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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 23: Creative pedagogy in practice

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CHAPTER 23

Creative pedagogy in practice

A teacher is the personified conscience of the pupil, confirming him in his doubt, explaining his dissatisfactions, stimulating his urge to improve.

— THOMAS MANN, Dr Faustus

There has, over the last generation or so, been a significant shift in the language employed in thinking about education, exemplified by the role of the teacher swinging from that of instructor to that of facilitator. The expression ‘student-centred learning’ began to be adopted in those fields in which students were able to exercise creative choices. Such an approach influenced motivation, as well as conferring ownership of the task. Where such procedures have proven successful, students have shown the benefits. But those with responsibility for the political football of education can all too easily apply the brakes, advocating ‘back to basics’ and a focus on accountability by assessable outcomes that kicks creative education into touch.

Much of the thinking applied to the pedagogy presented in Part II represented the search for a middle way: a sequence of strategies, engaged with over time, that has the capacity to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and experience while encouraging free experiment and individual response. What follows examines additional means of building upon this. We will, in particular, focus on the way that teachers present information and respond to students’ efforts. This has implications for teachers’ self-preparation for such a role, and for the resourcing of their departments, as...

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