education philosophy 

Janielle beh

As a music educator, my educational values are founded upon a holistic learning framework that aims to develop learners into creative and critical thinkers who engage in all aspects of music-making, performance, composition, and appreciation with a deep sense of purpose that shapes their character in spiritual, physical, intellectual, and emotional aspects with the skills, knowledge, and passion for life-long learning in every sphere of society. I firmly believe that the music teacher is a co-learner and co-creator with the student, as the classroom becomes a space of nurture that empowers the learner to collaborate with others to produce creative sounds as well as solutions that can address and meet some of the most urgent needs and issues in our world today. The importance of ‘integrating theory and practice’ through reflection, professional development, and ongoing collaborative conversations with fellow educators within and beyond the school environment is essential.

 

As my creative ventures have taken me to different countries in the past 7 years, including Afghanistan, Israel, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, India, and the United Arab Emirates, I am a creative individual who is committed to making music in collaboration with others for the purpose of cross-cultural connections as well as humanitarian causes. My teaching and music reflects my conviction that music is an invaluable part of society as it is a force of personal, communal and cultural expression that holds incredible influence to positively impact local and global contexts. Therefore, my mission in the classroom is to create a safe space of belonging for children and young people of diverse and multi-cultural backgrounds whereby they can learn, express, collaborate, and develop confidence as individuals full of potential. My goal as a music educator is to foster musicians who are intrinsically motivated and empowered as a whole individual in the following areas of life-long learning that I dub the Five C’s:

 

CREATIVITY

  • Music-making, composition, performance and collaboration encourages engagement in fun, interactive and meaningful expressions of identity and community.

  • From song-making to music created on instruments, children experience music as individual and group meaning-making and meaning-using that connects them to their culture and context.

  • My music classroom aims to develop and refine creative thought processes and nurture emotional well-being through individual and group expression that is aesthetically delightful. I employ music education strategies from the Kodaly and Orff methodologies to help students develop a strong sense of rhythm, pitch, singing, and group engagement with various pitched and non-pitched instruments (e.g. for younger years, I have used marimbas, xylophones and djembe drums; for senior years, I have used contemporary band instruments such as guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drums, and synthesizers, as well as orchestral instruments such as the violin, cello, trumpet, flute and clarinet).

 

COGNITION

  • Cognitive and intellectual development is enhanced through music education because engagement with music involves the right hemisphere of the brain, whereby creative processes are associated with spatial-temporal reasoning.

  • The study of music requires engagement in all essential aspects of a child or young person’s educational journey. Among many, the key learning areas of integration through music are: literacy, numeracy, social interaction and fine-motor coordination skills.

  • The theory of multiple intelligences and scaffolding learning with the needs and interests of individual learners is important. 

  • As a music educator, my role is to incorporate learning activities in the music curriculum that supports students in their learning of numbers and time, words and techniques of language, as well as culture and history. For example, in the following units of work I've designed in the past:

  1. African Drumming and Rhythm lesson – students develop an understanding of rhythm time, beat, and counting to the rhythm names, thereby reinforcing their learning of mathematical concepts.

  2. Contemporary Songwriting unit of work – students learn how to recognize and use a rhyme scheme, employing techniques such as figurative language (e.g. metaphor, simile or alliteration) in writing song lyrics.

  3. Classical and Romantic Music unit of work – students listen to and appreciate music from the Classical and Romantic era, while learning about the culture of society and the history of that time period.

 

COLLABORATION

  • Music-making often requires collaborative ensemble skills that support the life-long development of communicative and interpersonal skills in an engaging way that is applicable to other areas of life.

  • Music collaboration requires active listening, responsive sound production (with the voice, body or instrument), and critical perception of others’ music-making, which promotes the value of mutual respect, cooperation, and appreciation.

  • As a music performer on the piano, voice, guitar, and ukulele who has played in music bands, duets, and cross-cultural songwriting sessions, I have often reflected on the importance of developing young musicians who are not simply soloists who can pass a music examination, but who are able to interact musically with classmates, friends and people from other music cultures or backgrounds. Therefore, collaboration is a key factor in my teaching practice and I incorporate it in the music classroom through small group activities, composition and songwriting, choir and ensemble work, and shared performance opportunities.

 

CONFIDENCE

  • Music can create a sense of belonging and identity in young persons. Young learners are less inhibited during the developmental stage, therefore through individual and group music-making, they are nurtured in confidence through music activities that require leadership and team-work skills.

  • Students can develop strong personality traits and essential learning habits through music education and performance that enhances self-discipline and self-confidence. For example, this can be fostered as part of the learning culture by incorporating a music performance slot on a fortnightly basis and organizing lunch times concerts whereby students can showcase a music piece they enjoy playing as well as ensemble pieces they have practiced with others.

 

CROSS-CULTURE CONNECTIONS

  • Education can never be accomplished in a culture-free environment (Garza, 1991). Music is therefore a vital sphere of education whereby culture is intertwined with the creative learning process. It is universal language that is expressed in a myriad of different forms, cultures, traditions, and communities. It is found in every country, tribe, and culture, and is often interrelated to other artistic genres and aspects of society. Thus, music education is an engaging platform to foster cross-culture appreciation and understanding through the practice of listening, learning and playing music from other cultures or the musical interactions with people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

  • My aim as a music educator is to create cross-cultural awareness by using music as a fun and interesting media to open up conversations on social justice issues in local and global socio-cultural landscapes. For example, a workshop-style unit of work that focuses on Music and Social Justice can be held in music camps or as a feature of after-school curricula whereby interested students can learn about music as a voice for writing songs and spoken word that highlights social justice issues and contemporary challenges in Australian and international spheres.

 masters of war

A guitar cover of Bob Dylan's 'Masters of War' by Janielle.

trio elegiaque

Rachmaninov Trio Elegiaque No. 1 in G minor by Zuri Trio (Pianist: Janielle Beh, Violinist: Ashley Maimur, Cellist: Joshua Dema). 

Melba Hall, Melbourne Conservatorium.