Pop bands taking over music lessons

25th January 2008 at 00:00

Would-be pop musicians are renowned for spending hours in their bedroom painstakingly copying their favourite tracks before thrashing out chords with a garage-based band.

But the pop musician's method of music-making could also be used in the classroom, according to Lucy Green, music professor at London University's Institute of Education.

Professor Green believes that while pop music is regularly listened to in the classroom, teachers still cling to more formal styles.

She proposes that pupils should be encouraged to copy music by ear in the classroom, as well as the bedroom. And the ability to play should be emphasised over the ability to read music, with pupils setting up bands that reflect enthusiasm, rather than talent.

Professor Green introduced these in 21 secondaries in Hertfordshire and London. Pupils were allowed to select their own music and then asked to play it by ear from a recording. They also formed bands with community musicians, and composed their own music.

She found that motivation, skill and enjoyment increased significantly and 93 per cent of pupils said that they preferred the new approach to their usual music lessons.

"Such practices could make music education more inclusive for pupils of all abilities and backgrounds, particularly those who have found it difficult to make their musicality shine in formal environments," said Professor Green.

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