Hélène Boucher, PhD

Doctor of Music Education

 

Publications

Boucher, H., Lierse, S. and Marzano, G. (Submitted to Thinking Skills and Creativity, for their special issue: Exploring pedagogies of dialogic space: Intersubjective
        orientations, knowledge transformation and co-creativity in different domains
.). Creative approaches in 21st century composition teaching: Schaffer's theories to
        create dialogies towards the EMP-Arts/MMD-project.
        Abstract

Boucher, H. and Moisey, T. (Submitted to Research Studies in Music Education). A Lived Experience of a Philosophy of Music Education Inspired by the Work of Canadian
        Composer R. Murray Shafer.
        Abstract

Gaudette-Leblanc, A. and Boucher, H. (2018). La pratique de la musique en classe de maternelle 4 ans. Données issues de la recherche et recommandations. Revue
        préscolaire
, 56(4).
        Abstract

Boucher, H. and Ryan, C. (2011). Performance Stress and the Very Young Musician. Journal of Research in Music Education, 58(4), pp. 329-345.
        Abstract

Boucher, H. (2009). The Occurrence of Performance Anxiety in Early Childhood. Proceedings of the Second International Conference of Students of Systematic
        Musicology
, pp. 32-33.
        Abstract

Boucher, H. (2008). The Occurrence of Performance Anxiety in Early Childhood. (Doctoral Dissertation). McGill University, Montreal.
        Abstract

 

Articles in writing

Boucher, H. (in process). A Systematic Review of Rhythm Teaching Approaches.
        Abstract

Boucher, H. (in process). For a Cultural Adaptation/ Appropriation of the Kodaly Approach for French Québécois: Part 1. The Use of the Fixed Do System.
        Abstract

Gaudette-Leblanc, A., Boucher, H. and Pearson, J. (in process). The impact of participating in an early childhood music program on the socio-emotional development of
       the young child : A Meta Analysis.

        Abstract

Ryan, C., Boucher, H. and Ryan, G. (in process). Performance preparation, anxiety, and the teacher: experiences of adolescent pianists.
        Abstract

 

On Going Research Projects - Data Collection Completed

Boucher, H. (in process). The impact of friendship on peer assessment among undergraduate students.
        Abstract

Boucher, H. (in process). A qualitative inquiry of peer assessment among graduate students.
        Abstract

Ryan, C., Boucher, H. and Ryan, G. (in process). An examination of children's performance experience and anxiety over the first years of piano studies.
        Abstract

Boucher, H. and Moisey, T. (in process). Understanding musical development : A comparison of the musical compositions of 3rd, 9th, 11th graders and undergraduate
       university students.

        Abstract

Boucher, H. (in process). A qualitative inquiry into mentoring as a teaching tool for training preservice music teachers in early childhood settings.
        Abstract

 

On Going Research Projects

Peters, V., Baudry, C., Boucher, H. Creech, A. (in process). How musical learning acts as a protective factor, contributing to the development of socio-emotional
       competence for vulnerable populations.

        Abstract

Boucher, H. et al.(in process). Recueil de chansons folkloriques pour l'enseignement de la musique au Québec selon la méthode Kodaly.
        Abstract

 

Abstracts and Project Summaries

Boucher, H., Lierse, S. and Marzano, G. (Submitted to Thinking Skills and Creativity, for their special issue: Exploring pedagogies of dialogic space: Intersubjective
        orientations, knowledge transformation and co-creativity in different domains
.). Creative approaches in 21st century composition teaching: Schaffer's theories to
        create dialogies towards the EMP-Arts/MMD-project.

The World Economic forum has identified creativity as one of the top skills needed for the workforce by 2020. However, some organizations deem innovation and change too risky. It has been advocated that the arts become a more integral part of educational curricula to develop creativity as a transferable skill. A pioneer of teaching creativity is the Canadian composer Raymond Murray Schafer (b. 1933). He believes that the goals in music education should be broader and wholistic, looking beyond the classroom to build citizens in an ideal democracy. Schafer is also recognized for his innovative ways of teaching and learning music in the schools. He encourages children to explore how they can be the creators and to find sounds from unusual sources within their own environment. Schafer’s approaches to music education have been popular, especially during the 1970s and 1980s when they were used around the world. The paper discusses how Schafer’s approaches to music education can be applied in today’s technological era to develop a highly creative workforce. It is anchored in a Bakhtinian dialogism framework as well as in Vygotsky's socio-constructivist theory. The aim of this research is to use and update an existing and successful twentieth-century philosophy of music education in the digital age as a way to provide an innovative approach to creativity that may now reach a wider audience through digital communication. As a result, a dialogical model of creativity through time emerges, in which the past and the future are interlocked and revolve around the axis of the present, and in which there are neither first nor last words.

