What do  we do

Defining Pedagogy

Posted in: by Pete Moser on 31 January 2018
Tagged with:

I am here in Waterloo, Ontario at Wilfred Laurier University working for good friend Lee Willingham. The snow is falling, it's at least minus 10 and I'm planning my 3 days of teaching. It makes me consider the discussion at a recent More Music Creative Projects meeting where we tried to define our pedagogy. 
Actually we tried to work out what we even meant by that phrase! Maybe it's how you know that the session or event you are part of is - is a More Music piece of work! This was an idea

Organic opportunities
You (th)

And then we became a little more serious and this draft statement developed.
At the core are Creativity and Inclusion and you would recognise a More Music session because music leaders
  • Enable progression through play, joy and equal opportunity
  • Build confidence and skills
  • Work in the aural tradition as well as using traditional and experimental notation
  • Focus on practical, reflective activity 
  • Follow participant's leads, negotiating flexibly 
  • Take creative risks
  • Create open accessible, participatory space, nurturing in a holistic manner
  • Build the group, bonding and connecting people and focus on the sociability of music
Of course this has some repetitions within it and needs refining.

This in turn was also inspired by a recent question in a Youth Music application where we were asked to outline our pedagogical approach to show how learning develops over time. And we wrote this case study.

Friday Night Project This session is part of the complete Hothouse Youth Programme and links to LYVE (also Fund C) the Stages Live gigs and festivals in the locality.
It meets our musical, personal and social outcomes and is inspired by the values that sit at the centre of our social and musical pedagogy. These include respect, risk-taking, social integration, creative freedom, considered reflection, youth leadership. 
The team arrive at 5.30 and with some young volunteers start to set up the 6 different-sized spaces in the building - each ready for a complimentary independent activity. At 6.15 there is a short meeting to check in on last week's evaluation and to allocate roles and responsibilities for the evening. 6.30 the doors open and the young people gather upstairs to wait for the group chat that starts the evening. This focuses the activity, reinforces the culture and the code of conduct, is a point for information sharing and integrates new attendees. By 7pm everyone is spread around the building in a mixture of activities: self-directed rehearsal, facilitated creative musicmaking, skill learning (music production / guitar / vocals etc), songwriting. In this way each young person is able to find their own place and the 5 staff continually monitor activity to make sure that people are engaged and happy. One staff member is always 'floating' around while others take charge of different rooms/activities.
Throughout the evening Teresa is upstairs offering tea and toast and chatting and making friends with people who need some space. There are often guests who might lead some activity or support work that is taking place and in this way bring a new energy and experience to the group.
During the evening there are many opportunities for people to develop their skills and friendships. Additionally, their social awareness and sense of community is enhanced and challenged because they come from so many different backgrounds.
A break in the middle of the session allows the team to check in and alter activity for the second half of the evening and at the end after the clear up there is always a considered reflection (can last up to 45 minutes) in order to monitor what has taken place and consider individual needs and achievements.
The team are aware of progression opportunities that include
  • Gigs - in the building or at local events/festivals
  • The Young Leaders group that meets weekly
  • Arts Award opportunities 
  • Masterclasses - at the Hothouse or local colleges and schools
  • Other groups organised by More Music - LYVE, Youth Orbit, Baybeat Streetband
  • Commissions for bigger events - The Lancashire Music Hub Big Show, Light Up Lancaster, Holocaust Memorial Day
  • LMS Ensembles
  • And through our national connections summer schools and special collaborations that come in from time to time.
From the moment a young person enters the building they are welcomed and made to feel special and that the space is for them. In return we expect them to respect each other, to work hard and develop their musicality, to welcome others and work together well. To experiment, take risk and play.