What we’ve been up to this fall semester!
This fall my Writing 340 class undertook the task of expanding SOS Classroom into the realm of music education, an area heavily hit by budget cuts. With an outstanding number of musicians in our class, we believed we could gather a wide breath of online music education resources to begin to fill in the curriculum void in the LAUSD K-8 classrooms.
We focused the topics of rhythm, aural skills and voice, music history, musicians and composers, and music genres and lyrics. We envisioned that these areas would help cultivate artistic perception, creative expression and understanding of the historical and cultural context of music. The ultimate goal of SOS Classroom Music, aside from education, is to cultivate a long-lasting musical interest in youths.
After weeks of bookmarking relevant sites, our class had to determine a user-friendly and age-appropriate presentation of the collected information. Our discussions on how to integrate and present the various project elements brought up many interesting questions surrounding cultural and interface bias.
The area of music history incited engaging conversation as concerns were voiced about appropriate methods of illustration, including questions about the validity and comprehensiveness of our aggregated information. Coach got the class thinking about the reflections of our socioeconomic and cultural bias in the information we collected, as the history of music is so intricately interwoven with cross-cultural and longitudinal influence spanning countries and continents.
Furthermore, interface concerns were raised about the presentation of information. What information would be highlighted and how would we create connections between all the different elements? What connections would we make to Classical composer Mozart and how would we present the history of influence? Where would the instruments and respective histories be placed in relation? The complex chronology of music and its multitude of influences posed a substantial question on both the cultural perspective as well as chronological presentation of all the information we gathered.
The interesting class discussions sparked by these basic logistical concerns not only reflects a larger contextual question our class must face, but also a question our country’s education system must consider in the education reform debate.