Monday, 7 November 2011

Hands up if your experience of playing instruments in the classroom was limited to keyboards.  Don't get me wrong - keyboards have their place, but there are other instruments that can be used in the classroom.  At a school where I did some of my training each music lesson started with 20 minutes 'learning' keyboards in pairs! - in this particular lesson I found myself preventing two young men from spending their 20 minutes inventing ways to wreck the keyboard.  It wasn't that they didn't have an interest in music (one of them proceeded to sing me the entire 'American Pie' unaccompanied!), just absolutely no interest in learning to play the keyboard.

You don't have to be able to 'play' the violin to get a sound out of it - you don't have to be a drummer to make a sound on a kit.  So much fun can be had using other instruments.  How many of you who were instrumentalists at school were asked to bring your instruments in to use in group music making activities in the classroom?  When teaching modern music my challenge to the children was to use conventional instruments in the most unconventional way they could imagine (a la John Cage).  Some music teachers may not consider this to be 'music' but let us remember that the definition of music is:  sounds organised within a space of time - not something 'nice' to listen to.

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