Music Education for Character Education

Learning Strategies for Musical Success

In 2015 the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham called for character education to be embedded in UK curriculum. The report linked strong character traits such as resilience and perseverance to higher educational achievement, employability, and social, emotional and physical health. Character matters. It is critical for personal happiness, maintaining relationships, and essential for an ordered society. Character strengths help people to thrive and become the best version of themselves. But how is it taught, cultivated and nurtured? UK Education secretary Nicky Morgan, in her quest to help schools build character, says one way to learn character traits is tolearn a musical instrument. The Education Secretary is correct, of course. The Jubilee Centre study found thatstudents involved in choir/music or drama performed significantly better on character tests than any other school-based extra-curricular activity. Interestingly, evidence that sporting activitiesbuild character was lacking. This is perhaps surprising…

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Posted in Uncategorized

General Music Practical? Keyboards!

You’ve inherited 25 students for general music or KS3 class coming from different schools, backgrounds and experience levels. Students expect practical music experiences as the major part of the curriculum. Rightly so – it is the best way to understand music, to incorporate overall musicianship and learn the practice techniques and effort required to develop musical skill.

Choir and singing activities deserve a special place in the curriculum. For group instrumental activity, schools without a band or string program usually choose group guitar, ukulele, tuned percussion, or keyboard. For my money, a classroom keyboard program delivers the broadest outcomes.

The two books comprising Music and Keyboard in the Classroom are based on principles designed to ignite the motivation and interest of each learner. In each lesson, the aim is to master a short keyboard skill. Skills progress in complexity and include well known tunes. Lessons integrate aural, improvisation, 1-4-5 harmony, auto-accompaniment, musical problem solving, contextual theory and musical analysis through the practical framework of keyboard. The book layout is beautifully clean and clear, and to be written in.

Learning contexts include solo and ensemble tasks, and emphasise student-led learning. There is a welcome focus on enhancing metacognition and emotional intelligence. This includes a reflection log where students and teachers comment on strengths and weaknesses in the learning process. The unique lesson format teaches self-evaluation and encourages collaboration between students and includes peer evaluation & signing off by the pupil. This ‘student teacher’ concept is one of the most innovative and acclaimed features of this course. Fully differentiated, students progress at their own rate. The design fosters intrinsic motivation; students love making progress throughout the lessons. A summary of benefits include:

  • Students learn how to work independently
  • Students learn how to work in pairs and small groups
  • Students take on teaching roles with other students
  • Students learn to make judgements in assessing themselves and others
  • Students explore their emotional responses to the music
  • Students write reflective statements about their learning process and progress

This unit of work is primarily intended for a keyboard lab set-up with headphones, but works fine for small group work and can be adapted for tuned percussion instruments. Suitable for Grade 7 and 8, ages 11-14. Each student should have their own work book. Hard copies are available below, or from me (Australia & NZ), but also available in digital format as an unlimited-print site licence.

Available through Amazon and Kindle, or click here and receive a 20% discount by entering the code NCJRGBFQ. Or, mdgriffin63@gmail.com for direct orders and bulk discount.

“The books are just superb! Interesting topics with a wide range of pieces. Great content with clear progression of learning. Fascinating teaching philosophy! BRAVO! “ – The Grieg Academy, London

“We have been using your keyboard course and the results have been amazing!”  – St George College, Australia

Also…

Learning Strategies for Musical Success – demonstrates how the quantity and quality of practice is the greatest predictor of musical success, so that aspiring musicians of all ages and abilities can best bring about expert performance. This inspiring, accessible guide will equip students, teachers, and parents with the methods and mindset to improve the likelihood of learning music successfully.

A truly masterful book. Especially impressive is the manner in which he offers a wealth of practicing strategies, all supported by evidence that makes clear why these strategies will be effective. He has done extensive research in many areas and has found ways of organizing and presenting his findings in a clear and cogent manner. As I was reading, I found myself nodding in agreement and underlining copiously throughout. This book is a must read for all teachers and students. Bravo!” – Paul Sheftel – Julliard. 

