Theme 3

Theme 3.  Developing best practices for teaching of and with song.  Traditionally music education in the western world has focused on performing the classical musical canon and training a talented élite. Another view, (e.g., conference on Music and Social Justice, Columbia University, 2006), is that music education should reach children in more meaningful ways. The team led by Andrea Rose, a 3M Award winning teacher herself, will review current music pedagogy (with Harold Abeles of Columbia Teacher’s College, Beatriz Ilari of Brazil, Helga Gudmundsdottir of Iceland, and Jaan Ross of Estonia) and vocal pedagogy (with vocalist/educators Jane Ginsborg and Sung-Ha Shin-bouey of UPEI). They will also consider implications for singing education from the Theme 1 findings on song acquisition and from recently codified principles of multimedia education (e.g., Mayer, 2005). They will then develop and test strategies for teaching songs that exploit audiovisual resources stored in the AIRS database and video conferencing facilities.  Recognizing that the arts facilitate learning (Burton, Horowitz, & Abeles, 2000; J. E. Cohen, 2006; Eisner, 2005; Smithrim & Upitis, 2005)), singing as an art provides students the learning advantages of the arts. Rena Upitis (Education, Queen’s) has co-led a multi-year national program of the Royal Conservatory of Music on Arts in the School. Martha Gabriel  (Education, UPEI) has explored techniques for teaching curricula through song. With their graduate students they will test strategies for introducing educational benefits of art through singing.

Digital archive. The research relies on the availability of audiovisual recordings of songs of foreign cultures. The researchers will collect and use these records. Audiovisual cultural context recorded along with songs is needed to provide the optimal context teaching of the song in its appropriate cultural context, enabling the teaching of the culture along with the song. The digital archive will also serve to preserve the cultural heritage of indigenous songs.

Training. Students will collect songs of various cultures from either performances or natural contexts. Opportunities will be provided to participate in cultural exchanges supervised by faculty at foreign sites. Students will review the literature on singing pedagogy and information on song acquisition (some derived from Theme 1) and subsequently develop methods for teaching songs and on information on song acquisition.  They will develop multimedia tools to establish the cultural context for the teaching of songs of a particular culture. For example, they may use video to show the song being taught in its native context. They will also study principles of multimedia learning (Mayer, 2005) in order to develop new principles of multimedia use appropriate to learning songs. They will test these new pedagogical principles by comparing the benefits to learning of different approaches, those which adhere to a theoretical pedagogical principle and those that violate it. The will also learn about digital rights management and 21st copyright issues surrounding use of intellectual cultural property. 


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