 

Boucher, H. and Moisey, T. (Submitted to Research Studies in Music Education). A Lived Experience of a Philosophy of Music Education Inspired by the Work of Canadian
        Composer R. Murray Shafer.

Schafer

In the field of philosophy of music education, two major views have taken most of the space in the last decades. One of them is the aesthetic vision, a view that Benet Reimer (1970; 2003) made a major contribution to, and the other one, developed by David Elliot, is the praxialist view. These two positions have generated a lot of discussion about how we perceive music education. In fact, in the aesthetic vision, the work of art is at the center of the whole process. The quality of the work, and the education of the feelings, is believed to lead to the aesthetic experience. Therefore, the education of music puts lots of emphasis on the teaching of how to listen to music. In the praxialist approach, the central element is the individual and the different roles, musicer and listener, he or she has when interacting with music in its context. In recent years, other contributors have elaborated different views on the topic (Jorgensen, 1997; Wheeler, 2006), enriching the collective reflection in this field.

Jorgensen (1997), in her dialectic philosophy, talks about the difficult choice of creating a philosophy and then trying to apply it in the classroom, or being in the classroom and from that experience, generating a philosophical perspective. She explains how both ways can have their strengths and limits. One element that seems to be missing from these enriching conversations however, is the actual ‘lived philosophy of music education’ and the documentation and analysis of such an experience. This is where the work of R. Murry Shafer can be an interesting starting point and certainly make a valid contribution.

Canadian Composer R. Murray Schafer

The goal of this qualitative inquiry was to explore how pre-service teachers could be introduced to a philosophy of music education through a ‘lived’ experience of it. The project emerged from an invitation to participate in an arts education collaborative exploration involving McGill University Faculty of Education, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and local partner schools:

"We are interested in exploring the ways in which “The Space Between” encompasses the notion of that which we do not see or feel directly, but which is imbedded within the human experience across the globe. Participants are invited to develop projects inspired by this common theme, which may serve as our connecting thread throughout this creative process."   For more information regarding the exhibit, you can watch this video: The Space Between.

Our project named ‘Soundscape II – A follow up experience to R. Murray Schafer’s Soundscapes’, involved student-teachers enrolled in a music education program and generalist student-teachers (having done an introductory course on music teaching). These student-teachers were also doing their final field experience within the same semester. This is how the project was described:

"In contemporary philosophy of music education, the child is in “the place between” as a mediator, by the roles he/she plays: performer, listener, creator. The importance is in how he/she lives these experiences and develops these competencies. The work of art is no longer the central piece, it is now the individual in context that is central. I am proposing a philosophical experience in action using the work of R. Murray Shafer as an inspiration. Shafer, a well-known Canadian composer, wrote many books about music education and spent much time working in schools. He developed this concept called Soundscape, where all sounds in an environment can become part of the music that surrounds us. He created activities to “clean up” the ears (to learn to listen) and to compose new soundscapes. As mentioned earlier, the child’s experience of the music competencies included in our curriculum (to create, to interpret and to appreciate) is often an invisible space. This project wants to make visible this space where the philosophy encounters the reality.

In class, activity 1: The student-teachers were asked to lead listening activities in the classroom following Shafer’s model. These activities were done through a visual representation of the sound of music heard.
In class, activity 2: This was then be followed by creative experiences of the children’s soundscapes, which were also notated visually using a code invented by the child-composer. They were then be performed for the class who “read” the musical soundscapes.
Museum Presentation: A selection of the visual representations of the compositions were part of the exhibit for the visitors to see, and videorecordings of these were made available for them to hear and see the soundscapes."