Available through Amazon, Kindle, JW Pepper, Alfred (UK), or click here and receive a 20% discount by entering the code NCJRGBFQ.

 

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Posted in Emotional intelligence, Key Stage 3, keyboard, metacognition, Music Education, Pianists, Piano, primary

Music Practice V Passive Leisure

 I did not wish to find when I came to die that I had not lived. – Henry David Thoreauremote_tv

The systematic time investment required for musical progress can be stolen by time thieves, and television is one of the great offenders. After work and sleep, television consumes most of our time and attention. On average, people watch three hours per day. For most people, this is half of their available leisure time and amounts to ten years spent in front of the television in an eighty-year lifespan. People who watch television feel relaxed and passive. When they turn off the television, however, the sense of relaxation ends, but feelings of sluggishness continue. “The television has absorbed viewers’ energy,” says Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, “leaving them fatigued, disheartened, and after large quantities of viewing, slightly depressed”. People also report having more difficulty concentrating after watching television. It’s not just watching television that’s at issue. One American study found that children are exposed to on average of almost four hours of background television each day, and the youngest – under the age of two – 5.5 hours per day. The impact from such an environment includes a growing tendency to become bored easily, and an inability to pay attention. Australian health regulations recommend no television for infants under the age of two, less than one hour per day for older children, and two hours for adults.

I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on, I go into another room and read a good book. – Groucho Marx

For children, television is a wonderful multimedia art form capable of educating and amusing us. The problem lies in the vast number of hours’ people spend watching it; television viewing can turn into an addiction. When television interferes with the ability and desire to learn new things, to participate in active life, and to commit to music practice, there is clearly a problem. Excess television viewing dehumanizes; it acts as a parasite of the mind. Not only does it dull the mind, but it also steals time from our lives, including precious music-practice time.

Children who choose to stop watching television show an improvement in concentration and mood and behave better in school. They also become more involved in activities such as music, sports, and reading.

It is in the improvident use of leisure that the greatest wastes of life occur. – Robert Park, American sociologist

Television is not the only time thief. In one Australian study, eighty percent of secondary school students reported distraction and procrastination due to the time they spend on Facebook. Some older teens are recognizing the problem, and desperate for productivity, are asking friends to change their Facebook passwords for them, locking them out of the site. Other students are activating temporary website-blocking programs such as SelfControl. Not only are the students frustrated, but also educators and teachers at major institutions such as Harvard and MIT are becoming increasingly exasperated with their students’ distraction from being constantly online. Harvard Law School’s Jonathan Zittrain labeled the phenomenon ‘demoralizing,’ and the University of Chicago turned off wireless networks in classrooms. Some educators believe the present generation of teenagers will adapt to multi-tasking but a 2009 Stanford University study found that this is unlikely. Multi-taskers make more mistakes because of the shifting of attention between activities. They are distracted more easily, have poorer concentration, work less efficiently, and do not write as well. We can’t parallel process. We can only think about one thing at a time. What we do is switch between thoughts very quickly causing us to divide our attention. Put aside distractions and focus on one task at a time.

Attending to e-mail, inseparable in many people’s business and social organisations, is another time thief. An Australian investigation found that “Workers spend on average 14.5 hours per week checking, reading, deleting, arranging, and responding to e-mail”.

The future will belong not only to the educated, but to those educated to use leisure wisely. – Charles K. Brightbill

Computer games are more interactive than watching television, but the creative aspect is mostly reactive and responsive rather than self-initiated. This is because most computer games generate play content that must be followed. A Carnegie-Mellon study found that by the time a boy turns twenty-one he is likely to have spent about ten thousand hours playing computer games. This is the same amount of time the average student spends in school from the fifth grade to twelfth grade. This is also the same amount of time required to develop an expertise. A Ministry of Japan study that found an 18% differential in math results for students playing computer games for four hours in comparison with those who played for one hour. Japan now recommends no-computer-games days for students. Similarly, a Cambridge University study linked more screen time with lower school grades. Most people underestimate their phone touching. The average person touches and swipes 2617 times per day, equating to 145 minutes in 76 separate sessions a day, and the top 10 percent 5427 touches per day. 80 percent of phone interaction is with games.

