Now showing 1 - 10 of 14
  • Publication
    Open Access
    The wind band ensemble, music and education; A perspective from Singapore
    Concerts for the Wind Band ensemble account for the vast majority of the annual concerts in Singapore, attended by people from all walks of life. Of all the Co-Curricular Activities conducted for schools, the Wind Band movement claims the lion’s share of participants to date. Yet in an entry on Singapore in Groves (2001, 421-423), musical activities of the band are noticeably absent. Similarly, an overview of the musical scene in pre-independence Singapore (Tan 2002, 80) suggests that it remained largely an amateur activity, save the relatively few professionals such as military bandsman or Chinese opera singers and musicians trying to eke out a living. Given the coruscating profile of the wind band ensemble in the present context in Singapore, gaps in its history beg questions: What is this social and musical phenomenon we identify as and with the Band? When do we learn of its presence? Who supported it? What were the means of support and how was support given and sustained? Who were involved in its practice? What was the musical dimension of this practice? How did teaching and learning for it take place? Did the Band have an audience? Who was the audience? What was the role of the Band among communities in Singapore? This paper is an attempt to reconstruct a narrative of the Wind Band ensemble in Singapore and use it for further discussion. Proceedings of the 27th World Conference of the International Society for Music Education 16-21 July, 2006, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
      274  782
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Xin yao: wen hua de ding wei
    (2007) ;
    Chia, Wei Khuan
      219  213
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Improvisation and the paradox of rehearsal: an exploratory study in Singapore
    Tullia Magrini explains that the term improvisation connotes unpredictability and suggests two reasons: the aleatory and unsystematic character of the event, and, a lack of knowledge and information for those who experience it (1998, 169). Essentially, Improvisation appears historically in western art musical theory and practice as system and rules and with it the notion of instrumental, musical and improvisational skill situated in a context-dependent and practice specific system. However, as language differs from culture to culture, so do expectations of musical improvisation. John Blacking (1973, 100) argues what is ultimately of most importance in music cannot be learned like other cultural skills: it is there in the body, waiting to be brought out and developed, like the basic principles of language formation. This suggests that the unpredictability of both event and human activity precipitate improvisatory tactics and strategies, irrespective of system and specific practice, which underscore an anthropological dimension of improvisation. Studies in improvisatory practice suggest a symbiotic relationship between the musical- instrumental-systematic and anthropological dimensions. Understanding improvisational ability from this dual perspective has significant ramifications for a multidimensional perspective and secondly, membership which is possible with those with certified or certifiable musical skills. Blacking’s assertion raises the question – are those without certifiable skills in improvisation capable of responding as the certified? What lessons could we learn in enabling these ‘excluded musicians’ in improvisation?
      153  172
  • Publication
    Open Access
    'Vedic metal' : a discussion of global and local identity in the practice of extreme metal in the South-Indian community in Singapore
    The recent Esplanade performance by an extreme metal quartet, Rudra, of their own material in a genre they call 'Vedic metal', disguises a number of issues: a lack of presence, the chequered fortunes of musics of popular culture in Singapore; accepting an invitation by an event company to perform and be paid for their performance as an underground group; and accepting the invitation to perform in an annual Indian arts festival, previously known and accessible only to Indian classical and folk arts practices. Since their formation in 1992, Rudra's presence and practice has posed a number of problems for local studies concerning the musicians who compose, perform and generate forms of extreme metal. Their continued existence also is indicative of the support they receive as well as sustainability of their endeavour. By focussing on the group Rudra and activities surrounding them, I will draw attention to the sound and textual material in their music, their sources and resources and speculate on the nature of their relationship from global and local perspectives.
      337  888
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Enforced spontaneity: Perspectives from non music-specialist tertiary students learning free improvisation in Singapore
    (2009-06) ;
    Stead, Peter
    Improvisation is a free elective course offered by the Music Department to students from all disciplines at the main University. Our earlier studies on the non music-specialist students enabled through improvisation have articulated in/formal processes in both reflexive and reflective thinking processes (Dairianathan & Stead 2006, 2008) which we argue are based on the concept of askesis, notably meletē and gymnasia, in the Stoic tradition (Foucault, 1988). Although improvising is based on prior experience, an area not yet critically examined is the way in which that experience is brought together with the immediate requirement to improvise in the moment. In this paper, we study one group of participants whose discussions brought about a consensus that, in their final performance: we would improvise on-the-spot on the performance day itself. In so doing, this group intentionally gave themselves minimal prior rehearsal; what these participants refer to as the in-the-moment (ITM) factor. This study is reliant on an analysis of participants’ performances and excerpts from their journal reflections which critically examine what it means for learners to be engaged in the moment when improvising.
