Music Education in P-12 Schools to Learn From Each Other

Music Education in P-12 Schools to Learn From Each Other

Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2063-5.ch008
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This chapter describes cases of music teaching and learning from Pre-K-12 schools. As a trait of book, instead of focusing on how-to instruction and technical aspects of music teaching, the author puts a special emphasis on music learning in a social context. Both music and music education consist of social interaction among learners, teachers, and community members. This process is especially unique to music because we always learn from each other and perceive music in a shared sense. The author wishes you also learn from these cases and implement the idea of your practice for students to learn from each other.
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This chapter aims to illustrate a critical practice of music education in P-12 schools to learn from each other. First, the author would like to depict a negative case of musical activity that he recently encountered in a public elementary school in Japan. There is a problem that the author often sees music classes lacking musical atmosphere and quality music teaching like the case below.

When I visited to observe a general music class at a public elementary school in Japan, I was frustrated because their musical instruction was way too rigid and there was no musical interaction among students. The class was controlled by an experienced teacher strictly, and all the students were supposed to line up quietly in several straight lines on the stage to start singing activity. Although they had been lined up straight already, the teacher was not satisfied with the students' behavior. The teacher was standing on the podium in front of 40 children with a stiff face, and waiting for every student to pay attention to the teacher. Some boys were moving their hands so the teacher criticized by saying, “We cannot start singing because few of you guys are still moving your hands.”

About 15 minutes later, finally, the assistant teacher started playing a prelude of the song on the piano. The teacher who played the piano part seemed very anxious. By accident, she made a mistake on the first note, so she stopped her playing. She said “I am sorry,” and started playing the prelude from the beginning once more and went on this time. When she got through playing the prelude, and some children started singing the beginning of the song. The song was Do Re Mi from the Sound of Music. The main teacher on the podium stopped entire singing and piano playing, and told them, “You shouldn’t sing until I say go. You guys have to wait because there is a short greeting to the audience there. Go ahead.” Then, a boy stood in a center spoke out loud by saying “Let's sing together. Please enjoy our singing. Thank you for coming to listen to our performance,” while the accompanist was playing repeating notes quietly. After the short speech was done, the main teacher started conducting, and said: “Go.” Later I learned the class was specifically designed to rehearse the Do Re Mi to sing at a school carnival in a month ahead.

Later, I was recalling this unexcited observation, and the reason why I was frustrated and perhaps children were not enjoying the music class. First, the class overemphasized the modification of the behavior and result of the performance. Usually, successful music class focuses on music and there is fewer dead time without music. It was way too long for students to wait until the music started. Both teachers were also too serious about performing formally, and their behaviors were not encouraging musical interaction among students. Second, there was a lack of researching teaching material as the song was Do Re Mi from the Sound of Music. If you have watched the movie once, you would know how children and Maria sung the song on a plateau in Salzburg, Austria. Maria plays guitar and children sung along with Maria, and they all start running and they add physical movement. The singing activity that I observed in Japanese elementary school was way too far from the original Do Re Mi song. It is not enough for the teachers to teach singing and manage students' behavior, but we need to critically focus on music musically.


Preschool And Kindergarten Level

In the following section, this chapter presents several practice models to energize the music classrooms of P-12 schools. These are just examples of music education practice with a critical viewpoint, but I like to present them with a wish to learn from each other continuously.

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