Pre-service music teachers’ undergraduate preparation is often geared towards formal music making (i.e., large conductor-led ensembles). However, recent research suggests that many school-aged students are making music in informal settings (e.g. garage bands) outside of school. Despite a recent influx of research in informal music learning, there is little information on pre-service music teacher’s opinions towards and preparedness in incorporating informal music making into the classroom. The purpose of this study was to examine how pre-service music teachers’ informal music learning experiences shaped their perspectives on the importance of informal music learning and its role in the classroom. For this study, I observed six undergraduate music education majors at a public university in the mid-Atlantic region who participated in a student-created informal music learning organization over the course of one semester. Students each selected a new instrument and worked in small groups to aurally learn songs of their choosing. I interviewed participants before and after their involvement in this organization. Through their participation in IMC, these pre-service music teachers each developed an understanding and appreciation of an approach to music learning that is far different from what they were used to. The participants also developed musical skills such as learning music by ear and secondary instrument proficiency. I suggest that pre-service music teachers should experience and learn to teach many different approaches to learning music, including informal music learning techniques, as a part of their required coursework. Future research is necessary in order to learn more about informal music learning and its role in music classrooms and undergraduate music education curricula.

Additional Abstract Information

Student(s): Veronica J. Sharpe

Department: Music

Faculty Advisor: Dr. David A. Stringham

Type: Oral

Year: 2014

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