Toward Meaningful Music Education in the Middle School Music Classroom: An Action Research Project
Music commands a significant presence in the lives of young adolescents. Earphones 'housed' in the adolescent ear are near accessories to everyday life, and smartphones and other portable devices – and the streaming of content they allow access to – afford the opportunity for music to be consumed anywhere at any time. Furthermore, emerging technologies are enabling greater accessibility to music making and production. Students can learn, create and share music using digital technologies alone.
... hether it is consumed or produced, music is firmly cemented in adolescent life – it affords a medium for the construction and identification of 'self' and the expression of emotion – and is a significant part of the adolescent 'Being' (Lines, 2005a). Despite the significant role of music in the lives of adolescents, school music often fails to demand the same attention. It can present a crisis of relevance for the students it proclaims to serve, with student expectations of music and musical experiences offered often existing at considerable remove (Regelski, 2005a; Lines, 2005a; Swanwick, 1999b). This problem is not new – over three decades ago, Paynter (1982) observed that, "music which, outside of school, almost continuously goes in and out of young people's heads – which stirs their feelings and activates their bodies, becomes when presented – or as presented – inside schools, a 'dead bore'" (p. vii). For many students, school music education is perceived as unhelpful, irrelevant, even detrimental, to their musical selves.