Entertainment

Music teaching revolution

First year USQ music students with their team of lecturers (from left) Dr Phillip Gearing, Alison Riethmuller and Melissa Forbes.
First year USQ music students with their team of lecturers (from left) Dr Phillip Gearing, Alison Riethmuller and Melissa Forbes.

MUSIC teaching at USQ is being revolutionised by the social media and a new team-teaching approach which helps students to collaborate with their colleagues and to work with professional musicians.

The new teaching technique is the brainchild of Toowoomba-born singer and music lecturer Melissa Forbes, who abandoned a legal career to do what she loves - perform and teach music.

After working as a lawyer for seven years with one of Brisbane's top law firms, Mrs Forbes left to study jazz singing.

Graduating from the Queensland Conservatorium, she embarked on a singing career, recording a CD "No more Mondays" and performing around Australia and overseas.

She returned to live in Toowoomba in 2008 and started teaching song-writing and contemporary singing part-time at USQ.   

"The new teaching approach emerged from the second year song-writing class," she said.

"The students needed to learn how to collaborate, be more flexible, and to better communicate musical ideas."

"Most of our music graduates become school classroom music or instrumental teachers, so as they learn in a collegiate atmosphere, they are also learning how to teach and how to encourage creative group learning," she said.     

Mrs Forbes said the course was evolving organically and has incorporated the use of social media such as YouTube where students see and hear their favourite performers.

"The students seem far more interested in acoustic covers of songs rather than the song as sung by the original artist with the million dollar music video. They want to see someone who's like themselves, who is really good at playing the song on an instrument," she said.

"Some of these cover artists are so successful they're doing tours of the USA on the basis of what they've uploaded to YouTube."

"Copyright is a problem for uploading existing songs to the internet but the students are learning to write their own songs, perform them and use social media to upload their work to the internet," Mrs Forbes said.

One of Mrs Forbes' covers of Michael Jackson's song "Don't stop 'til you get enough" from her album "No more Mondays" is on YouTube.

"We also use our own in-house social media platform ePortfolio so students can share their work in a multi-media environment," Mrs Forbes said.

School of Creative Arts music co-ordinator Dr Phillip Gearing said the results of the new teaching method in the Bachelor of Creative Arts will emerge over the next few years however he will collate preliminary results from the first semester using the new teaching techniques and present them at an international conference in Liverpool, England in July.

In the new teaching format, students gather each week for two-hour workshops which address different musical topics where, for example, the lecturers demonstrate how they work together from the moment they pick up a new score, through the process of learning a new work to putting the finishing touches to a professional arrangement and performance.

Instrumental technique is also developed through weekly instrument-specific classes.

The music practice classes are taught in a team by Mrs Forbes, Dr Gearing, clarinettist Martin Crook and pianist Alison Riethmuller who demonstrate different aspects of performance, teaching students about the musical elements of rhythm, melody, harmony and intonation in the context of rehearsal and performance.

The effect of the team teaching classes is to hot-house the learning experience by combining the enthusiasm and musical skills of the lecturers and inspiring the creativity of their students.

Professional musicians are also invited to classes to perform and to talk about how they work together.

The workshop-style classes have proven very popular with the students notching up almost 100 percent attendance for the 22 first year music students.

Creative Arts head of school Dr Janet McDonald said the huge increase in the number of first year music students this year from throughout the state was a positive response to the updating of the University's popular theatre, music, visual arts and creative media degrees.

"Students can study combined degrees across the creative arts, making our graduates versatile creative artists who will be ready for workplaces that have seen rapid change in the past few years," Dr McDonald said. 

Topics:  education music social media toowoomba usq



Bureau warns Ipswich to be vigilant

Ipswich could see severe storms on Sunday.

Forecaster's message for residents

Three businesses moving into empty Top of Town shops

ON THE MOVE: Eyemode Eyewear owners Rachel and David Schilt are hoping to open at their new premises on March 13.

Empty shops will soon be full again

Life changing day for girl born with intestines outside body

Mayana Wyles - Dudman is excited to be playing in water in her new drysuit.

'You couldn't wipe the smiles off our faces'

Local Partners

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

'LA LA Land? I only made it through 20 minutes.' Samuel L Jackson reveals his Oscars choices.

Live performance of Sci-fi classic to open Science Festival

Qld Symphony Orchestra perform live to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Festival will host A Live Presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

Reginald VelJohnson, left, and Darius McCrary arrive at the TV Land Awards on Sunday, April 19, 2009 in Universal City, Calif.

Darius McCrary has been accused of child abuse

Bindi Irwin's birthday tribute to her dad

Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her dad on his 55th birthday

Reality TV show gives Maryborough a boost

*WARNING EMBARGOED until 9.15pm Monday January 30* Sean Hollands and Susan Rawlings pictured after their wedding on the TV series Married At First Sight. Supplied by Channel 9.

Maryborough looks good on reality TV show.

Your guide to a great night out in Ipswich

Airlie Beach Festival of Music 2016 / Andrew Pattinson / Vampp Photography

Check out the city's live music scene here

Buderim dad rejects gay son's emotional plea for second time

LOVERS: Grant and Chris have been together for more than three years, and Chris' parents refuse to acknowledge their son's fiance.

Son’s emotional plea rejected again by unmoved father

WARNING: 'Sardine city' is on Ipswich's horizon

CONCERNED: The implications of the State's move to denser housing developments has Cr David Pahlke up in arms.

But Antoniolli says council can manage State's denser housing edict

Grand re-launch for new Nolan's Corner

GRAND PARTY: Wayne Kemp and Angela Love from Poison Arrow, Eliza Woodruffe from Limestone Emporium, Tess Claris from Voice Hair and Beauty and Kim Schubel from Schudio will all be at the grand launch party.

A feat worth celebrating

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

The suburb where house, land prices are spiking

ON THE RISE: 13 Kallatina Terrace, Karalee will go to auction on March 31. Karalee house prices went up 9.9% in the past year.

"It has good hospitals, universities and schools."

$1b Springfield development deadline brought forward

Aveo's Springfield development is running ahead of schedule.

The majority of interest has come from local buyers

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!