Abstract: Music and song provide a valuable and memorable vehicle for learning, improving student engagement, learning, retention and recall. Curriculum-based song materials offer the potential for teachers and students to co-create learning experiences, in an inclusive, egalitarian space. However, many teachers lack confidence in their own musical abilities, receive inadequate professional training and resources, and have difficulty finding suitable curriculum-based rather than curriculum-linked songs. Currently there is minimal research investigating the creative process of creating developmentally appropriate educational songs for primary/elementary students.
This practice-led research project incorporates autoethnography and the commentary research method to document the evolution and refinement of the creative process of writing curriculum-based songs tailored to specific subjects and grade levels for students aged five to twelve. Two creative artefacts accompany this reflective elucidation: first, a series of original songs presented as published lyrics, music scores, and audio files. These are based on curricula from Australia, the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Waldorf / Steiner education. Appropriate curriculum-linked songs and musical materials from the public domain that teachers may use to supplement the classroom musical experience will accompany selected songs. The second creative artefact is a classroom teachers’ guide to writing musical teaching materials for their own subject(s). This gives examples of songwriting methods, strategies, and materials, and includes ‘plug and play classroom karaoke’ sound files for teachers. These sound files offer the opportunity for educators and their students to collaborate creatively by writing additional or substitute verses.
Bio: Aniko Debreceny is a musician, educator, arranger, and composer who has worked in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. She has taught in a wide variety of educational settings, from schools and community music programmes to conservatorium. Her compositions include six curriculum-based ‘operas’ for children, and educational songs about science, history, and geography.
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*Please note that Aniko will be delivering her presentation via Zoom.