A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree





Supervisor: Prof. H.H. van der Mescht

Co-supervisor: Prof. C. van Niekerk


November 2001

© U n i i v e r r s s i i t t y o f f P r r e t t o r r i i a

South African education is currently in a process of restructuring, stemming from radical political changes in 1994. In 1995 a system of outcomes-based education was adopted by the Department of Education, strategically supported by the South African Qualifications

Authority with its twelve relevant National Standards Bodies. Together with this, a system of unit standards, based on the accreditation of credits, learning programmes and qualifications is in a process of development.

Music as formal school subject does not enjoy the same financial support from the

Education Department as do the so-called "essential" subjects such as Mathematics and

Science. Therefore no formal structures to generate unit standards for Music were origiIially planned and budgeted for by educational authorities.

To fill this need, and to prevent the marginalisation of such an important subject, the

MEUSSA (Music Education Unit Standards for Southern Africa) project was initiated by the Music Department of the University of Pretoria early in 2000, involving 18 Master's and doctoral students in various areas of musical expertise. The aim is to generate unit standards for Music(s) in Southern Africa across traditional aspects such as instrumental training, harmony, history, theory and aural training, as well as the relatively unexplored domains of Music Technology, World Musics and Popular Music.

Cultural shifts over the last approximately forty years began reshaping the understanding of the world we are; living in, resulting in a transition from a modem to a postmodern culture in Western societies. For the project of writing unit standards for music to be relevant, it was necessary to reflect on these changes and to accommodate them in music education. Frameworks and standards generated in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and

England were also investigated and contextualised.

Because the field of expertise of the author lies, inter alia, in the field of Aerophones, unit standards were specifically generated for music performance. These standards have to be considered as part of the MEUSSA project, and therefore be read in conjunction with contributions by other members of this team.

It is the wish of the author, as part of the MEUSSA team, that this study will contribute towards making music education of high quality available to every learner in Southern


Aerophones, frameworks, meta-narratives, modernism, music performance, outcomes, popular music, postrnodernism, Southern Africa, unit standards.

I would like to thank the following persons for assistance, support and patience during the long hours spent in front of the computer:

• My children, Phlippie, De Villiers and Emma, and my husband, Lourens, for their patience and encouragement.

• My supervisors, Proff. Heinrich van der Mescht and Caroline van Niekerk, whose positive and capable guidance provided me with the impetus to finish this thesis.

• My fellow MEUSSA group members, for motivation and creative ideas.

• My parents, for the laptop computer without which I could not have finished this thesis.

• Jean van Eeden (Visual arts) and Stephanus Muller (Music), for their valuable advice on chapter 4.

• The personnel of the music library for their friendly help.

• The University of Pretoria for financial support.

• Our Father in heaven.


























Adult Basic Education and Training

Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music

Advanced Supplementary

2 nd year of AS

Curriculum 2005

Curriculum 21

Education and Training Quality Assurance body

General Education and Training (grades R-9)

Further Education and Training (grades 10-12)

General Music Appreciati~n Programme

General Music Technology Programme

Music Educators National Conference

Music Education Unit Standards for Southern Africa

Music Composition Programme

Music Performance Programme

National Certificate of Educational Achievement

National Standards Body

National Qualifications Framework

New Zealand Qualifications Authority

Southern African Development Community

South African Music Educators Forum

South African Qualifications Authority

Standards Generating Body

Secto! Education and Training Authorities

University of South Africa

Table 3-1

The integrating nature of approaches and processes in the arts (Nebraska 2000d:l)

Table 3-2

Sample example of achievement standard for Music (New Zealand 2001: 1)

Table 3-3

Interpretation ofan achievement standard for Aerophones (performance)

Table 3-4

Outline oflevels and applications in the New Zealand Qualifications Framework

(adapted from NZQA 2000c:10-23) '" ., '" , '"

Table 3-5

Comparison ofNQF levels: New Zealand and South Africa (Grove 2000: 1) '"

Table 3-6

Explanation ofNQF levels and grades at schoollevel.


Table 3-7

Practical application of the National Curriculum for Music

Table 3-8

Explanation of the average attainment levels for learners between key stages 1-3

(England 1999:39) , , , ,

Table 3-9

Possible qualifications in the English schooling system '"




Table 3-10

Explanation of the different AS units (adapted from Browne 2000: 16)

Table 3-11

Explanation of the different A2 units (adapted from Browne 2000:17)

Table 3-12

Comparison of core and non-core subjects of the USA, Australia, England,

New Zealand and South Africa

, ,













Table 4-1

The difference in mood between the 1950sand 1960s

Table 4-2

Hit song titles ofI954 and 1970 (Hamm 1995:45,48)

, , , .4-24

,. '" .. , .. , , .4-29

Table 4-3

Schematic comparison of modernism and postmodernism (adapted from Harvey 1990:43 and Solomon 2001:3-5) '" , , .4-61

Table 5-1

Graphic illustration of one, two or three music subjects at NQF level 2-4, or grades 10-12 , '" .. , , , , , , 5-8

Table 5-2

Suggested credit structure for NQF level 2-4 '" ,

Table 5-3

Mapping the context of the MEUSSA model for music education in South Africa

(Grove 2001:5) '" , '" , '"

Table 5-4

Explanation of the MEUSSAmodel as used for Aerophones ,

'" '" .. , '" '" 5-8



Tal!le 5-5

Diagrammatic application of the MEUSSA model for Aerophones

Table 5-6

Classification of proficient and advanced achievement ,

Table 5-7

Range statements for scale structures (flute) , '" ,


Table 5-8

Range statements for arpeggio structures (flute)

Table 5-9

Specific outcomes and assessment for preparatory level - Aerophones

Table 5-10

Specific outcomes and assessment for NQF level 1 - Aerophones '" .,










Table 5-11

Specific outcomes and assessment for NQF level 2 - Aerophones

Table 5-12

Specific outcomes and assessment for NQF level 3 - Aerophones

Table 5-13

Specific outcomes and assessment for NQF level 4 - Aerophones

Table 5-14

Credit structureforNQF level 5 ,

Table 5-15

Specific outcomes and assessment for NQF level 5 - Aerophones

Table 5-16

Credit structure forNQF level 6 , , , , ,

Table 15-17

Specific outcomes and assessment for NQF level 6 - Aerophones

Table 5-18

Credit structure forNQF level 7 , , , " '"



Table 5-19

Specific outcomes and assessment for NQF level 7 - Aerophones

Ta/!le 5-20

Credit structure for NQF level 8

Table 5-21

Specific outcomes and assessment for NQF level 8 - Aerophones


, 5-43




, 5-48






, 5-52

Figure 3-1

Illustration of the approaches and processes of the arts (Nebraska 2000a:2)

Figure 3-2

Outcomes and key concepts in the Curriculum Framework (Curriculum Council of

Western Australia 1999b:4)



Figure 5-1

MEUSSAmodel: Music knowledge, styles &

practices and NQF levels

Figure 5-2

MEUSSA model: Music creating, performing and appraisal

Figure 5-3

Application of the MEUSSA model for Aerophones (performance)

Figure 5-4

Interpretation of the MEUSSA model for jazz

Figure 5-5

Interpretation of the MEUSSA model for Western art music

Figure 5-6

Interpretation of the MEUSSA model for African music

Figure 5-7

Interpretation of the MEUSSAmodel for Indian music

Figure 5-8

Interpretation of the MEUSSA model for popular music











List of abbreviations and acronyms




Personal motivation


Background ..,


The MEUSSA project


Research questions


Aims of the




of the



Structure of the study



of the




1.10 Sources


Frmneworks and standards

1.10.2 Books

1.10.3 Articles

1.10.4 The



Glossary :







1-1 0









2.1 Introduction

2.1.1 Widening the basis of the learning experience

2.1.2 Including all cultures

2.2 The South African scenario




Music, the brain and education


Curriculum planning from a musical perspective

2.5.1 The inclusion of music in a curriculum

2.5.2 Curriculumplanning

2.5.3 Music as a core subject


Curriculum 2005: Outcomes-based approach

2.6.1 The learning areas

2.6.2 Music in Culture and Arts

2.6.3 A proposed structure for music education in C2005


Instrumental teaching


Curriculum for performance in the secondary school..


Points of departure for writing unit standards

2.10 Aims for music education

2.11 Factors influencing the provision of unit standards

2.12 Unit standards for musics in Southern Africa

2.13 The way forward in South Africa






















2.16 Music in South African Schools

2.14 Contemporary music

2.15 Perspective on problems encountered


2.17 Suggestions for encouraging formal music education

2.18 Strategies for the implementation of music education

2.19 Final remarks








Frameworks as structure for learning content...






The K-12 national standards of the United States of America


3.4.1 A brief overview of Music in American schools

3.4.2 Standards and benchmarks





3.4.3 Music Standards in the USA: a backgrouild

3.4.4 Standards in the USA: content and achievement

3.5 National standards of the USA



3.5.2 Grades K-4 standards

3.5.3 Grades 5-8 standards

3.5.4 Grades 9-12 standards

3.5.5 Assessment

3.5.6 Staffing, facilities and equipment...

3.5.7 Evaluating the American standards



















State Standards


Massachusetts Music Standards


Florida Music Standards

3.6.3 Nebraska Music Standards




The Australian Frameworks


Overview ,


Challenges in Australian music education


The Australian Qualifications Framework


Guidelines for School Standards in Australia


The Curriculum Framework


The Music Curriculum Framework


Evaluation of the Australian framework.



The National Qualifications Framework of New Zealand


Overview of the Qualifications Framework: the NZQA




Learning outcomes


Levels and qualifications


Credits and assessment


Detailed fields


Classification system


Quality assurance


The music framework of the New Zealand NQF

Main structure



3 -52


3 -5 5

3 -57

3 -5 7

3 -59



3 -3 3


3 -3 5











3 -3 8


Unit standards for Making Music

Unit standards for Music Education and Training

Unit standards for Music Studies

Unit standards for Music Technology


Evaluation of and comparison with the South African structure


The National Curriculum of England


Overview: Before the National Curriculum


Overview: The National Curriculum


The Structure of the National Curriculum


The structure of the National Music Curriculum






The Key Stages: Key Stage 1


The Key Stages: Key Stage 2


The Key Stages: Key Stage 3


The Attainment Targets

3.9.11 The AS and A level music syllabuses

3.9.12 Evaluation of the English framework


Comparison of core subjects between the four countries discussed in this chapter

3.11 Final remarks



Introduction 4-1






, 3-67

:.. 3-68








3 -79

3 -82



3 -94





Postmodernism and modernism











Optimism rooted in scientific achievements




The essence of modernism


Modernist art


Modernist music


Music after World War



Two perspectives

Exclusive art

Mass culture


Popular music in a modernist discoW"Se


Popular music as an expression of a modernist meta-narrative




Final remarks on modernism




Main aspects of postmodernism


Dismantling of "grand narratives"


Rejection of "high" and "low" art

4.5 .4-

Rejecting boundaries



























The nature of knowledge




Marginalised groups




Affmities and differences between structuralism and post-structuralism

, 4.5.10 Postmodemism in the arts

Postmodemism in architecture

Literary manifestations ,

Different worlds

The death of the author

In summary


Postmodemism and music

Classical music in a postmodern culture

Rap as postmodem genre

Punk and the postmodem culture

Final remarks on postmodemism


Critique ofpostmodern concepts


The postmodem condition within the :MEUSSA group


Music education in a postmodemist time


Postmodemism in education


Constructivist learning


The implications for music education


Final remarks





,.. 4-52























Unit standards for Aerophones in the GET and FET phases

5.2.1 Starting with an instrument.




5.2.2 What is a unit standard?

5.2.3 Qualifications


A framework for Aerophones, with specific application to flute playing

5.3.1 Introduction

5.3.2 Credit structure for NQF level 2, 3 and 4


The MEUSSA model.

