Saturday, April 16, 2011

"I didn't know you could play the piano..."

Just for the record I can't. Yet when ever I mention that I am going to be teaching music in primary school to people a tiny furrow appears on their brow as they try to recollect any info they have about me being a musician. When I mention that most literacy teachers aren't published authors and that some history teachers are not actual historians the confusion increases as music appears to be treated differently. I feel under pressure to explain that I am fascinated by music - how it works and the impact it has on us. I have to reassure the person that although I am not an accomplished musician I can teach children up to 11 about music and using the voice (mainly) recorders, tuned & untuned percussion I can help the children to understand more and hopefully enthuse them into learning further.

It is amazing when you consider how fundamental music making is to being human that we our society seems to see it as a specialism for special people. Daniel Levithin argues that this is a relatively recent development,
Only relatively in our own culture, ( 500 years or so) did a distinction arise that cut society into two forming seperate classes of music performers and music listeners. Throughout most of the world and throughout most of human history music making was as natural an activity as breathing and walking and everyone participated

It is an amazing book which I would highly recommend. I am only halfway through and my head is spinning with many of the ideas he discusses.

So to return to the unspoken question - can you teach music if you are not an accomplished musician? I think the answer is yes! I think that the key is the teaching. if that isn't right it doesn't matter how accomplished a musician you are!

I have been really grateful to twitter recently. It has enabled me to connect with a range of music teachers from all over the world who have been very generous in sharing their resources. Planning to post some links to some of them later.

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