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Curriculum design and assessment practices for measuring contemporary musical learning

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A sequential series of vocal studies units embedded in a tertiary contemporary music program provides unique challenges and opportunities for musical learning and teaching in a group context. As popular music styles are constantly evolving, and as individuality, creativity and expressive techniques are featured aspects of contemporary vocal artistry, developing effective techniques and strategies to underpin student learning is a complex task. The developmental continuum outlined in this discussion provides a distinct model that focuses directly on the alignment of achievements and outcomes within a continuum of learning. The continuum is based on formative development, critical engagement and a resultant level of practical autonomy. Included in the discussion is comprehensive assessment, with formative and summative considerations, and related feedback mechanisms. Creative components and related assessment practices are also outlined. While the discussion focuses on a developmental continuum for learning and measuring student achievement in contemporary vocal studies, the teaching strategies, assessment design and feedback methods have broader relevance to the learning and teaching of a range of contemporary musical practices.


Dr Diane Hughes is a Lecturer in Vocal Studies at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. She is also the Program Director for Music and for Arts Practice and Management. Diane has an extensive background in singing pedagogy, curriculum development and assessment practices. She has been an invited speaker at conferences and seminars on a range of issues relating to singing in popular culture musics (PCM). Her work within the industry involves artist development, creative practices and recording. Ongoing research interests include singing in PCM , vocal pedagogy, assessment and performance; current research projects include vocal artistry, musical creativity, recording practices, and career development in the new music industries.

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

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