some to lead.
What are you doing to support composition in the classroom or in teacher education? Let’s talk!September 20, 2013 at 10:15 am #29212
I think what often scares music educators away from composing is this idea of mastery. I think it would be helpful to include more creativity/composition in general at the undergraduate level in music education methods courses. Instead of seeing composition as only large scale works that “follow the rules,” it might be helpful for students to be able to experiment and improvise within many different frameworks. Thank you for bringing up this issue!September 22, 2013 at 9:19 am #29278
Exactly, Sarah! I hope other methods teachers will join in this discussion, because I think it all starts with the new generation of teachers. How can we fit it all in to the curriculum in teacher ed? There’s a lot to try to cover and we realize that it’s about half of what a masterful teacher needs to know. The rest has to come from experience. We do have some influence in the teacher ed classroom over attitude. If our students believe they can lead successful creative experiences, then they are more apt to continue the practice in the field.September 24, 2013 at 10:44 am #29311
At Temple University, we have a course called “collaboration and creativity” that is required for Undergraduate music education majors where they do a lot of composition, songwriting, and improvisation. I had the privilege of teaching the course for a year and it was fun to see so many students come out of their comfort zone. I think we need more courses like that which emphasize experimentation in music. Also, I think it’s important to include it in all courses! Like you said, there is so much to cover. But, if we think of the national standards, there is so much more to music education than reading and performing music. We are expected to model listening, analyzing, improvising, creating, writing, etc. Like you said, if undergraduates never experience these diverse forms of music making, they may be unlikely to implement them in their practice.October 1, 2013 at 11:55 am #29726
The course in collaboration and creativity sounds great but as mentioned earlier, there is so much to cover and our curriculum is tight. I know that we can not add a stand alone class, so I weave creativity and composition through my methods courses. I am also working on ideas to introduce composing as part of the vocal pedagogy class but I’m still working on the details. Finally, I am also thinking of bringing in a special guest for one of our Collegiate NAfME meetings who could focus on creativity.October 1, 2013 at 11:56 am #29727
The course in collaboration and creativity sounds great but as mentioned earlier, there is so much to cover and our curriculum is tight. I know that we can not add a stand alone class, so I weave creativity and composition through my methods courses. I am also working on ideas to introduce composing as part of the vocal pedagogy class but I’m still working on the details. Finally, I am thinking of bringing in a special guest for one of our Collegiate NAfME meetings who could focus on creativity. I’m curious, K-12 music teachers, how do you use composing with your students? When do you rely on your own compositional skills?October 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm #29941
I’d really like to hear from other teachers in the field as well. Barbara Freedman has written an outstanding book (Teaching Music Through Composition: A Curriculum Using Technology; Oxford University Press; ISBN13: 9780199840618) in which she outlines a curriculum that is sequential and which comes from her experience of what “works.” What an excellent resource!
Another resource that I’m using this year to promote the mentoring program is Inside Music (https://www.myinsidemusic.com/), a new web-based composition curriculum site for purchase. One teacher subscription includes 150 students. Lessons feature beginner, intermediate, and advanced composition lessons that are not necessarily technology-based, but are very musical in their presentation. I hope to “hook” some young composers with that. I will also use it with my theory I students, as most of them do not have any composition experience. Begin at the beginning!
- The forum ‘Innovations: Home for innovative ideas in all areas of music education, including emerging ensembles (i.e. world and popular music) and digital media’ is closed to new topics and replies.