Critical Pedagogy for Music Education developed by Frank Abrahams

What makes this program different?

The lessons focus on the music itself. While traditional lesson plans may begin with an objective, in CPME, the lesson objectives emerge from the lesson. Concepts are identified as they appear in the context of the music learning experiences. Lessons follow the natural form of a musical composition. That is, instead of delivering instruction in a list of steps that mirror the scientific method, lessons flow in a modified sonata form consistent with the way musicians think. Lessons honor the diversity of student learners found in every music class. Each of the four lesson segments includes an activity that favors right-brain processing and another that requires left-brain processing. The learning sequence moves through an eight-step cycle that is sensitive to imaginative, analytic, common sense and dynamic learners – student learning styles identified by Bernice McCarthy in her research on experiential learning.

All lesson materials are commercially available and may be purchased in a record store, an office supply store or on-line over the Internet. Music lessons in Jubilate do not require teaching spaces with specialized equipment beyond a boom box. Naturally a good piano and sophisticated sound system enhance any musical learning, but they are not necessary for the success of the musical experiences in these lessons.

The content of each lesson comes from the music itself. That is, lessons are not designed to teach a specific musical topic or concept such as 6/8 meter or rondo form. Instead, these elements are introduced as they appear in the context of the music selected for teaching. Each lesson integrates experiencing music by listening and performing and creating music by composing or improvising. All are authentic tasks that real musicians encounter in the process of being musicians. Usually the teacher chooses the lesson content. Sometimes the students choose.

Music lessons are not time bound. Lessons are designed to present the music completely and significantly. They may take one lesson period or several. They may evolve into what some music teachers call “units.” Additionally, the steps in the lessons are not equal in the amount of time they take to complete. The length of each lesson depends on decisions the teacher with the students make as to how much time an activity will take.

The program assumes that the students may be transient. That is, the program recognizes that students move into or out of the school in the middle of a term. Further, students may be missing from a particular music class as the result of a pullout program. Therefore, while music lessons connect in a big picture, lessons are not dependent upon each other for cohesion.

The program assumes that the teacher is a musician. The lessons do not teach themselves. Delivery of the CPME curriculum requires a teacher who sings, plays classroom instruments and who listens to, honors and values music and music makers of all types. The ideal teacher for this program is one who views teaching music to children as a means to constantly renew themselves as musicians.