UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Name of Author: 
Martin, Jeffrey Alan
Institute: 
Thesis (M.A.) National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
Year of completion: 
1996
Country: 
Singapore
Country of Research Data: 
Singapore
Language: 
English
Abstract: 

Music together with the other arts, is currently accepted as a unique but important way of thinking and knowing. Creativity is regarded as having strong potential for the development of musical knowledge. Although to great extent, the justification for including music in general education rests on these assumptions , there is still little research to date investigating the nature of creative thinking in music. The purpose of this study was to uncover potential issues arising from the work of music students learning to compose. the Singapore context provided a unique opportunity to observe upper secondary school students who had little or no prior experience with music composition within an educational setting. A qualitative methodology using observation, interviews with students and staff, and analysis of sketches and works, led to the construction of five case profiles, one of the activities of a class and four of individual students. Analysis of the five cases revealed the following: 1. students often relied on familiar resources and had a limited understanding of the material's potential; 2. the work of one student in particular seems to suggest that problem finding behaviour, guided by strong motivation may result in highly creative work; 3. each developed his/her own strategies and working style relative to an individual need; 4. the flexible facilitator approach allowed students to discover their own patterns of musical thinking and, in some cases, led to a broadened perspective on music. The study concluded that although these students were new to creative work in music, each was capable of higher-level thinking in music and could benefit from composition as a method provided the facilitator approach be used sensitively.

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