Including television, computer games, and social networking sites, children aged eight to eighteen spend approximately 6.75 hours per day in front of a screen. What is the return on this time investment? Success requires time. I have students conduct an inventory of their time usage. Not only do they analyze where their time goes, but they also commit to shifting some of that time to more important activities, such as music practice. Children often are amazed at where they spend time and how unrelated it is to their life goals. A time inventory can provide the necessary wake-up call.

This can be a matter of balance. We all need to wind down. To relax and just be is important. We are, after all, human beings, not human doings, but if passive leisure is the single object of recreation, its pursuit can become meaningless. The effects of passive leisure are ephemeral, but recreation has meaning for the long-term. It is surprising that with so many opportunities for recreation and leisure, enjoyment can be elusive. Studies indicate that many people find more meaning and happiness at work than in their leisure time. For a world obsessed with work, leisure is a serious matter, and learning how to use leisure time has become a significant challenge.

From ‘Learning Strategies for Musical Success’ by Michael Griffin. Reviews below.

front cover final

The Music Trust 

VMTA

American Music Teacher

Ritmico NZ

“Super book. I am so impressed!” – Donna Michaels, USA

“Fantastic book, simply brilliant! – Ian Cooper, Norfolk, UK

“Don’t miss this opportunity!” – Mary George, USA

“Rarely do I come away feeling so inspired. Incredibly beneficial.” – Music Matters Blog

“A must buy for every music teacher and music student” – William Bruce, Teacher of Strings, UK.

“Deeply impressive, the breadth of research is fascinating!” – Robert Chamberlain, Team of Pianists and Monash University Piano Staff, Victoria Australia.

“I have read your book and it has made an amazing difference in my teaching and in my studio.” Beth Cruickshank, Past President – Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association.

Amazon
Amazon UK
Kindle US
Kindle UK
Australia: Contact mdgriffin63@gmail.com for direct mail.

Also by Michael Griffin

BookCoverPreview

Music and Keyboard in the Classroom: Fundamentals of Notation is a unit of work for general music middle school classes. Designed around the mastering of practical skills, it integrates theory, aural and history, and allows students to progress at their own rate. View Table of Contents.  “This has been a great buy; the books are just superb! Interesting topics with a wide range of pieces. Great content with clear progression of learning. Fascinating teaching philosophy! BRAVO!” -The Grieg Academy, London. Available at Amazon.com

BookCoverPreview Bk 2

Music and Keyboard in the Classroom: Let’s Get Creative! is the fun and creative extension to ‘Fundamentals of Notation’.

View Table of Contents. “We have been using your keyboard course and the results have been amazing!”  – St George College, Australia

Available at Amazon.com

BookCover VR

‘Bumblebee: Rounds & Warm-ups for Choirs’

Second edition. Bumblebee! is more than just a wonderful collection of 130 choir exercises and rounds. The author shares timeless wisdom to help you get your choir – primary or secondary – into shape.
View Table of Contents.

“Will prove useful for almost everyone”- Rhinegold Music Teacher Magazine.

“This is a great resource to add to one’s library of rehearsal tricks.”- Anacrusis, ACCC, Canada

harmony bk cover

Modern Harmony Method: Fundamentals of Jazz and Popular Harmony (Third Edition, 2013) is a clear and well organised text suitable for students of arranging and composition, and for classically trained musicians wishing to grasp the beautiful logic of jazz harmony. Essential understandings include chord selection, voicing, symbols, circle of 4th progressions, extensions, suspensions and alterations. Included in the 107 pages are explanations, examples, exercises and solutions. The course can be started with students in year 9 and worked through to year 12 musicianship, composing and arranging.  Available at Amazon.com

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Emotional intelligence, Multiple Intelligence, Music Education, Music psychology

Introduction to Jazz Harmony

modern-harmony-front-coverFor some classical musicians, understanding the rich sounds of jazz harmony can seem elusive and unobtainable. But jazz harmony – an extension of classical harmony, is beautifully logical, simple to understand, and widely applicable. It sounds magical but there is no magic to it!

