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Programming Q&R, cont’d.

Following up on my post earlier this morning, I received another question from student Sandra Godwin. Sandra is from India and writes this:

Before I share my perspective on these questions, let me begin by emphatically stating that I am not an authority on international education. All of my own teaching experience has been in the United States and I acknowledge that I have myriad biases from the American system that I probably don’t even recognize.

Let me break apart Sandra’s questions, then, and answer—no, respond to—them to the best of my ability:

  • There isn’t a universal approach to teaching or learning western classical music. The literacy-based approach we use at Roberts is actually somewhat novel, at least according to my 2015 research. Therefore, your pedagogical methodology must match (a) your philosophical values about music education and (b) your strengths and gifts as an educator–conductor. Obviously, I hope to inculcate in you my own values because I believe in them, but I don’t want you to do that mindlessly. Yes, you are steeped in my own approaches in rehearsal every day, but I want you to discover your own, too!

  • I think this must be especially true if you are teaching non-Westerners. All teachers must adapt their approaches to the students actually in the room, but I’d surmise that conductors trained in the West would have to be especially flexible and creative when teaching western music to cultures in the Global South.

  • Regarding Sandra’s second question—whether there are institutions in the West that prepare music educators to teach outside the West—I don’t know of any. If you know of any resources, please comment below!

Happy reading, all!

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