Creating a Functional Musician: A Performance Workshop Model

By Phillip John Gearing and Melissa Forbes.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines the innovative re-alignment of one Australian tertiary music program in response to economic imperatives and a rapidly evolving marketplace. A “functional musician” is technically sound, versatile, adaptive, collaborative, empathetic, creative, and capable of adapting to most professional situations. Conservatoire training models designed to produce classical musicians specialising in performance or education do not necessarily meet industry needs in twenty-first century Australia. Following changes to the secondary school music curriculum, undergraduate students are arriving at University with different musical skills. Responding to these changes, the University of Southern Queensland has adapted its tertiary classical music degree programs to create a new “workshop model” for Music Practice courses to produce employable music graduates with adaptable skills suitable for the diverse Australian musical sector. The new model had its initial implementation in semester 1 (February-June) 2012. Data was collected from two student surveys and from student reflective journals; it is intended that these form the beginning of a longitudinal survey. Analysis of the initial data indicates the workshop model is successful in many of its aims, but shows some areas needing refinement.

Keywords: Functional Musician, Workshop Model, Practical Music Education, Group Learning, Team Teaching

The International Journal of Arts Education, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.39-46. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 211.197KB).

Dr. Phillip John Gearing

Senior Lecturer, School of Creative Arts, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

Phillip is a Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Southern Queensland where he teaches Aural Perception, Organ and Piano, and conducted the USQ Singers. He is an experienced conference and workshop presenter (RIME 2007; ISME 2008, 2010; ASME 2011; APPC 2011) and his publications include “Aural Training by Distance for Tertiary Music Students” (2010). Phillip is one of Australia’s most accomplished organ recitalists; he also enjoys performing as a pianist in chamber music and Lieder and plays continuo for one of Australia’s leading chamber orchestras. His pupils have enjoyed many successes, and Phillip was awarded the USQ Faculty of Arts Teaching Award in 2010. Phillip has given concerts throughout Australia as well as in Britain and in Scandinavia, and in 2007 released his first solo CD. Phillip is a Director of the Organ Historical Trust of Australia; he is currently recording on historically significant Queensland pipe organs.

Melissa Forbes

Lecturer, Contemporary Singing, School of Creative Arts, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

Melissa is a singer, songwriter, educator and researcher. She was appointed as a lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia in 2011. Melissa’s research interests include music in higher education, learning communities, the contemporary singing voice, and teaching and learning creativity. She is a Churchill Fellow and in a former life, an uninspired corporate lawyer of little renown.