The Shafer Project was chosen and became part of the exhibit. As the project was unfolding, it became clear that we had to document the whole process and try to get an understanding of what it can mean for student-teachers to ‘live’ a philosophy of music education rather than just be presented with different views in a typical university course mostly through lectures and readings. Several types of data were collected. In the first phase, there were:
• videos of the lesson taught by one of the researchers to the student-teachers experiencing Shafer’s ideas,
• visual representations and musical soundscapes done by the student-teachers,
• explanations of the student-teachers’ visual representations and how they relate to their musical soundscapes,
• short questionnaires filled up by the student-teachers commenting on their experience of that music lesson.

In the second phase, three music specialist student-teachers taught the same lesson to the students they were working with during their field experience. Students from different grade levels took part in the project - grades 3, 9 and 11. From this, the following data were collected:
• videos of the lesson taught by student-teachers to the children while they were experiencing Shafer’s ideas,
• visual representations and musical soundscapes done by the children,
• explanation of the children`s visual representations and how they relate to their musical soundscapes,
• questionnaires filled up by the student-teachers commenting on their experience teaching that music lesson and their understanding of Shafer's philosophy of music education.

As we started to work on the project some questions were present and some emerged as the project progressed and we started to analyze the data. Prior to the project, the question was: Does introducing a philosophy of music education through a lived experience of it rather than through a theoretical presentation bring the same level of understanding? The questions that have additionaly emerged are: Can student-teachers construct their own understanding of a philosophy of music education after having experienced it from the perspective of a student and of a teacher? What is music, how can we define it? How does learning about a philosophy of music education influence their future teaching? Our analysis is anchored in the theoretical framework developed by Kolb and Kolb (2005), the Experiential Learning Theory (ELT).

summer

Visual Representation of a Musical Soundscape
by Undergraduate Students, titled "Summer in the Playground".

 

Gaudette-Leblanc, A. and Boucher, H. (2018). La pratique de la musique en classe de maternelle 4 ans. Données issues de la recherche et recommandations.
        Revue préscolaire
, 56(4).

In 2018, as part of the Quebec Policy on Educational Success, 111 new full-time 4-year kindergarten classes in disadvantaged areas were introduced. Recently, recommendations from research that examined the effectiveness of this measure suggest that it would be necessary to enrich the Québec Education Program (preschool - 4 years) by providing concrete examples of programs and activities supporting the overall development of the 4-year-old child. It is also proposed to better equip the educators and teachers to be entrusted to these children by offering them continuing education activities based on the best practices in education. In this sense, this column aims first to inform education professionals of the positive effects of music on the development of the child at the time of his/her first school transition. We additionaly suggest some musical activities that can help the preschool child through this adaptation period.

 

Boucher, H. and Ryan, C. (2011). Performance Stress and the Very Young Musician. Journal of Research in Music Education, 58(4), pp. 329-345.

Boucher, H. (2009). The Occurrence of Performance Anxiety in Early Childhood. Proceedings of the Second International Conference of Students of Systematic
        Musicology
, pp. 32-33

Boucher, H. (2008). The Occurrence of Performance Anxiety in Early Childhood. (Doctoral Dissertation). McGill University, Montreal.

Performance anxiety is a common experience among musicians. Recent studies have found it to be an issue not only for adult performers but also for developing musicians as early as third grade. The question as to its developed or innate nature led to the present inquiry pertaining to young children’s responses to performance situations. Sixty-six 3- and 4-year-olds taking group music lessons that culminated in two concerts served as participants. Self-report of anticipatory anxiety, cortisol secretion, and observation of anxious behaviors were the primary measures.

pictorial scale

 

Results indicated that young children did experience anxiety with respect to music performances and that responses seemed to have both innate and developed components. Children with prior performing experience reported less anticipatory anxiety, but had higher cortisol levels, than those without prior experience. Additionally, performance location seemed to play a role in children’s anxiety responses. Those who were familiar with their performance environment responded with less anxiety than those who were not. Overall, second performances within a short time frame elicited much lower anxiety responses than initial performances. Findings pertaining to performance location and second performances appear to have direct pedagogical implications, which may help to reduce performance stress in young children.

