Art of Teaching Reading Assignment:
Songs in their Heads & American Folk Songs for Children
Reading #1: Songs in their Heads pgs. 4-16
- How might the information the author provides on the nature of children’s musical culture and play inform musical learning experiences you create for or with children?:
I found it quite interesting how Campbell describes children’s culture. This concept is fascinating. I have never really thought of all children as having a unified culture that is unique and separate from that of adults’. I would definitely utilize this idea in my teaching. I would make sure to respect, and understand the children’s culture. I would also use it as a tool and resource to help me structure activities with them. I would also use all of their musical knowledge and experience that Campbell explains they inherently have in structuring their activities. I would seek the students’ insight and wish to build from there, making my classroom very much student-centered.
- What was surprising, challenging, or inspiring for you about the author’s discussion of the serious study of children’s lives, musical or otherwise?:
I was rather surprised by the long-standing old view of children. I never knew that children were viewed simply as pre-adults rather than as their own unique group. I also found it quite odd how people viewed children as a look into humans’ more evolutionary primitive make up. As such, I found it quite inspiring that groups of people broke away from this traditional view of children and challenged it. In doing this they found data and made scholarly arguments that children were more unique than this and were actually their own group within our human identity. Overall I found it quite inspiring that so much of this research is focused on how intelligent and talented children are.
Reading #2: American Folk Songs for Children pgs. 33-38
- Think about and describe Ruth Crawford Seeger’s approach to “musicking” with children. Was her approach child-centered or teacher-centered? How did she navigate student behaviors that some might describe as “off-task”?:
Her approach was very much student-centered and not teacher-centered. She talks a great deal about what the children in the classroom have to offer and that we must listen to them and build on what they know in order to give them the best music education we can. She has various approaches to management of off-task behavior. She explains that proximity to the students is an effective technique in management, especially when working with younger children. As such, she explains that if the children are in a circle on the floor it is best to sit with them on the floor as well. She also explains that we must be patient and watch and listen to the students to see if they are truly acting out or if they are interpreting the music in their own creative way. One idea that she greatly emphasizes is to make sure not to stifle creativity when managing behavior.
- What connections can you draw between Ruth Crawford Seeger’s and Patricia Shehan Campbell’s narratives on their experiences with children and their approaches to music for children?:
Both of these approaches were very much student-centered. Campbell based much of her argument off of Seeger’s article and philosophy, so it makes sense that the two would parallel each other so closely. They also both emphasize that children have a lot of musical skills inherently and that we must utilize those and build on them for a useful and comprehensive music education for our students.