Monday, October 15, 2007

Quotes for 10/15/07

I found this set of articles particularly interesting, specifically coming from my background. In my early music education career, I had never been formally taught "active listening" and had never actually thought about its benefits and usefulness in a curriculum. More specifically, too, I was never really exposed to jazz until my senior year in high school and, while it is enjoyable, I had never thought that jazz could be so influential in a curriculum. I completely agree with McDonald, though, jazz is a "uniquely American musical genre" and could fit very nicely into any curriculum and spawn many cross-content lessons, specifically in American history.

The question, then, becomes how do I incorporate listening into a curriculum? As a jazz player, I can incorporate performance of jazz into the curriculum, however, as the quoted teacher says "I still know it's just not enough to have my kids play or sing a simple blues scale and listen to one or two old standards" (McDonald, 43). Active listening, and Jazz listening in particular, can be used to fit many of the MENC standards, from responding to jazz, to performing jazz, to reading about jazz (McDonald, 44). All of these activities become valid, not to mention important, when viewed in this light. I particularly liked this article as it scripted and outlined a very complete and through unit on jazz listening that can be easily adapted.

After reading these articles, I have to concur with Dr. Campbell, "listening is sometimes and underrated activities in school classes and ensembles" (30). I also feel that by using several of the tips that Dr. Campbell offers (particularly the environmental music activity), listening can be a fun and meaningfull activity. For any musician, listening is a skill that is important to develop, not simply in the context of ensemble skills (where most listening is taught), but also in the context of understanding and appreciation. I feel, now, that listening does deserve a place in any curriculum and can't afford to be overlooked as it can easily tie several different elements of a music (and other subject) lesson together.

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