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Theorising Improvisation as a form of Critical Pedagogy in Ontario Public School Music Curricula

Megan Giacomelli

Published: 2012-05-08

This paper uses critical pedagogy as a framework to critique existing music curricula in the Ontario public education system, proposing an alternative model of music pedagogy that incorporates improvisation and so-called ‘extended techniques’ in the classroom with a view of encouraging students to develop their own forms of creative expression through individual discovery of sound and environment. It investigates pedagogical tools utilized in the teaching of extended technique for instruments, the use of ‘found objects’ as musical instruments, and the creative implications of improvisatory techniques in the music classroom. Critical pedagogy is used to examine hegemonic processes within existing forms of music education, processes that work to naturalize particular systems of musical logic and models of social behaviour.

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If people talked the way they drummed in improvisation, then I think the world would be a lot nicer…

– Youth participant, ICASP improvisation workshop