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Every Child a Composer

Music Education in an Evolutionary Perspective

Nicholas Bannan

This book breaks new ground in drawing on evolutionary psychology in support of advocacy for music education, and the presentation of innovative musical pedagogy. The book adopts the perspective that musical experience is the birthright of all human beings through the decisive role it played in the evolution of our species, the traces of which we carry in our genes. The author draws on scientific developments in acoustics, neuroscience, linguistics, archaeology and anthropology to examine theories that have emerged powerfully during the last twenty years and which argue for the significance of the practice of music as foundational to human culture. This position is examined in parallel with research into how children learn musically, and the role that creative decision making plays in this. A series of strategies is presented that explores collective creativity which draws on vocalisation, the use of gesture, and instinctive responses to harmony to develop musical imagination.

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Chapter 22: The limits of Harmony Signing: What students suggest, and some further directions to explore

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CHAPTER 22

The limits of Harmony Signing: What students suggest, and some further directions to explore

Over the last twenty years or so, the practices presented in relation to Harmony Signing have developed as means of eliciting creative, personal responses from participants in music classes and choral rehearsals, in both school and community contexts. Throughout this period of consolidation and elaboration, a strong analytical and reflective relationship has continued that has drawn on the research in acoustics, anatomy, anthropology and ethnomusicology which together have informed my understanding of the evolutionary significance of music. The strategies presented in Part II are intended to complement the work of musicians, young and old, who sing and play instruments, and who may benefit from the cognitive and affective responses that Harmony Signing confers differently to more directive and conventional forms of aural and theory teaching.

Part III of this book sets out to propose a wider pedagogical application of these and related ideas, shaped especially to the experience and needs of adolescent musicians whose motivation and personal investment in their progress will define the potential of their music-making lifelong.

Prior to introducing Part III, we will review aspects of what Harmony Signing, and the strategies covered in sequence in Part II, were intended to achieve: so, as a bridge to the focus of Part III, this chapter provides some further pointers to how Harmony Signing can continue to be employed and its potential...

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