Dear Music Teacher
I provide music department INSET focussing on the impact of growth and fixed mindsets, teaching for metacognition, cultivating an intrinsically motivated department, and the teaching of music practice. I’m presently taking bookings for my UK tour this September and October.
I tour each year from Australia, and have provided for numerous schools and music services throughout the UK. I am the author of ‘Learning Strategies for Musical Success’ and ‘Bumblebee! Rounds & Warm-ups for Choirs’.
Music and Mindset: Elephants in the Classroom!
From the ancient world through the Renaissance, artistic skill was viewed as an intuitive gift rather than the result of effort. Even today, musical ability is more often considered innately derived than any other ability or human faculty.
Indeed, 75 per cent of music educators subscribe to this theory that superior achievement in music is due to genetic endowment. To what end? Mindsets powerfully impact learning behaviour. Learners with a growth mindset work harder, embrace challenge, persist for longer and learn from criticism, whereas the fixed mindset gives up more readily and ultimately achieves less.
Teacher mindsets result in teacher expectations impacting student achievement. Mindset is the most important precept in music education today. It is that important that every music teacher understands the impact their beliefs, words and actions have on cultivating the learning disposition of students. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can cause irreparable damage.
The Magic of Musical Metacognition
Metacognitive teaching has the greatest impact on learning. It is that wonderful learning stage when the learner drives the learning. An umbrella term, metacognition means “thinking about our thinking”. It includes planning, questioning, monitoring, memorisation, self-reflection, self-knowledge about our learning strengths and weaknesses, and self-evaluation. It involves understanding our motivations, setting goals, knowing which practice strategies to implement, and being able to exercise self-discipline. It’s about knowing when and how to use practice strategies for maximum learning.
Metacognition enhances autonomy, powerfully impacting intrinsic motivation. How is this maximised in music teaching? Supported by the work of John Hattie and Gary McPherson, and specifically for music teachers, a tripartite model for fostering metacognition will be presented.
Deliberate Practice: Expanding Musical Potential
Many teachers focus instruction on what to practise, but the how of practise is the most important concern. Children who are unable to motivate themselves to apply deliberate practice strategies will lack real progress. Progress is the great motivator. If students do not think they are making progress, they quit trying. The best predictor of musical progress is the quality and quantity of practise time.
Types of repetition, chunking, and slow practise must be core. Engaging music students in metacognitive practice processes is the most effective means of guaranteeing progress. What is required is not just that students engage in the proper practise strategies, but that they know what they are, and are consciously aware of using them. How is this taught explicitly, and how can we be certain that students really understand practice?
Or have all three topics as part of a whole day of INSET. Return email for more. Independent teachers welcome to attend.
“Wonderfully inspiring – still on a high.” Guildhall School of Music, London
“So much information that is backed by research. Great advice and I’m inspired to try a new mindset in my teaching.” R Tombs, NSW
“I had a great day learning about how students are motivated by progress. We were taught all about how to determine progress and how to instil a growth mindset in our students. I then took what we learnt back to the classroom and my students are more motivated in their music practice.” J Goodwin, NSW
“Brilliant! Just what I needed to get back in the groove!!” – Hampshire Music Service, UK
“This was a first-class talk by a high calibre, international speaker. What a great start to a new school year. Red Maids, Bristol
An excellent talk this evening. Michael is a superb speaker and delivered key messages in such an engaging way.” Headmaster, King’s High School, Warwick UK