Popular music pedagogy: peer learning in practice
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The inclusion of popular music as a content area in music education is not uncommon. The musicological study of popular music is well established in higher education, and even the practice of popular music is becoming more common in both secondary education and the post-compulsory sector. However, when this occurs, it is likely to be taught in more or less the same way as other more established content areas like western classical music or jazz, with teachers being in control of the process and the curriculum, the feedback and the assessment. But popular music is usually learned in the broader community as a self-directed activity, sometimes including interactions with peers and group activities, but rarely under the direction of an expert mentor/teacher. One Australian conservatorium has adopted the pedagogy of popular music through the creation of a scaffolded self-directed learning environment within its bachelor of popular music program. This paper argues that the pedagogical approach employed in this program relates well to the prior learning activities of its students. It draws on the results of a survey of the learning experiences of students before they entered this program, as a background to subsequent research into their participation in two course activities that provide opportunities for the provision feedback to peers. The study draws on data from surveys, on-line participation in the provision of work-in-progress feedback, and written feedback provided as part of formal assessment. Students are found to have usually engaged with multiple musical activities and used a variety of ways to enhance their musical abilities before commencing their conservatoire studies. These characteristics are also found to be present in students' engagement with their degree studies. The paper concludes that these students are well prepared for this kind of peer learning activity and provide useful feedback through the structures provided by the program.
Music Education Research
© 2008 Taylor & Francis. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version.