3.3 Informal settings and pedagogies
Informal learning pedagogies are characterised by the learner having greater ownership over what is to be learned (deciding what is important knowledge) and how that knowledge is to be learned (pedagogy). Within music education, informal learning is most explicit through the pedagogies propounded by, which is underpinned by the pioneering work of Lucy Green into how popular musicians learn (Green, 2002).
Watch this video in which Professor Lucy Green outlines the characteristics and dispositions of young popular musicians. Note particularly what she has to say about:
- musical autonomy
- aural learning
- learning from a recording
- learning from friends rather than learning from teacher-expert
- musical challenge.
What might be the implications for your teaching if you were to adopt some of these approaches to teaching? Particularly, how might it change your role as a teacher and your relationship with the young people in the classroom?
As Green notes, teaching pedagogies underpinned by principles of informal learning are characterised by:
- allowing learners to choose the music themselves
- learning by listening and copying recordings
- learning alone and in friendship groups with minimum adult guidance
- learning in personal, often haphazard ways
- ‘a deep integration of listening, performing, improvising and composing throughout the learning process with an emphasis on personal creativity’.
Explore the Musical Futures website. Note the key characteristics of a ‘Musical Futures Approach’ and the resources that they offer. Think about how you might use some of these in your teaching.
Cain (2013) quotes Jenkins (2011) who argues that:
informal learning is not only a good way to learn, it is the ideal way to learn … While formal learning strategies supply much needed information and guidance, it is informal techniques that tend to compel students to make ongoing decisions in constructing simulations of real-life contexts.