Constructing the Australian musical child

Blyth, Andrew 2000, Constructing the Australian musical child, in AARME 2000 : A Community of Researchers : Proceedings of the XXIInd Annual Conference, Australian Association for Research in Music Education, Melbourne, Vic., pp. 23-30.

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Title Constructing the Australian musical child
Author(s) Blyth, Andrew
Conference name Australian Association for Research in Music Education. Conference (22nd : 2000 : Melbourne, Vic.)
Conference location Melbourne, Vic.
Conference dates 30 Jun.-3 Jul. 2000
Title of proceedings AARME 2000 : A Community of Researchers : Proceedings of the XXIInd Annual Conference
Editor(s) Southcott, J.
Smith, R.
Publication date 2000
Start page 23
End page 30
Publisher Australian Association for Research in Music Education
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Summary This paper makes use of Foucauldian discourse analysis to examine some of the current directions in Arts education and Music Education, in particular, that are being promoted by education authorities in Australia. Foucault's concept of discourse, and analytical procedures developed from his ideas, have been much discussed recently but have not been applied very rigorously or very widely other than by Foucault himself. This paper will introduce some of the basic concepts and demonstrate how application of these concepts can identify, explain or elucidate basic misconceptions that are currently being promoted as the way forward in arts education.

Curriculum development and implementation has become an important focus for educational policy in the past ten years. Inspired by the work of the Federal Labour government between 1989 and 1994 which developed the national curriculum Statements and Profiles, many states have adopted a model of centralized curriculum development in which learning is mapped out for all students up to the age of eighteen. These learning "profiles" have been developed and disseminated at great expense in terms of time, money and effort. They represent a considerable investment of educational resources. Typically, however the resulting curriculum documents are complex, difficult to understand and use, and can appear unrelated to many of the normal practices in school. This has placed teachers in the position of having either to ignore them or to work against much of their own training and personal assumptions about what constitutes music education.

It will be suggested that there are some basic flaws in the way that many curriculum documents in Australia have conceived of music education and learning. With recent new developments in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, there is no indication that this process of profiling student development is really devoted to improving our understanding either of learning or of teaching. In fact, it would appear to be developing a life of it's own, oblivious to the practices and structures of our educational systems. It will be suggested that a more realistic assessment of our practices needs to form the basis of our frameworks and that they should not be developed as abstract theoretical models.
ISBN 095860861X
Language eng
Field of Research 130299 Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 950101 Music
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
HERDC collection year 2002
Copyright notice ©2002, Australian Association for Research in Music Education
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