A survey of productive musicianship: The interface between music literacy and expressiveness among Secondary School Music Teachers in Kenya
Wanjala, Henry Namsyule
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A general observation m Kenyan schools today reveals tendencies of musicianship that is more theoretically oriented to the detriment of expressive and inventive qualities. Research sources also show that in spite of the practical music assessment at the end of the KCSE course, the graduates of the system end up with a lot of information about music but lacking in skills that would enable them to benefit from the music education. More fundamentally however is the absence of a strong "Musician Model" which could enable students to display more vibrant musicianship. This study was undertaken to establish teachers' involvement in music beyond the classroom, taking into account their level of commitment in music making and the extent they modeled musicianship for students' sake. The assumption was that the divergent ways through which teachers ventured into music were a reflection of their musicianship. The researcher therefore sought to study the prevailing trends of musicianship among secondary school music teachers, factors that influence their musical disposition as well as the association between levels of training and music productivity. The focus of the study was to investigate the Interface between Music Literacy and Expressiveness to establish the missing links in the teachers' musical disposition. The conceptual theory of complementary relationship in musical experiences based on Swanwick's (1979) outlook of musicianship through the variables of Composition, Literature studies, Audition, Skill acquisition and Performance (CLASP) was employed in identifying teachers' productive initiatives in music. To facilitate the inquiry, the researcher utilized the illustrative conceptual model of music productivity generated from CLASP to bring into focus the perception of Productive Musicianship, the basic understanding being that Thought and Expressiveness were fundamental to any art and music was no exception. The target population for the study was secondary school music teachers. Nairobi and Western Provinces were purposively identified to be the research locales. Data collected through questionnaires, interviews and observation during the inter-house music festival was subjected to content analysis through descriptive method. Associations of variables related to Kenya Music Festival were tested through Chi Square and inferences made to facilitate the examination of the study objectives. The Participation Index in KMF and the features observed during the Inter-house Music Competition were crucial as they helped to establish teachers' commitment level and involvement in music. These aspects were also used to describe teachers' musical profiles and productivity. Analysis of data revealed disparities in basic performance skills among music teachers, in particular instrumental utility and the skill of playing. Teachers' commitment levels in composition were also found to be low. In terms of enterprising through music, it was noted that music education had apparently not reached the milestone of entrepreneurship, an observation that was confmned by lack of initiatives and interest toward gainful music making activities. It was learnt that teachers' musical profiles are generally sensitive to the regional, socio-economic and cultural influences, a revelation that helped to explain the diametric manifestation of interests and tendencies in the teachers' musicianship. On the gap between knowledge and practical competence, this study noted that opportunities for exposure to expression when demonstrated with the dynamic participation of the music teacher enhanced the spirit and quality of musicianship in the students. In as far as professional growth in music was concerned, most promotions were found to be based on partial merit and generally lacked a follow up programme to strengthen the knowledge base of teachers. As part of recommendation therefore, expedition of teachers' promotion needed a balanced criteria and a follow up program for knowledge base refinement and updating of musical competence. The study also advocates for a review of training strategies in music with a view to making teachers more innovative and practically enterprising. With educational and economic trends that are increasingly becoming market oriented, it was necessary that the music teachers view their musicianship not only in light of teaching the subject matter, but also more essentially in terms of how they can increase the practicability of their music knowledge to face the social challenges.