Session/Séance 8b: IASPM Panel 2 Rethinking Popular Music Pedagogy: From the Classroom to the Orphanage

Session/Séance 8b: IASPM Panel 2. Saturday/samedi 27 May 2017. 11:00AM - 12:30PM, EJB 330.
Rethinking Popular Music Pedagogy: From the Classroom to the Orphanage
     Moderator: BRIAN JUDE DE LIMA (Centennial College)

1. “Poor Little Orphan Boy”: Unwanted Children, Musical Education, and Sentimentality
     Jacqueline Warwick, Dalhousie University

Performing in school concerts is a rite of passage for most children, as well as for the parents and teachers who prepare the young musicians for performance, and then applaud their efforts. Few things trigger sentimentality like the phenomenon of children singing together, and often children’s clumsy musical performances are prized more than those that are flawless. When children are loved, we support their efforts and cherish their well-meant mistakes. Yet some children are not loved, and many of the institutions created to care for unwanted children throughout history have offered rigorous musical training to their wards. As historical musicologist Robert Gjerdingen has shown, Italian orphanages began in the seventeenth century to train children in musical strategies that would shape the work of later composers such as Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, and the curriculum would be adopted more or less wholesale by the famous conservatories founded in the nineteenth century. Arguably then, the entire canon of western European classical music is built on the backs of children abandoned to “the system.” In African-American music genres such as gospel and r&b, many iconic artists were trained in similar institutions: Ray Charles, for example, was sent to the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind at the age of seven, and began paid work as a pianist as soon as he left the school at fifteen. Schools for the blind have been important sites for musical education, particularly for non-white children. In this presentation, I explore the pedagogical methods and philosophies of these schools and consider their role in shaping the language of popular music. I consider as well the function of these residential schools in housing children cast out of mainstream society, and the cruel paradox represented when children like these are also objects of musical sentimentality.

2. Whose Musical Identity Belongs in the Music Classroom?
     Terry Sefton / Danielle Sirek, University of Windsor

Educators bring into the classroom their own life experiences and stories, created from memories of people and events, and shaped by the cultural history and context of family, community, and education. Narratives of identity, informed by experiences of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, of preferences and dislikes, and of understanding and unfamiliarity, influence teacher intent and voice. Similarly, learners bring into the classroom their life own experiences, prior knowledge, and cultural values, as situated learners. Through their past experiences of listening, performing, and creating, they have constructed ideas, values, and attitudes towards music, regardless of their acquired skills and formal knowledge. Generalist teacher music methodologies courses in Ontario focus on components of the Ontario Arts Curriculum, and on training teacher candidates to deliver the curriculum in a reiterative and replicating process. This pedagogy is enacted without regard for the teacher candidates’ personal experience, interests, or stories. In the repertoire that is taught in music methodology courses, there is often an emphasis on European ‘classical’ traditions, and an absence of musical traditions or genres that fall into the ‘popular’ spectrum, such as Country, Rap, Hip-Hop, Rock, Pop, Indie, or EDM. Prior research has shown that generalist teachers have an aversion or resistance to teaching music in the classroom. We examine the musical identities of generalist teachers through visual representations (self-portraits) and narratives (autobiographies); and how these musical identities can be recognized and validated in teacher education programs. We explore factors that influence teacher confidence and engagement with teaching music in the elementary classroom, and suggest an approach to teacher education that includes every student as situated learner, as active participant, and as narrator and creator of their own musical identity.

Keywords: music identity, teacher education, visual sociology, narrative research, music curriculum

Discussant: Matt Brennan, University of Edinburgh



Saturday Schedule | Programme - samedi
(Session 8 | Séance 8)

MusCan Office

MusCan is led by a committed community of volunteers from across Canada. You can contact our secretariat by mail, phone, or email.

10 Morrow Avenue, Suite 202
Toronto, ON
M6R 2J1
office [AT]