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ment.


Formal assessment strategies used prior to imple-


menting non-traditional practices can still be used to assess students’ performance skills; however, alternative assess- ment techniques that honor the unique nature of the vernacu- lar style should also be included.


For example, an important aspect of vernacular music mak- ing is the musician’s ability to work alone in addition to interacting with the other group members. Music teachers can assess these skills by evaluating “personal” and “inter- personal” behaviors. Tardiness, bringing equipment, and coming to rehearsal prepared by practicing at home are all indicators of success focusing on personal behaviors, while sharing ideas, participating in discussions, and providing and receiving feedback offer evidence of participation at the interpersonal level (Blom & Encarnacao, 2012).


Not only will educators need to adjust their strategies to include authentic assessment of skills associated with ver- nacular music making, they will also need to teach students how to function as both recipients and providers of peer as- sessment. This is especially true if the educator serves as the primary feedback source (Lebler, 2007). One way teachers can help is to model and discuss different aspects of peer-di- rected learning. By demonstrating how students can engage with their work as a musical master while still remaining students, teachers can educate and involve the students as both performers and assessors (Rust, O’Donovan, & Price, 2005). In doing so, teachers support the development of self- monitoring, an important skill for all types of professional musicians to possess.


Conclusions No matter the amount of knowledge an educator may have, the size of school in which they teach, the ages of teach- ers or students, or the results that educators find in their bi- musical classroom, all experiences are viable and worthy of sharing. As the number of documented student and teacher experiences with informal learning grows, a more meaning- ful music classroom will be created, ultimately preparing our students for rich and vibrant musical lives outside our classroom walls. Nonetheless, this goal is not without its challenges.


A common deterrent arises from the lack of training or lim- ited experiences most music educators have with regard to informal music making. While educators typically teach us- ing methods with which they are familiar and comfortable, developing a bi-musical classroom is not out of reach for those inexperienced in the vernacular tradition. For teachers who want to incorporate vernacular strategies and skills into the classroom, there are many ways to begin. For example, learn a new instrument by observing others and playing by ear. Invite fellow music educators to an informal night of


music making where you listen to vernacular music in a spe- cific style and recreate it on your new – or old – instruments without using traditional notation. You can also attend jam sessions together or alone and sit in with other local musi- cians to further your vernacular music making.


Just as the students will learn by trial and error, the educa- tor will as well. Being prepared and comfortable with be- ing “wrong” or making mistakes is a must. Whether your mistakes occur in your own music making or in the process of teaching your students try to let them go and learn from them. As in other aspects of education, your methods and exercises may not initially be as successful as you would like. These trial and error techniques are present in the in- formal student learning processes, and thus make the experi- ence feel more authentic when practiced in the instructor’s teachings.


For further reading, Lucy Green’s How Popular Musicians Learn (2002) is a wonderful beginning step, as much of the current vernacular music making research is based on ideas from her work. In addition to this, Scott Emmons’ Preparing Teachers for Popular Music Processes and Practices (2004) offers additional insight, further investigating the purpose of including vernacular methods, and suggests lessons in in- formal music making practices. I also recommend explor- ing articles written by Robert H. Woody, Sharon Davis, and Sheri Jaffurs to further understand aspects of non-traditional music making.


In today’s musical world, the skills possessed by both classi- cally trained and vernacular musicians are valid and benefi- cial to all musicians. By designing a classroom that utilizes skill sets from both of these cultures, we not only create a more inviting and meaningful music learning environment, we also provide our students with necessary tools to become life-long music users.


References Allsup, R. E. (2008). Creating an educational framework for popular music in public schools: Anticipating the second-wave. Visions of Research in Music Education, 12, 1-12.


Blom, D., & Encarnacao, J. (2012). Student-chosen criteria for peer assessment of tertiary rock groups in rehearsal and performance: What’s important? British Journal of Music Education, 29(1), 25-43.


Boespflug, G. (2004). The pop music ensemble in music education. In C. X. Rodriguez (Ed.), Bridging the gap: Popular music and music education (pp. 191-204). Reston, VA: Music Educators National Conference.


Campbell, P.S. (1995). Of garage bands and song-getting: The musical development of young rock musicians. Research Studies in Music Education, 4, 12-20.


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