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On 16th May, music education expert, author and academic Gary Spruce will be leading a webinar for Musical Futures International all about teaching music musically and the connotations of the term ‘pedagogy’ in music education.
If you would like to join us then save the date and time, 16th May, 8.30pm AEST, 11.30am UK and all times in between!
You can register now by clicking HERE and even if you can’t join us on the day, everyone who registers will be able to access a paper outlining the aims of the webinar and a link to watch the video back afterwards. There will also be an opportunity to discuss any issues arising in our Musical Futures Facebook group at one of our regular Wednesday chats.
Teaching music musically: what's the problem with pedagogy?
In this post and during the webinar, I want to make the case for ‘pedagogy’ as fundamental to effective music education. I define pedagogy as ‘the theory and practice of teaching’ and that music teaching is at its best where there is a strong relationship between theory (either implicitly or explicitly understood) and practice.
Much of the ambivalence towards ‘pedagogy’ as a concept stems from a suspicion of theory as abstract and disconnected from practice. However, I will argue that all teaching is underpinned by ‘theory’ and that practice represents the working out of theoretical perspectives. The important thing then is that the underpinning theory should be ‘good theory’. For me, good theory is that which provides a framework for music to be taught musically.
To get us started, I put forward as a an example of a ‘good theory’ the principles proposed by Keith Swanwick in his article, , ‘The ‘’good-enough’’ Music Teacher’ (Swanwick, 2008), written for the British Journal of Music Education.
Click here to read the article
This article builds on a chapter in his book ‘Teaching Music Musically’ (1999) where he proposes three principles for music education which are applicable for most teachers in whatever setting they are working. These principles are:
The BJME article adds to these ‘awareness of context’ as a fourth principle. However, it is the first three principles that I would like to focus on.
Taken together, the three principles provide a theoretically underpinned practice (a pedagogy) which helps to ensure that music teaching remains musical.
I look forward to a lively and interesting debate not just about this article but about the importance of ‘pedagogy’.
In preparation for the webinar, it would be useful if participants could read the article which can be found here. However in case you do not have time to do this, all who register will be provided with a summary and commentary of the three principles ahead of the session.
Gary Spruce was a secondary school music teacher for 17 years before joining the Open University as subject leader for their Music PGCE course. He left the Open University in 1996 and is now a visiting lecturer in music education at Birmingham City University and academic consultant at Trinity College, London. From 2007-2012 he was co-editor of the British Journal of Music Education. He has written and published widely on music education particularly around the areas of teacher education and professional development, music education and social justice, and has presented papers at national and international conferences. He is a practising musician with a particular interest in music theatre.
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