Students of theory, arranging and composing are well-served by understanding triad structures, chord selection, symbols, AB voicings, 4th-progressions, 9ths and dominant 13ths, and altered chords – all featured in this clear and well-organised workbook. Learning how to voice and apply these beautiful sounds for the piano and other harmonic instruments is enormously satisfying.

‘Modern Harmony Method’ is an introduction to jazz harmony suitable for middle through senior school students, students of arranging and composing, pianists (absolutely!) and classical musicians wishing to understand the beauty of jazz harmony. It is clearly presented with explanations, examples, exercises, and solutions.

Available through Amazon, Kindle, JW Pepper, Alfred (UK), or click here and receive a 20% discount by entering the code NCJRGBFQ.

“This book certainly delivers. Griffin does a superb job giving clear and concise steps that students should take when approaching the task of harmonizing a melody. The book is laid out in a clean, easy-to-understand format. This book will be a great resource for any music teacher or student interested in understanding and applying theory/harmony concepts.”

– N Wickham, Music Matters, USA.

Also by Michael Griffin…

Learning Strategies for Musical Success – demonstrates how the quantity and quality of practice is the greatest predictor of musical success, so that aspiring musicians of all ages and abilities can best bring about expert performance. This inspiring, accessible guide will equip students, teachers, and parents with the methods and mindset to improve the likelihood of learning music successfully.

A truly masterful book. Especially impressive is the manner in which he offers a wealth of practicing strategies, all supported by evidence that makes clear why these strategies will be effective. He has done extensive research in many areas and has found ways of organizing and presenting his findings in a clear and cogent manner. As I was reading, I found myself nodding in agreement and underlining copiously throughout. This book is a must read for all teachers and students. Bravo!” – Paul Sheftel – Julliard. 

Available through Amazon, Kindle, JW Pepper, Alfred (UK), or click here and receive a 20% discount by entering the code NCJRGBFQ.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Five Lessons from Surfing in Bali for Music Teachers

surf-musicI’m presently in Bali for business and pleasure. I’ve taken up surfing, and the challenge and difficulty reminds me of the learning and teaching process for mastering music.

I almost talked myself out of it. Am I getting a bit old for this? Isn’t surfing for younger, more agile people?

It’s easy to self-talk a range of excuses before trying a new activity. Many middle-age adults forego learning new skills like music, a language, or a physical skill such as dancing or surfing. Rather, they continue to practise well-learned activities from their formative years. Without attempt, some mature adults assume they lack the capacity to learn new things. Yet new learning is the best way to keep the brain healthy. From my surfing experience, this was lesson #1:

Learn new things! It’s great fun, good for the soul and the brain!

On my first ‘surfing’ day, I decided I would teach myself, and thus spent 90-minutes flailing (and failing), bemoaning my lack of balance, strength, reaction time. Evreything I knew of that was required to succeed as a surfer, I was coming up short. I considered giving it away – the indication was that I didn’t have the skills.

Lesson #2: we can give up on challenges too quickly before exhausting all avenues for improvement.

For some reason, we expect skills to emerge without the due process required. But failure is more likely to derail effort and perseverance when we assign our limitations to a lack of natural disposition, rather than a belief that skills are acquired with effort over time. What’s more, I almost succumbed to that vague and insubstantial copout “you tried and did the best you could.” Taken as permission to stop trying, people who accept this almost always under-achieve. For one, it’s easy to ascribe this thinking to tasks that challenge us. I reflected on my sagging surfer self-efficacy. You see, I’m trying to live more of my life as a ‘growth mindset’ practitioner. I am convinced that achievement is determined by the quality and quantity of one’s effort rather than any alleged natural disposition. Ironically, the business component of my trip has me instructing teachers about the educational impact of different mindsets. I really should walk the talk, so with renewed determination not to giveup –yet – I booked a surf lesson for the next day.