     

Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence, Reported Liking and
Reported Feeling Toward Concert.
I feel good in my body when I think of my concert. /
I feel funny in my belly when I think of my concert.

     

Articles in writing

Boucher, H. A Systematic Review of Rhythm Teaching Approaches.

Music educators’ tasks include rhythm teaching, no matter the age group they are working with. Many approaches are available for teachers to structure their teaching, among which the traditional counting system, the rhythm syllables, the speech cues and the use of rhythmic words. The goals of this article are to offer to music educators a systematic analysis of the published research comparing a minimum of two different approaches to teach music rhythms and to identify the significant results in terms of best effective practices.

To identify as many relevant publications as possible, several databases were searched: ERIC (EBSCO), Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson), PsycINFO, JSTOR, FRANCIS, WorldCat. A search of the gray litterature was also conducted through: ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global, Erudit, Thesis Canada, Open Access to Thesis and Dissertations (on line). The following key words were used to execute these search: 'rhythm music', 'rhythm reading', 'rhythm teaching', 'music rhythm words', 'rhythm syllables', 'Kodaly', 'Gordon music', 'Takadimi', 'music sight reading'. Every study found was then hand search for other publications that might have been missed with the above search.

The methods mostly studied are the traditional “l-e-and-a”, Kodaly, Gordon, Takadimi and speech cues. Most of the research found used a quasi-experimental methodology with or without control group. However, very few were comparable in regards to methodology, subjects and measures. Moreover, most of them did not compare the same methods of rhythmic teaching, making a meta-analysis impossible. Whenever sufficient data was provided, effect size was calculated using Cohen’s d analysis. Even though the studies found compare different systems together, a few elements are worth noting. The first is the effectiveness of the Speech Cues method. This approach is characterised by a set of words that are systematically associated with a rhythmical element. The second element that needs to be underlined is that the traditional method of counting “l-e-and-a” seems to be the least efficient one.

 

Boucher, H.For a Cultural Adaptation/ Appropriation of the Kodaly Approach for French Québécois: Part 1. The Use of the Fixed Do System.

KodalyStudents

Kodaly developed a very structured, sequenced method of music education. With the help of his students, this approach was exported to many countries in the world, reaching a high number of teachers and students. As it became known by people from different countries, a challenge arose: each of these locations has a unique musical culture. Kodaly was well aware of this reality and encouraged the music teachers to use music from their own culture, which he perceived as being the musical mother language of the children. Through this article, it will be argued that the use of the moveable Do or fixed Do system is also a cultural element and therefore, that music teachers should adapt or appropriate Kodaly’s vision to it.

Musical culture and its role in society will first be discussed, followed by a brief history of the fixed Do systems and how it was adopted by French Québécois. Then a critical look will be taken at published articles identifying strengths and weaknesses inherent to each system, followed by a presentation of the data-based studies comparing the effectiveness of the two systems. Finally, an appropriation specific to Francophones in Québec of the Kodaly approach within the culture of the fixed do system will be presented along with the steps needed to make it available to as many children as possible.

 

Gaudette-Leblanc, A., Boucher, H. and Pearson, J. The impact of participating in an early childhood music program on the socio-emotional development of the young
       child : A Meta Analysis.

Much of the research in early childhood music education has focused on the cognitive benefits associated with music and its correlation with other school disciplines. Some researchers have also explored the impact of music program on the socio-emotional development of the young child. In order to measure the impact of such programs, a systematic search was performed using the following syntax: ((music or "music program") and ("socioemotional development" “socio-emotional development” "affective development" "emotional development") and ("early childhood" or infan* or toddler*)). Six articles have been identified as responding to all the inclusion criteria. Effect sizes are bieng calculated and mediating factors are being analysed: participation of the parents, age of the children, specific socio-emotional aspect being measured, teachers' background and duration of the music program.

 

piano

Ryan, C., Boucher, H. and Ryan, G.Performance preparation, anxiety, and the teacher: experiences of adolescent pianists.

The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences and anxiety of adolescent pianists in their private lessons and solo performances. A particular focus was placed on the student-teacher relationship and the potential role of teachers in students’ preparation, experience, and anxiety in performance situations. Sixty-two piano students completed questionnaires pertaining to their private lessons, teacher, and performance experiences, as well as two inventories – one pertaining to self-esteem and the other on music performance anxiety.

