ISME 29th World Conference Abstracts
Additional Document Info
Curriculum review and renewal is a demanding, invigorating and inspirational activity. In the case of a music degree it requires a thorough understanding of the purpose of the particular award, awareness and sensitivity towards the amount of time skill, craft and artistic development may take, and the necessity for providing a learning environment that exploits the synergies that occur with the development of skills, knowledge and creativity. This paper provides an overview of that process as undertaken in 2009 at the University of Tasmania. An overview of eight Australian Tertiary music institutions is presented and used during the review process to discover the level of agreement amongst colleagues as to the purpose and design of a Bachelor of Music.
Internationally, since the Bologna Declaration of June 1999 a great deal of work has been undertaken in Europe to document tertiary education in Europe. Under the auspices of the Association Europeenne des Conservatories, Academies de Musique et Musikhochschulen (AEC) Polifonia, was established to examine aspects of professional music training in 32 European countries. A recent Polifonia publication summarising learning outcomes for 1st cycle (ie Bachelor) studies of in music was examined to discover the level of similarity of intentions that might exist internationally. Recent literature from the UK, US and Australia, describing the concept of curriculum design are analysed to provide a context for the issues raised during the review. Likewise, research exploring the stages of skill-acquisition and how this may affect the performance of developing musicians are explored to provide insights into the need to balance individual requirements with institutional outcomes.
The findings of the curriculum review and renewal process reveal that the Bachelor of music degree is demanding; it requires sustained work targeted towards highly specialised endeavour. The purpose of the degree emerges as one that should allow young musicians to immerse themselves in an environment that supports their professional aspirations: a profession unilaterally recognised as vigorously competitive; one requiring a number of highly specialised skills. It was also reaffirmed as the first level tertiary study: the need to guard against curriculum inflation is an issue that requires special consideration. Another, and complementary issue, is the expansion of the purpose and meaning that this specialist award has acquired, most particularly in Australia and what safeguards may be necessary in the future to ensure clarity and transparency of purpose is not lost.