5.5 The MEUSSA model in this thesis , , , .. , .. ,

5.5.1 Interpretation of the MEUSSAmodel fordifIerent styles and genres

5.5.2 Mapping Music: Aerophones (performance)

5.5.3 Different applications of the MEUSSAmodeL


Unit standards for Aerophones (performance)

5.6.1 Generic standards for Aerophones

5.6.2 Specificunit standards for Aerophones

5.6.3 Assessment

5.6.4 Range statements Preparatory level NQF level I NQF level 2 NQF level 3 NQF level 4


, 5-23





















NQF levels 5-8

NQF level 5

NQF level 6

Credit structure for NQF level 7

NQF level 7

Credit structure for NQF level 8

NQF level 8


Final remarks







Answering the main research question


Answering the sub-questions


Sub-question 1

6.3 .1.1 The USA

6.3 .1.2 Australia

New Zealand

6.3 .1.4 England


Sub-question 2


Sub-question 3


Difficulties encountered by the MEUSSA group


Difficulties encountered by the study group


Difficulties encountered by the author

























The author, as flute player and music educator, became involved with the MEUSSA (Music

Education Unit Standards for Southern Africa) project in the Music Education division of the

University of Pretoria early in 2000. This project involved the generation of unit standards throughout the area of music(s) for all genres practised within the region of Southern Africa, and will be explained in more detail later in this chapter.

The enthusiasm of the project leaders, Protf. Caroline van Niekerk and Heinrich van der

Mescht, as well as the transitional character of the current scenario in South Africa have both played a significant part in convincing the author to participate in this unique undertaking.

The opportunity to play a part in determining the direction of music education in South

Africa could simply not be ignored.

Because the author's field of expertise lies, inter alia, in the instruction of the flute at secondary school level, the generation of standards for Aerophones (performance) was personally regarded as essential.

South African education authorities have, with the introduction of a new educational dispensation in 1994 (SAQA 2000a:5), instituted a new system of training and education.

This new approach has as its main goal the cultivation of attitudes, skills, values and knowledge in learners of all ages to "build the country into an international role-player"

(Olivier 2000:i). In order to achieve this, Olivier regards five elements as of utmost importance, namely

Curriculum 2005 has been progressively introduced since 1998. A revision of Curriculum

2005 was facilitated by the South African Department of Education during 2000-2001 and a.

simplified version introduced in August 2001. The approach of Curriculum 2005 is outcomes-based. This means that training has to be directed towards furnishing learners with the necessary skills and knowledge to cope with life after school, as well as developing and educating the whole person. "The focus with outcomes-based learning lies in acquiring the capability to know what to learn and which skills to master in managing one's own learning"

(Olivier 2000:3).

The scope of cultural background, individual differences and different learning abilities of pupils are included in this approach.

A curriculum consists of specific outcomes, as packaged into learning areas (Olivier 2000:5).

The South African educational structure consists of eight learning areas, and specific outcomes for these eight learning areas, as educational means, will be formulated by relevant

Standards Generating Bodies (SGBs) in the form of unit standards. Unit standards may be defined as "nationally agreed and comparable statements supported by specific outcomes and their associated assessment criteria together with other relevant and needed information"

(Olivier 2000:23). This system closely resembles the system currently used by the New

Zealand educational authorities.


In this regard, the new educational structure for South

Africa is still in its first stages, with the generation and registration of unit standards in a developmental phase.

The first step towards formalising the new system was taken in 1995, with legislation that would enable an integrated education and training system. The SAQA Act of 4 October 1995 provided for the development and implementation of a National Qualifications Framework


The reader is referred to the corresponding section on the educational system of New Zealand, which is discussed in chapter 3. Another member of the MEUSSA group, Petro Grove, provided a detailed discussion of the format of the new educational approach in South Africa.

and the establishment of the South African Qualifications Authority (Olivier 2000:8). The implementation of a new education system effected a need for music educators in Southern

Africa to come together and plan the way forward for reform in music education, thereby defining and ensuring its role within the new education system.

On 17 July 1999 a music educators' organisation, called the South African Music Educators'

Forum (SAMEF), was formed in Pretoria. Grove (2001 :2-2) formulates the events as follows:

To start the process of restructuring music education systems in Southem

Africa, music educators were called upon at the 23


Bienniai World

Conference of the International Society for Music Education held in Pretoria from 19-25 July 1998, to establish a South African Music Education Forum

(SAMEF) that would function as a representative forum for music education nationally.

Role players in South African music education, including state, community, labour, business, providers and critical interest groups were represented (Grove 2001:2-3). The purpose of

SAMEF, as formulated by Hauptfleisch (cited by Grove 2001:2-2) was stated as follows:

[... ] SAMEF will act as an umbrella body for organisations and institutions with a material interest in music education in our country. In essence, the

SAMEF will promote continuity of purpose between the activities of the different music education structures and organisations in South Africa and serve as a strong and representative voice for all aspects of music education.

SAMEF was never intended to replace any of the many music organisations on South Africa, but rather to facilitate music educators to speak with one voice at the 18MB conference.

Within the new educational system, unit standards indicating learning achievements or outcomes in all subjects must be generated by a Standards Generating Body (SGB) and registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) in order to provide for an integrated National Qualifications Framework. This system is explored in more detail in another MEUSSA member's thesis, namely IP. Grove: Grove, J.P. 2001. Music Education

Unit Standards for Southern Africa: A Model and its application in a General Music

Appraisa( Programme. DMus thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria.

By the time SAMEF was formed in 1999, there was a lack of co-ordinated attempts towards the goal of generating unit standards for musics in South Africa. According to Prof. Caroline van Niekerk of the University of Pretoria, one of the founding members of SAMEF, facilitating unit standards for only the ten most widely acclaimed subjects could, at that stage, be funded by the Department of Education. To prevent the marginalisation of Music in the field of education, she offered to gather a group of post-graduate students to start working on the task of generating unit standards as soon as possible.

A group of music specialists who could work together to produce unit standards based on thorough research and many years of collective practical experience, encompassing the whole field ofmusic(s), was therefore brought together by the Music Education section of the

Department of Music at the University of Pretoria early in 2000. The group consisted of eighteen Master's and doctoral students from various fields of expertise, and the project, of which the author is a member, became known as the MEUSSA project.

By means of research and workshops within the group, the first steps towards a coherent and inclusive set of standards for the whole spectrum of music( s) in Southern Africa were taken.

The aim of the MEUSSA project was to specifically produce unit standards for music(s) in the new education and training dispensation, even though this group was not officially registered as an SGB.

At the time of the forming of the MEUSSA group in 2000, no music standards were in the process of being generated, indicating a bleak future for music education in the country. This situation has changed early in 2001, as funding for the generation of unit standards for music, under the umbrella ofNSB 02, has been made available by SAQA. Three Music SGBs have consequently been launched in August 2001, namely one each for Music GET, Music HET and Music Industry, with the members of the MEUSSA group forming a substantial part of the Music SGBs for GET and FET. Any unit standards produced by the MEUSSA group will therefore be presented to SAQA for official registration, together with standards generated by the three official Music SGBs.

The common ground within the group was to focus on the provision of unit standards for music in the broadest sense, and not to isolate one or two genres. "[C]onstituent elements

(rhythm, harmony, melody, form) and expressive elements (tempo, dynamics and timbre) are inherent in the musics of many cultures" (Miller 1988 :94).

The approach was one of considering music as human expression, consulting high quality music from many genres without isolating one or two styles for educational purposes:

Music is a truly comprehensive human behaviour. Particularly in its more challenging, subtle and complex manifestations, it requires a just combination and integration of thinking, feeling and sharing - precisely those elements which define humankind. Music education can help students become effective in their use of artistic musical experiences to discover and share thoughts and feelings. Both critical thinking and critical feeling are vital to effective personal and social development for life in the century ahead (Artsedge


In this sense it is important to keep in mind that music and therefore music education cannot be separated from the community and that it is inconceivable to conceptualise music education without keeping in mind the contribution and impact such a successful programme could have on the supporting communities. On the other hand, it is just as important not to isolate the learner from the cultural upbringing and influences of his /her community, but to use this as the starting point of an education in music.

A project of such a range and size is a new one for music(s) in Southern Africa. The coming together of this many post-graduate students from different areas, practices and styles of music to produce an innovative set of unit standards for music education could prove to be of significant value for learners, and could be indicative of the future of music education in this country. This thesis forms part of the .MEUSSA project, therefore the author recommends that it be regarded as part of the total output of the group. Work done by other members of the .MEUSSA group will be referred to throughout the thesis.

The scope of the .MEUSSA project covers all aspects of music, including new aspects (in the

Southern African context) like Music Technology, Music Industry, World Musics and

indigenous Southern African music, as well as offering a comprehensive and innovative model for teaching music in Southern Africa.


In the light of the scenario introduced in the previous section, the main research question can be presented, namely

What outcomes are desirable for performance on aerophones, and how would this translate into unit standards for Southern Africa?

The formulating of outcomes and unit standards for aerophones, as part of the MEUSSA group, posed the following sub-questions:

• What role did the current philosophical climate, such as postmodernism, play in the forming of a project such as the MEUSSA project?

• What is the influence of postmodernism on the widening of the canon in music education in Southern Africa?

The aim of the study may be defined on two levels, namely the proposed end product of this specific thesis, as well as that of the MEUSSA project.

With regard to the first level, this thesis specifically addresses the aspects of performance on

Aerophones in a postmodern South Africa. Extensive research on the present situation with both drawbacks and benefits of the current curricula is widely available, and the author does not intend to duplicate this work. The aim of the study is rather to approach this project in a


The reader is referred to the work done by other members of the group.

A MEUSSA model for accommodating all relevant music genres in Southern Africa was designed by Petro Grove during 2000, and refined during many workshops and action research sessions by the MEUSSA group.

new way, opening up fresh perspectives on music performance and enabling the inclusion of learners from all cultural backgrounds. In this way it is intended that the learning base of children benefiting from music education will be extended, and that the current approach to music performance be broadened by means of the unit standards provided.

As a group, the participants in the MEUSSA project needed to formulate a broad and co.mmonset of goals, namely to generate unit standards for music(s) in Southern Africa. As part of the MEUSSA group, the author therefore aims to formulate an inclusive set of unit standards for performance on Aerophones in a postmodern South Africa, as well as providing a theoretical basis for these standards.

