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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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List of Photographs


Photograph 1 Mirror-pair singing.

Photograph 2 The 12 Kodály hand-signs employed in Harmony Signing.

Photograph 3 Replacement of one hand-sign with another (sequence of three).

Photograph 4 The Tonicising Sign.

Photograph 5 The sign for conveying the Tonic.

Photograph 6 Movement from Tonic to Subdominant.

Photograph 7 The move from Subdominant to Dominant.

Photograph 8 The sign for adding a minor 7th to a chord.

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