Results indicate that gender, self-esteem, practice, and years of study are significant predictors of performance anxiety, with gender having the most notable effect. Almost half of the participants reported feeling nervous in their lessons at least some of the time. Most students noted that their teachers encourage them to perform; however, only half reported that their teachers address performance preparation issues. Less than half were reported to discuss memorization strategies or performance anxiety with students, or to hold practice-performance classes. Implications for music educators and future research directions are discussed.

 

On Going Research Projects - Data Collection Completed

Boucher, H. (in process). The impact of friendship on peer assessment among undergraduate students.

Since Vygotsky’s major contribution, i.e. socio-constructivism in education, peer assessment has become a way of supporting students’ responsibility for their own learning and the learning of others (Boud et al., 1999). This type of assessment, along with others, is used in many schools, in many disciplines, and at different levels. It recently gained considerable interest in higher education driven by both its educational value and by its ability to provide students with the opportunity to develop important transferrable skills (McGarr and Clifford, 2012). It also brings questions such as the reliability of the student grading, expertise of the peer assessors, power relations, and time available to implement this process (Liu & Carless, 2006; Van Den Berg et al., 2006). Patton (2012) reports that although students are in favour of peer assessment as a formative type of evaluation, they are very critical when it is used as a summative process. Similarly, McConlogue (2012) reports that students gained a better understanding from being an assessor, but were concerned that their peer assessors’ marks were not ‘fair’. When asked whether their peers’ assessments should have a greater weight in their final grade, participants in McGarr and Clifford’s (2012) study did not agree, echoing the same concern.

This perception is interesting since other researchers have found that peer evaluation yields similar results as assessments made by the course lecturer (Şahin, 2008). Falchikov and Goldfinch (2000) in their meta-analysis of 48 peer-assessment studies, report that correlations between the marks were higher in studies in which peer assessments involved making overall global judgments using well-understood criteria. Topping (1998) also concludes that peer-assessment shows adequate reliability and validity. On the contrary, De Grez, Valcke and Roozen (2012), looking at a comparison between teacher, self, and peer assessment of oral presentations, found that the total score of the rubric given by teachers was significantly lower than that of the peers. Other researchers have also reported that students’ peer evaluations were not as reliable, accurate and precise as those done by the teachers making it difficult to use as a summative assessment (Freeman, 1995; Goldfinch & Raeside, 1990; Kwan & Leung, 1996; Orsmond, Merry, & Reiling, 1996).

Although the fairness and value of peer assessment in higher education has been well documented in recent years, the relationships that develop among students and the consequent impact on peer assessment has not yet been sufficiently considered. Vu & Dall’Alba (2007), in their case study, mention peer assessor’s worries about causing friction and hurt feelings, or, if the classmate is a friend, believing that it can cause a betrayal of the friend’s trust. They also report the following:

“One student experienced the peer assessment process as stressful, questioning its links to learning: I do not think that it enhances understanding at all because I am too concerned about whether or not I was marking and assessing other people fairly and evenly…. Assessment is not relevant to learning. I do not think that assessing can necessarily lead to learning.
The remaining students also expressed unease about giving marks and criticism to peers. They feared that unfair marks, and inappropriate or overly critical comments, could cause friction with peers. They were concerned that these fears may produce bias in marking.”
presentation

To lower these emotional reactions, they suggest debriefing after the assessment is completed. They also mention that it may give rise to conflicts among students, especially when a class bond has developed. Topping, Smith, Swanson and Elliot (2000) also looked at the emotional reactions of the students and they found that this process is perceived as socially uncomfortable. And Evans et al., (2005) report that students react differently depending on the level of respect they have for their peers; they may only feel comfortable being assessed by peers they respect. On the other hand, Koç (2011) identified the strengthening of relationships between colleagues as one of the numerous benefits of peer assessment.

