A genre hierarchy in Music Education-is classical ‘best’?


In our live chat discussion about the most recent report into Music Education in England, this tweet caught our eye and got us thinking!

So with thanks To Tim, our discussion topic for this week will tease out what promises to be an emotive discussion.

Recently violinist Nicola Benedetti and composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies have been forthcoming in their opinions about music in our schools.

Read Peter Maxwell Davies branding music education “a disgrace” because children don’t study the works of Mazart and Beethoven HERE and Nicola Benedetti talking about how “every young person should be “made” to study classical works to help them understand humanity” HERE

So what do we as a group make of these eminent and well respected musicians and their opinions about what we are doing on a daily basis in our classrooms?

Musical Futures is often described as “just a rock and pop project”. Indeed, because the start point is music that students like, understand and engage with rock and pop is most often where they start. However, there’s much more to Musical Futures than that. If you lift the approaches of informal learning, non formal teaching and Find Your Voice, you can use them with music from any genre or part of the world.

For the record, we do have issues with any approach where students are “made” to do anything, moreover having seen some fantastic work happening in Musical Futures schools where some teachers regularly receive “outstanding” judgements on their lessons, we don’t agree that music education is “a disgrace”.  However we also know that there are schools where students are chucked some worksheets and left to get on with it in the name of Musical Futures and it is a continuing frustration that we simply do not have the capacity at present to address this as we would like, but that’s another blog…

Our live chat will take place on wednesday at 8.30pm, but please leave your thoughts at any time using the hashtag #mufuchat and let’s pull together a response to the articles above.

In the meantime, you might not have found them, but our website is full of examples and downloadable audio and teacher notes about how Musical Futures can be used with ‘other musics’, all free, all ready to take, use, innovate with and share. To get you started, see informal learning with other musics, classroom workshopping, the next steps, and our live chat communal planning sesh on using Musical Futures Approaches to teach a piece by Chopin

Then here are a few more you might like to try:

Modelling Aural Learning resources for Little Grascals ‘Nine Pound Hammer’ (bluegrass) https://www.musicalfutures.org/resource/417/title/littlegrascalsninepoundhammer

Modelling Aural Learning resources for Golden Sounds Band ‘Maisha’ (Kenya) https://www.musicalfutures.org/resource/416/title/goldensoundsbandmaishakenya

Modelling Aural Learning resources for Anakhi ‘Lok Boliyan’ https://www.musicalfutures.org/resource/415/title/anakhilokboliyan

Modelling Aural Learning resources for Mozart ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’ https://www.musicalfutures.org/resource/414/title/mozarteinekleinenachtmusik

Modelling Aural Learning resources for Jacquet de la Guerre ‘Sonata in D’ https://www.musicalfutures.org/resource/413/title/jacquetdelaguerresonataind

Modelling Aural Learning resources for Handel ‘Flute Sonata’ https://www.musicalfutures.org/resource/412/title/handelflutesonata

Modelling Aural Learning resources for Clara Schumann Piano Trio https://www.musicalfutures.org/resource/411/title/claraschumannpianotrio

Modelling Aural Learning resources for Borodin ‘Polovatsian Dance No 5’ https://www.musicalfutures.org/resource/410/title/borodinpolovatsiandanceno5

Modelling Aural Learning resources for Brahms ‘Symphony No. 1’ https://www.musicalfutures.org/resource/409/title/brahmssymphonyno1

Don’t forget to come back and let us know how you got on!

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