My initial response to being such a lousy surfer after day one took me by surprise, possibly because I meet so many people who desire to sing or play music, but say they can’t, and yet don’t consider lessons or practice as an improvement tool. But here I was, embarking on my first surfing lesson, and for 2 hours! The theory part began on dry land. My instructor, Putra, was to teach me the sequence of events required to stand, balanced on a moving surf board. Essentially this meant 1) body placement lying on the board 2) hand paddling position 3) hands under chest for push up 4) feet position, and 5) body crouch and weight transfer.

Putra asked me to watch his demonstration closely. Rather than verbalise, he modelled slowly and carefully, in defined ‘chunks’. He modelled the same movement several times, (modelling once is never enough), before inviting me to copy. When I copied correctly, he had me repeat it several times before continuing. In surfing, this ‘stand-up’ action must be singlular and quick. There is no time to think about the mechanics or technique. This is familiar to music teachers, as virtuosic music demands some of the most skillful co-ordinated sequences of movements in human capability, requiring repetition to automate physical actions. In music, most learners stop repeating a target phrase when they get it right the first time when they should repeat significantly more. This strengthens the neural circuitry assigned to the skill set, enhancing automatic recall.

Lesson #3: whether it’s surfing, music, or any co-ordinated skill, the fundamentals of teaching and learning are common.

Time to surf! For my first three attempts I fell off before I could even get up on the board. Enter the value of quality feedback. Very literally, I needed to know why I was incompetent. Putra’s feedback was specific:

“your hands are too wide providing no strength to push your body up quickly into position.”

“You must plant the back foot first, perpendicular to the direction, and then the left, then crouch” – and so on.

He didn’t utter comments such as “that was great” or “not right”. These are ineffective because they give little or no information on correct and incorrect learning processes. This is one of the porblems with praise. People think praise encourages but most praise achieves little.

Lesson #4: to make progress, learners require clear, accurate, consistent, and quick feedback.

Then after the third disaster, I didn’t fall off at that stand-up stage for the remainder of the lesson. I had gotten the hang of this! I did fall off in the process of riding the wave, as I experimented with turning and shifting my weight, but my progress was visible and my confidence grew. Eventually I was riding (small) waves to the beach.

So much fun!  No wonder progress is THE great motivator. It’s a wonderful feeling to improve.

Lesson #5: we all have a capacity to learn new skills and to get better at what we do. It requires quality instruction, a quantity of effort on our part, and a growth ‘can do’mindset encapsulating patience, perseverance and a little doggedness. With this attitude, combined with effort and quality feedback, progress and improvement is obtainable.

Michael Griffin, November 12, 2016.

Postscript: I was out again this morning. Rather than a lesson, I surfed by myself. Not as successful today! Tired muscles made it difficult to propel myself forward and then get up quickly. I also found it difficult to pick the right waves to go for, and catching the wave at the right moment. So much to learn! Progress not necessarily linear (like with music) so be patient and look for signs of incremental progress. On a positive note, I know why I wasn’t good today. Conscious incompetence is vital. Will have another lesson tomorrow before I fly home.

front cover final

“A truly masterful book. Especially impressive is the manner in which Griffin offers a wealth of practicing strategies, all supported by evidence that makes clear why these strategies will be effective. He has done extensive research in many areas and has found ways of organizing and presenting his findings in a clear and cogent manner. As I was reading, I found myself nodding in agreement and underlining copiously throughout. This book is a must read for all teachers and students. Bravo!” Paul Sheftel – Julliard School, NYC.