The purpose of this study is to document the role of existing relationships (friendship, past disagreement, lack of respect) on peer assessment in higher education. This will be done through analyzing peer assessments of the students’ final oral presentation and surveying them to get an understanding of how they perceive peer assessment in higher education in a context where they know each other very well. The participants are selected from a cohort who has been studied together for their whole program (four years for the undergraduates, two years for the graduate students). Most of them will be at the very end of their program in education. They have had many of their courses together, some of them have developed significant friendships, while others have gone through difficult relationships over the years. The following research questions will be addressed:
How do existing relations (friendship, previous disagreement, lack of respect) influence students in assessing their peers?
How is that task perceived by the students?
In a context where students know each other well, is peer assessment perceived as a fair method of evaluation?
Is an assessment form with precise criteria perceived to be helpful (to bring more fairness) in peer assessment?

 

Boucher, H. (in process). A qualitative inquiry of peer assessment among graduate students.

To parallel the previous project, the purpose of this study was to document the experience of being peer assessed and assessing peers as graduate students. Five doctoral students shared their experience with the researcher. A thematic analysis of these description remains to be performed.

 

Ryan, C., Boucher, H. and Ryan, G. (in process). An examination of children's performance experience and anxiety over the first years of piano studies.

piano_enfant

The study of music provides many opportunities for children to develop not only their musical skills, but also their ability to perform musical works for an audience. Typically, students will perform several times each year at recitals and examinations, and sometimes other events. These performances are generally deemed to be important components of an education in music. They allow children the opportunity to demonstrate the skills they have attained and to share a musical work with an audience. In this study we are interested in learning about children’s experiences and feelings regarding performance situations, in particular how performance anxiety is lived over the first yeats of piano studies.

Twice during the year, children were interviewed regarding thier feelings about performance, lessons, and practice; thier motivation for starting/continuing lessons; and their participation and experience in similar performance activities (e.g. sports, dance, drama). A standardized inventory of the children's feelings in performance situations was also completed.

At two recitals and one examination, the participants were videotaped in performance. In order to gain a complete picture of children’s experience of the performance situation, their heart rate was also monitored during the performances. Since the children involved in this study were still quite young (6-12 years old), we also collected information from the parents twice during the year. This entailed a brief questionnaire regarding their child’s practice habits and attitudes about lessons, practice, and performing.

 

Boucher, H. and Moisey, T. Understanding musical development : A comparison of the musical compositions of 3rd, 9th, 11th graders and undergraduate university students.

Understanding how children grow and develop has been a constant quest for psychologists. Piaget is certainly one of the most famous theorists of childhood development, taking a scientific angle to this topic and explaining it through distinct stages. In parallel, some authors have tried to explain human musical development during childhood or across the lifespan. Koopman (1995) argues that development needs to have four essential elements. It needs to:

1) involve a process of change which
2) occurs over a certain period of time and in which
3) two or more qualitative different stages occur,
4) each stage being a precondition for its successor.

The difference between qualitative and quantitative changes is explained as follows: a quantitative change is a change in numbers. For example, this might be a change in the number of friends a child has at two and at eight. A qualitative change is a change in quality. The friendships will become deeper and more meaningful.

 

Gardner (1973) proposes a developmental theory of the childhood roots of adult creativity organised in two stages of aesthetics development:

1) Presymbolic Stage (early childhood): exploration of the musical medium: listening, reacting, imitating, humming, singing; the child is in touch with the arts, can differentiate some elements and interact with them.
2) Stage of Symbol Use (age 6-7): internalization of the musical system: dealing with music in accordance with the musical code; arbitrary symbols become connected to the music, the child learns to use them in relation to the cultural norms. At age 6, the child would already have a basic understanding of music (performing and listening) and by 7 years of age, the qualitative development would be completed, the changes coming after would be quantitative only.

 

Gardner, Phelps, and Wolf (1990) revisited Gardner previous’ theory and broadened it to the development of creativity, including the domains of arts, maths and sciences. This model is organised in three phases:

1) Preconventional Stage: independent of the culture, the child explores symbolic medium in his own way, tries to find solution on his own
2) Conventional Stage: the child becomes sensitive to what “culture dictates”, aims to produce symbolic products in the way adults do, conforms to conventions
3) Postconventional Stage: critical attitude toward conventions, the creative person no longer contents himself/herself with imitating but pursues his or her own ends; many adolescents give up creative work and concentrate on reception.

