Article

The non-traditional music student in secondary schools of the United States: Engaging non-participant students in creative music activities through technology

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Abstract

This article discusses the 'non-traditional music' (NTM) student in secondary education in the United States as a unique population of students who are 'non-participants' in traditional music ensembles. Through the use of current music technology, teachers are offering technology-based music classes (TBMCs) and are successfully engaging NTM students in performing, recording and composing. Eight attributes are proposed to characterize NTMs. An estimate of the non-participant music population and the validity of the proposed NTM attributes are examined through an analysis of anecdotal and empirical data from several extant studies. The results suggest that these attributes reasonably describe NTMs with some modification. NTMs are in the sixth through twelfth grades, do not typically participate in traditional performing ensembles, and most likely do not read standard music notation. More than 67 per cent of these students may play an instrument or sing, 28 per cent have an active music life outside of school, and many aspire to a career in music industry or performance. There is also evidence that TBMCs are motivationally beneficial to academic- and discipline-challenged students. Revisions to the set of attributes for NTMs are offered and suggestions for future research are proposed with special attention to parallels in music programmes internationally.

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... ndary public schools (Allsup, 2016;Fonder, 2014;Miksza, 2013;Shuler, 2011a). Other scholars recommend wholesale changes to secondary curricula such as reductions in large ensemble course offerings and increases in alternative music courses and/or methodologies to encourage school music participation (Kratus, 2007;Randles, 2015;D. A. Williams, 2011;D.B. Williams, 2011). ...
... in school-based music programs and others do not (Fonder, 2014;D. A. Williams, 2011). Some scholars suggest underrepresented groups of adolescents do not participate in secondary school music classes because the current secondary music curricula are very different from their own musical lives and interests (Cavicchi, 2009;Kratus, 2007;Reimer, 2015;D.B. Williams, 2011). They argue music education programs do not offer modes of music-making that are reflective of the technological environment, listening habits, or musical interests of young people (Kratus, 2007;Regelski, 2014;D. A. Williams, 2011;D.B. Williams, 2011). In an effort to address broader types of music activities, music education scholars h ...
... ry different from their own musical lives and interests (Cavicchi, 2009;Kratus, 2007;Reimer, 2015;D.B. Williams, 2011). They argue music education programs do not offer modes of music-making that are reflective of the technological environment, listening habits, or musical interests of young people (Kratus, 2007;Regelski, 2014;D. A. Williams, 2011;D.B. Williams, 2011). In an effort to address broader types of music activities, music education scholars have developed alternative music education programs to provide spaces for students to engage in nonformal and informal learning practices (Clements, 2010;Hallam et al., 2008;Powell, Krikun, Pignato, 2015;Randles, 2015). ...
Thesis
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This study was conducted to better understand the musical and personal characteristics of students inside and outside school music programs. Therefore, the purpose of this study was two-fold: (1) to identify patterns of musical activity from an adolescent school population; and (2) to examine the demographic, environmental, and personal beliefs associated with different patterns of musical activity. Participants for this study were students from two high schools and one middle school in Salt Lake City, Utah (N = 855). Individuals completed a researcher-designed music participation index to measure levels of musical activity. The musical activities were categorized by three separate domains: formal (school/private lessons), nonformal (community music), and informal (home music). Data from the music participation index were analyzed using latent profile analysis, which is a quantitative technique that enabled the researcher to identify hidden or unobserved (latent) patterns (profiles) of musical activity. Results revealed six distinct profiles of musical activity. Students in Profile 1 (21%) reported below average rates of musical activity in each domain (i.e., formal, nonformal, informal). Students in Profile 2 (24%) listened to music at average rates but showed below average rates of participation in almost every other domain. Students in Profile 3 (22%) reported above average desire for music participation but did not actually participate in very many musical activities. Students in Profile 4 (8%) showed above average rates of informal musical activity while demonstrating little participation in formal or nonformal activities. Students in Profile 5 (17%) reported the most involvement in formal and nonformal activities. Finally, students in Profile 6 showed above average involvement in every informal music domain and relatively high rates of formal and nonformal music participation. The majority of students from this sample (67%) reported average or below average rates of music listening and little performing or creating musical activities in any domain (i.e., formal, nonformal, informal). These findings may have implications regarding the amount of students outside of school music programs who are interested in engaging in school- based music activities. The music participation profiles were also compared on the basis of several demographic, environmental, and personal belief variables.
