Social Music Edgagement

MUE 550: Studies in Music Curricula

SoME Flyer


            The Social Music Engagement (SoME) program is designed to provide students a diverse opportunity to explore sounds. Within these experiences, students can interact in social ways, either within their own imagined realities or their lived experiences. Experimenting with sounds in ways that relate to their lives outside of the SoME classroom is a core principle of the design of the project based classroom. A foundation of allowing individual students to determine what they want to know so they can use that understanding in their own way is core part of the big idea guiding the SoME program: the human experience is affected in many ways.   This visionary program is relevant in the 21st century classroom and evokes necessary changes to the traditions of music education.

The Big Picture

            The education system, as it is seen today, remains largely unchanged from its original manifestation in the United States. What have changed are the social and cultural influences that affect student population within those schools. The interaction of curriculum design, teacher execution, and student interest should drive the journey school classrooms embark on. Unfortunately, there is a disconnect between these three considerations that lead to one-sided representation in schools. These issues arise in all societies that offer a universal approach to education (Walker & Soltis, 2009). Additionally, external influences or mandates dictate

Music Education Issues and Challenges

            In music education, these challenges can be compounded by the idea that music exists in all social and cultural settings. The differences between these experiences can be profound, uniquely associated with specific communities, showing intense diversity in small geographic areas. The idea of trying to design a universal music education model that accounts for all ways of being musical is overwhelming to the average educator.

            The learning opportunities that influence music educators’ practices and pedagogical decisions are often drawn from experiences as a student, more than as a pre-service teacher. This “apprenticeship of observation” is powerful in the development of the educator and often leads to a perpetuation of old ideals, disregarding the evolving community in the classroom (Lortie, 1975). In addition, music educators are faced with trying to fulfill the assessment expectations that are emerging in the school community. The resources given to other content areas are often broad, with multiple potential approaches to assessment. In the music classroom, these resources are not provided. Music educators are left to interpret other’s materials, in order to satisfy expectations. The common practice in these situations is to find ways to justify current practices so that they can fit within the constraints of assessment and music educators do not engage in reflection on practice and curricular decisions.

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