Amazon
Amazon UK
Kindle US
Kindle UK
Australia: Contact mdgriffin63@gmail.com for direct mail.

 

BookCoverPreview

Music and Keyboard in the Classroom: Fundamentals of Notation is a unit of work for general music middle school classes. Designed around the mastering of practical skills, it integrates theory, aural and history, and allows students to progress at their own rate. View Table of Contents.  “This has been a great buy; the books are just superb! Interesting topics with a wide range of pieces. Great content with clear progression of learning. Fascinating teaching philosophy! BRAVO!” -The Grieg Academy, London. Available at Amazon.com

BookCoverPreview Bk 2

Music and Keyboard in the Classroom: Let’s Get Creative! is the fun and creative extension to ‘Fundamentals of Notation’.

View Table of Contents. “We have been using your keyboard course and the results have been amazing!”  – St George College, Australia

Available at Amazon.com

BookCover VR

‘Bumblebee: Rounds & Warm-ups for Choirs’

Second edition. Bumblebee! is more than just a wonderful collection of 130 choir exercises and rounds. The author shares timeless wisdom to help you get your choir – primary or secondary – into shape.
View Table of Contents.

“Will prove useful for almost everyone”- Rhinegold Music Teacher Magazine.

“This is a great resource to add to one’s library of rehearsal tricks.”- Anacrusis, ACCC, Canada

harmony bk cover

Modern Harmony Method: Fundamentals of Jazz and Popular Harmony (Third Edition, 2013) is a clear and well organised text suitable for students of arranging and composition, and for classically trained musicians wishing to grasp the beautiful logic of jazz harmony. Essential understandings include chord selection, voicing, symbols, circle of 4th progressions, extensions, suspensions and alterations. Included in the 107 pages are explanations, examples, exercises and solutions. The course can be started with students in year 9 and worked through to year 12 musicianship, composing and arranging.  Available at Amazon.com

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in character, Chunking, mindset, motivation, Music Education, Music psychology, Nature, Physical education, Practice, Repetition, slow practice

Music Education Messages for Parents

mg at kings nswIn early February 2016 I was in Sydney, Australia, speaking to various groups of parents with children learning music.

The content of my 45-minute talk included a mixture of music education advocacy and pragmatic advice for supporting their children in the often difficult commitment of practising.

Firstly, we can acknowledge that parents have made a wise choice to include music in the overall education of their child. As well as the specific musical benefits, virtually nothing requires the character traits of commitment, persistence, impulse control, resilience and stick-at-it-ive-ness to the degree that music learning does. Therefore the very fact that students continue to work at music is a testament of character. An earlier blog discusses this in more detail, including details of a character development study from Birmingham University. When children give up music it is usually because of a lack of progress. This is directly related to lack of practice – the quality and the quantity of practice. The most important aspect of quantity is distribution. That is, children should do some practice every day (or only on the days that they eat, as Dr Suzuki says). Quality practice mostly refers to stopping to fix mistakes using chunking (isolating small bits for further attention), and slow, mistake-free repetitions. This is where parent support with younger children is vital. One doesn’t have to be musically educated to hear wrong notes, or to know that the playing is too fast. As well, interest taken by parents send a signal to the child that the activity is valued. Children take on the value systems of their parents.

A short speech at a music information night is a great way to educate parents about their unique capacity to support. A guest speaker reiterates the school message with an impact affording an external expert. School newsletters also provide opportunities for communicating these essential understandings to parents.

These topics are further explored in ‘Learning Strategies for Musical Success’ by Michael Griffin.

Reviews below.

The Music Trust 

VMTA

American Music Teacher

Ritmico NZ

“Super book. I am so impressed!” – Donna Michaels, USA

“Rarely do I come away feeling so inspired. Incredibly beneficial.” – Music Matters Blog

“Deeply impressive, the breadth of research is fascinating!” – Robert Chamberlain, Team of Pianists and Monash University Piano Staff, Victoria Australia.

front cover final

“I have read your book and it has made an amazing difference in my teaching and in my studio.” Beth Cruickshank, Past President – Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association.

