2 Précis

First Précis

Albertson, M. (2014). Music Educators Journal. Power to the People! Protest Music in the Classroom, 101 (1), 21-22.

Michael Albertson, author of “Power to the People!” (2014), explains his experience with implementing a “Modern American Protest Music” course for general music students.

  • Class resembled an English class more than music
  • Broken into three main units:
    • Civil rights protest jazz of the 1940s-1960s
    • Protest rock music of the 1960s and 1970s
    • Antiestablishment genres from the 1980s – present
  • Most days began with active listening that followed up to discussion
  • Current events provided accessible starting points for students
  • “Stop and Frisk” was a controversial policy that was discussed in class
  • Students who rarely participated became more active and shared personal experiences
  • Students were given a variety of options for the final project
    • Developed essay
    • Poetry and short self-reflection of artistic progress
    • Petitions targeted at school policies

This reminds me of just how important it is to experiment with different teaching styles and strategies for an ever-changing student demographic. It really opened my eyes to the ingenuity that is required to be a successful and adaptive teacher.

“To see students exploring new ideas, making connections to their lives, and taking action – what more can we ask for as educators?” (22)

Second Précis

Waters, S. (2014). Music Educators Journal. Preserving the Past, preparing for the Future – A       Look at Music Education in China, 101 (1), 25-27.

Sarah Waters discusses the ingenuity of the Chinese music education system in her article “A Look at Music Education in China” (2014).

  • “Western” and “Chinese traditional” musical styles stressed
    • Sometimes combined
  • Chinese orchestra arranged similarly to a Western orchestra
    • In place of violins, the erhus
      • A two-stringed instrument that sounds like a mix between a violin and a human voice
    • Next to the erhus are Western-styled cellos and basses
    • Middle of orchestra in front are the yangqins (dulcimers)
    • Behind them are a guzbeng and a gugin
      • Harp-like instruments
    • At the conductor’s right is the ruan (lute) family
    • Woodwinds consist of Chinese flutes and a lusbeng
      • The lusbeng is a wind-blown organ to which the orchestra is tuned
    • In the back row is the double-reed suona
      • A wooden pipe with a brass bell that sounds like a mix between an oboe and a trumpet
    • The percussion consists of Chinese traditional drums, wood blocks, gongs, and cymbals, along with all the standard Western ones
  • The students she observed used a fixed-do system
    • C is always do
  • Some schools also teach with a number system
    • C is 1
  • Western instruments are put on par with Chinese traditional ancient musical tradition
  • Healthy instructor/student ratio
    • One large-group rehearsal had five instructors
  • Students and teachers continue the oral tradition and method of teaching

This article boggled my mind with the thought of all of these different concepts coexisting to promote ancient musical traditions while incorporating new ideas and instruments. One could learn from the sheer genius and open-mindedness that the Chinese education system has to offer.

“From all indications, the Chinese musical heritage is alive and well.” (26)

“They will discover as I did, that kids are kids everywhere, and music can be our common language.” (27)

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