RNCM Research Forum – Dr Pete Dale
Wednesday 12 May 2021, 4.15pm
The seventeenth edition of our new Sir John Manduell Research Forum series features a discussion with Dr Pete Dale, Manchester Metropolitan University.
Success on the Decks: DJing as a Tool to Boost Engagement in Music Education
Historically, Music has had low uptake at GCSE/BTEC and A-level, creating something of an ‘existential threat’ for the discipline at least in state schools. Pete Dale wrote an evaluation for the Ableton/Musical Futures ‘Tech Champions’ project, finding that each of the participating schools had managed to at least double the national averages of around 5% for uptake of Music at KS4: in two of the schools, more than 40% of a year group had selected music at KS4.
This seems to have been partly due to an open approach to equipment such as DJ decks and ‘launchpads’ (e.g. Ableton Push). By treating DJ-orientated performance as a genuine musical performance, engagement was massively boosted. The participating teachers strongly believed that all learners were able to advance skills using Ableton Push units and similar equipment, even the most able learners.
The more rarefied musical ability is assumed to be, the rarer music is likely to be in mainstream schools as a study option. In this presentation, Pete Dale argues for the benefits which can derive from more integration of DJ-orientated tech in music education, drawing on his 2017 monograph Engaging Students with Music Education: DJ Decks, Urban Music and Child-Centred Learning and his other research in relation to contemporary urban music for inclusion, learner-centred pedagogy and music technology.
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