What's new in pedagogy research?Many independent music teachers extend their teaching day and increase their income by offering various types of group and private instruction for preschool children. A recent study titled "Musical Play: A Case Study of Preschool Children and Parents," (1) explored preschool children's musical activities when they were given free time to experience the many instruments and play stations in the classroom. Previous research studies have identified and emphasized the importance of the process of freely exploring musical elements over the product of the learned music when working with young children. This study continued the exploration of this area with qualitative descriptions of the activities of two preschool classes.
The program consisted of two ten-week classes, one for two- and three-year-olds, and one for four- and five-year-olds. The parents also attended all the classes. The forty-five-minute sessions were divided into alternating segments of free play and guided group activities. Two researchers alternated their roles as participant/teacher and observer/note taker tak·er
One that takes or takes up something, such as a wager or purchase: There were no takers on the bets.
Noun . Additional graduate music students also observed and took notes on the activities of the various children.
After the notes were transcribed and analyzed an·a·lyze
tr.v. an·a·lyzed, an·a·lyz·ing, an·a·lyz·es
1. To examine methodically by separating into parts and studying their interrelations.
2. Chemistry To make a chemical analysis of.
3. , three types of notable free play emerged: unfinished play, extinguishing play and enhancing play. In unfinished play, the free musical play of the children was interrupted in·ter·rupt
v. in·ter·rupt·ed, in·ter·rupt·ing, in·ter·rupts
1. To break the continuity or uniformity of: Rain interrupted our baseball game.
2. or inhibited in·hib·it
tr.v. in·hib·it·ed, in·hib·it·ing, in·hib·its
1. To hold back; restrain. See Synonyms at restrain.
2. To prohibit; forbid.
3. , and it was indicated by the children either bringing items back to the group when free play time ended, participating in the group activities from the periphery periphery /pe·riph·ery/ (pe-rif´er-e) an outward surface or structure; the portion of a system outside the central region.periph´eral
1. or ignoring the group activities. "Evidence of unfinished play suggests that the children needed play episodes beyond the time limits of the four main sections of each session of this program." (2) Two categories of interactions seemed to result in the extinguishing of play: physical proximity and corrections or suggestions. An adult's close, unexpected presence sometimes halted the child's play child's play
1. Something very easy to do.
2. A trivial matter.
Informal something that is easy to do
Noun 1. until the person left; and when an adult corrected, criticized or instructed the child on the musical activity, play sometimes was extinguished ex·tin·guish
tr.v. ex·tin·guished, ex·tin·guish·ing, ex·tin·guish·es
1. To put out (a fire, for example); quench.
2. To put an end to (hopes, for example); destroy. See Synonyms at abolish.
3. . Adult participation in a child-directed activity, with the adult valuing and encouraging the activity in a positive way, sometimes served to enhance the free play.
The researchers concluded that:
Evidence of unfinished musical play suggests that children desired play episodes beyond the contained time frames of/tree play with class sessions. We identified adult flexibility as necessary for children to finish their musical activity at their own pace. We recommend that educators occasionally abandon direct instruction, thereby removing emphasis on the musical product. We suggest that educators supplement specific skill acquisition and performance objectives with open-ended instruction. Open-ended instructional strategies using questions and suggestions may guide children to discover musical elements, thereby laying the groundwork for later skill acquisition.... We believe that, when provided with appropriate tools, a child's skill acquisition is more powerful because learning results from personal discovery rather than adult instruction of imposed traditional perceptions. (3)
Berger and Cooper then recommended that music teachers of preschool children should be "continually con·tin·u·al
1. Recurring regularly or frequently: the continual need to pay the mortgage.
2. aligning a·lign
v. a·ligned, a·lign·ing, a·ligns
1. To arrange in a line or so as to be parallel: align the tops of a row of pictures; aligned the car with the curb. and adjusting teaching actions to the process; consistently assessing current curriculum, classroom environment and student needs; and providing ample and appropriate opportunities for free musical play." (4)
This research may encourage us to ask ourselves some very basic and probing questions such as, "Why am I teaching very young children, and what are my goals for them? Are my goals appropriate for the preschool child, or am I just teaching a 'watered down' version of what I expect from my school-aged children? Am I process or product oriented o·ri·ent
1. Orient The countries of Asia, especially of eastern Asia.
a. The luster characteristic of a pearl of high quality.
b. A pearl having exceptional luster.
3. , and how does that influence how I conduct my preschool classes? Does this research have any implications for my private instrumental lessons with very young children?" Many times the concept of free play can be confused with the negative image of "just messing around, wasting time" rather than being viewed as a valid and necessary learning approach for young children.
The teacher of young children needs not only to embrace this concept of the importance of free and experimental play, but also impart this information to the parents of the group. As this research indicated, much free play can be extinguished by well-meaning teachers and parents constantly intervening in·ter·vene
intr.v. in·ter·vened, in·ter·ven·ing, in·ter·venes
1. To come, appear, or lie between two things: You can't see the lake from there because the house intervenes.
2. with corrections and advice. Perhaps it would be helpful for the teacher and parent to establish from the very beginning the belief that the outcomes of successful preschool classes often cannot be completely measured by tangible products or performances, and that greater benefits may be realized by the process of development, which will become more apparent as the child ages and matures.
(1.) Berger, A. A., and S. Cooper. "Musical Play: A Case Study of Preschool Children and Parents." Journal of Research in Music Education The Journal of Research in Music Education (JRME) publishes research reports "that enhance knowledge regarding the teaching and learning of music." It is published by the National Association for Music Education. , 51(2003): 151-164.
(2.) Ibid., 157.
(3.) Ibid., 162-3.
(4.) Ibid., 163.
Rebecca Grooms Johnson is the director of keyboard pedagogy at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio Columbus is the capital and the largest city of the American state of Ohio. Named for explorer Christopher Columbus, the city was founded in 1812 at the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and assumed the functions of state capital in 1816. . She is an experienced independent piano teacher and a past president of the Ohio MTA (1) (Message Transfer Agent or Mail Transfer Agent) The store and forward part of a messaging system. See messaging system.
(2) See M Technology Association.
1. (messaging) MTA - Message Transfer Agent. . Johnson holds a Ph.D. in piano pedagogy.