International Journal of Education & the Arts
Volume 2 Number 5
November 1, 2001
Genesis of Musical Behaviour:
'I gave up music at school when I was thirteen; there didn't seem any point to it. It just didn't bear any relation to the music I was interested in. I played and listened to music outside school. The teacher didn't care about my music. I was there with my mates drumming and mixing but it was totally unrelated to the music at school. So I gave it up at thirteen.'
'standards in music at Key Stage 3 have improved, but remain lower than those in most other subjects..'
'pupils who enter a secondary school at the age of 11 years are often taught by a music teacher who expects less of them than their primary teachers.'
'In primary schools and particularly in Key Stage 2 of primary schools, the percentage of class lessons for which the quality of teaching is satisfactory or better is higher in music than any other subject of the National Curriculum. In Key Stage 3 of secondary school the percentage of class lessons for which the quality of teaching is satisfactory or better is lower than that for any other subject of the National Curriculum. The relative success of music in primary schools results from the teaching of class teachers as well as music specialists.'
'And yet--and here's the most painful point--as everyone knows, most kids are crazy about music. Countless numbers of teenagers have their own bands; many more live for the music charts, local gigs, discos and parties. No problem with music in their lives outside school, as the world of commercial music knows very well.'
The Secondary Music Curriculum
'In addition, it stimulates the acquisition of the those skills, attitudes and attributes needed for employment and life such as listening skills, concentration, aural memory, presentation and teamwork. It also develops creativity and risk taking, intuition, aesthetic sensitivity, perseverance and a sense of satisfaction.'
The Curriculum and Adolescent Musical Behaviour
'Despite its capitalistic orientation, popular music is the defining element of youth sub-cultures'
'The role of music in reinforcing the generation gap between young people and people of their parents' generation suggests possible limitations on the influences of family and school on the musical tastes of children.'
Singing Activity and the Adolescent
'pupils should be taught how to sing songs developing vocal timbre and range'
'evidence of a communal reluctance to sing, it being a very personal and exposing experience for most kids. I have to think about material carefully and tend to go down the pop route'.
'... boys have a tougher time. They have an identity crisis... much more a problem. They become self-conscious. For those whose voices have not yet changed it becomes problematic. Those with early changes just won't sing. There is a degree of anxiety therefore within boys' groups; boys lose their anonymity whereas girls don't. Girls can feel part of a group... choral singing is a group activity.'
'Many teenagers feel embarrassed when asked to sing.... Other than at football matches and on school journeys, people sing less spontaneously than in previous generations.'
'Many young people see choral singing as less glamorous and challenging than playing in an ensemble.'
project and control classes all show a decline in attitude towards music in school, though the project classes significantly less so;
... in the townships everyone joined in singing and dancing and all that seemed to matter was the music--a huge contrast to the musical experiences we had in places like Pretoria where it was a struggle to enthuse the audience...
1 Compulsory schooling in England and Wales is organised in four key stages; key stage 3 is the secondary school stage for 11-14 year olds; key stage 1 is for 5-6 year olds, key stage 2 for 7-10 year olds, whole key stage 4 is for 15-16 year olds.
2 Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) is the government’s school inspection organ.
3 Year7 – the first year of secondary schooling at key stage 3 for 11 year olds.
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About the AuthorColin Durrant
Dr Colin Durrant is Principal Lecturer in Music and Music Education at the University of Surrey Roehampton, UK. He conducts the university choir and Barnet Choral Society--a large community choir in London. He has, following research into the area of effective choral conducting, designed and developed a graduate programme in Choral Education, the first and only one of its kind in the UK. He has also been Deputy Chief Examiner in Music for the International Baccalaureate for whom he has presented papers, workshops and seminars on curriculum development and teacher training in Europe, South Africa and North America. Colin has written a number of journal articles on the subject of choral conducting and co-authored the book Making Sense of Music with Graham Welch. He has recently been guest conductor, clinician and teacher at universities in North America and South Korea as well as within the UK. Colin is on the council of the Association of British Choral Directors and is the European commissioner for the International Society for Music Education's 'Music in Schools and Teacher Education' commission. He is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Research in Choral Singing. For the 2001/2002 academic year he is Visiting Associate Professor in the School of Music at the University of Maryland, USA, where he conducts the university Chamber Singers.