General music as a cure for the high-stakes concert

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The author argues that concerts create pressures on the music curriculum similar to those high-stakes tests generate on the general curriculum. Three similarities are presented and discussed using the example of a concert the author organized: first, teaching to the test and the narrowing of curricular goals; second, evaluation by a single source of evidence; and, finally, absence of student voice and choice. A critical difference between concerts and high-stakes tests, however, is that music teachers design their concerts. The last half of the article presents ideas to take advantage of this difference in order to confront the commonly found pressures. The ideas focus learning around ensemble experiences through general music practices. Many of the examples take advantage of technology and multimedia to afford students opportunities to work with repertoire in new ways. Copyright © 2010 MENC: The National Association for Music Education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-35
JournalGeneral Music Today
Issue number3
Early online date03 Feb 2010
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2010


Thibeault, M. D. (2010). General music as a cure for the high-stakes concert. General Music Today, 23(3), 27-35. doi: 10.1177/1048371309359614


  • High-stakes tests
  • Concerts
  • Curriculum
  • Technology
  • Music education


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