Project Based Learning in Music Education:
A Workshop on Music Education for Students and Teachers
By Catherine Ranola (BM MuEd)
To mark the Centennial Graduation of the UP College of Music in 2016 and the 50th Anniversary of the Music Education Department in 2017, the UPCMu Music Education Department, in cooperation with the UP Junior Music Educators’ Guild (UP JMEG) and the Philippine Society for Music Education (PSME), held a seminar-workshop entitled Project-based Learning in Music Education: A Workshop on Music Education for Students and Teachers was held last September 8, 2016 at the Abelardo Hall Auditorium in UP Diliman. A total of 178 participants from different schools and universities participated in the event such as students from Don Mariano Marcos State University (La Union) with PSME board member Prof. Lorna Salvatierra Areola, students of Adventist University (Cavite) with Prof. Nerilyn Beratio, and teachers from Quirino High School, St. Scholastica’s Marikina, and Keys Montessori School of Mandaluyong. The program was also attended by Prof. Jocelyn Guadalupe, department chair, Profs. Daisy Valencino, Janel Bauza, Mi Hyun Oh, music education faculty, and Prof. Leticia Del Valle, PSME president, and Prof. Mauricia Borromeo, PSME vice-president.
The seminar-workshop aims to bring the country’s music education to greater heights by encouraging the implementation of more action research and project-based study in the practice of music education. Through these studies, the needs of various communities in different and even remote places in the country could addressed through a specific and methodical approach. Implementing such projects also serves as training for students who would one day become leaders in the field of education. As testament to the benefits gained from such projects, four graduates of the UPCMu Music Education Department, namely Ronald Rae Yu, Ruth Naomi Raquintan, Citas Abihay-Yson, and Rendell Bata, were invited to share the inspiration, the pain-staking process, and the results of their finished special projects.
My Music Maestro Software Design for Computer-Aided Musical Learning. Mr. Ronald Yu told how he used his prior background in Engineering and computer programming in making a music theory software which can serve as a supplementary material for teaching fundamental musical concepts to Grade 4 students. It was the first attempt from the department to bridge the fast currents of technology and the country’s music education. This is a good take-off point for those planning to explore the potential of using technology in music education.
Taya! Story Book for Pre-School featuring Philippine Games and Music. Ms. Ruth Raquintan shared how she was inspired by her love for storybooks and her lack of childhood experience in playing traditional Philippine games. Her special project was a story book dedicated to the teaching of Music concepts alongside Philippine games. A workshop on how to best utilize the storybook in teaching Music was also given to teachers who have zero to few background in music training. Professor Leticia del Valle, President of the PSME and former chair of the UPCMu Music Education Department, commented that the project proponent has done many things in the music story book by teaching musicality to children; that is, starting from the concepts such as timbre, tempo, and dynamics.
Si Dumaling at Si Pinatubo Aeta Folk Musical for High School. A story book for teaching the culture and music of the Aetas from Zambales was presented by Ms. Citas Abihay-Yson. A fieldwork in the Aeta community in Zambales produced knowledge of the indigenous groups’ songs, and stories being handed down from generation to generation. The story book was piloted in a school in Cavite that offers Special Program for the Arts. Educating the youth to the Philippine heritage, the different languages in the country (Sambal as mother-tongue in this case), and the indigenous cultures in the schools in the city would make a good project for reaching the remote communities in our country.
Music: A Means to Awaken Communities to Social Justice. To address the need for love and compassion in our communities, Mr. Rendell Bata arranged “Gospel Songs that talk of hope, love, and strengthening of the soul”. The songs were performed in institutions such as orphanages, and Special Education classes in schools where they inspired several souls through their music. He emphasized that a special project should not end after submitting the requirements for the course since, ultimately, the goal of a special project is to reach out to the community.
To enlighten the mood inside the hall, the Guitar Guild (GuiGuil) performed their rendition of Lucresia Kasilag's Prelude Etnika and Antonio Molina's Hatinggabi arranged by Benedic Velasco, and Awitin Mo, Isasayaw Ko by VST & Company arranged by Aaron Vocalan.
Students from the Music Education Department and the UP Tugtugang Musika Asyatika (UP Tugma) who attended the “2015 Jose Maceda Project Series: Masterclass and Workshop” also shared the music, and knowledge they gained from their experiences in the mountains of Cordillera. The students taught how to sing Pakgong which was similar to a round. They also also taught Dinuy-a, a dance accompanied by 3 gangsa.
To close the workshop, Prof. Leticia del Valle, and Prof. Mauricia Borromeo, PSME Vice-President and former Dean of the College of Music, gave the closing remarks. Prof. Borromeo emphasized that music should be taught in the context of our culture while Prof. Del Valle emphasized that music educators have the responsibility to educate children about the tradition, and music-making practices of our own land for them to be able to truly create music. Certificates of participation were given to participants while certificates of appreciation were given to the speakers by Ms. Asherine Roa, JMEG president, Prof. Jocelyn Guadalupe, department chair, Prof. Leticia Del Valle, PSME president.
In addition to the events that transpired during the workshop, participants from DMSU were given a tour around the college by the UP JMEG and the professors of the Music Education Department. The DMMSU “tourists” were shown around the College of Music and the UP Center for Ethnomusicology where they saw instruments from different Asian countries as well as different regions of the Philippines. They also had small discussions with the guides about some of the customs the College of Music has in terms of rehearsals and pedagogy. Since all of the students majored in MAPEH, it was only in this setting did they get to experience a focus on music and music education which would later impact their teaching in the future.
The event received positive feedback from the participants. They have expressed their appreciation for the event as it was very inspiring for them to see, for the first time, the instruments in the museum, and the different aspects of music-making in the college setting. Hopefully, this change of outlook for music education would lead to a greater teaching philosophy.
Kudos to the efforts of the students and the faculty of the Music Education Department, the Junior Music Educators’ Guild (JMEG), and the Philippine Society of Music Education (PSME) – without whom, the success of the event would now have been possible. A brighter future ahead to a better, more effective music education in the Philippines!
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