The framework of NQF qualifications and component unit standards produced by the

MEUSSA project will, finally, be offered to the NSB 02 (Culture and Arts) to be considered for official registration.

The structure of education authority in South Africa, passed into law with the South African

Authority Act in 1995 (SAQA 2000a:5), was investigated and discussed in the thesis of Petro

Grove, another MEUSSA member. Therefore many assumptions regarding the infrastructure of the NQF, SAQA and NSBs will be made in this thesis without detailed explanation of their respective structures and functions.

Chapter 5 presents unit standards and outcomes for Aerophones, but range statements for technical and scale prerequisites will be provided for flute only. This is because the author does not have the advanced expertise or experience considered necessary to spell out desirable technical outcomes for other Aerophones. The range statements for flute may therefore be taken as example of the minimum technical fluency expected for other instruments at each NQF level.

References to aural training and outcomes for ensemble playing are made in, inter alia, chapter 5. Annarine Roscher and Antoinette Hoek, two members of the MEUSSA group, either generated or are in the process of generating unit standards for aural training in the

foundation phase and ensemble playing respectively, therefore the author does not intend to duplicate work already done.


The author structured the research around the research questions posed earlier in this chapter.

In chapter 2 the author therefore briefly poses some perspectives on the current situation in

South Africa, especially with regard to arts and music education. In chapter 3, the structure and content of the frameworks produced and/or currently being developed by the USA

(1994), Australia (1995), New Zealand (1999) and England (2000) are investigated, with the aim of integrating the most suitable and progressive aspects into a possible South African structure for performance on Aerophones.

Chapter 4 was structured around the last two research questions, namely to formulate a postmodern perspective for Southern African music education and the establishing of the

MEUSSA project. Because the characteristics and trends of postmodernism are relatively unknown in the field of music education in South Africa, the author deemed it necessary to present an extensive layout of both modernism and postmodernism, especially in the way they reflect in the arts and music. Because the MEUSSA project, in character and approach, clos~ly resembles the shift from modernism to postmodernism, a deconstruction of Western art music as only medium for formal music education is also offered in this chapter.

Unit standards for Aerophones (Performance) are provided in chapter 5, together with an exploration of the model for music education developed by one of the MEUSSA team members, Petro Grove.


The reader is referred to A. Roscher, 200 I: Music standards for the Foundation Phase and Teacher Training, doctoral thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria; and A. Hoek, 200 I: South African Unit Standards for a General

Music Appraisal Programme and an Ensemble Specialisation

Programme for Available Instruments, doctoral thesis in progress, University of Pretoria, Pretoria.

No unit standards in the field of musics for South Africa have been registered at the time of completion of this thesis. The specific value of this thesis will therefore lie in the provision of unit standards for Aerophones (performance) in Southern Africa, as well as the exploration of a theoretical framework within which the MEUSSA project is functioning.

The scope of this project will have a widespread impact on all learners in Southern Africa, as it was the intention of the author, as part of the MEUSSA group, to utilise as many aspects and genres of the music field as possible in the process of generating unit standards.

Therefore the inclusion of genres that are new to formal music education, such as jazz, popular music, African music or Indian music, are capacitated in the unit standards produced by the author. The target group consists of all learners from pre-school to tertiary level, providing a solid and wide learning foundation for music leading up to NQF level 1 (grades

1-9), and also assisting learners and educators who wish to pursue or support a focused education in Music from grades 10-12.

The trends and characteristics of postmodemism are described in this thesis as, inter alia, a shift in cultural expressions and a widening of the canon. As the current transformational character of music education demands a fresh outlook and flexible approach from music educators, an exploration of postmodemism, especially as it manifests in the arts and music, must be considered a necessary pre-condition for transformation in music education. By exploring postmodern directions in this thesis, the author· hopes that educators may be assisted to understand the current situation and direction of music education in Southern


With this contribution the author hopes to encourage music educators in shifting traditional boundaries and wi?ening perspectives, and by doing this to maximise the level of participation in music education for all Southern African learners.

The author, in the process of writing unit standards, used a variety of methods to be as inclusive and informed as possible for the task of generating unit standards.

• The collective expertise of the' MEUSSA group in the form of various workshops and meetings held on a regular basis was utilised extensively. This includes the diverse perspectives offered during the course of these workshops, the multiple documents produced by.the group and the formulation of different aspects regarding an approach to music education in Southern Africa. The workshops were often characterised by lively discussion and the expression of opposing viewpoints. During these occasions the author utilised feedback from the group to shape and refine the proposed standards. The author was also in a fortunate position to benefit from the experience of Meki Nzewi, professor of African Music in the Department of Music at the

University of Pretoria.

• A common vision for the MEUSSA project was formulated, which is to "empower learners with music skills and knowledge, leading to lifelong active involvement in a variety of musics." This vision was continuously utilised as a benchmark for the formulation of unit standards.

• As the learners being taught at school by the author were employed to test many of the suggestions of the group, as well as the model for music education developed by

Petro Grove, the chapter on unit standards (chapter 5) was informed by a process of action research.

• The thesis was characterised by a qualitative approach to research matter. In this regard a content analysis of relevant frameworks and standards (chapter 3), as well as the qualities of a postmodern condition (chapter 4), was deemed necessary to gain a holistic view of both the process and content of generating unit standards. Guidelines and qualities that were personally regarded as transferable or useful in a Southern

African context were explored, evaluated and interpreted.

A review of existing and recently written frameworks and standards was undertaken in chapter 3. Only four countries have, up to now, produced frameworks for music education in the format of unit standards, namely the United States of America (1994), Australia (1995),

New Zealand (1999) and England (2000). These have been closely analysed in order to gain a broad perspective on the format, approach and content of unit standards produced thu~ far.

• J-F.



The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge.

Manchester: Manchester University Press. Lyotard more than hints that a break with modernism's. characteristics and legitimation of meta-narratives was brought about by a change in methods of storing and retrieving knowledge, as well as altered modes of communication. He also reviews the status of science and technology in a postmodern era, offering alternative ways of contemplating the fibre of society.

• D. Harvey. 1990. The Condition of Posmwdernity:

An Enquiry into the Origins of

Cultural Change.

Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. The passage of modernism into postmodernism is explored by Harvey, as he describes a change in cultural as well as political-economic practices since the early 1970s.

• M. Comte. 1993. The Arts in Australian Schools: The past 50 Years. In:



(ed.), Australian Music Education Source Book no. 1. CIRCME, School of Music,

University of Western Australia, Perth. Valuable information regarding Australian music education, approaches and practices were taken from this publication.

• H. Gardner.· 1993. Multiple


The Theory in Practice. New York:

Basic Books. This ground-breaking work has to be taken into consideration in any contemplation on the value of music in education.

The theory of multiple intelligences was developed as part of Harvard's prestigious Project Zero, influencing curriculum development and educational theories world-wide.

• C. Hamm. 1995.

Putting Popular Music in its Place.

Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press. Hamm offers a collection of essays dedicated to the studying of popular music. He advocates an approach that values each example as worthy of attention while staying receptive to both the text and the circumstances under which it originated.

• L. Kramer. 1995.

Classical Music and Postmodern Knowledge.

Berkeley and Los

Angeles: University of California Press. Exploring new scopes for musicology and classical music, Kramer contemplates fresh possibilities offered by postmodernism to the understanding of Western art music. Although the focus of this book is on music written before the modem and postmodern era, the author drew upon principles of a postmodern nature and applied it to the position of the MEUSSA group in providing relevant unit standards for Southern Africa.

• N. Cook


M. Everist. 2001 (2 nd edition).

Rethinking Music.

New York: Oxford

University Press. A collection of essays on current issues in and challenges to musicology. The author of this thesis focused on articles relevant for her study, especially those offering current views on popular music and musicology, and postmodernism in music/musiCeducation.

Various articles used during the research process reflect the current lively debate on the nature and influence of postmodernism, as well as challenges to music education associated with the transition of social conditions. Articles from the disciplines of Theology and

Science, as well as news magazines such as

Time Magazine,

were also utilised to accumulate balanced and informed understanding of this matter. Authoritative and informed articles in popular magazines such as

Time Magazine


BBC Music Magazine

were put to use in order to include opinions on popular music and current scenarios regarding Western art music, as these are often difficult to access in academic literature. The

BBC Music Magazine

also provided fresh perspectives on the current international classical music scene, as perceived from a British viewpoint. This magazine also served to inform the author of current trends and compositions in the genre of Western art music.

Magazines dedicated to music education were frequently consulted, especially

The American

Music Teacher, The South African Music Teacher, Music Educators Journal




One of the characteristics of postmodern globalisation, as discussed in chapter 4, is the world-wide accessibility of data and material. As the postmodern climate played a significant role in conceptualising the MEUSSA project and this thesis, information available on the

Internet was utilised extensively.

In this way it was possible to download, although not always with the same measure of success, detailed information on frameworks as well as supporting material produced by the USA, Australia, New Zealand and England. These were critically consulted and regularly visited in order to provide a background for an indigenous and flexible approach for music education in South Africa.

Reference for sources obtained from the Internet often presents difficulties. The author took utmost care to provide the accurate addresses for web sites, but some of these may already have been moved to other addresses by the appropriate webmaster by the time that·this thesis was finished. Other web-sites, such as the Australian Qualifications Authority, are updated on a regular basis because the process of establishing a framework is still under construction.

Therefore the author made use of information available at the time of completing the study, which in no way pretended to be the final version of relevant structures.

Resources for some parts of this thesis, for example references to rap and punk, were more accessible on the Internet, because the informal style of this music has not yet sedimented much in musicology.

To avoid confusion, four concepts will be briefly explained in the way they are used in this thesis:

• Western art music/classical music:

This term refers to art musIc In the

(predominantly) Western tradition, created within a formal discipline and striving to

resemble a model of excellence. This style, denoting music with characteristics of, inter alia, balance, objectivity and a strict adherence to form (Apel 1976:154-155), was, and still is, generally created by highly trained composers (Moore 2001:924).

Western art music also possesses a notated canon spanning roughly 1 500 years, from c. 500 to the present (ApeI1976:494). In the context of this thesis, this style of music is mainly used in comparison to popular music, of which the canon originated roughly after the turn of the century, and which is created by composers/songwriters with generally little or no theoretical training.

• Popular

music: After much discussion within the MEUSSA group, this caption for informal, improvised or so-called "light music" was accepted as an umbrella term.

• Ensemble: By this is meant more than one instrumentalist performing together, with all parts owning approximately the same technical standard.

A teacher/professional accompanist supporting a pupil or student is not, for the purpose of this thesis, accepted as part of an ensemble as described in the unit standards.

• Improvise: to deviate from or add to the melody, rhythm, texture and/or harmony, without losing roots of the original.

The process of writing unit standards is neither easy nor simple. To the uninformed reader it may seem like a mere task of putting a few words to paper, but experience in the MEUSSA group and in the p~ctical education situation taught the author that substantial research has to precede these succinct words. Therefore the reader is asked to bear with what may seem like unnecessary duplication in Chapter 5, in order to be presented with the complete standard for each NQF level. A rather detailed exploration of frameworks produced in other countries was also necessary in order to contextualise the generating of appropriate unit standards for the South African situation.

