Misconception in teaching ethnic music: Employing a teacher-artists partnership in teaching Cantonese opera in Hong Kong schools

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

Teaching Cantonese opera in schools has been advocated by the Hong Kong Government for more than a decade. However, Hong Kong music teachers find teaching Cantonese opera difficult due to their lack of relevant training. Research suggests that Hong Kong music teachers would be modestly confident and competent to teach the genre if a partnership approach is undertaken in which a professional artist collaborates with the teacher in teaching. Nevertheless, what are the problems that music teachers face in such partnership? A group of music teachers comprising six from four primary schools and six from three secondary schools participated in a collaborative teaching project with professional practitioners of Cantonese opera in 2009-10. Each school collaborated with one Cantonese opera artist in teaching a unit within eight weeks. All the classes were videotaped and observed with a focus on any constraints that teachers would face during their teaching. In addition, they were invited to participate in semi-structured interviews for further validating and triangulating the observation by the researcher. Initial findings from the study mainly include the misconception of pedagogy used in teaching the ethnic genre by employing Western music concepts including equal temperament, Bel Canto singing and Western notation system. The impact of using Western music concepts include: a) hindering students’ understanding of the nature of the genre such as the freedom of improvisatory development in life performances; b) hindering understanding of the authentic ‘Hepta-equal temperament’ used in the genre; and c) misleading students that the voice projection method is similar to the one in the Western music. This study identifies the issues raised and warrants discussion and implications of strategies in solving the problems. Initial implications include the need of professional development of both the music teacher and the artist.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Citation

Leung, B. W. (2011, April). Misconception in teaching ethnic music: Employing a teacher-artists partnership in teaching Cantonese opera in Hong Kong schools. Paper presented at the Seventh International Conference for Research in Music Education, University of Exeter, England.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Misconception in teaching ethnic music: Employing a teacher-artists partnership in teaching Cantonese opera in Hong Kong schools'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.