Education in practical music through group teaching

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Mitchell, A 2010, 'Education in practical music through group teaching', Proceedings of the 29th World Conference of the International Society for Music Education, Beijing, China, 1-6 August, International Society for Music Education (ISME), Beijing, China, pp. 151-154.ISBN: 9780980631005

Available on Open Access


This paper related to the International Society for Music Education (ISME) mission of fostering global understanding among the world's educators by sharing ideas about issues within music education. The paper presented the context, methodology, activities and outcomes of changes made to Southern Cross University's Bachelor of Contemporary Music curricula, which involved replacing the delivery of individual practical music lessons with group classes in its first year program. The practical music component of the first year of this degree was delivered through the units Music Practice I and Music Practice II, with specializations in guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and voice. This research project was conducted in two phases: the implementation of the revised Bachelor of Contemporary Music curricula; and an action research case study of the effects of the new curricula on teaching and learning practices in music performance education. The paper identified significant pedagogical challenges and opportunities arising from teaching practical music through group classes, analyzed best practice in teaching strategies employed for group music teaching and described the learning styles of a diverse cohort of students. It also discussed learning environments most productive in this method of delivery, highlighted key motivational factors and resources that contribute to student development, and identified the assessment instruments most suitable for group classes. The quality of the delivery of the practical music component of the Contemporary Music degree through this format had profound educational implications as this forms a significant component of the students' first year experience. the paper reported on learning outcomes of teaching music practice through group classes based on feedback provided by studio teachers and students, evaluated the pedagogical implications for music education and concluded with recommendations on the best provision for practical music education through group classes and ways to improve its delivery.