L'horloge

Swanwick and Tillman (1986) on their part, are suggesting a sequence of musical development focusing on children’s musical compositions. They organised their system in four stages:

Stage 1 (0-4 years), Mastery of material (sensory, manipulative)
Stage 2 (4-9 years), Imitation and expression (personal, vernacular)
Stage 3 (10-15 years), Imaginative play with form (speculative, idiomatic)
Stage 4 (15 +), Metacognition and value (symbolic, systematic)

In our study, we will analyse music compositions of students in grade 3, 9, 11, undergraduate students and music undergraduate students. These compositions were made for “The Space Between” exhibit for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, under the project called ‘Soundscape II – A follow up experience to R. Murray Schafer’s Soundscapes’. The compositions, visual representations and explanations from the student-composers will be analysed in order to understand if they support the previous theories or if a new theory of musical development needs to arise.

Visual Representation of a Musical Soundscape
by Grade 3 Students, titled "L'horloge" (The Clock).

 

Boucher, H. (in process). A qualitative inquiry into mentoring as a teaching tool for training preservice music teachers in early childhood settings.

Experiences of preservice music teachers are well documented. So are experiences of early childhood preservice educators. However, it seems that the first experiences of music teachers in early childhood settings are just starting to be examined (Gruenhagen, 2012; Scott-Kassner, 1999; Nardo et al., 2006; Neelly, 2000). Although music is part of daily routines of young children, it might have been left in the hands of the early childhood educators for years. In our day, many educational settings hire music specialists to work with young children. Although no formal certification is required to become an early childhood music teacher (Gruenhagen, 2012), more programs in higher education now offer specific training to teach music to preschoolers (Scott-Kassner, 1999). Still, most bachelor of music education degrees focus solely on elementary and high school music education. In this context, an important part of learning to teach and interact with such young children has been done in the past through unprepared practice since there was no formal training available. However, since there is more and more demand on the work scene for trained music educators to work with children 1 to 5 years old, there is a need to look at the first experiences of the preservice music teacher in early childhood music teaching and how formal training and mentoring can be part of an overall education. Renshaw (2009) offers a very detailed framework to understand mentoring in music that includes an effective environment for mentoring, characteristics of reflective and reflexive interactions and qualities of effective mentors. This framework has been used by Gaunt, Creech, Long & Hallam (2012) to study how conservatory music students could be supported in their professional integration. They found that the student-teacher relationship generated key characteristics of a mentoring environment and that the students appreciated a mentoring approach.

earlychildhoodThe purpose of this study is:
1) to document the experiences of preservice music teachers in early childhood music teaching under mentorship. The participants are enrolled in an undergraduate music education or performance program, have taken many education courses among which is a course titled “Music in Early Childhood”. In this class, students have been introduced to various techniques to teach young children, have been presented with pedagogical material, have learned about the global development of the child, have seen many examples of different teachers with varied age groups and have themselves taught one lesson in an early childhood setting.
2) to examine the nature of mentoring among preservice early childhood music teachers and to determine whether it could function as professional development in that context. The mentoring is to be explored from the perspective of the students and the mentor.

The research questions that are being addressed in this study are inspired by a case study that analyzed the experiences of an early childhood music teacher who was learning through practice, within a learning community (Gruenhagen, 2012) as well as the research done with conservatory students about mentoring (Gaunt, Creech, Long & Hallam, 2012). Therefore, two points of view are being examined: the student-teachers’ experience and how it could influence them in a broader context, and the mentor's experience and how mentoring could be a successful educational tool.

This case study (three participants) is using ethnographic tools as it seems the best way to provide information on this experience. To do so, the student teachers (participants) taught lessons to children aged 1 to 5 years old and their parents, the lessons were videotaped and these videos were viewed and commented by the mentor-researcher, and the written comments were given to the teacher-students as a weekly feedback. The student-teachers met individually with the mentor three times during the seven-week process: before the start of the program, after their fourth lesson and at the end of the program. These mentoring sessions took the form of conversations/interviews and participants were invited to talk about their experience and ask for guidance if needed. The student-teachers were also offered the possibility to communicate through email with the mentor at any point in time for sharing their experience or to ask questions. The experience of the mentor was documented through journaling about her experience. The videos, the feedback, the interviews, the emails, and the mentor journal are being coded and analyzed.