      137  248
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Improvisation and issues of formal and informal learning: A perspective from Singapore
    (2008-07) ;
    Stead, Peter
    Our paper deals with improvisation and the degree to which expert or formalised knowledge helps or hinders free improvisation. In Lucy Green’s research on learning among musicians in popular culture, we note a similar lack of communication between formal training and the informal processes through which improvisational ability is acquired. Discussions on musical improvisation tend to concentrate on instrumental proficiency and musical conventions. However, as musical ability differs from culture to culture, so do expectations of musical improvisation. By studying the ways in which non-music specialists are enabled in musical improvisation, we aim to demonstrate the importance of informally acquired skill as well as discover processes that are common to those who are formally trained. This paper relies on a study conducted between July and October 2005 where a group of Physical Education teachers participated in an undergraduate course on improvisation. Research data were obtained from their journal entries and essays. Our findings yield five observations about improvisation and non- music specialist teachers. 1. Improvisational ability can be improved even for those who have had no formal musical training; 2. The improvising activities of nonmusic teachers reveal a considerable variety and diversity of formal and informal resources; 3. Non-music teachers’ views of and about music compare favourably with ethnomusicological views of Blacking and “inclusive” views of Schafer; 4.Enabling non-music specialist teachers has yielded a valuable and valid “informal” musical route to the teaching and learning of improvisation; 5. The teaching and learning of musical improvisation via informal processes has helped non-music specialist teachers towards self-enablement in their everyday lives. Besides underlining the importance of informal learning processes, enabling non-music specialists through musical improvisation challenges the privileging of “musical” skills in musical improvisation at the expense of the uniqueness of “individually informed” skill. A challenging question for music education is which of these skills should be given priority and privilege in the teaching and learning of musical improvisation, and to what extent curricula in music institutions can support both modes of learning?
      264  233
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Improvisation as real-time thinking and rehearsing: An exploratory study in Singapore
    (2006-07) ;
    Stead, Peter
    The skill of improvisation is seen to be important in the development of any musician, although its relative importance varies according to period and genre. Christopher Azarra (2002, 171) asserts that as an essential component of music throughout history…improvisation involves an ability to make music spontaneously within specified musical parameters. Improvisation is then dependent on the condition that performers are able, first of all, to be ‘proficient in the language they speak’. Musical improvisation, therefore, seems comfortably positioned in the training of those who are well-versed “in this language”. As language differs from culture to culture, so do expectations of musical improvisation. John Blacking (1973, 100) argues what is ultimately of most importance in music cannot be learned like other cultural skills: it is there in the body, waiting to be brought out and developed, like the basic principles of language formation.
      153  260
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Lessons from extreme metal musicians: A perspective from Singapore
    Despite the processes of learning by popular musicians at a very personal level, there is very little common knowledge or recognition of how popular musicians in general learn or of the attitudes and values they share in relation to music learning. A serious examination of popular music learning practices could provide insights for teaching and learning of popular music as well as to provide lessons in music. Having begun initial studies of a local Extreme Metal group, Rudra, I study two of their songs, 'Malediction' (released in 1995) and 'Ageless Conciousness I Am' (released in 2005). While 'Malediction' revealed the presence of written exiguous notation Rudra members relied on for their recording, the final recording of 'Ageless Consciousness I Am' revealed two earlier sound recordings. Rudra's exiguous notational system was later supplanted by their reliance from 2000 onwards on recorded sound files as notational systems but accrued significant benefits for the band in the early stages of their learning. By making observations about their songs and lessons learnt when studying an approach to music learning in the practice of Extreme metal music, I revisit epistemological foundations of in/formal learning through music.
      165  407
  • Publication
    Open Access
    Vedic metal; Issues of local practice, popular music and education
    In early 2007, an Extreme metal quartet Rudra made a tour of three US cities (Pennsylvania, Minnesota and New York) with partial sponsorship from the local composers and performers association (COMPASS). This tour followed another performance in November 2006 at the Outdoor theatre of the Esplanade. This was preceded by their participation at the Rock On Singapore! Festival organised by the National Arts Council in 2005. Their presence at local and international performances disguises multiple identities; contemporary, Singaporean, South Indian, youth, popular music (including Extreme Metal music), among others (Dairianathan 2007; 2008). Moreover, Rudra's absence in written accounts is as revealing as their seventeen year existence. Rudra's continued presence raises a crucial question: if music of popular culture is, following Kellner (1995) and Denzin (1992), a lived curriculum - one that has suffused young people's lives - can Rudra's presence in prominent social and cultural space be extended to educational space? By focusing on Rudra and activities surrounding them, this paper will draw attention to Vedic Metal and its relationship/s with local practice, popular music and the implications for education.
      208  326