The format of unit standards, as prescribed by SAQA, also entails duplication when presented from NQF level 1-8. Because this large amount of reproduction was deemed

unnecessary, the author only included one unit standard in the prescribed SAQA format in chapter 5.

For the sake of simplicity, the author will avoid the double form of "he/she", and uniformly refer to "he" or "him" when both sexes are implied. Furthermore, a reference such as the

Florida Department of Education, the Nebraska Department of Education and the South

African Department of Education will be referred to as Florida, Nebraska and South Africa.

Because some chapters, such as chapter 5, contain many tables, a neat layout sometimes resulted in empty spaces at the bottom of pages. Many tables could not be reduced to one page, and the reader is thus asked to accept tables sometimes stretching over more than two pages.

Footnotes were separately numbered for each chapter, and for ease of reading they were placed directly at the bottom of each page where the reference was made.

References made to theses by other MEUSSA members were correct at the time of submitting this document. As some theses are still in progress, this may result in a possible change in page numbers or titles.

The use of the term Southern Africa implies that the MEUSSA project is aimed at providing unit standards for music education for all countries in the SADC (Southern African

Development Community) region, potentially including Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South

Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe). However, the structure and system of education used as backbone for the development of unit standards was developed in South Africa.

SAQA is an official South African structure, and does not form part of the formal educational structures in the other Southern African countries.

Difficulties regarding music education in South Africa, in the context of this thesis, may be " defined at two levels, namely:

• the provision of music education of a

high quality to all learners,

in other words, widening the basis of the learning experience; and

• providing a workable approach to

accommodate music of all cultures

in the country.

Next to these two, obstacles regarding the matter of facilities and teacher training may not be underestimated.

The current President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, declared in his first speech made as president in Parliament on 25 June 1999 that "[t]o achieve these results, we will also have to engage in massive in-service and pre-service training" (Mbeki 1999: 1). The training and provision of skilled and motivated educators are crucial factors in determining the character of music education in South Africa, but do not lie within the scope of this thesis and"will therefore not be addressed. It must, however, be noted that an endeavour to widen the learning basis and music content with quality education may have an early failure without skilled and motivated teaching staff.

At present music education is limited to a few privileged learners, part of the problem being that very little attention is given to a solid music foundation at primary school level. Primary school music education finds itself on different levels of quality due to different levels of teaching, a shallow curriculum, the previous national policy of segregated education

(Hauptfleisch 1997:7), and the stigmatisation of general music. The consequence of this practice is that proper music education for primary school learners is left to paying parents and private music teachers. This has not enabled enough learners in the past to share in the multiple benefits of music education, nor has it provided a solid and broad foundation for

high school music education.


It haS also taken away the opportunity for many learners to benefit from an education in music in terms of the development of intelligence, social, spatial, cultural, or problem-solving skills.


According to the American MENC (Music Educators National Conference) standards, the period from grades 5-8 is critical in learners' musical development, as the music they perform often becomes an integral part of their personal music repertoire (MENC 2000:8).

These grades correspond to the South African senior phase in primary school through to the first year in high school. Any gap in the music education in these grades could prove to be irretrievable in later years, therefore a broad education of high quality in music seems to be especially important during these formative years.

"Ways will need to be found to enable more people to learn to playa wider range of instruments, throughout their life span, with appropriate opportunities for making music in their community" (Hallam 2000: 11). Odam (1996:186), quoting Danny Farrant, a seventeenyear old British learner, also hopes that "more young people will get involved in music - not necessarily writing it, but appreciating it." In the same breath it could also be said that as many learners as possible should be exposed to music education relating to their cultural background as well as a variety of cultural backgrounds of other music traditions.

The challenge here would then be to provide a continuum in music education from preschool to tertiary level, one which enables learners to experience a meaningful and varied education of quality to enrich their life and personal development.


"[It is] during the formative years in the primary school that basic musical skills and perceptions are best cultivated" (Rainbow 1996: II).


The British Department for Education and Employment (England 1999:40) states that music provides opportunities to promote spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, as well as key skills of communication, application of number, IT, working with others, improving own learning performance and problem-solving.

Leonhard, a well-known American music educator and former MENC president, reflects the factors influencing the need for a new approach to arts education world-wide in this extract


Several developments in society, education, and the arts necessitate change in the music program. These developments include the continuing change in the ethnic composition of the school population, the education reform movement" the increasing demand for the development of students' ability to think critically, the change in contemporary art styles, and contemporary developments in educational technology.

The approach to music education in South Africa is, in the words of Education Minister

Kader Asmal, still divided with regard to former "white" and "black" schools, with the

"white" schools practising a formal, exam-driven approach and the "black" schools

"excelling in choral music and extra-curricular choir competitions" (Asmal 2000:13). These divisions need to be addressed and workable solutions provided, so as to provide access to music education of high quality to all learners. The matter of popular music, African music,

Indian music, world music and music technology is also still in a process of inclusion, and not yet widely accessible to learners who want to receive training in these facets. In this regard, Hauptfleisch (1997:10) alleges that current South African music curricula do not sufficiently reflect the globalisation trend in music in the latter part of the 20 th century, because the local musical culture and popular music is not included in general music education. These remarks were written in 1997, but the content of music education has hardly changed since then, and her remarks, in the opinion of the author, are still valid.

The need for an adequate set of standards for African music is an urgent one, not only for the

South African context, but for the other SADC (Southern African Development Community) countries as well, and even for the whole African continent. At the first-ever African conference of the International Society for Music Education (Pretoria, 1998), a clear mandate was given to South African music educators to take the lead in pan-African initiatives (Van


& van der Mescht 2000:3).

In the same vein, standards for popular music, world music and other music practices of

Southern Africa have not been generated by the time of the conclusion of this thesis.

Therefore unit standards presented in chapter 5 will not specifically address these styles and genres, but facilitate their inclusion for performing on Aerophones.

Existing structures and systems of music education in all their facets need to be reconceived and re-engineered, in order not only to formulate unit standards as required by SAQA, but to reconceptualise the total and ongoing development of individuals through music, in music and for music (Van Niekerk


Van der Mescht 2000:3).

2.2 The South African scenario

For the MEUSSA team to be able to write unit standards for musics in South Africa, the current status of the arts had to be briefly considered.

During 2000 the decline of the social standing of Western arts in South Africa was clearly and sadly illustrated by the temporary closure of the State Theatre in Pretoria (due to financial mismanagement), as well as the closure of the New Arts Philharmonic Orchestra of

Pretoria, the National and the Cape Philharmonic orchestras within the span of roughly two weeks. For music educators these events sounded warning bells, because the non-existence of performing platforms in the country could influence the interest in the provision of arts, and especially music education at foot level.

A lack of governmental support similar to this is not a new one in the history of the arts.

Sturm (1998), for example, describes the rise and fall of the educational status of music in the

American states from the Colonial times (when secular music was regarded as possessing some evil and mysterious influences) to the present (where programmes are still being cut in budget crises despite the fact that the institution of Music as a core subject is being supported by the majority of American citizens as well as by a core component of reliable research).

The fact that the arts, and especially music, are no longer financially supported by the state in the same way as previously (Nieuwoudt 2000b), forces practitioners of music education to drastically rethink both the value and outcomes of music education. According to Nieuwoudt, the face of the arts industry has changed to such an extent that a new and creative philosophy is needed from both curriculum writers and students of the arts. This prompted Prof Temple

Hauptfleisch of the University of Stellenbosch (quoted by Nieuwoudt in Beeldof 29 June

2000) to say that this state of affairs could mean that the accent of the music industry shifts from serious forms of art such as ballet, opera and drama productions towards light music,

one man shows and cabarets, and that the serious art forms will most probably be performed by private institutions and artists, universities and participants at art festivals. In the opinion of the author, this could also mean that institutions that formerly only taught "serious", or

Western art music, would be opting to teach other genres as well. According to article writer

Stephanie Nieuwoudt


29 June 2000), another implication could be that learners will choose not to be educated in the arts at all because of an uncertain future.

The second option, namely that of opting for other genres, may present an attractive and viable option for music education, and this will be explored in more detail in chapter 3. The last option, namely that of learners choosing not to receive an education in the arts, is highly unacceptable, because the positive effects of arts education, and especially music education, have been widely researched. "The teaching and learning of music has been recognised as serving a variety of human needs. Some of these needs can be met only through music

(Reimer 1999:37). Also, in the words of President Ronald Reagan (Anonymous 2000:1):

"We must teach [our students] the artistic inheritance of our culture and an appreciation of how fine music enriches the student who studies it, and the society who produces it [... ]. The existence of strong fine arts curricula are important to keeping the humanities truly humanising and liberating education truly liberating."

It is not the intent of the author to become entangled in the detail of numerous research conclusions of the positive relation between music and non-musical outcomes, such as improved spatial abilities, but merely to provide a compact motivation for the inclusion of

Music as a subject in the core school curriculum from a very early age~Research in the field of, for example, the enhancement of spatial abilities via music instruction would provide enough subject matter for an independent dissertation, and has been repeatedly done worldwide. In the opinion of the author, the reason for including music in the core curriculum should rest on the intrinsic worth of music itself.

Various institutions have formulated reasons for teaching music from the early school phases, and the author intends to hook onto some of these fmdings. The reason is that arts education is still regarded as an optional learning area in South Africa. The Association for the

Advancement of Arts Education (Ashton 1999: 1), for example, has evaluated a wide group of research studies and concluded that "we must include the arts in the education of all students if we want our children to be prepared for the challenges of life and work in our global society." MENC (l994a:63), the American organisation responsible for frameworks in the arts, concludes that "The educational success of our children depends on creating a society that is both literate and imaginative, both competent and creative."

What then would the challenges be that our children need in order to become effective and successful citizens?

The author would like to draw the reader's attention to the Draft

Document of the National Curriculum Framework

(South Africa 2000), and more specifically the national curriculum goals of which some requirements are stated as (p.12)

One significant benefit of formulating comprehensive standards for music education would be to enable learners to establish a relationship between the individual and his/her own cultural heritage, as well as the cultural heritage of the human family. Learners must come to realise that "music making is a universal need and that the study of musics of all cultures allows us both to learn more about our own heritage and to share, to some extent, the deeper meanings of the culture of others" (Burton 2000:2). This outcome would comply with the first of the above-mentioned goals.

The tragic truth is that the arts in various countries, including South Africa, have been kept on the fringes of general education, despite research that "the arts seem to emanate from various discrete forms of intelligence" (Fowler 1992:30). Education that is both theory and practice, knowledge and skills (as Minister Kader Asmal requires) could vastly benefit from a thorough arts, and especially music, education. The reason for this is that it is music that manages to combine academic and practical thought, and it is the arts that require of their practitioners to simultaneously apply knowledge and skills. In this way a thorough music education will then comply with the second goal stated above.



Because arts education is very often regarded as optional, education authorities are easily convinced to scale down on input, funding and available periods on the school timetable for these subjects. The following section will briefly outline the importance of quality education in the arts, especially music, at school level.

