Rationale in Music Education

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Rational for Subject Teaching (RST)

Some people may question how important role music plays in a school. Should it be part of the curriculum and how important of a role does it play in the school? Around the world many music programs have been dropped due to funding. Even some people believe that Music has no place in school that it is not an academic subject. But Music education has been shown to improve general academic skills as well as social skill in students. Studies have shown that if music education is added to a student’s timetable, they will begin to show an increase in learning. From my own experience in my first school placement, my mentor told me about a student who had a reading level of a seven year old in year eight but took part in the school musical last year and his reading level went up to a ten year old. The SENCO officer believes the major improvement is down to the involvement been in the school musical. The music teacher recorded the words of the music, DVD of the musical and gave the pupil a script so they had audio, visual, and kinaesthetic. Therefore the pupil was able to connect these processes improving their reading age immensely. Music education therefore is vital for any school curriculum to have.

My philosophy on how music should be taught is that of having the three most important area’s Listening, Composing and Performing. Swanwick provides music teachers with carefully argued model of Music education in which the processes of performing, composing and listening give direct access to aesthetic experience ,knowledge and meaning (Plummeridge 2001) Also Chris Philpott explains ‘ Music is an expressive medium for all; the best way to learn is through actively engaging in listening, composing and performing.’(Philpott 2001). I strongly agree with both of these statements, having these three elements in the music curriculum is a recipe for success in Music education. In The National Curriculum 2007 under music for programme of study for key stage three attainment targets, in part 2.1 this full section is on performing, composing and listening which shows how important these areas are in music education. Janet Mills suggests that you can’t have composing without performing, performing with listening and listening with performing. (MIS Janet Mills page 45-46). This suggests that in music education that it has to be the main philosophy behind music education.

Listening is a very important part of music for both the teaching and learning side of music. This can be because it is the first point of contact when learning how to play music, when teaching different genres and elements of music. When you think of students or people trying to perform or compose a piece of music without ever listening to what that type of music sounds like it would nearly be impossible. Musical Futures research team as part of their model for informal pedagogy that pupils learn and work better aurally through listening then copying. Those pupils therefore engage in self and peer feedback and it is a central strategy in assessment for learning. (Julie Evans and Chris Philott page 8). In my teaching I make a point of having some type of listening process at the start of the lesson. I find that this helps to focus the student straight away as they are entering the classroom, there is no time for the pupils to get board as they as listening to the music that leads into the lessons. This also fits in with the principles of the National Strategy whereby having a starter activity that can catch the pupil’s imagination and gets them engaged. This connects with having early learning points in the lesson; it helps to solidate what the pupils may have learnt in the previous lesson or practising musical skills. As it states in the starter activity principle ‘it allows the teacher to quickly establish any gaps in the pupils knowledge and understanding’ (CLP page 400) From a listening activity they seem to focus a lot quicker...
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