Looking back towards the future: vocational classical music education for contemporary music students
Mitchell, AK 2004, 'Looking back towards the future: vocational classical music education for contemporary music students', in M Chaseling (ed.), Proceedings of the 26th Annual Conference, Gold Coast, Qld, 25-28 September, Australian Association for Research in Music Education, Melbourne, Vic., pp. 233-241. ISBN: 0958608660
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Southern Cross University's Contemporary Music Program provided the first university education in contemporary music in Australia, and has maintained a leading role in the education of contemporary music students for careers in the music industry as performers, sound technologists, composers and teachers. While the ethos and focus of Southern Cross University's Contemporary Music Program are firmly based in the discipline and practice of contemporary music, secondary school music education remains heavily centred on the Western classical tradition. This paper addresses issues involved in the training of contemporary music students, most of whom have little or no prior classical music knowledge or education, for careers as secondary school classroom music teachers, through Southern Cross University's combined Bachelor of Contemporary Music/Bachelor of Education degree. The paper will report preliminary findings from a pilot research project aimed at establishing and implementing best practice in the training of contemporary music students for effective and productive careers in secondary school music teaching. Concerns raised by the established music teaching collegiate about the preparation of beginning teachers for this profession will be addressed. The paper will also evaluate the unique contribution in contemporary music theory, practice and industry-based skills these students can offer to secondary school music education. Research findings are based on field studies of student practicum, interviews with students, supervising teachers and employers, and ongoing observation of student participation in the combined Bachelor of Contemporary Music/Bachelor of Education degree.