Music Faculty Work


An Alternative Approach To Creativity and Music Literacy With Real Time Iconic Graphic Notation

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New Directions in Music Education

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This article shares the pedagogical approach, assessment results, and reflections from a composition project with 5th grade general music students using a new method for developing music literacy based on a form of iconic graphic notation (IGN) that can simultaneously combine simple creative tasks, note writing, and singing activities in real time at the tempo of a live musical performance. Also presented is a rationale for why an alternative approach to teaching music literacy and creative musicianship might have merit based on three principles of music learning: the inherent potential for creative musicianship in all people, a natural sequence of learning that builds upon active experience, and the value of finding a balance between structure and creative options in the learning process. Students quickly grasped the mechanics of the IGN method within minutes and, by the end of the project, all of the students involved created an original melody within the context of the IGN structure. Potential benefits of the IGN method include real time feedback supporting aural awareness and music literacy, easily produced individual assessment opportunities, and fostering constructivist learning activities capable of enabling creative tasks with students of different music ability levels at the same time.

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