Purchase: AmazonAmazon UKKindle USKindle UK
Australia: Contact mdgriffin63@gmail.com for direct mail.

Also by Michael Griffin

BookCoverPreview

Music and Keyboard in the Classroom: Fundamentals of Notation is a unit of work for general music middle school classes. Designed around the mastering of practical skills, it integrates theory, aural and history, and allows students to progress at their own rate. View Table of Contents.  “This has been a great buy; the books are just superb! Interesting topics with a wide range of pieces. Great content with clear progression of learning. Fascinating teaching philosophy! BRAVO!” -The Grieg Academy, London. Available at Amazon.com

BookCoverPreview Bk 2

Music and Keyboard in the Classroom: Let’s Get Creative! is the fun and creative extension to ‘Fundamentals of Notation’.

View Table of Contents. “We have been using your keyboard course and the results have been amazing!”  – St George College, Australia

Available at Amazon.com

BookCover VR

‘Bumblebee: Rounds & Warm-ups for Choirs’

Second edition. Bumblebee! is more than just a wonderful collection of 130 choir exercises and rounds. The author shares timeless wisdom to help you get your choir – primary or secondary – into shape. 

“This is a great resource to add to one’s library of rehearsal tricks.”- Anacrusis, ACCC, Canada

harmony bk cover

Modern Harmony Method: Fundamentals of Jazz and Popular Harmony (Third Edition, 2013) is a clear and well organised text suitable for students of arranging and composition, and for classically trained musicians wishing to grasp the beautiful logic of jazz harmony. Essential understandings include chord selection, voicing, symbols, circle of 4th progressions, extensions, suspensions and alterations. Included in the 107 pages are explanations, examples, exercises and solutions. The course can be started with students in year 9 and worked through to year 12 musicianship, composing and arranging.  Available at Amazon.com

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in character, motivation, Music Education, Practice, prep, primary

Thrive! Linking intrinsic motivation, mindset and metacognitive processes

Thrive ppt

On January 27, 2016 I had the opportunity to present a keynote speech to the 150 staff at Ballarat Grammar School. The title (above) provided great scope to investigate the psychology and practicality of generating a rich self-directed learning environment.

Few understandings are more crucial for educators than motivation. Motivation drives our choices and actions. The ‘fuel’ of human behaviour, it creates in us a desire to persist beyond the boundaries of comfort, leading to achievement greater than previously thought possible. Intrinsic motivation is linked with higher quality learning. Students are less easily distracted, take more initiative,  and persist for longer with their learning. To condition the learning environment for intrinsic motivation to flourish, observe this simple tripartite model: competence, autonomy and relationship. Competence involves a self-belief that one can make progress. When people think they are no good at something, and not getting any better, they often stop trying and give up. Relationship refers to the fact that students who perceive their teachers as being cold and uncaring experience lower levels of motivation. Students therefore need to know that we like them, respect and value them. Autonomy is about personal volition. It includes finding opportunities to provide students with choice when appropriate and empowering students to drive their own learning as much as possible. This is where mindset and metacognition comes in. In the long run, learners with a growth-mindset achieve more that those who believe their ability is more due to talent than work ethic (fixed-mindset). Metacognition includes higher order learning skills, learning driven by curiosity and Socratic questioning.

This is but a brief overview of the presentation, designed to have teachers thinking about their pedagogy in relationship to learning outcomes. I spoke for 75 minutes to the BGS R-12 staff, but I present whole day courses on this material (Australia all states – dates in March and May 2016, UK Sept/Oct 2016). Contact me mdgriffin63@gmail.com for further information.

Also, my book ‘Learning Strategies for Musical Success’ relates this general learning psychology to a more specific music education context. This is available through me, Amazon, and stores across the UK.

 

Posted in character, metacognition, mindset, motivation, Music psychology, primary, Uncategorized