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Teaching tasks and the composition of a ‘piece’ using music technology in the classroom: Implications for the education and training of teachers

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A six-week unit of lessons in music composition using an audio music software (Mixcraft) was used in this action research study as a platform to make transparent the teaching tasks relevant to the use of technology in the music classroom. An examination of music education literature suggests that this is an understudied area, and one of importance to the education and training of teachers generally, and of music teachers specifically. The study utilized 41 grade-9 students in an independent high school for girls in West London, England. Participant observation, teacher lesson plans and a student questionnaire were the data collection methods used. The student questionnaire elicited students’ perception of the tasks performed by the teacher during the unit of lessons and what additional tasks the teacher could have performed to help their composition. Responses to the first question are the primary concern of this study. Responses to the second question were used to aid the teacher’s personal reflection on improving the unit the next time it was implemented. Observations and the teacher’s lesson plans were used to corroborate the findings of the study. The study revealed the dominant and most recurring tasks to be learning support followed by exposition. Technical, preparation and classroom management and computer allocations – although not identified by student participants – were observed to have occurred and hence necessary for the process. Implications for the education and training of teachers generally and of music teachers specifically are outlined.
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Keywords: music classroom; music software; secondary school and students; tasks; teacher; teacher education; technology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Independent researcher

Publication date: 01 December 2015

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  • The Journal of Music, Technology and Education (JMTE) explores the issues concerning the use of technology in music education. It examines pedagogy at all levels and across genres such as composition, musicology, performance and music production. It is the only journal specifically dedicated to the educational aspects of music technology and the technological aspects of music. Peer-reviewed, with an international editorial board, JMTE aims to draw its contributions from a broad community of educators, researchers and practitioners who are working closely with new technologies in the fields of music education and music technology education.
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