Lorde a prime example of following her own heart

14 October 2013

New Zealand's teenage singing sensation Lorde is a prime example of following her own potential in her way rather than sticking to the education curriculum.

Lorde a prime example of following her own heart

New Zealand’s teenage singing sensation Lorde is a prime example of following her own potential in her way rather than sticking to the education curriculum, a University of Canterbury (UC) researcher says.

New Zealand music education needs to embrace a greater level of interest and participation for all students, especially Maori and Pasifika, UC’s College of Education lecturer Stuart Wise says.

"A singer like Lorde represents a possible future of music education in New Zealand. Instead of being constrained by practices and processes associated with the Western art music tradition as contained within NCEA, she has been encouraged to explore her creative potential with the result she is now top of the charts in the US and has the opportunity to conquer the world.

"Her stunning success supports what I have been researching. I wish her every success. We would love to have her at UC.

"The current NCEA requirements need to be less dominated by Western art music practices and more accepting of a range of contemporary music approaches and practices.

"In my PhD thesis I looked at nine teachers in four New Zealand secondary schools that are using digital technology in music education,’’ Wise says.

"There was evidence of considerable use of digital technology in the schools. Despite the potential digital technology may have to transform classroom activities, music education, in most cases, remains fundamentally conservative and heavily informed by traditional Western art music practices.

"Although teachers participating in study had a range of digital technology available to them and they made use of it on a regular basis, a range of factors influenced the choices they made when using it in their classrooms.

"The range of factors influencing choices appeared to be the requirements of an external examination system that remains informed by Western art music and in particular harmony, music history, traditional aural skills and an understanding of music notation and theory. 

"Students participating in the study appeared to have a high level of digital literacy and were able to use digital technology in both formal and informal learning situations.

"A number of the students also discussed and demonstrated their informal music learning skills in performance and composition activities. For these students, contemporary music practices are very important to them and if they do not receive the information they need at school they know how to access it using a range of digital devices in an informal learning environment. 

"My research found that to be a successful music educator in the 21st century, the ability to work with Western art music practices and contemporary music practices is becoming an increasingly important skill,’’ Wise says.

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University of Canterbury
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