New York University – USA
Examining and Extending Musical “Competencies”: Implications for Music Education
Given the complexities of contemporary music education, where do we begin to answer the question, “How can we develop our understanding of pedagogical practice and curriculum design to best support our students in developing music competences?”
I suggest that we begin by conceiving “Competences” in the slightly broader and deeper sense of “Musical Understandings,” by which I mean the levels of “musicianship + listenership” that underlie and fuel all forms of music making and listening. Using “Musical Understandings” as my starting point—supported by key concepts in the contemporary philosophy, psychology, and sociology of music and education—it is possible to recommend: (a) several pedagogical principles for school music teaching and learning; (b) one specific approach to music curriculum design that provides teachers with both structure and flexibility in developing lessons; and (c) several holistic approaches to assessment that integrate very recent recommendations by scholars and practitioners worldwide.
With the above ideas in place, I believe it is possible to support and empower students’ music making in a diverse range of musical styles. Doing so has the potential to facilitate personal, social, and cultural inclusion through music making in schools.
Birmingham City University – UK
Competences in Music Education – The Place and Role of Assessment and Evaluation
In this keynote presentation I address the theme of this EAS conference, and will outline the role of assessment and evaluation with regard to competences in music education.
It has been known for many years that assessment and evaluation have a significant part to play in assessing, evaluating, certificating, and improving competencies in the teaching and learning of music education at all stages. However, recent developments in policy in many countries has turned assessment from a tool for developing the work of leaners, into a mechanism for the measurement and control of teachers. I will discuss how we have reached this stage, drawing particularly on experiences and policy pronouncements in the UK, where this situation has been exacerbated in recent years and explain what has happened, and how teachers can work to reclaim assessment in music education in their own contexts.
University of Latvia – LV
Developing Pupils’ Transversal Competencies and Virtuous Character in the Music Classroom: a Neo-Aristotelian Approach.
A virtuous character is a set of freely acquired and stable personal qualities that dispose the person to appropriate behaviour and contribute to the flourishment (sustainable wellbeing) of individuals and society. The key to Aristotle’s understanding of what it means to flourish is ARETE (excellence or virtue). The general characteristics of a behaviour that springs from a virtuous character are closely related to the experience of a music performer: spontaneity and stability; promptitude and perfection of the action (dexterity); and softness and pleasure during its execution, even when effort is necessary.
The UNESCO working definition of transversal competences consider them as higher-order skills, abilities, and learning dispositions required for success in 21st century society and workplaces. Among them, intrapersonal transversal competences, such as self-discipline, enthusiasm, perseverance, resilience, grit and self-motivation, are specially relevant for music practitioners. They also address shared content with some of the virtues, but from the perspective of employment and life in society, rather than personal flourishment. Both perspectives are complementary.
In this lecture I will address how music teachers in their classrooms could better enhance the development of pupils’ transversal competencies and virtuous character, helping them to grow as whole persons. I will review the work of the main international initiatives in this field, such as the Jubilee Center for Character and Virtues (University of Birmingham), the Association of Character Education, Characer.org etc., and the points of contact that were or could be established with music teaching theory and practice in general schools.