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Action, Criticism & Theory for Music Education

Page 11 of 28

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their own country at both the local and national levels.

Embedding Academic Studies in Appreciation, Composition, and Performance The third dimension of the MMC Model draws attention to academic studies of music in appreciation, composition, and performance. In teaching music, this dimension addresses two issues: the first issue is embedding music history, theory, philosophy, and art theory in the teaching; and the second issue deals with a balance of appreciating, composing, and performing music. With regard to the first issue, such academic studies were regarded as the least important areas for inclusion in music teaching in the original study. The music teachers who participated pointed out that students considered the study of history, theory, and philosophy to be mainly academic in nature, and find these areas relatively unattractive and uninteresting.

The above-mentioned areas, however, are vital in enhancing students’ understanding of the processes involved in appreciation, composition, and performance of music. The study of music should not merely stress the techniques and knowledge of the subject but also the intention of the composers and the wider philosophical issues involved. This is especially significant when studying music of different countries where historical backgrounds, as well as different philosophical ideas and theories of art, can have great impact on music appreciation, composition, and performance. It is proposed, therefore, that the teaching of these academic areas could be embedded into the activities of appreciating, performing, and composing music rather than taught as discrete areas. In line with this third dimension, music teachers have to be creative and flexible in designing their music programmes to include different aspects and varied activities. Students can be asked to participate not only in class discussions and in presentations, but to search outside of class for useful knowledge and information with regard to appreciating, composing, and performing music. However, in practice, the embedding of these aspects needs further experiment and investigation before it can be realized successfully.

Concerning the issue of engaging students in appreciation, composition, and performance, these three areas are clearly interrelated and thus the content of these

activities should be designed holistically.

Mills (1991) states that when students are

Leung, C. (2004). Building a New Music Curriculum: A Multi-faceted approach. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education. Vol.3, #2 (July 2004). http://act.maydaygroup.org/articles/Leung3_2.pdf

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