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Musical Dialogues Dr Susan Young University of Exeter School of Education and Lifelong Learning.

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Presentation on theme: "Musical Dialogues Dr Susan Young University of Exeter School of Education and Lifelong Learning."— Presentation transcript:

1 Musical Dialogues Dr Susan Young University of Exeter School of Education and Lifelong Learning

2 Three parts  Scene-setting: Learning in music with young children  Small experimental study  Some thoughts to connect with symposium themes

3 The challenge of music!  It doesn’t stay still and it is invisible –  [Unlike ‘objects’ in many areas of learning - e.g. science, maths or visual arts]  EITHER pedagogical strategies to help fix it – visually and statically  OR strategies to learn while it’s on the move and in the aural/kinaesthetic (non-visual modes)

4 Learning in the flow of doing Music – not just ‘doing’ or learning ‘about’ but learning ‘about doing’ A time-based, dynamic process How do children learn ‘in the flow of doing’ about how music works? How do children learn ‘in the flow of doing’ about how music works?

5 An interest in mediation  Mediation is a key-word in much research and theorising inspired by Vygotsky  However, mediation is both human and symbolic  Studies focussing on Human mediator – often interested in what kinds of interactions can make the most difference to child’s performance  Studies focussing on symbolic mediator – what differences in the child’s performance by the introduction of certain symbolic-tools/mediators

6 Study 3 and 4-year-olds, self-initiated play on a xylophone Adult partners as mediators Condition 1  Xylophone and adult play partner  Xylophone and no adult Condition 2  Xylophone and familiar, ‘non-musician’ adult play partner  Xylophone and less familiar, ‘musician’ adult play partner

7 Method Fixed video camera ran for a continuous period (until tape ran out) Length of time children played was measured, the means found and compared Small sample – 15 children

8 Adult protocol  Not to initiate play, but to be ‘available to play’  To join in by imitating the child’s playing ideas if it seemed welcome  To imitate with versions that matched as much as possible

9 Results Condition 1 Children played longer when an adult joined in with playing, than when there was no adult Condition 2 Children played longer with the familiar adult than with the unfamiliar adult

10 Average Time durations  Unattended – 01.40  Attended: unfamiliar adult – 06.49  Attended: familiar adult – 03.12

11 Some interpretations  Interest in the activity is sustained by the interpersonal dimension more than ‘musical content’ [in conventional terms]  The intention to communicate, to make something collaboratively fuels the temporal contours, the dynamics – [sounded out as music]  The interpersonal dimension as a generative source of musical [temporal arts] ideas and elaborations

12 Music as made between people  Communicating and coordinating musical actions – in dialogue  The construction of musical thinking in social action  ‘a process of active sense-making occurring in real-time’ (Bamberger, 2006 p.70)

13 Not surprising!  Colwyn Trevarthen – communicative musicality in adult/infant interaction  John Matthews – young children’s art- making as interpersonal, emerging in time Interest arising from intercultural studies of music (latterly in music psychology) in music as communication, as social process

14 Modes of interaction  Sociocultural theory (which is very influential on EC practice) tends to emphasise converting experience in to talk ‘to make it conscious’ and talk, therefore, as the primary mode of interaction  Music (dance, drama) as non-verbal modes of interaction – importance of gesture (visual/aural/bodily) with communicable [but highly negotiable meanings – not needing to ‘fix’ meaning in artistic activity]

15 The dimension of time  Music (temporal arts) unfold over time - ‘scripts’, or narratives - have kinds of internal logic, relationships between what has just gone and inferred to what might come next, pivoting on the present moment (Stern)  Strategies to learn while it’s moving – memory is a key skill – holding on to non-verbal, non-visual imagery in the mind, recalling and working with it

16 the ‘timing’ of experience  Stern - Putting ‘time’ back into our considerations and understandings of experience – psychology of time

17 Musical thinking  Young children relate present moment to what has just gone and gives impulse only to what might come immediately next – why young children’s music is often said to be ‘formless’  Sawyer and Keil, improvised music, children’s role play - linear structures, flow of a river, ‘in the moment’ rather than hierarchical, architectural, large scale forms with many interrelationships

18 Mediation in musical thinking  Adult protocol DOES introduce a structuring strategy (like phrasing)  Adult inevitably ‘reworks’ the replies to some extent  A kind of structured participation, but NOT guided or scaffolded – it’s not leading to a predetermined end-point - co-creation

19 A ‘meta’ level?  Children can stand outside their own music-making (moving, drama etc.) – and listen, observe.  Being inside the action and also outside, aware of the action – is required in performance arts  Meta-awareness – a kind of double- tracking (empathetic behaviour)

20 Transcending  Can awareness/understanding of temporal process be transferred in to other activity?  Working cross-modally in dynamic, kinetic processes  Spatio-temporal thinking  Kinds of proto-, non-verbal, (narrative) structure?  Ability to empathise, communicate non- verbally?

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