Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10497/16444
Title: Improvisation and issues of formal and informal learning: A perspective from Singapore
Authors: Dairianathan, Eugene
Stead, Eric Peter
Issue Date: Jul-2008
Citation: Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 28th International Society for Music Education, Bologna, Italy, 20-25 July 2008, p. 79-83
Abstract: 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 selfenablement 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?
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10497/16444
ISBN: 9780980456028
Website: http://issuu.com/official_isme/docs/28_world_conference_proceedings?viewMode=magazine&mode=embed
Appears in Collections:Conference Papers

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