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#MUS654

There are many different ways to learn, and in music there are countless hours spent in the practise room, working toward performance. All that independent work comes to fruition when we collaborate, whether that is with other performers on stage, with a teacher in a lesson, or with the listener – reacting and developing that real-time relationship that is unique to musical sound. MUS654 is a space, a place, a chance to develop skills, deepen your perspective, and learn from someone who does things a bit differently to you. It could be that you learn from a pianist, or a clarinettist, or a sax player, and you may have never considered things as they do. This is a chance to stretch the horizons and explore. The overall goal is that by the end of the 10 weeks (plus the bonus week in the middle: Thinking Time- What is a curriculum?) that you will be in a position to have enough resources and ideas to develop a curriculum for your students, or maybe even for yourself!

This is the third year I have run the online version of the class and it is also something that my university students studying Music and Teaching (like private teaching, running a studio class) will be following to supplement their on-campus lectures. #MUS654 is meant to probe your knowledge, open the doors to new ideas, and help you to create for yourself.

Join me and my university students as we experiment with the components of musical learning, perusing how we understand and explain foundations like rhythm, pitch, and the mechanics of sounds, and the higher level concepts like what actually makes a curriculum for learning – instead of vaulting from one piece to the next. We explore question like how do we teach expression, how do we ourselves express? We challenge ourselves to look through the lenses of someone else, and maybe not to look at all, but to listen…

Every year I hear how people engage with the different tasks and this year I strongly urge people to blog. Blog blog blog. Share the experience. Collaborate with one another. It doesn’t have to be epic, or complete, or even erudite. Nothing fancy – just your reflections on the topic, task, and what other musicians have to say on the topic. I was incredibly daunted by the idea of blogging at first. It felt strangely exposing, or something. I think it just felt new, and sometimes not having things defined is tricky. The thing is, writing is a form of communication and as musicians, we do a lot of communicating. Sometimes we are lucky not to have to use words, but learning to use words is a discipline in itself, and as a teacher it’s pretty useful. When you blog about things in these pages, tag it #MUS654 and tweet it, or post a link in the page comments (or email me if you don’t tweet!).

So, I hope you’ll join me. Main pages are under the #MUS654 tab up top on this website, and I’ll do blog posts about the different topics and tasks.

What’s new this year? I do have some surprises to add along the way. I’d like to try my hand at some group annotation this year, so people can collectively comment on a page, actually on the page and we can see what people have to say all in one place. I have also recorded a couple of interviews… always something new to add 🙂

Any questions, please ask! In the meantime, if you don’t have a blog… get making one! They can be free and take literally minutes to set up.

You can tweet me @laura_ritchie or email on mail @ lauraritchie.com (no spaces)

We start the Week 1 topic Thursday 15 September and keep going until December. Hope you can join us!

Laura

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