Teaching Music in Secondary Schools: A Reader

Teaching Music in Secondary Schools: A Reader

Teaching Music in Secondary Schools: A Reader

Teaching Music in Secondary Schools: A Reader

Synopsis

Teaching Music in Secondary Schools is the accompaniment to its practical-based counterpart in this series Aspects in Teaching Secondary Music . Together they form a comprehensive resource for those engaged with Initial Teacher Training and Continuing Professional Development in Music. Through this reader, student teachers and practising teachers will be introduced to the big issues and ideas abounding in music teaching today. As Gary Spruce puts it himself: if this book were to have a subtitle it would be 'Ways of Thinking About Music'. Our conception of what music is is a crucial factor in defining what we consider important subject knowledge to be, and by implication affects how we design our curriculum, what we teach and the way we teach it. This key text will prove invaluable in the advancement of teachers' and subsequently pupils' understanding of music and its applications.

Excerpt

If this book were to have a subtitle, it might well be 'Ways of thinking about music'. For, although only the first chapter explicitly addresses this issue, many others have, as a kind of subtext, an awareness that: 'the way in which we think about music - our understanding of its nature and purpose - is most significant for our role as music educators. Our conception of what music is is a crucial factor in defining what we consider important subject knowledge to be, and by implication affects how we design our curriculum, what we teach and the way in which we teach it' (Spruce: Chapter 1).

This theme is continued in Chapter 2 where, following a brief overview of the changes in British music education over the last hundred years, Stephanie Pitts demonstrates how 'a clearer understanding of the past can inform our perceptions of contemporary music education'. She demonstrates this by considering from a historical perspective two perennial issues in music education: the teaching of notation and the place of popular music in the curriculum.

In Chapter 3, Lucy Green considers how certain sociological concepts can aid our understanding of various issues in music and music education. In the abstract to the original article (Green 1999) she describes how the chapter focuses on two main areas: first, ' the organization of musical activities - the production, distribution and reception of music by a variety of social groups'; and second, the social construction of musical meaning' - what music means, how it addresses those meanings and how those meanings are reproduced, contested and changed' (op. cit.) The chapter concludes by looking at how the concepts discussed can 'inform research in the sociology of music education'.

It is important that music teachers are aware of musical and pedagogical traditions other than their own and 'whether we in England may have something to learn from the systems and strategies adopted elsewhere'. In Chapter 4, Janet Hoskyns considers music education from a European perspective. She begins by looking at a number of music education ideologies, demonstrating how these map onto both western European traditions of schooling and reflect national traditions of education and schooling. She goes on to examine how tensions between the music curriculum and what is considered 'worthwhile knowledge' and between music outside and inside the classroom are resolved in a number of European countries, concluding that 'the ways in which this occurs are very variable and varied across the European continent'.

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