Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
  • Publication
    Free improvisation; life expression
    This autoethnographic study seeks the value, position and possibilities of free improvisation in the musical field. It explores how embodied knowledge, dialectical exchanges, emotional and intellectual stimulation constructs and reconstructs experiences in various contexts for the free improviser, who is both researcher and actual piano performer. This is done by experiencing and reflecting on the connections and interactions between different aspects and events in free improvisation, seen here as a phenomenon for varied, multiple processes individualized by one’s adopted style, culture and character. The research suggests a shift towards a more holistic and integral paradigm for experiencing and understanding music through free improvisation as a process in life.
      132  30
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Towards a synthesis of formal, non-formal and informal pedagogies in popular music learning
    Informal pedagogy is closely associated with popular music practices, its methods known to engage students in authentic music learning that develops critical and independent thinking skills, social skills, creativity and self-identity, among others. However, formal and non-formal pedagogies also have relevant roles to play in popular music learning in the classroom, though their roles and interactions with informal pedagogy may require exploration. A recent survey conducted in Singapore schools suggests that a significant number of music teachers have never engaged their students in popular music practices, and they have no confidence in adopting appropriate pedagogies to effectively enable popular music learning. This article seeks to address the issue by reviewing relevant pedagogies and how they are employed in popular music programmes in two Singapore secondary schools. I will first examine the current discussion on formal, non-formal and informal pedagogies and their implications for music teaching and learning. Secondly, I will relate the discussion to two empirical case studies which adopt these learning approaches in popular music classes to examine their applications and how they interact in actual classroom situations. Based on this, I will suggest that a synthesis of these pedagogies in constant, complementary dialogue within and beyond the classroom paves the way towards a complete and holistic curriculum and learner experience.
      72  118
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Student teachers learning collective free music improvisation in a teacher preparation course
    Collective free music improvisation (CFMI) develops music learners’ social relationships and identity (Burrows, 2004a; Sansom, 2007), communication skills (Kanellopoulos, 2007b; Sutton, 2001), musical skills and knowledge (Azzara et al., 1997), as well as creativity and technical skills (Koutsoupidou & Hargreaves, 2009; Moreira & Carvalho, 2010). It also engages diverse music learners from different cultures by tapping on their diversities in the music-making process (Lange, 2011). Despite its potential contributions to music learning, its negligence in schools is notable. This could be attributed to a lack of understanding of free improvisational practices and potential outcomes, and a lack of research, texts, and courses that provide teachers practical ways to design and facilitate free music improvisation lessons.

    With the intent of developing free music improvisation pedagogy relevant to Singapore’s Primary and Lower Secondary (PLS) music programme, this research examined the experiences of student teachers and myself as the instructor-facilitator in a CFMI teacher preparation course. In this course, music student teachers collaboratively developed free improvisational skills under me over six training sessions. They learnt to improvise freely based on a learning model derived from various literature on free improvisation and improvisation practices and pedagogy. Based on their experience learning CFMI in the course, they developed CFMI curriculum and pedagogical strategies for the PLS music programme. The research questions were:

    1. How do participants learn to improvise collectively and freely in the CFMI course?
    2. How do musical backgrounds and personal dispositions contribute to participants’ learning and performance of free music improvisation?
    3. What is the value of CFMI in music teaching and learning from participants’ perspectives?
    4. What recommendations do participants have for developing and facilitating CFMI curriculum for the PLS music programme in Singapore schools?

    The study utilized a qualitative case study design (Stake, 1995). The participants comprised nine preservice music teachers in their final year of study at the National Institute of Education (NIE) and me as instructor and facilitator of the CFMI course. I conducted the study and analysed data by directly observing nuances in behaviours, thoughts, and feelings of the student teachers, and by reviewing data obtained through video and audio recordings, written surveys, and teaching resources. Constant comparative method of analysis (Glaser, 1965) guided the analysis for this research. This method generates and plausibly suggests (rather than provisionally tests) “many properties and hypotheses about a general phenomenon” to generate an integrated theory (Glaser, 1965, p.438). It aligns with my research purpose to generate preliminary theory on CFMI pedagogy based on participants’ experiences and interactions in the CFMI course.

