Notation and Representation
Notation and Representation
How We Get ’Em to Crack the Code
Music can and does exist without notation. In fact, its existence predates what we have come to accept as traditional music notation. Many musical traditions have thrived for centuries without any kind of formal codified symbol system to make musical replication easier. Music has existed, and often still exists, as an aurally transmitted art form. The same can’t be said for computers. Though the tongue-in-cheek Hart and Lieberman quote at the beginning of the chapter gets to the heart of the aural and intuitive nature of music’s origins, computer code relies on complex mathematics built, amazingly, on the seemingly simple 1s and 0s of binary arithmetic. Yet just as with music, there are tools and applications that your students can use to express themselves without even thinking about the underlying mathematics. For many of your students, the act of creating, whether it’s making music or developing web content, is accomplished intuitively, without formal training and knowledge of the “tools of the trade”: musical notation and computer code. Sherry Turkle asserts that “today’s children are growing up in the computer culture; all the rest of us are at best its naturalized citizens”. Following that line of reasoning a bit further, let’s assume for a moment that for your students music and computers are ingrained components of their culture. As is sometimes the case, however, the formal acquisition of these tools can often serve as a barrier to further understanding rather than the gateway this knowledge is meant to serve: impeding rather than enabling the creative process. Gardner feels that formal musical training can “be the beginning of the end of most children’s musical development” (p. 38). He believes “the challenge of musical education is to respect and build upon the young child’s own skills and understanding of music rather than impose a curriculum designed largely for adults” (p. 38). Bamberger’s research with college students suggests that students of any age possess musical instincts that, in the proper environment, can be developed and nurtured.
Keywords: MMCP Synthesis: A Structure for Music Education (Thomas), San Francisco Symphony, computational thinking (CT), contemporary music, critical listening, digital audio technology, experimentation, hybrid courses, novice perspectives, rubrics for evaluation, usability testing
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