In general it could be argued that a thorough music education programme benefits a basic educational outlook. According to Sturm (1998:4), the United States Council on Basic

Education, established in 1956, advocated the "policy that 'schools exist to provide the essential skills of language, numbers and orderly thought, and to transmit in a reasoned pattern the intellectual, moral and aesthetic heritage of civilised man.'" These policies coordinate with _Minister Asmal' s educational goals as set out above, and therefore also link with the motivation for a well set-out music educational programme as an integrated part of a general curriculum.

Why? "Few areas of music psychology have seen as many recent advances as research in music-induced plasticity of the brain" (Rauscher 1998:197). Recent research has showed a direct link between the study of music and improved cognitive achievement in areas such as language, mathematics and reading, as well as psychomotor and spatial development (Sturm

1998:5). Music students, as the results of various research projects have come to show, are well-prepared to handle a wide variety of tasks outside the field of music itself (Martin


Rauscher and Shaw, in their prominent and controversial experiment resulting in the "Mozart effect", concluded that music enhances the spatial-temporal reasoning of a student. "In their experiment, a group of college students listened to ten minutes of either silence, relaxation instructions or a Mozart duo-piano sonata before being given a test of their spatial-temporal reasoning. After listening to the sonata, the students scored eight points higher [... ] than they did after the relaxation instructions and nine points higher than after silence" (Pohlman

2000:38). It is important to note that Rauscher and Shaw themselves did not claim a shortcut to improved intelligence, but merely a temporary improved spatial-temporal behaviour.

Grandin, Peterson


Shaw (1998:4) continued this research and suggested that certain mathematics and science concepts, known to be difficult to teach, can be learnt using spatial-

temporal reasoning methods" and that music instruction from an early age can enharice the developing of these facilities.

This research has generated much excitement in scientific as well as musical circles, but, as

Weinberger (2000b:l) says, "the Mozart effect actually does not increase general intelligence and lasts only a few minutes, it does not provide a substitute for music study and practice". It has, however, focused attention on the link between music studies and brain behaviour, with a general acceptance that long-term music studies have the greatest effect on various brain activities.

Current research in this field has utilised two aspects of musical activity to establish the relationship of music and its relationship to cognitive education, namely

According to Hetland (Waleson 2000:27) the music making activity had a larger, more consistent effect on cognitive ability than the listening activity, but both seem to have substantial effects. This correlates with the findings of other researchers in this regard, including Hurwitz et al (1975), Costa-Giomi (1997) and Rauscher et al (1997), as quoted in

Overy (1998:97). These researchers concluded that long-term music lessons had the greatest impact on brain activities: "Costa-Giomi demonstrated that two years of piano instruction significantly improved the verbal, quantitative, and especially spatial abilities of 10-II-year olds, compared to controls" (Overy 1998:97).

Weinberger (2000a:8), together with a host of other musicians and music education experts, however, are of the opinion that scientific experiments such as the Mozart effect have no say


The author refers the reader to research done in 1993 by Shaw and Rauscher of the University of California, of which the results became commonly known as the "Mozart Effect". This phenomenon is, however, still under debate, with authors such as Reimer (1999) and Pohlman (2000) putting the process and results under a magnifying glass.


Research by Hetland on both the listening and music-making activities concluded that "[I]t does indicate that these music programs that are being cut from schools are good/or education" (Bosman's own italics) (Waleson


in music education as such, but "that music has major relevance in the overall development of children." In a process such as learning to play an instrument, the following minimum systems and processes are engaged:

This entire process, according to Weinberger, is repeated virtually every few seconds, in this way enhancing the positive effects. At the same time these brain systems and processes are being continually integrated in complex ways, influencing other processes applicable in life such as creative thinking, problem solving, mentally constructing solutions and plans as well as organising thought, feeling and knowledge into action.


The following table, intended to be illustrative rather than comprehensive, is useful to summarise this line of argumentation:

Passive listening for 10 minutes "Mozart effect"

(Increases ST reasonin )

Educated listening in music None classes for one or more school years

Understanding and appreciating musical forms, genres, meanings and performances in historical, social and cultural context.

Instrumental or vocal lessons and None regular practice for several years

Reading musical notation, integrating sight, sound, touch and movements to perform and express self musically, solo, in co-operative group or both.

The difference between the effects of short-term passive music making (namely a temporary increased ST or spatial-temporal reasoning) and the permanent cognitive and behavioural effects of an extended musical effort is clearly explained in this table.

Howard Gardner (1993: 17-18) describes musical intelligence as a separate intelligence, one of eight intelligences.


This theory, which is the product of the prestigious Project Zero of

Harvard University, has been tested over many years, and has gained academic support in many respectable circles.

In the opinion of the author, the assumption of this theory would imply that a learner, while receiving basic tuition in language, mathematics, physical development and spatial development at school, must also have the opportunity to be educated in music, in order to facilitate a broad approach to basic education. There is one condition, however, and that is that the music education must be of high quality. "Good teaching has been the strongest specification as regards the conclusivity of positive extra-musical outcomes from (extended) music education" (Spychiger 1998: 199).

Good music education must also, importantly, not only be used and considered relevant for its extra-musical benefits, but ultimately for the general experience of participating in a very human act of expression. Viewed together with the argumentation above, music education cannot be a separate item, to be reserved only for the privileged, but constitutes a basic educational encounter.

The value of music education is being questioned like seldom before, part of the reason being that a quality music education is costly and time-consuming.

The mere fact that instrumental


The other intelligences, according to Gardner (1993: 17-26), are bodily-kinaesthetic, logical-mathematical, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic and naturalist. Naturalist intelligence was recently added to the previous group of seven (Weiss 2001 : I), totaling eight.

tuition is normally directed on a one-to-one basis means that it is more expensive teaching

Music than teaching Mathematics. "No wonder then that art education was most likely to flourish when the audience was independently wealthy, or when some vocational dividends were glimpsed" (Gardner 1990:36).

Another reason is that the field of education, and especially arts education, entails consideration and reflection of the values and priorities of the local community (Gardner

1990:ix). "Education influences and reflects the values of society, and the kind of society we want to be" (England 1999:1). The value that a society at a certain time allocates to the practising of arts is usually reflected in the content of a curriculum. Policy makers, underscoring the values of a society, usually perpetuate these values.

Furthermore the educational scene in many countries demands that the content of syllabi shifts its focus to support the local corporate and commercial ideals, and to exclude the arts because, "in the light of the main purpose of education, they appear expendable, extraneous and nonessential" (Fowler 1992:76).

Music as performing activity, as well as the transmission of the knowledge of music (also called music education), has been part of societies in all ages. Used for ritual, work, entertainment, therapy, communication or aesthetic satisfaction, the phenomenon of music has been considered desirable and worthwhile to study (Mark & Gary 1992:vii).

Few general teachers, and even fewer curriculum planners, however, have an intimate knowledge of perceptual or conceptual issues of aesthetic subjects. Artists themselves are generally not concerned with reflective issues "except as they arise in the course of fashioning an artwork. It is hardly surprising that these potential areas of curriculum have been underdeveloped until now" (Gardner 1990:36).

As a result of many years of research, this situation is slowly changing, and in many countries "educators are searching for the optimal way in which to provide to ordinary students aspects of artistic knowledge that, until now, have only been available to those who continue formal study of the arts" (Gardner 1990:37).

Perry, in his thought-provoking article on the advocacy of music education, discussed possible approaches to curriculum planning. One of these approaches (Perry 1973: 108) is to emphasise the cognitive educational content, subordinating other fields and subjects because of presumed lower cognitive advances. Extreme situations, such as requiring justification for the inclusion of apparently less cognitive subjects on grounds of cognitive content, are also a common scenario amongst many curriculum designers.

The question of the possible inclusion of music as a core school subject has been treated in this way in many coUntries,because musical outcomes cannot be measured purely in terms of cognitive advances. It is a pity, however, that "noteworthy aspects of education in which study of fine arts appears to contribute considerably to the outcome are ignored in this approach" (Perry 1973:108). Although this article was written more than a quarter of a century ago, policy makers still treat Music as school subject in this way, in other words, valuing it for (a lack of) conceived cognitive content.

Economic considerations also play an important role - when experiencing budget problems, administrators very readily make cuts in aesthetic areas of curricula. The facilitation of a music education policy with an appropriate framework may also prove problematic because of a lack of sufficient funds, lack of expertise and unequal opportunities between learners.

Lepherd (1994:2) suggests three theories into which curriculum planning generally falls, namely

• Essentialism,

which concerns the question of what subjects are essential for a normal education;

• Encyclopaedism,

the assertion that all knowledge should be found in a curriculum; and

The question "What is an educated person?" comes to mind, especially when educational content which cann,ot be measured purely in an intellectual or cognitive way, is being discussed. Perry (1973: 110) offers three possible ways to describe an educated person, namely when someone possesses:

• an increase in knowledge and complexity of reasoning processes together with the closely allied tyPes of intellectual judgements.

To treat a curriculum as solely involving and developing intellectual processes is to grossly ignore the cultivation of an educated person. Using such an approach, the criteria of perceptual and conceptual education, together with awareness not markedly cognitive in quality (such as the aesthetic kind), will inadvertently be overlooked and neglected in favour of cognitive education. "Students' work in art comes through a fusion of intellectual, emotional and physical energies. Through such expression of their feelings and ideas, children grow inwardly in personal awareness and sensitivity, and outwardly in confidence and in their capacity to communicate with others" (Crosskell, Condous



The process of educating learners to become informed, responsible and well-rounded citizens must, in the opinion of the author of this thesis, include education in all aspects of personal development. "Education may be detected in trained scientific analysis, philological investigation, but no less in relationships, planning of policy, aesthetic judgement" (Perry

1973:Ill). In short, the cognitive content of a curriculum has a very definite place, but it must. be viewed together with other aspects of education to produce educated and balanced persons.

It is importBnt to note that the ultimate objective of all standards, all school curricula and all school personnel is to help students to gain the broad skills and knowledge that will enable them to function effectively as adults and to contribute to society in today's world and tomorrow's (MENC 1994b:l).

The National Curriculum of England (England 1999:2) describes the following aims for a school curriculum:

• It should aim to promote pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, and to prepare all pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.

Both of these aims are equally important, and should receive equal attention in a cUrriculum.

"These two aims reinforce each other. The personal development of pupils, spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, plays a significant part in their ability to learn and to achieve. Development in both areas is essential to raising standards of attainment for all pupils" (England 1999:3). The South African educationalist Cas Olivier (2000: 1) is of the opinion that "[b]oth; education and training aim to furnish learners with the ability to cope with the world outside."

A rounded education not only means the acquiring of cognitive knowledge, but also the intemalising of creative and social skills. It is in this regard that a music education of high quality plays an important role.

"Perhaps underlying all of the critical issues evident in arts education today is a continuing need to change the attitudes towards arts education of the 'decision makers' at all levels.

This, in turn, underscores the importance of gaining community support for the needs of arts education" (Comte 1993:44). Lehman (1993:202) links with this statement when he outlines four assumptions commonly accepted in the United States before 1993, but which, in his opinion, are "flagran,tlyin error". These faulty assumptions are that

• The purpose of education for society is to contribute to the nation's economy and the gross national product.

