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SASMT NATIONAL CONFERENCE 3 - 6 APRIL 2014 Engaging with the Community The South African Society of Music Teachers.

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Presentation on theme: "SASMT NATIONAL CONFERENCE 3 - 6 APRIL 2014 Engaging with the Community The South African Society of Music Teachers."— Presentation transcript:

1 SASMT NATIONAL CONFERENCE APRIL 2014 Engaging with the Community The South African Society of Music Teachers

2  A physicist’s mindset  60 y of solo singing but no sense of music theory  Attempt to get ABRSM Gr5 in 7 months  Discovery of a Mental Model as an aid  Potential for adult MT learners  Hence physics, music education, psychology and andragogy/geragogy all contributed  Please add – your centuries of teaching experience

3  One (adult) learner’s experience in learning music theory  Mental Models  The Keyboard Layout as a Mental Model  Adult vs Early Learning  Questions

4  Interest in Music studies post employment  Unable to sight-read – accomplished ‘faker’  Treble stave F-A-C-E, Bass stave A-C-E-G  Decision to learn music theory (CvN)  Joined MAM Target ABRSM Gr 5/6 (AH)  Very ignorant - Didn’t know 4-part songs usually in chords  Perception of vast amount of memorising needed – an intimidating prospect

5  Note names in English: Crotchet/ quaver etc  ‘everybody else’ has it better” Noot/ half-noot!!  Grand Staff – confusing separation  Degrees – tonic, sub-dominant, dominant  Names of tetrachords (I, IV, V)  Intervals add a third to a third to get a fifth  ⅓ + ⅓ = ⅕ OR = 0.20!!!!!  Marking intervals – not spaces between – includes both ends  ‘Use your keyboard!’ Fell on deaf ears.

6  All students required to illustrate a scale.  First up: 12 note Chromatic Scale (new to me)  Drew the Whole Note Scale – all intervals of equal length – 2 semitones.  Practicing illustration on key board – significance of movement to and from white to black keys and the different ‘gaps’ emerged. A MENTAL MODEL.  C, D, E, F#, G#, A#, C. (Mode of Min Transp)

7  Models essential in Physics – entities not directly observable  Some personal, some common  Bohr Model of Atomic Structure

8 Cavendish

9  Models essential in Physics – entities not directly observable  Some personal, some common  Bohr Model of Atomic Structure – all you need to know in Chemistry/Chem Eng  Familiar thinking paradigm for this learner  Mental Models a well-known concept in psychology  Concept expanded by Phil Johnson-Laird “psychological representations of real or imaginary situations.. eg relationship to another person, how electricity works, architect’s models…”

10  John Hinch – Fingers on flute  UPSO and Camerata: UPSO/ Cam/ Tot %  Keyboard layout: 37/ 30 /33  Sounds in Mind: 55/ 53/ 54  Pianists: Keyboard layout slightly less than Sounds in Mind  J New Generation Sciences 11, 2. (2013)

11  Accustomed to the constructivist approach  Much experience in action learning  Career characterised by entry into new knowledge fields  An ‘accomplished autodidact’ used to learning on my own

12  Children using praxis method (action learning) learn MT ‘parenthetically and contextually’ (David Elliott, Music Matters.)  Have ‘all the time in the world’  Adults  don’t have/want to spend the time this way  need to feel ‘in control’ – no authoritative ‘teacher figure’  capable of ‘big picture’ appreciation (helicopter view)  tend to find their own learning style  better at ‘chunking’  Iritani example

13  From Cmaj you can work out tts t tts  Circle of Fifths (another Mental Model) helps to place them on the stave  How does a perfect fifth differ from an augmented fifth.  It seems

14  Helicopter view available  Overall grasp of how scales and chords are constructed – the ‘code’ was ‘broken’  My comfort zone  Have some degree of control  Can memorise in my own way  The Mental Model is empowering!

15  How Music Works: A listener’s guide to the science and psychology of beautiful sounds JOHN POWELL  Great intro for adults – multi-stringed harp as mental model, (Lengths and pitches) Also explains Equal Temperament.

16  Keyboard layout as a Mental Model empowered one adult learner  Some evidence of the use of this model in accomplished young musicians -surprisingly (?) low in keyboard players  Consistent with what we know about adult learning  Does this mean that when teaching adults an early start on the keyboard – as described – will help?  Should other ‘big picture’ Mental Models also be considered?  What about music students brought up on memorised choral parts?

17 From me:  Do you see any potential in this? Any from you?

18  Page-Shipp, RJ & Van Niekerk, C. (2013). A superannuated physicist's attempts to master music theory: Resolving cognitive conflicts and a paradigm clash. International Journal of Music Education. published online 5 November  Page-Shipp, RJ & Van Niekerk, C (2013). Mental Models in the Learning and Teaching of Music Theory Concepts. Journal for New Generation Sciences.11 (2) p57. Nov (OA)  John Powell.How Music Works, A listener’s guide to the science and psychology of beautiful sounds. Particular Books. Penguin 2010.


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