Knowledge of musical experience

In last week’s blog (scroll down) I set out the eloquent testimony of one music teacher communicating her mission and vision for music in her school community. I will here highlight five themes.

1. Music is integral to the life and learning of the school.

‘And when by concentration and practice a performance hits its groove, music can activate a joy or elation in expression that can go on to inform and permeate achievement across the disciplines. This is why music can be – and I believe should be – at the centre of a learning community.’

Once music has a lively presence in the school the climate of the school is changed.

The idea of performance ‘hitting its groove’ suggests that it is this that is a key condition of successful and meaningful ongoing musical participation. The idea of being in the groove is a powerful one and a place where fluency of expression is found and where the learner comes to know that they are shaping themselves musically. This provides what Emily Crowhurst refers as particular form of knowledge or knowing – knowledge of musical experience. And this relies upon

2. Inclusive practice

There are established ensembles and their own ensembles.

‘I hope all our students can, in their own ways and at their own levels, access that aliveness that comes from performing a piece of music with enthusiasm and commitment.’

And upon

3. Creative instruction

I haven’t come across the term ‘creative instruction’ but I imagine a to-ing and fro-ing dialogue between teacher and student as a whole class pedagogy.

I suspect the idea of creative instruction is full of subtleties and nuances that may be difficult to codify. But we should try.

  1. Whole class singing

While the music programme thrives on diversity, differential access and a plurality of musical practices there is the core activity of whole class singing which all students of all ages participate in.

  1. The relational ethos

‘… listening to one another, trusting one another, and having fun with one another. All this happens when we bring music to one another – that is, when music brings us together.’

The school is small and all age. This is a very particular case and it remains for others to generalise as they wish from it.

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