• The most urgent need in the curriculum is for mathematics, science and computer studies.

These assumptions were reformulated in the latest National Standards of the United States,6 and changed sufficiently to include tuition of art subjects on the same level as mathematics


The author refers the reader to chapter 3, where a brief discussion and an overview of the initiatives leading to the National Standards of the United States of America are provided.

and science. In South Africa policy makers, however, still seem to support these four assumptions with regard to arts education. In an article in


an Afrikaans newspaper, article writer StephAnie Nieuwoudt (2000c) quotes one of the suggestions made during a discourse

Kunste quo vadis? (Arts quo vadis?)

on the future of the arts in South Africa, namely to convince the state of the multiple benefits of arts education and arts practice in a community. The poljcy-makers, in other words, still need to be convinced of such benefits.

The NQF states that the first formulation of standards needs only to be addressed at the end oflevel one (grade 9). It would, however, be short-sighted not to conceive music education in a holistical and continuous way. A thoroughly planned set of standards should be produced for the full educational spectrum, from early childhood to tertiary level, across formal, nonformal and informal education.

It should also offer alternative ways to reach desired outcomes so as not be blinded by pre-formulated ideas.

It would, in the light of the aforementioned, be sensible to follow the point of departure of the legislation of the 1994

Goals 2000: Educate America Act

to list Music and other arts as core subjects from primary school onwards.


In the National Standards of the United States

(MENC 1994a:22), the arts are viewed as core subject together with the other subjects such as English, Mathematics, History, Civics and Government, Geography, Science and Foreign


The MEUSSA group would, in this project, suggest the inclusion of Music as a core subject from primary school through to secondary school, so as to give a broader group of learners the opportunity to gain from the benefits of music tuition.

Hauptfleisch (1997:287) formulates this goal as follows: "Because music education provides learners with the key to a unique and major source of fundamental life values both now and in the future, music education must be an integral part of the education of all South Africans."

In the opinion of the author, the following conditions posted by Spychiger (1998: 199) are absolutely applicable to the South African situation:


Arts, including Music, was added to the GOALS 2000 mission as a core school subject in 1994, for both elementary and secondary school curriculum (Hopkins 1997:2; MENC 1994a:22). This important policychanging document is discussed in more detail in chapter 3, as part of the American frameworks.

• Music teachers have to be given a high quality of training that should guarantee musical and general didactic competence, as well as psychological knowledge in the domain of music.

• The quality and outcomes of music teaching, in terms of non-musical outcomes, but especially for the experience of music itself, need to be evaluated and applied to general educational goals.

The following vision for South Africa, "Lifelong Learning through a National Curriculum

Framework", is quoted in a policy document (South Africa 1997: 1): "A prosperous, truly united, democratic and internationally competitive country with literate, creative and critical citizens leading productive, self-fulfilled lives in a country free of violence, discrimination and prejudice."

This ideal is, in the opinion of the author, directly linked to quality education in the arts, as it should be one of the goals of education to produce productive and creative citizens.


The education and training band distinguishes three clusters, or phases, for learning purposes.


They are:


This matter is briefly discussed later in this chapter under section 2.11, where the author refers to the substantial amount of research done in this area.


This summary is taken from a MEUSSA document of 2 July 2000a by J.P. Grove, Mapping the Different


'With the new Curriculwn 2005 in mind, the six defined learning areas in the GET phase

(NQF level 1) are as follows:

For the FET phase (NQF levels 2-4, or grades 10-12), eight learning areas were adopted by the South African Department of Education (South Africa 1997:12). They are:

• Mathematical Literacy, Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences;


• to evaluate· unit standards and recommend for approval the registration of qualifications and standards to SAQA; and

• 02 Culture ~d Arts (Sport);


• 03 Business, Commerce & Management;

• 04 Communication studies & Language;

• 05 Education, training and development;

• 06 Manufacturing, Engineering & Technology

• 07 Human & Social Sciences;

• 08 Law, Military Science & Security;

• 09 Health Sciences & Social Services;

• 12 Physical planning & constructing.

The inclusion of Culture and Arts as one of the learning areas implies that every learner will have the opportunity to have encounters with all four of the arts strands, namely Visual Art,

Dance, Drama and Music, from the first year in school.

2.6.2 Music in Culture and Arts

Music, as one of the strands in the learning area of Culture and Arts, should be structured both to provide a meaningful and high quality learning area, as well as to link the learner with the world in which he/she lives. This can be done by (Oliver 1993:58):

• the selection of learning content and experiences which suit the needs of learners at different stages.

Very specific goals need to be set for music education, to avoid the marginalisation or the minimising of subject content. In the opinion of the author, policy-makers in South African

music education should take note of the goals that MENC, according to Lehman (1988:79), set for music education in 1990. These were that:

• every high s9hool shall require at least one unit of credit for graduation in either music, visual art, theatre or dance; and that

• every college and university shall require at least one unit of credit in music, visual art, dance or theatre for admission.

For these goals to succeed one basic condition must be met, namely that there be ample opportunity for every student to study music at the high school level (Lehman 1988:79).

These goals are, at this stage in South Africa, ideal but still unattainable because of a severe lack of trained educators in the arts, as well as financial limitations resulting in underprovision of teaching materials and instruments. The reality is that many music teachers have been retrenched and music departments in secondary schools closed, because music education is still often regarded as a luxury optional on the time-table.

It is, however, important to take notice of these goals, in order to invent a suitable strategy for quality music education in South Africa.

To follow the lead of MENC will mean that the level of general music education has to be substantially expanded. If the curriculum does not make provision for the education of children from an e~ly age, this usually results in music tuition only being available to those privileged few who have received tuition from an early age.


For the rest, the inclusion of music as part of human development is cut back to music heard on the radio, with no way of nurturing aspects such as the cultivation of musical appraisal, the development of creative instincts or performance-related self-discipline.

The new C2005, after being revised in 2001, is at present focusing on providing a general introduction and appraisal of the four arts strands, namely music, dance, visual art and drama,


Tuition in music usually means private instruction, specifically learning to play an instrument. This typically includes instruction in the rudiments of music theory.

in the learning area of Culture and Arts. This will, ideally, be available to every learner up to the level ofNQF 1, regardless of background or interest.

The opinion of the author, however, is that provision for two strategies in arts education should be made here, namely:

• general, non-performance education in all four of the arts strands up to the end of grade 9 (in the learning area of Culture and Arts); and

• focused, performance-based education for learners wanting to be educated at a higher level in at least one of the arts strands, up to grade 12. This can be made possible by allowing a choice of electives apart from the core set of standards, thereby opening up the possibility of taking one or more arts subject(s), on a focused or specialise4 level.

Unit standards arid outcomes for both these options should be made available. "All music students should have the chance to produce and respond to music in

all layers of musical discourse,

whatever the activity. If students are not working at a level in which they can exercise truly musical judgements they are unlikely to be developing the quality of their musical thinking" (Swanwick 2000: 10, italics by Bosman).

To equip the average learner for focused learning in music from grade 10 onwards, however, preparation has to start earlier. Depending on the instrument and specific style or genre, the learner may have to start as early as grade R/012 with tuition in an instrument.

At present a few limited options are available to an average South African pupil learning to play an instrument:

• Lessons can be taken from a private music instructor, after school hours and at the expense of the parents or as part of an outreach programme. The skills obtained in this way are seldom recognised at school level as elective studies.



The ideal starting time for a potential violinist, for example, is as early as grade RIO or grade I, with many learners even starting earlier.

• The potential player is left on his/her own, trying to learn by means of self-study.

This is not an ideal way to learn any instrument, as the careful guidance of a skilled teacher is essential for success.

• A few schools still offer, at the time of this thesis, instrumental tuition to music pupils. This can be taken either as school subject (for example where Music as school subject is provided), or after school hours at the few extra-curricular music centres remaining country-wide. Music as school subject usually offers a limited choice of instruments, as peripatetic teachers are costly to employ.

All the above implies that the parents or caregivers of the potential instrumentalist have to spend time and money for lessons after normal school hours. The potential player of the violin, guitar, sitar, or any other music instrument, has few other options available to obtain valuable tuition in instrumental playing, and also does not receive credits in the school curriculum for extra work done.

A more ideal way would be to integrate the first option above into a curriculum framework, implying that tuition on an instrument be included in the curriculum as elective studies,

14 thereby providing the learner with the possibility of attaining credits for appropriate NQF levels. In this way recognition of the value of music will be incorporated into the school curriculum, and a science-orientated curriculum be balanced with the humanities. "The fact is that what young people need most urgently to function effectively in the age of technology is a solid, well-balanced education based on language, mathematics, science, social studies and the arts" (Lehman 1993:204).

Furthermore, when recognising extra-curricular music education as credits on the school report, the curriculum could be enriched in many ways. Music does not only imply solo performance on an instrument, but often goes hand in hand with ensemble or orchestral


The exception to this situation is the University of South Africa (UNISA) who, in 1999, granted grade 12 accreditation for a grade VII perfonnance examination and grade V in theory, resulting in an extra subject for grade 12.


The author would like to draw the reader's attention to the fonnat of frameworks in the United States of

America, England and New Zealand, where music as elective study is offered and corresponding credits given.

These frameworks are discussed in chapter 3.

participation, composition, choir, musicals or revues done after school hours. Therefore these components could even be integrated into the school time-table, and recognition be awarded to participants in these fields.


The motivation for this is that all of these elements contribute towards a balanced education: "It would seem unwise to base any form of music education more or less exclusively on performing, whether in individual instrumental instruction or in ensembles. The evidence supports the view that students should have access to a range of musical possibilities, including composing and audience-listening" (Swanwick 2000: 11).

The MEUSSA group reached consensus during many workshops, held during 2000 and

2001, that instructional time for music in both primary and secondary school should not be regarded as an extra on -the timetable, but as an integral part of educational time. This is in line with what Lehman (1993:205) suggests:

• Primary school: instructional time at least seven to nine percent (100 to 150 minutes per week), provided by a specialist teacher assisted by a classroom teacher to carry on music instruction through the week between visits by the specialist teacher.

• Secondary school: enough periods to enable learners to elect courses in music and arts. Offerings should include bands, orchestras, choral groups, as well as classes in music literature, history, theory, composition and other fields of music. At least one course in music without prerequisites should be available to every student.

To experience music actively, either by playing an instrument or by singing, is, in the opinion of the author to be the ideal way to encourage early music encounters. This experience could gradually be supplemented by other music courses and experiences.

The possibility of electives in music (or another arts learning area) should be kept open for focused learning, apart from a basic c<;mrseavailable to all learners.

15Waterkloof Ho/!rskool, one of the leading schools in Gauteng, South Africa, is planning to use curricular time for an orchestra academy in the same way that curricular time is currently being used for their cricket academy, tennis academy and flight academy.

The MEUSSA project has as its main objective the generation of unit standards for mUsic(s) in Southern Africa. In the following paragraphs a brief explanation of this concept will be provided.