... The direct use of technology to facilitate music students' learning has been found to more commonly occur in general music settings, and to vary to some extent based upon regional and geographic differences (Dammers, 2012;Jinright, 2003;Reese, 2002). A notable departure from these findings is the recent growth of technology-based music classes (Dammers, 2012;Williams, 2012). Dammers (2012) found that 14% of high schools in the United States have computer-based music classes, and that 50% of these had been created since 2005. ...
... However, they rated the preservice teachers' preparedness to teach a middle or high school technology-based music course somewhat lower. Music classes that are completely facilitated through technology are growing in numbers (Dammers, 2012;Williams, 2012). Dammers (2012) found that the increasing number of technology-based music classes in high schools in the United States were developed and taught by experienced teachers who were in their third decade of teaching. ...
Article
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The purpose of this study was to examine how collegiate music teacher education programs prepare preservice teachers to utilize digital technology with K-12 music students. Fifty percent of NASM schools with music education programs (n = 250) were randomly selected. The head of music education or another music education professor from each institution was invited to complete an online survey regarding the role, nature, and efficacy of technology instruction in their program. Thirty-six percent (n = 89) responded. Of the responding schools, 47% of the programs reported their students participated in a course in music technology designed for all music majors, 33% required a music technology course specifically oriented to music education majors, 13% had students enroll in a technology class for education majors (non- music specific), and 78% integrated information and experiences related to the pedagogical uses of technology into music education classes. Preservice music teacher preparation was also examined within the Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework. The TPACK domains that included technology were rated as being less developed than the non-technology domains. Respondents reported their preservice teachers were prepared at a proficient level to integrate current and future music technology, but indicated lower levels of readiness to teach music classes that were fully technology-based. Lack of instructional time and/or space in the curriculum, and limited funding and/or access to technology were reported as common obstacles for integrating technology into the music teacher education curriculum.
... 'The multitude of apps that allow one to be expressive without requiring an understanding of notation or other musical formalities make the iPad in particular extremely accessible' to people of all abilities (Criswell 2011: 32). Music teachers can use technology to reach students who do not participate in traditional ensembles, do not sing or play instruments, do not read standard notation or may otherwise be unmotivated or struggle in school because of discipline issues or special needs (Williams 2012). ...
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... Focus groups conducted with participants' parents identified a number of core themes which build on our existing knowledge regarding the potency of the iPad interface. Given that technology is increasingly prominent in education (Pegrum, Howitt, and Striepe 2013;Pegrum, Oakley, and Faulkner 2013;, including music classrooms (Criswell 2014;Williams 2011;Greher in press), parents' comments provided support for implementing this technology with students on the autism spectrum specifically. Those with ASD are often particularly attracted to technology and computers, perhaps due to their predictability and rule-based functioning (Hillier et al. 2011). ...
Article
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ABSTRACT The use of technology in music education is gaining momentum, although very little work has focused on students with disabilities. Our SoundScape programme addressed this gap through implementing a technology-based music programme for adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Programme participants met on a weekly basis for 9 weeks and engaged in a range of music-related activities mostly utilising touch screen technology and iPads. We were particularly interested in how those with ASD responded to the iPad interface and its impact on social interactions among participants. We also investigated whether participating in the programme reduced stress and anxiety among participants. Questionnaire data completed by programme participants at the beginning and end of the programme, as well as qualitative analysis of focus groups conducted with parents, provided evaluation of the efficacy of our programme model. Findings from the questionnaires indicated that more than half of the participants reported feeling less stressed and anxious at the end of the programme compared to their responses at the beginning, said they benefited socially from the programme, and had made friends. This was supported in the analysis of the focus group transcriptions which highlighted the advantages of the iPads compared to a more traditional desktop platform, the utility of the iPad technology for promoting social skills, the significance of the university setting, and the participants’ use of music to regulate mood. Future research evaluating the use of technology in music education for students with disabilities seems warranted.
