The Most Important Question You Can Ask in Music Education

In episode 53, Kathryn and Theresa talk to Dr. Shane Colquhoun, an assistant professor of music technology and contemporary styles at Alabama State University. Shane discusses the importance of rethinking traditional approaches to music education by challenging the notion of “music education for all,” arguing that current programs often cater only to students with specific musical interests, such as classical instruments, while neglecting those interested in contemporary or popular music. He advocates for a more student-centered approach, where educators ask students what they want to learn and tailor the curriculum accordingly. Shane also emphasizes the need to train future teachers to be open to different forms of musicianship and to be willing to adapt their methods to better serve a diverse student body.

In this interview, Shane doesn’t just critique the system; he offers solutions. He emphasizes the importance of asking students what they want to learn and tailoring the curriculum to meet those interests.

Musicianship is not just reading music and I think the first step is to open up our perspective of what musicianship is.

Here are some key takeaways from our interview with Shane Colquhoun:

  • Shane challenges the “one-size-fits-all” approach and calls for a revolution in how we approach music education.
  • Don’t overlook the kids jamming to contemporary tunes; they deserve a place in music programs too! 
  • Student-centered learning isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the future of inclusive music education.
  • To serve all students, future music teachers need to be as versatile as the music they teach. 
What we are doing is not bad, but I would ask the question, are we meeting the expectation of "all?"

Connect with Shane and learn more about his work:

Ready for more?

You can check out the full interview on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform. Or you can listen right here, on Spotify Podcasts!

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