Study Abroad and Exchanges



MUS3112 : Tradition, Learning and Community: Folk and Traditional Music (Inactive)

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Folk and traditional music, song and dance are largely, though not exclusively, passed on to each new generation through aural and oral transmission. The continuation of the tradition depends to a great extent on a system of mentoring and tuition by older practitioners, often on an informal, sometimes casual, basis; but nonetheless involving discipline and developmental techniques.
It could be said, therefore, that teaching and dissemination are built-in features of folk music and song; and more recently practitioners have tended to include tuition on their instrument or voice as an important part of their portfolio careers.

With this is mind, the aims of the module are to:
•       Examine the social context in which this teaching has been carried out historically
•       Reflect on the teaching methods used by tutors in traditional contexts (the home, the school, the community)
•       Analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of these methods
•       Examine them in the context of contemporary theory regarding teaching methods in education generally
•       Consider repertoire used traditionally in folk song, instrumental music and dance, and assess its content historically, and how/if it has changed
•       To develop the skills necessary to pass on this culture in a variety of settings and with a range of ages (e.g. the baby music group, the adult workshop, the community choir, the Ceilidh band)

Outline Of Syllabus

The introduction to this module would consist of:
•       lectures (team taught ) looking at both traditional and more contemporary examples of the dissemination of the music and song (eg the ‘folk family’ experience, the early work of EFDSS, the influence and methods of traditional mentors such as Tom Anderson, Ewan MacColl, the role and work of Folkworks, Ceoltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, the Wren Trust etc.)
•       Practical workshop sessions on teaching social dance, folk choirs and Ceilidh bands.
•       Students teaching 1-2-1 on their instrument or voice, preparing lesson plans, and following up each class with critical evaluation of their method, and the development of their student.
•       Teaching in a group context (using the module cohort) some instrumental AND song repertoire, and receive feedback from the group.
•       Observation and evaluation of work done in a variety of contexts in which traditional song or instrumental music is used eg early years teaching in schools/playgroups, school Ceilidh bands, community choirs etc. (The classes at The Sage would be of great value here.)
•       Be familiar with how this music has traditionally been taught, regarding both method, repertoire and social context
•       Be aware of the contemporary settings in which this music is learned, and how it is taught
•       Have a wide knowledge of song, instrumental music and dance repertoire suitable for use in a variety of contexts.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture52:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical62:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00A mixture of 1:1 tutorials and seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops42:008:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The range of teaching methods the students would experience in this module is entirely appropriate to the area of study, and will directly relate to the Learning Outcomes as stated above:

Lectures: All the lecturers will themselves have direct knowledge of having learned their instrumental , vocal and dance skills by traditional methods eg Sandra Kerr was mentored and trained by Ewan MacColl, Nancy Kerr grew up in a ‘folk family’ and has gone on to have a highly successful career in traditional music ( and is a qualified Music Therapist and voice and fiddle tutor on the Degree course); David Oliver was Head of Education at Folkworks and has been a highly respected Ceilidh band leader and dance caller. Desi Wilkinson is a brilliant and traditionally taught flute player, with a broad knowledge of the work of C.C.E. and has been director of one of the most influential folk music schools in Ireland: the Willy Clancy School in Milltown Malbay, Co. Clare. Through the lectures they will deliver and the workshop sessions they’ll lead, they can provide both the insights, the intellectual and practical skills outlined in the above, and in effect, give the students a microcosmic experience of all the various disciplines required for the teaching of the tradition, in the range of contexts the music inhabits.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation152M40N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A502000-2500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay will demonstrate the knowledge and insight gained by the student through lectures, private study and research, of the range of methods that have been used traditionally in the field of folkmusic studies, by known and respected mentors, and other agencies more recently, in a variety of contexts in the community.

The oral presentation will show how the students' skills have developed in the area of teaching in both a 1:1 and group context.

The portfolio will be usful as a way demonstrating the accumulated repetoire appropriate to the teaching of instrumental, vocal and dance skills at all levels and with a range of ages. It will also be invaluable as a record of the various techniques and methods they have observed and/or employed in their teaching, and of the private study they've engaged in.

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