    Through the analysis, a preliminary curriculum framework was created to guide the piloting of CFMI in PLS music programmes. This framework comprises four major components. The first component pertains to factors a teacher should consider before starting a CFMI programme. The second pertains to various pedagogical strategies to instruct and facilitate learners on their improvisational journeys. The third pertains to general curriculum considerations, including the role of practice sessions and the use of assessment. The final component pertains to enabling conditions that facilitate students’ growth as free improvisers, such as a safe environment and sufficient time to develop improvisational skills. Findings from this research inform music educators and researchers keen to implement and study CFMI in schools and teacher training colleges.
      351  99
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Learning through popular music, lessons for the general music programme syllabus in Singapore
    (Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore, 2024) ;
    Hilarian, Larry Francis
    Stead, Peter

    This project sought to investigate the identity, role and function of popular music within classroom-based education in Singapore.

    Popular music is characterised by: (i) lnterdisclplinarity (music, dance, poetry, theatre, etc); (ii) It suffuses the lives of school-going youth in their out-of-school curriculum. (iii) Skill acquisition is frequently gained through more informal learning than is usual in institutional settings (Green, 2002). (iv) Participation in popular music by various communities seems to cut across ethnic, religious and age boundaries, which makes popular music participation an interesting study in social integration. (v) Engaging in popular music potentially provides students life-long engagement The impact of popular music in the classroom has not been fully explored.

    Creating, performing and responding to popular music genres arguably act as an apt medium of and for self expression considering the complex nature of an ever-shifting demographic mix and strategies to bring about more effective social integration across communities-of-practice (Wenger 1998) engaging the later cosmopolitan society in Singapore.

    The GMP (2008) document supports the value of popular music beginning with musical skills of composing, improvising and recreating extending to identity formation and multiplicity in identity negotiation in group dynamics (MOE 2008, pp. 7-10). Current broader educational aims are to develop creative, imaginative and socio-culturally well-tempered individuals and popular music has an important educational role to play in this respect. Dairianathan and Lum (2010) have discovered how popular musics re/iterate their place in the music curriculum for music as lived and living space.

    Secondary factors crucial to this research are: (a) to examine the place of popular music in local public and international schools across Singapore, (b) to draw out the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for school-going youth to be engaged in popular music and (c) to critically examine popular music immersion in relation to the objectives established in the GMP syllabus (MOE 2008).

      12  93
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Learning collective free music improvisation as a socio-communicative endeavor: Preservice teachers’ journey in a teacher preparation course in Singapore
    In this exploratory case study, I examined how preservice music teachers (PMTs) developed collective free music improvisation (CFMI) competencies in a teacher training program in Singapore. Nine PMTs participated in the 6-week course, where they acquired CFMI skills following a curriculum derived from improvisation and free improvisation literature. Data obtained through video recordings of course proceedings, field notes, interviews, and surveys were analyzed through the constant comparative method of analysis. Findings revealed PMTs’ learning processes as a 3-part journey based on recurring behavioral traits in each segment. Over weeks of performances, PMTs transitioned from a conservative behavioral state to an increasingly volatile one that challenged socio-musical boundaries, finally establishing unique group identities at the end of their journey. Based on their learning experiences, I provide suggestions to scaffold CFMI training.
    Scopus© Citations 1  64  46
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Facilitating collective free improvisation learning in teacher education
    Collective free music improvisation (CFMI) develops musicians’ relationships, identity, and communication skills and engages musicians from different cultures by tapping into their diversities in the music-making process. It also develops an open attitude toward working with children’s creative potential—by paving the way for open, egalitarian teaching approaches. However, teachers may not know how to incorporate it in their music classes due to the lack of teacher preparation in its practice and pedagogy. This interest article offers a theoretical basis for engaging preservice music teachers (PMTs) in CFMI learning in a teacher preparation course—by drawing on research and the author’s experiences facilitating CFMI classes. In combination with theory, pedagogical strategies that develop PMTs’ free improvisational skills based on a socio-communicative framework are described. These strategies offer practical pathways to introducing free improvisation to PMTs that could motivate and enable them to bring the practice into their future music classrooms.
      41  72