 

On Going Research Projects

Peters, V., Baudry, C., Boucher, H. Creech, A. How musical learning acts as a protective factor, contributing to the development of socio-emotional competence for
       vulnerable populations.

While much of the research in music education has focused on the cognitive benefits associated with music and its correlation with other school disciplines, an integrative theoretical framework and approach that focuses on the development of social and emotional competencies associated with flourishing across the life span are needed. This research is important in its focus on the promotion and measurement of social and emotional competencies within music learning and participation contexts, across the lifespan. According to the OCDE (2016) report, social and emotional competencies, like perseverance, sociability and self-esteem, impact a number of social aspects including better health, better subjective well-being and a tendency for fewer behavioral problems. In addition, social and emotional competencies can help children to translate their intentions into actions, and in so doing improve the probability of graduating from university, opting for a healthy life style and abstaining from adopting aggressive behaviours. The principal findings of the report state that: (1) children need a balance of cognitive, social and emotional competencies in order to reap positive benefits later in life; (2) teachers and parents can contribute to improving social and emotional competencies of their children by establishing strong relationships with them and offering practical learning experiences; (3) social and emotional competencies can be validly measured within a cultural or linguistic territory. The report demonstrates that public policy (through intervention, schools and teachers by their pedagogical practices) and parents (how they raise their children) can facilitate the development of these competencies during the entire life span. However, according to the report, there is still much work to be done in order to implement environments that develop and reinforce these competencies and research that focuses on measuring them.

Case study in an early childhood setting
The research “How music learning acts as a protective factor, contributing to the development of socio-emotional competence for vulnerable populations” is founded by Insight Development Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2017-2020. Dr. Valerie Peters, is the principal applicant. It will study the impact of music on emotional competence at three points in time: early childhood, teenagers and the elderly.

Below is the description and time line of our project with the very young children:
Time 1: Baseline Measures (January 2019)
1. To be done by the early childhood teachers in the center, measure of the degree of socio-emotional development of children, before musical activities (all children): Measure - The Preschool and Kindergarten Behavioral Scale (PKBS-2)
2. By Researchers and Research Assistants: Measures of Socio-Emotional Development of Children Before Musical Activities (All Children): Measures - Test of Emotion Comprehension, Six-item Child-Report Sympathy Scale, 10 Prosocial Items from the Social Behavior Questionnaire.
Treatment 1
1. Starting in January, 10 weeks of group music lessons with half of children aged 3 and 4, 45 minutes per week (Group A)
Music Lessons will be videotaped to analyze socio-emotional behaviors
Time 2:
1. Second measure by teachers (same as time 1) on of socio-emotional development of children, after 10 weeks (all children)
2. Second measure by research team: same as time 1
Treatment 2
1. Starting in April, 10 weeks of group music lessons with all the children aged 3 and 4, 45 minutes per week (all children)
Music Lessons will be videotaped to analyze socio-emotional behaviors
Time 3:
1. Third measure by teachers (same as time 1) on of socio-emotional development of children, after 20 weeks (all children)
2. Third measure by research team: same as time 1
A control group from the same daycare will pass the three time measures without receiving the music program.

The music program we will use is a recognized program that is in use in several centers in North America. This is a general program of introduction to music: Music Together (https://www.musictogether.com).

 

Boucher, H. et al. Recueil de chansons folkloriques pour l'enseignement de la musique au Québec selon la méthode Kodaly.Folksong collection for teaching music in
       Québec according to the Kodaly method.

The Kodaly method was developed under the leadership of Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) as a structured approach to music education . At the core of this vision, the music from the culture and language of the learner is perceived as the best music for teaching purposes. This vision has been adapted to many countries and cultures around the world.

A collection of folksongs in the French language, with an emphasis on the musical culture from Quebec (Canada) is under development. The goal is to generate a database that would include a large collection of songs, allowing the music teacher to teach the different essential knowledge. It would also include a detailed analysis of those songs offering an efficient retrieval system. This work now counts over 200 songs and is still developing.

 

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