Further to my last blog about music in classrooms:
Many decades ago, when I attended Burwood Teachers’ College (now renamed Deakin University), students enrolled in the course I was undertaking – called then, “Infant Teaching”- had to be able to play a musical instrument to pass the course.
Luckily for me, I could already play the piano a little. But I also had to join the others in mastering the recorder – and the ukulele (!). So, even the unmusical students had at least some musical knowledge and could hold a tune, enough to encourage singing in their future classrooms.
Music was considered a vital part of education.
(Before those times, old-fashioned teachers often used tuning forks and taught their pupils the sol-fa, “Do Re Mi”, scale to start their songs. An excellent educational tool, sadly lost to all but professional musicians now, I guess).
Teachers’ College in the 1960s was quite awash with music. There were music classes, of course, but also more specialised music extras, called ‘electives’ as well as several choirs. I sang with the ‘Women’s Choir’ as well as a more general one, aimed at competition between colleges.
Also, every Wednesday morning, the entire college population would gather in the large hall to share latest college ‘doings’ affecting students and lecturers. There would often be a guest speaker or a visiting musical artist of some sort. But the best thing was the community singing that followed.
We had a college song book, containing words of nearly 100 songs. They were mostly ‘oldies, but goodies’, such as “The Road to Mandalay”, “Bush Night Song”, a few “Negro Songs” (ouch!) and even some Christmas carols.
One or two would be chosen, with hundreds of voices ‘singing their hearts out’.
I imagine that activity would be ridiculed nowadays. Deakin University is no ‘Teachers’ College’. Far too sophisticated for community singing.
It seems to me to be a shame that music as a general inclusion in our lives is missing now. Sure, you can play music, using many various devices but it’s a far cry from joining in music all together.
As a start, I think it would be better for us to turn on a CD player or some other device in the mornings instead of turning on television or checking Twitter.
In place of hearing about the latest gruesome news or silly gossip, if we all started the day with a song – and I mean a musical song, not rap, (See, I am old!) how beneficial that would be.
“He who sings scares away his woes.” Cervantes
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.