The dilemma of aural skills within year eleven music programmes in the New Zealand curriculum.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
This thesis investigates a perceived dilemma, music teachers and students have about the significance and value aural and listening skills have in relation to Year 11 Music under the National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA). The study considers four teachers’ approaches to the teaching and learning of aural and listening skills, which are based on their own contextual experiences. These experiences have assisted the teachers in the construction of their own knowledge on which they base their own beliefs and pedagogical approaches. The teachers involved in this research collectively agreed that there were three important domains of musical activity, those of performing, composing and listening. Without the ability to ‘listen’, the other two musical activities become pointless. Aural training has been developed over time as a means of promoting critical listening and the ability to perceptively respond to aural stimuli. While there is dissent on the value music educationalists place on one aural skill over the other, it is generally agreed that a unified approach between aural recall and aural notation is the best approach. An area of contention that has emerged from this research is the dichotomy between the performance practices of students focusing on the performance of classical and contemporary music. The discrepancy between students’ understanding of traditional music notation is one of the biggest tensions teachers face. With the perceived emphasis on traditional western notation, some teachers in this research believe that NCEA music assessment focuses on the teaching of traditional classical music notation and theory. Other teachers involved, dispute this fact and strategically decide not to enter students for the external aural examination. For these teachers, their approach is focused on the development of general musicianship skills as a means of further enhancing student performance work. This thesis is practitioner research and developed from a teaching inquiry in an attempt to bring meaning and insight to an area of work that is believed to be critical to the holistic musical development of students.