What’s in Indonesian Music Education?

I had the opportunity to come to the conference held by the Society of Education, Music, and Psychology Research (SEMPRE) at the Senate House, University of London on March 14-15, 2016. The conference was titled Researching Music, Education, and Technology. The conference was attended by music educators and researchers interested in the world of music education from various countries, namely Britain, Spain, Italy, America, and Canada. What is discussed is about the technologies made by researchers to teach music, effectiveness in teaching music, music performance, and the integration of music in school lessons. Every presentation, I am amazed by how much media can be used to receive music education, not only through face-to-face teachers and students. From my admiration, the question arose in my mind “how about music education in Indonesia?”.

I made this paper based on the results of my reflection as someone who received music education in Indonesia. From elementary school to the first semester of college I got music art lessons, outside of school I took keyboard lessons, and during college I took private flute lessons. I have never formally taught music to others, so my knowledge of music educators is based on observation and information from my friends who are music teachers, as well as what I learned in class during my lectures and conferences that I attended. I will try to integrate what I get in the SEMPRE conference and what I feel and I feel it is well done in Indonesian schools and music institutions.

Music Education in Schools
For those who attend elementary school education in Indonesia, they must have felt playing recorders or pianika. Children as if they were not given the choice to play a musical instrument they liked and “forced” to play a recorder or pianika to get a score. Based on my experience when doing voluntary activities with the University of Sheffield choir flute in elementary school, children from a small age were given the opportunity to explore existing musical instruments by looking at musical performances. At that time, my friends and I played flutes in front of the children and provided information about what the flute was for the children. The children seemed enthusiastic because some of them had just seen the flute instrument for the first time. From there I realized that what the school was doing was trying to make children interested in music and provide information about whatever instruments could be played.

In the SEMPRE conference, I got information that children could explore music further using the latest technology. For example music is not just playing musical instruments, but also can edit sounds by using music programs on a computer. A school in Spain tries to apply a subject matter where students record sounds around them, edit sounds, and make music from there. For example students record the sound of a musical instrument, the sound of footsteps, the sound of running water, and the sound of someone typing. Then the voices are composed to be something that is pleasant to hear. Students are challenged to make new definitions of music and to compose things that are pleasing to people.

In my opinion the results presented at SEMPRE cannot be applied directly in Indonesia. But in terms of using technology to teach music, something is possible in Indonesia. For example, to increase knowledge and develop children’s interest in musical instruments, teachers can use videos on YouTube to be displayed in class. One program that was just done by Addie MS and the Twillite Orchestra by playing orchestras in front of school-age children is one example of good activities to increase interest in music. But if with technology all get experience to understand music more even though not directly, this can be used to increase interest in music in children.

Teach Music to Individuals
Another issue that I find interesting and also discussed at SEMPRE is about the method of teaching music from teachers to students and what music teachers need to develop as educators. One of the things discussed is about online teaching methods using facilities such as skype or google hangout. Technological advances in developed countries facilitate music students to be able to learn music from the maestro. Imagine when you are a violinist and can learn from Joshua Bell, with existing technology as if you were face to face with him. Even though you are in Indonesia and Joshua Bell remains in America.

Based on studies on online learning, there are many who need to be considered to do online teaching. A researcher from Queen Mary University of London tried to find out the obstacles faced by online music education and compare them with face-to-face methods. The music teacher who teaches online is difficult to correct the student’s posture while playing. The teacher also cannot see the scores directly used by the students, especially when using scores with different editions. Technical matters such as internet connections can also hamper the teaching and learning process. The method of teaching face to face between students and teachers privately is still considered the most effective way to teach musical instruments to students.

Music educators both online and face-to-face also need to understand the state of their students to be able to achieve their potential and maximum learning outcomes. A researcher from the Institute of Education at University College London presented his research with the theory of zone of proximal development by Lev Vygotsky. Based on this theory, the teacher must understand the actual developmental level of the student (the student’s ability at that time) and then help and improve his ability to be able to reach a potential level (student’s ability that can be achieved). For example, a child learns music from grade 2 and starts to adept at playing songs. Then the child is seen as having the ability to increase to grade 3, so the teacher helps to be able to reach grade 3. Teacher’s expectations should not be too low or too high for students’ abilities. If it’s too low then you

Rid will feel that the music he plays is easy and his abilities do not develop. If it is too high, students can be stressed because they feel they cannot play what is expected.

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