Assignment 16: Focused Listening and Analysis

The visualizations in the linked post provide a variety of visual representations of music. In context to the types of Att-L listening, students could look at visualizations of music in order to better understand the musical nuances of a piece of music. Since visualizations provide visual cues for auditory experiences, incorporating visualizations helps students synthesize connections between what they see and what they hear, and thus will help develop their ear. For example, if someone can’t identify a rising melodic line, then a listening map that puts pitch on a vertical plane would help them identify when a pitch is rising, and match it with what they’re hearing.

All of the questions in the Allsup and Baxter article can relate to these visualizations. Visualizations allow for students to make sense of music without having as much of a trained ear. For example, using guided questions to get students to isolate a dimension of music such as dynamics might be assisted by having a listening map that somehow demonstrates the loudness and softness of a piece will better allow them to express their thoughts on the dynamics. Analytical and judicial questions can be guided through the use of visualizations as well. Asking students to analyze and discuss the melodic contour of a piece can be made more achievable and accessible to untrained ears by giving them a visual representation of the piece. Thus, giving students these visualizations can help to scaffold musical problems addressing these questions!

I believe listening maps and visualizations provide visual representations of music, which can help students learn and grow as music students. I believe that those with a lesser-developed musical ear can benefit from visualizations, if given guided instruction to help them synthesize those connections. Honestly, in my own music education, I find several of my music teachers could have expedited understanding on a concept for the class by providing some sort of visual element to accompany the auditory experience they were trying to convey. Since not all students are auditory learners, having visual elements present in teach can also make for a more successful learning experience for students.

Perhaps in my selected musical piece, engagement in this manner could be executed by having students create their own visualizations. Have them focus on one element or dimension of the piece, and have them visually express that in a manner more simple than that given video examples. For example, I could tell students to “graph” the melodic contour of the melody line, or have them express the dynamics visually, or have them illustrate the texture of a piece. I truly believe visualizations are underestimated in the traditional music education school of thought, and that they can be used a resource to expedite and solidify students’ understandings of musical concepts.

  • the types of listening addressed in the Campbell article
  • the types of questions addressed in the Allsup & Baxter article
  • musical problem solving
  • learning goals, knowledge, & understanding (as articulated in the Wiggins & McTighe chapters)

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