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What can Teachers Learn from Popular Musicians

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Pamela Burnard.

Webinar! Univeristy of Cambridge Coordinator: Dr Pamela Burnard.


This presentation will offer some examples of approaches to learning and teaching within formal music education environments, based on the informal learning practices of popular musicians. Running through the presentation will be three main questions. Firstly, how and why might formal music educators adopt and adapt the informal learning practices of popular, and other vernacular musicians, and bring them into our teaching? Secondly, what kinds of approaches do children display when such learning practices are introduced into formal settings? Thirdly, what can we learn about our own roles as teachers through these approaches, and what kinds of teaching strategies might be useful in such contexts? Informal music learning practices differ in a range of ways from the approaches we tend to adopt in formal settings; whilst they are not put forward as alternative strategies, I will suggest that such practices can be a helpful and indeed liberating addition to existing practices. The talk will cover work that has taken place in secondary-school classrooms and instrumental tuition.


Lucy Green is Professor of Music Education at the London University Institute of Education, UK. Her interests are in the sociology of music education, specializing in meaning, ideology, gender, popular music, informal learning, and new pedagogies. She is the editor of one anthology, Learning, Teaching and Musical Identity: Voices Across Cultures (2011); and the author of Music on Deaf Ears: Musical Meaning, Ideology and Education (1988/2008), Music, Gender, Education (1997), How Popular Musicians Learn: A Way Ahead For Music Education (2001) and Music, Informal Learning and the School: A New Classroom Pedagogy (2008) as well as numerous articles and book chapters. Her next book will be a practical handbook for teachers entitled Hear, Listen, Play! and will appear with Oxford University Press in 2014. She has lectured in many countries around the world, and serves on the Editorial Boards of twelve journals. Lucy led the research and development project “Informal Learning in the Music Classroom” within the British venture “Musical Futures”, which is now being implemented in Australia, the USA , Brazil and other countries. Her current research is taking this work forward into instrumental tuition,

This talk is part of the Arts, Culture and Education series.

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