A colleague and I had a great conversation at the last CFT meeting about “performance.” PBL goes by many names, but one of them could certainly be “performance-based learning.” The arts and PE are among the best examples of performance-based learning, yet they don’t get nearly as much oxygen as math, science, and languages. Why do we relegate our best examples of “learning by doing” to the back benches of our practice?
Jim and I were speaking specifically about what the term “performance” means in an orchestra class. Although small-group work finds expression in ensembles, most of us, and I think this includes Jim (although he’ll have to speak for himself), consider an orchestra performance as a single event, or multiple events spread out throughout the school year, in which the entire orchestra performs a repertoire.
What if “performance” took on a different meaning for music students? What if, rather than occasional performances in a concert hall, orchestra and band students spent the year selecting pieces to be performed individually or by ensemble? What if students then picked the time and place of their choosing (on campus or off campus) and performed? What if they performed over and over and over again?
I guess I’m asking, what if school music students performed like street musicians?
In my next post I’ll get out of someone else’s back yard and get back into my own. I’ll spend some time thinking and writing about what language “performance” means.
What do you think? How else could musical performances take shape?