2.9 Points of departure for writing unit standards

The common building block of learning within the framework of the NQF is the unit standard. Olivier (2000:23) defines a standard as "an acknowledged basis for measuring attainment of criteria." According to him, the word "unit" in this context refers to the size of the learning package, or the quantity of learning embedded in the unit standard. The word

"standard" is concerned with the criteria, worth, quality, value, character or grade of the standard (2000:5).

The use of this means as a building block for the organisation of learning regarding content and values implies that the accumulation of credits as well as assessment strategy will be easily and clearly administrated. It also provides the potential of cross crediting, meaning that a learner could earn credits in one field or genre, and seamlessly move to another field without losing credits for a level already reached. This would then add flexibility to a previously fairly rigid system regarding content and the attainment of standards.

The fact that a learner would be able to earn credits for a certain amount of work done should, in practice, add to individual motivation levels. Assessment in this context would then imply that a learner could be assessed on the specific level that he/she has reached, and that the corresponding qualification via the credits then be awarded.

Before any starting points for the designing of a music curriculum and the completion of unit standards can be contemplated, a few clear and applicable objectives for music education from pre-school to tertiary level must be spelled out.

A very important aim for music education is that it should be available to all learners. In this way the multiple benefits of music making will be widespread, and to the advantage of the citizens of the future. In this process the best schools must be taken as models, and not the average or below-average schools: "What we have to ask is how we can achieve equality of

arts education for all children, not by dumbing down the best schools but by lifting the others" (Harland, as quoted by Gardner 2000:14).

Another aim is to provide music education of high quality, linked to the cultural upbringing and background of the learner and expanded from there. To achieve this, the continuous training of teachers is essential. "Just as we need well-trained maths teachers, we need welltrained arts specialists with real passion for their subject. If they are practising artists, so much the better" (Gardner 2000:14).

The feasibility of music literacy will be discussed by other memberS of the MEUSSA team, but the author is of the opinion that, as an aim for music education, this could benefit learners across all cultures, especially when applied in the primary school and on the same level as learning to read or to do mathematics. This has been done for decades in British schools, with the result that children's sight-singing abilities were famous at the turn of the nineteenth century (Rainbow 1996:11-12).

According to Gardner (1990:xiii), "The challenge in arts education is to modulate effectively among the values of the culture, the means available for arts education and assessment, and the particular developmental and individual profiles of the students who are to be educated."

2.11 Factors influencing the provision of unit standards

The previous line of argumentation means that the following aspects need to be kept in mind when writing unit standards for curricula:

• economic and practical issues - cost, financial support, qualified teachers and infrastructure;

• target goals of education - the expected outcomes at the end of the educational process.

Furthermore, Gardner (1990:45) is of the opinion that three components of education should be taken into consideration when arts education is discussed, namely

An important point of departure that the author wants to establish is, in the light of solid world-wide research

16 and the aforementioned argumentation, that music training should be shifted from its position as peripheral and optional subject to core subject. This is based on the fact that music provides:

• a potential to connect learners with their own culture and the cultural content of other peoples, therefore assisting in improved interpersonal relations.

• a growing number of links between music training and the sciences, which means that music has many more spin-offs than just the obvious musical benefits.

Cognitive skills that music learners seem to acquire are numerous (Martin 1995: 16), for example: interpreting symbols in new contexts, improving mathematical reasoning and exercising diverse problem-solving skills. Music thus seems to have a very practical impact on reasoning and problem solving - both imperative life skills.

• To practise an art form requires self-discipline, creativity and confidence. These acquired habits have positive applications in other areas of schooling and life environment (Seidel 1996:2).

• "The arts are worth studying because of what they are. Their impact cannot be denied" (MENC 1994a:23).

• The arts in all its forms are an integral part of daily life. To exclude this element from a curriculum would leave learners culturally disabled.


Compare the research of Gordon Shaw and Frances Rauscher in this regard. Also Howard Gardner's groundbreaking Frames o/Mind: A Theory o/Multiple Intelligence (New York 1983).

Hanshumaker (Musica Research Notes 1995:2) names, after studying a wide variety of available doctoral dissertations, even more beneficial effects of music education on social and intellectual development:

• Arts activities foster positive attitudes toward school, which resulted in lower rates of absentees.

• Arts education facilitates social development, personality adjustment and general intellectual development.

These findings correlate with the personal experience of a majority of music and arts teachers, author included, who have over many years witnessed the enhanced social, creative and intellectual development of music pupils in many areas of cognitive and personal development.

What could therefore be summarised as the main objectives of music education in a school curriculum?

Curriculum planning and the activity of providing unit standards reflect the current social value and standing of the specific subject in society. "The curriculum is the concrete expression of educational values, intents and experiences and, as such, provides a focus for shared reflection on the educational enterprise" (Wing 1992:196-197).

If schools were to be viewed as "factories", producing learners with commercial skills to be used as economically productive members of society only, the content of appropriate curricula would focus on commercial subjects, neglecting aspects of personal, creative and intellectual development. In this regard the author wants to quote Glasgow when he states that: "The most innovative and educational models are being created not in the schools but in corporate America" (1997:7).

Lyn Gardner remarks in her article in The Teacher (official magazine of the South African

Education Department, 2000:14), that the introduction of the National Curriculum during the late eighties saw the gradual declining of school music services because principals opted for

buying computers rather than music instruments, absorbing drama and dance into English and Physical Education.

Directly opposite to this view taken by principals in England, is the view expressed by

Lehman (1993:203) when he states that the wrong question to ask is, "What will it take to get a job?" A more important question regarding education should be "What will it take to live a rich, rewarding and satisfying life?" Getting a job is only one of the facets of living a full life.

To view schooling purely as a means to provide a work force for the corporate society would, in the opinion of the author, be a shallow, short-sighted and narrow-minded exercise.

If it were the intent of a curriculum to enhance the development of the total person, this would be reflected in the selection of important school subjects and the correlating unit standards for these subjects. Following this target would then imply including courses and subjects that would serve the enhancement of life qualities and personal development, and in the process enhance the societal fibre. The truth is that mankind's most memorable achievements are represented through works of art but, somehow, these are considered peripheral to the more serious business of manufacturing, economics or job-preparation

(Lehman 1993:203)'-

In her article in

The Teacher,

Lyn Gardner (2000:14) quotes a study published by the

National Foundation for Education Research in the United States, which showed that "large numbers of learners' [... ] are leaving school feeling that their arts experience at school had almost no impact on them". Furthermore, in spite of the fact that music plays an important role in most teenagers' lives, very little is learnt in secondary school.

When including the arts as core subject, the total person is involved and developed. The

Australian Curriculum Council (AQFAB 1998:12), for example, is adamant in its inclusion of the arts in the eight learning areas of the National Curriculum Framework when it says that this learning area involves the development of students' skills across a wide range of human activities.

"The arts develop verbal and physical skills, logical and intuitive thinking, interpersonal skills and spatial, rhythmic, visual and kinaesthetic awareness. They promote emotional intelligence, a way of understanding, using and making responses through the emotions and students' intra-personal qualities and experience. Through the arts, students learn to use and experiment with a range of traditional and emerging technologies."

In this regard, it is the opinion of the author that arts, and specifically music education of a very high quality should be provided for all children in Southern Africa. Low key, low quality education has never benefited any learner. This implies the training and motivation of the skilled music and arts teachers in schools to improve the standard of music education.

The viewpoint ofLyn Gardner (2000:14) is an important one in this regard, as she is of the opinion that "the single most crucial factor in the success of arts education appears to be the employment of specialist teachers who are passionate about their subjects." Children thrive on arts education when the teacher is able to demonstrate practical skills competently and enthusiastically.

When the social standing of music and the arts are to be reflected in the light of the current situation in South Africa at the start of the 21 st century, the picture seems to be dark and unpromising. Nieuwoudt (2000b), for example, quotes Dr. Ben Ngubane, Minister of Arts,

Culture, Science and Technology, as saying: "Daar is geen toekoms meer vir staatsondersteunde ballet~, opera- en orkesgeselskappe in Suid-Afrika nie." The translated version is as follows: "There is no future for government-supported ballet and opera companies or orchestras in this country any more."

Arts, especially Western art music and ballet, do not at present enjoy nearly enough financial and moral support from administrators in South Africa. It is therefore imperative for music specialists to ensure the survival of arts education, and then to combine survival with the providing of quality education while opening up new perspectives. Arts education in our country seems to lie in the hands of practitioners, private enterprise and specialists. A project that aims to formulate unit standards for music(s) in Southern Africa, such as the MEUSSA project, is therefore immensely valuable, as it needs to establish:

• the opportunity to include as many learners as possible in a ground phase of high quality, so as to enable the maximum social, creative and intellectual development of the learners.

The Australian edu~ational authorities maintained the status of the arts in the education of the youth, and described the relevance of the arts in the general school curriculum as follows:

The arts contribute to the development of an understanding of the physical, emotional, intellectual, aesthetic, social, moral and spiritual dimensions of human experience. They also assist the expression and identity of individuals and groups through the recording and sharing of experiences and imagination (Curriculum

Council of Western Australia 2000: 11).

The current Frameworks, with eight learning areas for secondary training in South Africa, make provision for the inclusion of Arts and Culture. The challenge would be to fill this learning area with unit standards for music education that is accessible, of high quality and relevant to learners in Southern Africa.

Keeping the previous line of discussion in mind, it is clear that the inclusion of arts education, and thus music education as well, needs to be reconceived and prioritised. It is this content of education that provides for a well-rounded and fully educated learner, as it also provides for a better learning environment. Perry (1973: 115) can be quoted here where he writes that "The fine arts play their part in enabling us to proceed from what we are, which is persons, to what we aim to be and in large measure are able to become and to remain, namely educated persons."

The backbone of the formal music educational scene in South Africa has been the Western art music tradition - a tradition that value knowledge and experience of musical elements and concepts, and encourages a high standard of performance. A single cultural group no more represents the population of South Africa. A mixture of foods, musics, languages, dance and visual art enriches the cultural heritage of a nation with eleven official languages and influences from as far as the Oriental, Indian, European, African and American cultures. This scenario demands that a fresh approach to education in South Africa, especially arts education, be used, with questions such as, "How should we express this new multi-faceted heritage through our curricular and cultural offerings? How should we address the hopes, dreams and - yes, fears of our new society?" (Burton 2000:2).

The fact is that a ~ulti-cultural society such as ours provides for different sets of value frameworks where the labelling and stereotyping of different genres and styles of music, as well as other art forms, are concerned. These different value frameworks have their origin in different cultures and sources of music experience.

They have to be acknowledged, addressed, and ultimately integrated into an inclusive music education. In expanding the content of music used for education, learners will benefit from the cultural practices of the microcosms of peoples in Southern Africa while maintaining the advantages of a music discipline.

