Event Title

Learning Processes In Aural Training: Perspectives of Brazilian Students From a Popular Music Course

Start Date

1-6-2011 3:00 PM

End Date

1-6-2011 3:30 PM

Description

This research is about the learning processes related to aural training of 13 students who were admitted in the Bachelor of Popular Music at the Music School of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in the year of 2010. The goal is to understand how those students built their knowledge and skills related to musical perception prior to college as well as the meanings and values they attribute to their learning processes. In addition, it aims to investigate conflicts and impacts on their musical practices, and expectations about the aural training classes at the university. The qualitative research used questionnaires and focus groups. Most students began to develop musical skills through informal learning practices (especially playing by ear), acquiring further formal knowledge on private lessons and music schools (reading and writing skills, and aural discrimination of musical elements, which are required for entering a music course). The practice of playing by ear was identified by the students as essential and the most relevant in developing skills related to listening. On the other hand, the acquisition of writing skills (considered as a differential in the labor market and contributing to a more autonomous musician), seemed to have had impacts on their musical practices: listening became more analytical, influencing the preference for genres supposedly more complex and blocking the creativity of some students. Generally, the aural training classes have been considered hard and unpleasant for all students, revealing a decontextualized teaching, mechanical and distant from the music itself. Although, their expectations about the classes at the University differ with regard to emphasis on theory or practice; objectivity or subjectivity in addressing the content; and against or in favor the diversity of styles, practices and profiles of students at a college. They also differ on expectations about which knowledge and skills musicians should be required to show on the entrance exams at the university (seen as a place par excellence of theoretical knowledge). Some of them attribute great importance to reading and writing skills, while others believe that playing by ear, composing and improvising expressively are much more relevant in joining a popular music course. Finally, research points out that the assessment of knowledge and skills related to aural training classes can be interpreted as a mechanism of exclusion and barrier of access to higher education. Since in the public schools Brazilian children still do not have plain access to music education, the chances of being admitted at a public university are linked to private mechanisms of acquiring formal knowledge from classical tradition, usually considered as “musical” in itself and applicable to any musical practice (even in popular music courses). The situation is aggravated by the fact that there are much more musicians applying for higher education courses than available posts at public universities. All these ideological aspects (the core of predominant social representations) are challenged by some students and legitimated by others, who internalize conflicts and recognize their inferiority in front of the dominant school culture.

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Jun 1st, 3:00 PM Jun 1st, 3:30 PM

Learning Processes In Aural Training: Perspectives of Brazilian Students From a Popular Music Course

This research is about the learning processes related to aural training of 13 students who were admitted in the Bachelor of Popular Music at the Music School of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in the year of 2010. The goal is to understand how those students built their knowledge and skills related to musical perception prior to college as well as the meanings and values they attribute to their learning processes. In addition, it aims to investigate conflicts and impacts on their musical practices, and expectations about the aural training classes at the university. The qualitative research used questionnaires and focus groups. Most students began to develop musical skills through informal learning practices (especially playing by ear), acquiring further formal knowledge on private lessons and music schools (reading and writing skills, and aural discrimination of musical elements, which are required for entering a music course). The practice of playing by ear was identified by the students as essential and the most relevant in developing skills related to listening. On the other hand, the acquisition of writing skills (considered as a differential in the labor market and contributing to a more autonomous musician), seemed to have had impacts on their musical practices: listening became more analytical, influencing the preference for genres supposedly more complex and blocking the creativity of some students. Generally, the aural training classes have been considered hard and unpleasant for all students, revealing a decontextualized teaching, mechanical and distant from the music itself. Although, their expectations about the classes at the University differ with regard to emphasis on theory or practice; objectivity or subjectivity in addressing the content; and against or in favor the diversity of styles, practices and profiles of students at a college. They also differ on expectations about which knowledge and skills musicians should be required to show on the entrance exams at the university (seen as a place par excellence of theoretical knowledge). Some of them attribute great importance to reading and writing skills, while others believe that playing by ear, composing and improvising expressively are much more relevant in joining a popular music course. Finally, research points out that the assessment of knowledge and skills related to aural training classes can be interpreted as a mechanism of exclusion and barrier of access to higher education. Since in the public schools Brazilian children still do not have plain access to music education, the chances of being admitted at a public university are linked to private mechanisms of acquiring formal knowledge from classical tradition, usually considered as “musical” in itself and applicable to any musical practice (even in popular music courses). The situation is aggravated by the fact that there are much more musicians applying for higher education courses than available posts at public universities. All these ideological aspects (the core of predominant social representations) are challenged by some students and legitimated by others, who internalize conflicts and recognize their inferiority in front of the dominant school culture.