Sunday, February 3, 2013

Week 3: What Should We Teach in Music Education?

The question of what we teach in music education is the source of much debate. Music teachers are often divided between teaching classical repertoire and teaching contemporary popular music. Band directors tend to favor the contemporary, as their discipline has only been around since the 1800’s. Orchestra teachers are often in favor of the classical masters (Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, etc.), because the orchestral genre has been around so much longer and stood the test of time.
    My philosophy is that a hybrid balance of classical repertoire mixed with contemporary music should be taught in our schools. As long as they piece presents a platform to teach music fundamentals, it should not matter what year it was written. Great teachers can infuse the culture of musical history into lessons, while relating it to modern day pop music to keep students interested. There is little chance of students in low-income urban areas relating to Mozart or any of the dead European composers. A teachers job is to differentiate material to different learning styles, through the best possible medium.
    Music must have a function in education and be adaptable to the environment. According to McCarthy & Goble, “functionalist approaches to music education emphasize teaching music in a way that supports the social, physical, moral, and intellectual development of a student in a community or society” (2002, p.9). I agree with this approach because it takes into account the demographic of the student. This is probably why Mariachi bands, Steel drum groups, and drum circles have become so popular; because the student can identify with the culture. I still believe that they need a fair amount of the classics, just to be introduced to a broad spectrum of musical styles.
    In the Philosophical Tenets of Aesthetic Education, Leonard & House state that “Music education should be cosmopolitan, employing all kinds of music and giving recognition to the value of all kinds of music” (Coursepack, p.41). This reinforces the idea that music education should not be focused on single styles or genres. In my own teaching, I will try to emphasize musical exploration, and model appreciation and acceptance of all styles. The concept of 4/4 time remains the same whether it is played by Mozart or The Beatles.

No comments:

Post a Comment