This article documents findings from a study trip to Nova Scotia by four Music educators from Singapore. I found it relevant to my primary inquiry question as it focuses on student-centred learning experiences in Music Education. So much of the Inquiry process is based on the assumption that “the one who does the work does the learning” and this article discusses this idea along with engagement and ownership of the subject matter. While these principles are not unique to Music education, the article goes on to document specific activities in differently graded Music classes showing the opportunities for students to make their own musical choices and, in turn, develop their creativity. The article is very thorough and easy to follow – particular with the use of annotated lesson plans that highlight each step of the learning. While it does not seem to present anything new, it is useful to see such specific discussion of musical content.
Garnett’s article is neither pro nor against Inquiry principles, but provides an interesting argument on behaviourist verses constructivist approaches in Music Education. He also discusses the disconnect between curriculum and the pedagogy through which it is taught. In more recent years, student-centred approaches to learning Music focus on creativity, experimentation and more popular forms of music; however, there is a valid argument that this focus values self-expression over technique and skill. The skill in learning a musical instrument, for example, is by its very nature more of a behaviourist approach, but Garnett argues that constructivist ideas can be useful in the teaching of more general musicianship and creative exploration rather than technical skill. This article is very useful in providing alternative viewpoints to Inquiry learning approaches to Music education and in objectively discussing the intricacies of opposing pedagogies and paradigms.
I've included this resource in my collection as I am inspired by Kath Murdoch's views and approach and think her twitter feed is a "must-see" resource for Inquiry learning ideas. Her feed contains many relevant and interesting articles on Inquiry learning and other related areas of student-centred learning and thinking routines. Many of her followers send images of innovative ideas or processes from their own classrooms and she will frequently re-tweet interesting or relevant articles. This resource provides a variety of practice-based examples and while it is not specifically relevant to Music Education, the principles of Inquiry that she discusses are all elements that can be incorporated into any classroom with some clever planning, motivation and opportunity.
This article on adolescent music students was particularly relevant not only to my focus question but also to current projects that I have been working on with my students. It discusses the crucial role popular music plays in allowing students to relate to the content, form social identity and collaborate with like-minded students. Through allowing students to choose their own repertoire and projects, they develop a stronger sense of ownership and ultimately the meaning-making that occurs during the process is more meaningful. The article explores concepts of co-operative Inquiry learning while connecting with other students and teachers in a very important way. It is another important resource that discusses elements of Inquiry Learning with regards to Music as it further justifies the ways Inquiry principles are interwoven in the fabric of musical pedagogy.
This article provides a much needed insight into Inquiry and guided learning principles in early years Music education. You only need to walk in to early year’s classrooms to see that Music is intrinsically linked in almost every activity they do. From greeting the teacher to learning by rote, music, and singing in particular, is used extensively. This paper focuses on the music making activities in two Queensland Kindergartens, so the geographical relevance is important here. The concept of children being active participants in collaborative learning with adults and peers is mentioned which is again an important element of the Inquiry process. While not particularly relevant to my main search question, I found the discussion on reforms to early year’s education in Australia in very recent years. As the mother of a two year old myself, I am concerned at the increased formality of early childhood education and I appreciated that this article discusses the important of allowing young children to be creative and explore the world around them and the music making opportunities that exist.
This is a very current (2015) and relevant article on the increasing integration of technology and online interactions with face-to-face, teacher-led instruction, or “Blended Learning” in Music Education. The article is another important addition to the research on the needs of 21st Century learners and the increasing focus on Inquiry models of learning that develop students’ self-efficacy and teach students how to reflect and self-assess their progress. The portability of current hand-held devices and the social nature of on-line learning, (though somewhat ironic), are discussed in relation to the needs of 21st century learners and the move away from traditional, teacher-led models of instruction. This article discusses four case studies involving specific music education projects that I found to be very relevant and helpful in my exploration of the use of Inquiry learning principles in the Music classroom. The approaches focus on learning as the “exploration of a topic” and allowed the teacher to be the guide rather than the person to transfer knowledge. One of the case studies of a Year 7 class learning keyboard skills runs almost identically to my current Year 7 class, where the students have access to files and resources and can work through the keyboard skills at their own place and in their own time, leading to the teacher being more available to help students on a one-to-one basis. It was interesting to see scholarly literature argue the benefits of processes that my colleagues and I have spent time recently developing.
I really enjoyed a number of chapters from this book. Many of the contributors are local Brisbane based academic professionals and their writing covers many aspects that relate specifically to learning principles and Music education. All arts disciplines as specified by the Australian curriculum are discussed in an early child hood context (Art, Drama, Music, Media and Dance), along with general arts contexts, diversity and the many benefits of cultural experiences for young children. The chapter on Media and ICT integration raises some interesting points regarding student ownership of learning and shared responsibility. Margaret Barrett’s chapter titled “Belonging, being and becoming musical” discusses authentic early childhood music education and ways children learn. The text is a wonderful example of the importance of arts education in early childhood and how it helps develop the whole child.
This is a very relevant article from “MindShift” that is based on a presentation and question-and-answer session given by the Principal of the Science Leadership Academy public high school in Philadelphia. Their Inquiry based approach to learning has become a model that other schools aspire to. One great quote from the article is “In a true inquiry-based model, how learning happens isn’t as important as whether that learning encourages students to try to learn even more.” This statement resonated with me as I have always thought my own educational philosophy involved developing life-long learners, but was I always really teaching in a way that promoted this authentically? The article also draws on some of the drawbacks of the Inquiry based curriculum, such as the difficulty in administering that accurately measure progress and allow students to reach state and national benchmarks. In this era of accountability, educators need to be able to balance the learning benefits of an Inquiry based philosophy with the reality of stakeholder expectations and standardised testing, such as NAPLAN and the senior external examinations that will be introduced in Queensland in the coming year.
This article on the integration of Inquiry-based music education with the Kodàly method begins on page 7 of this journal. Sheila Scott discussed many aspects of Inquiry in the music classroom, nothing that students gain musical understanding and develop skills through their active engagement in the content, teachers and peers, rather than passively absorbing information from their teachers. The Kodaly approach supports this in many ways as it is an aural approach that trains the musical ear and requires students to interact and respond musically (through singing and/or the use of hand signals depicting pitch) to show understanding. I was very interested to see where this article went, as to my previous knowledge, the Kodaly approach seems to support opposing ideals to Inquiry Learning approaches as it is so heavily teacher directed and based on repertoire that has little to no relevance to current student’s lives or experience. However, Scott focuses on the teacher questioning and student analysis of content after the teacher has presented it. These are usually on a smaller scale, but these ideas do involve student collaboration and discussion and teachers facilitating learning experiences. Scott discusses the importance of educators not relying solely on traditional closed questioning methods of instruction, such as “what instrument do you hear” and allow more opportunities for open-ended questioning and allowing students to generate their own questions, thus moving to a deeper level of understanding.
I have included this source as it is an excellent resource on some of the tools available for Music teachers who wish to facilitate true Guided learning experiences. The concept of "Flipping the Music Classroom" places emphasis on guided learning as students utilise amazing resources and technology that enables them to progress through learning practical skills at their own rate and in their own time. This frees up class time with the teacher for more meaningful activities and allows for more one-on-one instruction and nurturing. Peer feedback can also be utilised as students can record their progress and upload videos of themselves to create opportunities for growth. The “MusicEdu” programs also incorporate progress checks and quizzes so that students can check their understanding as well as encouraging the students to think and act as composers, producers, audio engineers etc through the interaction with the technology and resources provided.