Transforming Music Teaching and Learning

Transforming Music Teaching and Learning

Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2063-5.ch005

Abstract

This chapter aims to explore how the author transformed his approach to music teaching based on his pedagogical practice. As a Japanese violinist who performed, researched, and taught children for the past 10 years in New York, New Jersey, and Florida, the author gradually changed his approach to music teaching and learning. By juxtaposing his voice as a violinist, teacher, researcher, the author provides teaching cases representing a transformation of music teaching and learning. The author also uses the voices of parents, other teachers, and music education specialists from Japan and other countries in describing diverse views on teaching and learning by sharing videos of the author's teaching practice and how Japanese caregivers perceive a progressive approach of teaching and children's creative learning that differs from conventional violin methods pervasive in Japan.
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Transforming Music Teaching And Learning

Teaching Pre-K in a Harlem Public School

At the Pre-K in Harlem, New York, when I walked into the classroom for the first time, I was shocked because more than half of the students were either crying or sleeping. The class teacher told me that some of them have no caregiver and come to school from a shelter for homeless children. There were about 15 children ages 3 to 5 in the classroom, but they were asked to sit down quietly on the chairs that attached to the desks all facing the blackboard, and wait until the teacher's instruction. I first sang one of the “Hello” songs to them, and some of them started smiling a bit. Next, I wanted them to explore various toy instruments, so I asked them to sit on the floor in the circle and brought out the instruments from my bag. As soon as I provided the instruments, they started fighting, punching and kicking each other and some of them even broke the instruments. Indeed, the students never had any physical freedom in the class, so they did not know how to deal with a situation where students can explore instruments freely. As I continued the class activity for more than a month they gradually learned that the toy instruments can make music together enjoyably, and it is not necessary to break them or fight to get an instrument. Eventually, they became able to make a nice bright sound on the violin intentionally toward the end of the semester. Compared with the first few months of the class, they smiled more and became able to enjoy music.

Indeed, I was very patient, and never gave up to offer musical instruction, even though the atmosphere of the Pre-K classroom was far from an ideal musical environment. In the winter, the classroom teacher, who originally acted like a police officer arresting gang stars in the classroom, began enjoying music, and she even came up with the idea to create a movement along with Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World, and to perform in a community center nearby. It was rather slow, but dramatic transformation that I experienced as a novice music teacher.

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