So what types of experiences can we give students?
- Some academics have identified ‘informal’ learning activities associated with pop including: listening and copying; solitary practice; group learning; apprenticeship; experimentation; integrating listening, playing, singing, improvising, composing. This is similar to Orff Schulwerk.
- Classical music ‘formal’ learning activities include practising instrumental skills, developing aural skills, reading notation, learning instrument-specific repertoire, developing theoretical understanding. Improvisation, composition, memorisation, and apprenticeship are a strong part of this tradition - competent teachers recognise this.
- Technology is now a part of both ‘informal’ and ‘formal’ types of musical learning.
In the classroom, we can start with these common music-making skills that exist across genres and use these to create relevance for the student from known music to the unknown. This way, we can create a balance between what is seen as 'classical' and what is seen as 'pop'. From here, we can then hone in on specific pedagogies to learn specific styles. Music pedagogy, for ourselves as musicians, and for our students, need to authentically align with the musical style we are studying. We need to model ourselves as 21st-century musicians and interact with music in a musical way, not merely a historical and theoretical way, in order to remain relevant.
- Lucy Green' study on pop music learning practices.
- Paul Thompson's study on learning practices of electronic musicians.
- Peter Dunbar-Hall's similarities between pop and Orff pedagogies.
- Gregory Springer's study into teacher training and pop music.
- Robert Woody's pedagogical strategies for teaching pop music via the Orff method.
- If you know of a peer-reviewed article on the positives of 'formal' music pedagogy, please put it in the comments below, as there is real bias against it at the moment.