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Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd we’re back! Music Teacher Identity Week 1

Hello again and welcome back to semester 2! I’m very happy to be continuing this journey with you and sharing my experiences and any knowledge learned along the way. These blogs will be related to music teacher identity and what that means and entails. We start our journey this semester in week 1. It was great to be back in class, as I honestly missed it. After settling in and catching up on everyone’s very long semester break, we started to get into the lesson.

We started the lesson with a quick overview of the semester and then began playing some music!! What I’ve been missing in all honesty. We started playing a song by Archie Roach and it served for us to ask ourselves a good question. Appropriate or Appropriation? Is it appropriate to use his songs, which often have a political undertone? Now I understand for a lot it may be uncomfortable and they may not want to mix politics with their classroom but I often remind myself of this quote that I feel rings true even to this day “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana. We must learn from the wrongdoings of people in order to be able to build a better and brighter future. So why not do this with music?? Teaching an indigenous politically themed song to children forces us to have that uncomfortable conversation with the students and serves as a way to teach ethics and morals which otherwise wouldn’t have been an option if this kind of music wasn’t taught. Now obviously you need the right kinds of permissions and whatnot when dealing with this kind of sensitive music, but it is well worth the extra work and is very beneficial not only to the students in class but out of class as well.

The theme of this lesson was based on the idea of representation and inclusion in the music classroom, and how the use of repertoire by music teachers really matters. There were a lot of discussions based around, race, gender, and age with us as a class discussing the marginalised voices in the music industry and in music education. Culture is important and some of the people in the music industry and music education are the ones that in all honesty make assumptions about most people and their abilities. The music sector is heavily influenced by the assumptions that certain groups shouldn’t and can’t play certain instruments and types of music (Talbot, 2018; Dolloff, 1999) A way of thinking that is backward and honestly damaging to young learners and society. Carrying on from the use of Archie Roach in the music classroom, I was sent me back to my music education and what kind of music was taught to us. And it was almost always classical music and it’s problematic that “such a normative music and music education curricular culture, derives not from the nature and structure of music and music experience in all times and places, but from a desire to perform and advance classical repertoire among talented students” (Myers, 2017, p. 127). Now I couldn’t help but ask myself why? Why did my teachers almost exclusively want to teach this music, was this a case of them believing it was the best way to teach the class? Was it their favourite music to listen to and play? Or was it a systemic and societal norm that we continued to conform to? I’m not too sure but it is definitely interesting to think about.

I hope you guys enjoyed! Stay tuned to hear about more of my rants and who I will become as a music teacher. See you soooooon!!!!


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