A pluralist approach to music teaching is recognizing that there is more than one way to be creative and to produce music. James Humberstone, explains this as a ‘Classical Approach’ and a ‘DJ songwriting’ approach. A pluralist approach can provide many more options than this. The idea is that there is no one size fits all in education.
One example is a unit that I run which focuses on music that inspired change or dealt with a social issue. The unit allows for scope for the students to explore and be creative. The assessment is based on the main areas of presenting, creating and performing. Therefore students have to give a presentation on a song or piece of music on an issue that the student is invested in. Including the musical qualities of the song. How it was composed and what inspired the composer. The student then takes those ideas to create their own song about the social issue and then record or perform the music. It allows for inquiry, it allows multiple genres to be explored and a range of skill developments personalised for each student. It is also authentic as the student writes about an issue that they care about, they understand more about the context of music written in a similar genre and they can draw on both musical and conceptual ideas to create their own music. It also allows for a varied approach and output that students can share and inspire one another.
Humberstone, J. (2015) Defining Creativity for a More Pluralist Approach to Music Education. University of Sydney
I am the High School Music teacher at GEMS World Academy in Singapore. I have a passion for seeing students improve and develop by performing and creating music.