Knowing about, how and of

Our nineteenth post in our (re)learning to teach music series. The posts over this week and next week focus on the tasks in Chris Philpotts’s chapter – the third in Learning to Teach Music in the Secondary School. This is week four of the collaborative blogging of the tasks in Learning to teach music in the secondary school, and this post is the first exploring Chris’s chapter. 

Take a Musical Activity of your own and try to analyse which aspects of the knowledge types can be developed when young people engage with this work. 

Charlotte Pell @MissPellMusic

For this activity, I thought back to a recent lesson observation where I introduced chord inversions within a year 8 lesson. The pupils in my setting, were without a music teacher in year 7 and have unfortunately been exposed to less musical experiences as a result. This lesson took place in a 6-week where we analysed the song “This is me” from The Greatest Showman. Each week looking at a new musical skill or technique, how it was used within the song, and allowing pupils the chance to demonstrate the skill in question and perform the song within a class ensemble. Pupil’s prior learning had allowed them to necessarily ‘jump’ from one chord to the next, however this had often been at a slower harmonic rhythm, (typically one chord for every four beats.) Within ‘This is me’ however, pupils would need to change between chords at a quicker rate in order to play successfully. This lesson managed to challenge what the pupils already knew about chords and combine different elements of their musical thinking: First: the ‘about’ and the theoretical definition of inversion chords. Then the ‘how,’ allowing pupils to practise this technique for themselves, which in turn opened up discussions and pupil’s own questioning into why these were important within composition, and how they could use them within their own creations.

Vaughan Fleischfresser @VFleischfresser

The activity I have chosen is improvising on tuned percussion along to a funk backing track.

Knowledge ‘about’

What improvisation is What a glockenspiel is What a mallet is What the pulse is What characteristics define funk music Combinations of pitches that could be used What are patterns, and the benefit of repetition.

Know ‘how’

How to hold a mallet How to create an appropriate sound on the glockenspiel Where the chosen pitches are on the glockenspiel How to create patterns using the chosen pitches in time with the pulse How to count and hear the agreed upon introduction. 

Knowledge ‘of’

The expressive capabilities of music – freedom of choice The expressive potential of music – sharing embodied ideas through sound Real-life expression – Combining the known and the unknown into something new and different The emboldening powers – giving a voice to ideas previously unheard Collective expression – sharing in the knowledge of others

David House @House_dg

Activity = playing the answering chords in the ‘head’ of So What

Know about

Jazz style in general, Swung quavers, Miles Davis, Triads, Sevenths, Question and answer

Know how

To memorise a pattern, To play notes in time with others, To listen and play at the right time in the piece, To play chords accurately, To play with appropriate style

Know of

Expressive listening, Extended harmony, Feeling a beat, Sense of musical dialogue between Bass, question and chordal answer

Liz Gleed @MrsGleedMusic

For the purpose of this the activity I have taken is whole class singing of an African part song that uses call and response.

Ewan McIntosh @ETMcINTOSH

Topic: African music

Knowledge about

What is a rhythm What is a polyrhythm? What are the different drums called? What role do the different performers play? What is an ostinato? What are dynamics and texture?

Knowledge How

How to play in time. How to play a ostinato How to perform as part of an ensemble How to hold your own part in a polyrhythmic performance. How to read different hand signals from your group leader.

Knowledge of

How to change the music by varying dynamics and texture. What happens when different performers drop in and out of the performance. What happens if we change the tempo.

Steven Berryman @steven_berryman

To add! 




2 responses to “Knowing about, how and of”

  1. What are the implications of all these aspects of knowledge for those schools who boast “we are knowledge rich”, when some are doing so at what – to music at least – looks like being at the expense of *making* music?

    • I hope they’re rich in all three forms of knowledge; I wonder if all our colleagues are able to articulate these knowledge forms as readily as the bloggers as if they could they’d have much better chance of convincing SLT they’re knowledge wealthy.

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