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Social and Cultural Issues in the Instrumental Music Classroom

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Nathan Gerlach

on 15 May 2013

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Transcript of Social and Cultural Issues in the Instrumental Music Classroom

A critique through the lens of disability studies Social and Cultural Issues in the
Instrumental Music Classroom Argument over what is quality literature is disabling to students and teachers. Repertoire Selection Gender stereotypes in instrument selection are disabling to music students. Instrumentation and Gender Gender stereotypes in instrument selection are disabling to music students. Instrumentation and Gender (cont.) Social Model - Society excludes disabled Disabling Issues Nathan Gerlach Repertoire Selection (cont.) Culturally relevant music is not being recognized as quality music in instrumental music classrooms Pedagogical Expectations Current educational expectations can be disabling to students and teachers. Question How is the current instrumental music classroom socially and culturally disabling to students and educators? What can music educators do to alleviate these disabling issues? Repertoire Selection
Instrumentation & Gender
Pedagogical Expectations Educationally designed music is not of artistic value. (Budiansky, Stephen & Timothy W. Foley. The quality of repertoire in school music programs. Journal of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles 12 (2005): 17-39) Early 20th Century Wind Band Music is not taught to future teachers. "Publishers’ catalogs often attempt to “sell” school band works by promoting them as sounding more 'difficult' than they actually are or by emphasizing other non-musical considerations such as 'safe' scoring that covers up mistakes." "But several aspects of the university-level training that music teachers receive appear to exacerbate the tendency for music educators to emerge from their training without the solid knowledge of music literature and history that are essential for assembling a curriculum of high quality music." (Budiansky & Foley, The quality of repertoire. 17-39) Argument over what is quality literature is disabling. An emphasis on festivals and contests limit the quality of repertoire that teachers choose. "Far too much emphasis is placed on school band as a performance activity—and at times even a competitive activity, almost like an athletic event—rather than a curricular course with solid educational objectives. No one would take seriously an English course that aimed to boost test scores by using easy-to- read works written by educators, at the expense of an introduction to the greatest writers of the English language, from Chaucer to Shakespeare to Eliot to Faulkner." (Budiansky & Foley. The quality of repertoire. 17-39) "The rise of new media technology (e.g., computers and the internet and the emergence of new musical styles) contribute to an increasing variety of musical development in the fields of composition, performance, listening, and preferences. Therefore , parents and teachers should be aware that the children's and student's musical development may differ considerably from their own." (Gembris, Heiner. The Development of Musical Abilities. MENC Handbook of Musical Cognition and Development. (2002) 129) "I think what drives the stereotype is thoughts that get brought into people's heads like-high sounds are feminine and low sounds are masculine." (student response) "(Students) think the stereotype exists because of society, parental influences, and the media." (Conway, Colleen. Gender and Musical Instrument Choice: A Phenomenological Investigation. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education 146 (2000): 9) (Conway, Gender and Musical Instrument Choice: 9) "My family had something to do with it. They had mentioned playing the flute to me, they had never mentioned playing something like euphonium or like that. I didn't even know about many of those other instruments." (female flute player) (Conway, Gender and Musical Instrument Choice: 11) "I mean you're not taught 'Girls can't play the trombone' but you get feelings about certain things from what you see on TV" (student response) (Conway, Gender and Musical Instrument Choice: 9) Social circles "I was friends with the other girls who were going to play and we were like, oh the baritone it's so cool, we always had so much fun in band." (female baritone player) (Conway, Gender in Instrument Choice: 12) Male flute players "All of the students who were asked whether or not they would allow a daughter of theirs in 20 years to play a low brass instrument responded that the child should play whatever she would like. However, when asked that same question with regards to a son playing the flute, many of the students expressed concern about the teasing that the child might experience." (Conway, Gender in Instrument Choice: 13-14) "Assessments like these are controversial. Many parents don’t like the idea of their already over-tested children taking even more exams, particularly in subjects like art and gym." Standardized Assessments in the Arts "Testing knowledge of terms used in artistic disciplines, as some have suggested, is not assessing the arts, but rather how well students memorize and regurgitate specialized language.” (Goldstein, Dana. "No More Ditching Gym Class." Slate) http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/06/standardized_tests_for_the_arts_is_that_a_good_idea_.html (Goldstein. "No More Ditching Gym Class." Slate) Purpose of the Ensemble "At its heart, this is a question of what purpose performance ensembles serve in the school environment. Is the purpose to provide the fundamental methodological instruction that each student needs to master his instrument? Is it to produce polished performances for parents and the community? Is it to offer a “fun” group activity? Or is it rather to provide an education in music as a serious curricular subject?" (Budiansky & Foley, The quality of repertoire. 17-39) The Lens of Disability Studies Social Model of Disability "Disability is some thing imposed on top of our impairments, by the way we are unnecessarily isolated and excluded from full participation in society." (UPIAS, 1975) (Shakespeare, Tom. "The Social Model of Disability." The Disability Studies Reader 3rd edition (2010): 267) People with disabilities are viewed as different and excluded from society. Cultural Model of Disability People with disabilities are recognized as different and accepted by society. "a cultural model of disability points to culturally determined behavior in which one develops and excells in an identity, community and worldview that embraces disability rather than rejecting it. The cultural model emphasizes the potential of disability as a state of being." (Devlieger, Patrick J. "Generating a cultural model of disability." Paper presented at the 19th Congress of the European Federation of Associations of Teachers of the Deaf (FEAPDA), October 14-16, 2005) Repertoire Selection
Publishers/Educators excluding students/music based on what they are selecting. Pedagogical Expectations
New testing standards in the arts. Cultural Model - Disabled recognized and valued Instrumentation and Gender
Gender causes stereotypes of instrumentation
can be changed What can music educators do to alleviate these disabling issues? Masters Student in Music Education
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Spring 2013
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