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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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Part III Teaching Composition at Secondary School


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Teaching Composition at Secondary School

Part II of this book introduced a way of approaching the nature of musical experience through extending the game-playing and holistic engagement of childhood into the way that music can be learnt collectively and creatively in the classroom and rehearsal studio. Part III sets out some features of how this approach can be extended into secondary education and beyond, arguing for and exemplifying a creatively focused philosophy of music education that identifies the fulfilment of individual potential as the entitlement of students whose acquisition of skills and experience can form the basis of life-long, continued learning.

For this reason, what follows need not be seen as the exclusive preserve of secondary school students and their teachers. Some of this material may be suitable for introduction earlier. Other aspects may influence the practice of community groups, or be modified so as to support tertiary experience.

Central to the approach described here is the nature of the relationship between teacher and students, which will be presented as one of co-learners. The laboratory of the music classroom is thus a place in which new ideas are tested and pursued that flow from the informed musical imagination. As in the art class or the drama workshop, music students engage with their intentions in expressing their individuality through the techniques made available as a consequence of the experience and leadership skills of the teacher. All existing music...

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