... erlying issues related to enrollment trends in music classes are more complex. For example, one of the primary justifications and sources of evidence for questioning the relevance of current secondary music curricula is high school music enrollment patterns, specifically, a perceived decline in enrollment in high school music classes (Kratus, 2007;D. B. Williams, 2011). However, as cited previously, widespread declines in secondary music program enrollment has likely not occurred (Elpus, 2014). Furthermore, extant research indicates that a number of factors likely influence the general participation rates in secondary music classes. Relevant factors include but are not limited to: (a) access to high-q ...
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... This relates directly to the interest of the students and takes advantage of the exploration of the iPad. (Penny, Exploration Reflection 2) Like teachers in previous studies, they began to consider the iPad as a tool to reach out to nontraditional music students (Williams, 2011) and include contemporary styles of music relevant to the students (Dammers, 2009(Dammers, , 2012. ...
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The purpose of this phenomenological case study was to investigate the lived experiences of preservice music teachers using iPads to engage secondary general music students in creating and performing music during field teaching experiences. Two questions guided this research study: (a) What are these preservice teachers’ perceptions of their experiences using iPads to create music and to teach? (b) How do these experiences influence their perceptions of the technology’s effectiveness as a teaching tool? Data were reflections of nine preservice teachers collected over 5 weeks. The essence of the experience was the preservice teachers’ struggle to resolve tensions that emerged while using technology to create and teach music. Tensions caused some to examine cherished beliefs and practices and influenced their development of TPACK (technological pedagogical and content knowledge). Three themes support the essence: (a) tensions, (b) innovation and adaptation, and (c) influence of experiences on perceptions of technology.
... 23). Williams (2011b) described the " non-traditional music student " as someone who does not or cannot find success in traditional ensembles. Through the use of technology, though, music educators could create opportunities to engage these students. ...
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Traditional ensemble music education has historically been dominated by “the big three:” band, orchestra, and choir. Demographic shifts in student populations as well as long-time calls for expanded curricular offerings have led to the creation of alternative instrumental ensembles in schools. This review of literature will address the following questions: 1) What is an alternative instrumental ensemble? 2) What role(s) do alternative ensembles play in the larger school music program? and 3) What types of alternative ensembles exist currently? Alternative drum and percussion, guitar, marching band, mariachi, steel pan, string, and technology ensembles have been profiled in the literature. Further research is needed to determine how school demographic factors influence the inclusion of alternative ensembles, the role of teacher education, how the ensembles are formed, if regional trends exist, and what funding models are in place for the ensembles moving forward.
... Though many people continue to learn to play keyboard, reading paper-based standard notation, technology can serve as an alternative tool for learning. The proliferation of electronic keyboards available in consumer outlets evidences its popularity as one of the world's most favoured musical instruments (Williams 2012). With the popularization of electronic keyboards, it is timely to consider some of the implications surrounding current and emerging practices related to keyboard instrument learning. ...
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Chapter
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Thesis
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In a global society, 21st century skills are fundamental for every student. Furthermore, in today’s digital world, technology is expected to be part of students’ learning experiences. In the following research-to-resource article, I provide practical strategies and ideas for integrating technology into a performing ensemble program in order to develop students’ 21st century skills. In particular, I provide specific practices which use technology to fulfill 21st century skill—creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, technology literacy, and cross-cultural skills.
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