The arts present a way to address these multi-cultural aspects of our rainbow nation; as it is the arts that provide a way to communicate and celebrate the different cultural practices of the peoples of South Africa. "Music captures the essence of a given culture, often providing a glimpse into the history, beliefs and traditions, allowing the culture to express its cultural heritage and demonstrate how the people work, celebrate, worship, court and amuse" (Burton


As the current curricula of music in South Africa in no way represent the multi-cultural music practices of this country, new perspectives and novel ways of approaching this state of affairs are urgently needed. Children need to be encouraged and supported to explore their own cultural history as well as that of others, and be given the opportunity to practise music actively. This situation requires that a new curriculum, reflecting the different musical values and styles of different groups of people, needs to be conceived. This new curriculum has to include many genres of music, including all aspects of Western (art and popular) music, jazz,

African music, Indian music and World musics, as well as the traditional areas such as

Harmony, Aural training, Form, History of Music and General Music. New divisions such as

Music Technology, Music Industry and Media are still relatively unexplored, and need to be included as options.

According to Leonhard (1999:42), few music educators are familiar with contemporary popular music from which their students are getting their education in music through the recording and broad;casting media outside school hours. In the same breath it could be said that other genres like jazz, African and other ethnic music, as well as contemporary art music



a bigger slice of the music education cake, because it is in these genres that the present generation comfortably express themselves.

"The music that most kids are doing today is not being taught in schools. My musical experience has been largely outside school although perhaps my introduction to music was first from inside school" (Odam 1996:186). The incorporation of many more gemes of music in the subject of Music seems to be lacking in the current approach, and three possible reasons could be provided for this situation:

• Teachers are themselves unfamiliar with one or more of the gemes such as pop music, jazz, African or Indian music. "Most teachers have gone through the old system. They don't listen to pop music or understand it" (Odam 1996:186).

• Many examples of music from these gemes are presumed Gustly or not) of inferior quality, and for this reason omitted for the sake of other "more serious" gemes. In the process of generally classifying, for example, all pop music as being of lesser quality, the teacher not only cuts off communication with his/her learners, but narrows musical experience in the class.

• A lack of facilities hampers the potential to utilise as many gemes in the musical field as possible. To be able to provide a wide basis in, for example, music listening and appraisal, a school needs a substantial collection of compact discs from different musical styles, countries and periods together with the necessary equipment to accurately produce these sounds. "Schools haven't got the right equipment or the right sort of rooms to work in" (Odam 1996:186).

These few observations make it clear that class and instrumental music teachers have, generally speaking, too little knowledge about the music that fills the days of the learners in their classes. Furthermore it may be said that the content of music taught in class does not provide learners with a chance to develop a keen ear to distinguish between higher and lower quality in the everyday music that is heard on the radio and popular concerts. Another vacuum may be that music of our time, playing composers such as Luciano Berio, Krzysztof

Penderecki, James MacMillan, John Tavener, Arvo Part and Einojuhani Rautavaara does not receive enough exp?sure - generally because of a lack of knowledge on the part of the teacher.

· Does this mean that learners have to be allowed own free choice when selecting suitable musical material fo~ educational purposes? "Unfortunately too much music today inspires young to the use of drugs, the abuse of sex, and the inclination to violence. The schools can do a lot to encourage children to listen to the right kind of music during the formative years"

(Artsedge 2000:2). In other words - the inclusion of a wider range of musical genres needs to be done with care, consideration for quality and sensitivity, as not all music can be said to have a positive influence on its listeners. In this regard it can be expected that the' music teachers in schools must be expected to have both the knowledge and ability to distinguish exactly which musical content to use in the educational process.

As a consequence of this, the ongoing training of music staff is imperative. Teachers need to be kept informed so as to be able to integrate music education with the everyday life of the learners in their classes. "In many places, more teachers with credentials in the arts, as well as better-trained teachers in general, will be needed. [T]he primary issue is to bring together and deliver a broad range of competent instruction" (MENC 1994a:63).

In short - learners must be allowed to experience, make and learn about all kinds of music at school, from Pop and Swing, to Classical and Jazz. In the words of Danny Farrant, seventeen-year old British learner: "Everyone should have as broad an education as possible and choose which way they want to go at the end of it" (Odam 1996: 187).

The challenge for music educators, when developing a music framework and general curriculum, thus asks that students be assisted to experience a broad, inclusive musical education that positively influences, forms and prepares them to become responsible and mature adults.

The general direction of music education in South Africa is moving towards widening the canon of the discourse by including all genres of music practised in the country and broadening the perspective of using Western art music as the only basis for music teaching.


For a start, some obstacles therefore had to be overcome and pre-set ideas changed within the


A detailed motivation for this statement is provided by the author in chapter 4, which provides a postmodem view on music education.

MEUSSA group itself. Because this group has exponents of all the major musical styles in

South Africa, the problems encountered in the group may, to a large extent, be considered as representative of potential problems in the South African music education scenario.

One of the problems of providing a coherent set of unit standards for musics in South Africa, is the cross-cultural issue. As the population in this country consists of diverse cultural and ethnic groups, the provision of an inclusive set of unit standards can pose substantial problems, as it is sometimes difficult to separate content (musical concepts) from value (an emotional dimension of cultural content) and approach.


"The relative effects and merits of

Western influence o~ cultures is often the basis for many questions among art educators" (art


Hurwitz 1984:58-59). Especially in African countries the tension between Western culture and traditional art forms can provide areas of disagreement between curriculum planners.

"Neither country [Nigeria and Ghana] is going to cast off traditional art forms because in many cases these are still bound up with local life styles and with nonvisual art forms, yet both countries look to the West for guidance in planning curricula" (art & Hurwitz 1984:58-


A relevant question to ask in the context of the South African diversity of cultures is: "How does one institutionalise forces that have been accepted as a way of life? And, how does one preserve art forms ~at are linked to customs that are the casualties of progress?" (art &

Huiwitz 1984:58-59).

Other questions to pose may be: how may a way be presented in which to incorporate local art forms and cultures into a school environment and curriculum? Are children in urban and rural areas exposed to the same cultural content? Can this content be formalised in a curriculum?

(for example the relative content of popular music heard on the radio and television as compared to traditional cultural content of ethnic music).


The MEUSSA team often came across these differences within our own group. Because not all participants were trained in the same genre, it was sometimes difficult to formulate, for example, one approach to


In the Western tradition, ''performing'' means reproducing/recreating and interpreting the written score accurately, but in the Indian, African or Jazz idiom the concept of producing/creating is an integral part of performing.

Further typical problems encountered specifically in South Africa in the process of establishing a set of inclusive, high quality unit standards for musics, were, inter alia:

• There is a serious lack of funding and infrastructure, as there is a large occurrence of poverty in different parts of the country. Funding for instrumental teaching and learning is vi~ly non-existent in all layers of the South African society.

• Communication between practitioners of Western art forms, popular music and traditional art forms is often experienced as cumbersome or absent.

• The varying character of traditional art forms in different parts of the country makes it difficult to pinpoint a version of standards to use in curricula for the whole country.

• There are different levels of schooling and education in different regions of the country, as .wellas drastically varying levels of skilled teachers.

• The provision of different styles and genres at the same outcome level, so as to formalise standards for different kinds and genres of music, is foreseen as potentially difficult. The technical content of Western art music and a piece of music in pop and rock style could, for example, be widely different.

• There is a big gulf between classroom music (non-performance-based) and instrumental teaching and learning (performance-based).

As the above list suggests, music education in South Africa faces many challenges, another of which is the way formal music education might relate to the musical content of society.

Styles such as popular, commercial and indigenous music styles and genres, which are part of everyday community life, must be considered in the formal education of music, as it is undesirable to divide music into "school music" and "everyday music". Lepherd (1994:5) summarises this effectively when he alleges that "What is promoted in music education in schools will be incr

7 asingly challenged as young people are influenced more by the world around them."

The performing aspect of music education in South Africa has, like in many Western and non-Western countries world-wide, been primarily offered by private or peripatetic teachers.

These students usually perform in external examinations offered by the three examination bodies in South Africa, namely the University of South Africa (UNISA), the Associated

Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and Trinity College of London. Pupils taking private lessons formed, and still form, a substantial part of music audiences, music players and music-buying citizens in the classical genre.

Music education should ideally start before a child enters formal education. Many preschools offer music experiences to children between three and six years old. This often includes performing on Orff instruments, doing a little music appreciation, moving to music and singing songs, but worthwhile music experiences are erratic and many learners are still excluded from music as core subject at this important phase.

In South Africa, pre-school education usually continues with general class music in primary school, but in this system there is little or no chance of performing for individual learners, except outside of nOfIllalschool hours and structures. Learners taking lessons on one or more instruments outside school hours are also not credited within the formal school structure, for example as an extra subject on their school report form.

Secondary school music experiences are usually scaled down drastically, with worthwhile musical experiences only available to children of paying parents taking music as extracurricular subject. Music education then normally continues with a learner taking private instrumental (performing) and theory lessons. This scenario is not uncommon - the British scene was already described in 1963 by Chisholm (1963:189-190) as follows: "After nursery and elementary school our educational systems do little to develop the natural creative attributes of the child and much to strangle and stifle them - and that, in the interest of human development, happiness and fulfilment, it is desirable to alter this state of affairs". The

National Curriculum, introduced in 2000, attempted to change this state of affairs by offering

General Music as school subject from pre-school to year 13 of the school structure. An option of following' a performance-based or composition-based course in music was also made available.



The reader is referred to chapter 3, section 3.9.3, where the music content of the National Curriculum is discussed in more detail.

The current approach to general education by the South African educational authorities is very concerned with subjects such as Mathematics and Sciences, and less concerned with spending the same proportion of school time on developing creativity and cultivating an artsrelated discipline. This tendency is also not unique to South Africa: Crozier (1998:50), for example, explains in an article in the

Music Teacher

the British music educators' fear of losing the subject's place in the primary school timetable as a result of the proposed improved literacy and numeracy standard policy. Music is still offered as a subject in many

South African secondary schools, although budget cuts have forced the exit of many skilled music teachers as well as the termination of Music as a school subject in many schools.

This is a sad state of affairs, because "all children are naturally creative, but by the time they enter a secondary school have had most of the creative faculty knocked out of them - or so I believed. [But] the creative instinct has not been strangled, but has only been lying dormant, waiting to be awakened by an intelligent hand" (Chisholm 1963:189).

It is the opinion of the author that by performing on an instrument in any genre of music, a learner is benefiting from the multiple advantages of practising a form of the arts, developing the potential as an educated and rounded person. There is a huge gap between "real" music

(experienced by performing) and, what Crozier (1998:50) calls, the

Peter and the Wolf approach,

implying music taught without experiencing music-making first hand. The author agrees with Crozier that the last-mentioned method does not utilise the natural creativity and curiosity of the majority of learners, but merely provides a superficial overview of a vast subject. "It is our duty to unravel the tragedy enacted upon the child - a being full of life, creativeness and potential nobility when born, slowly as he grows, descending in tone to a state of mediocrity and unawareness with the varying symptoms that accompany the loss of creativeness, those of discontent, frustration, delinquency, nervous disorders and worse"

The author also shares the viewpoint offered by Lepherd (1994:3) that "music education does not exist in a vacuum. A national system is the way it is because of the factors that have influenced its development".

Therefore the MEUSSA team, with the provision of unit standards, can play a vital role in determining the direction of music education in South

Africa, facilitating quality education to learners from the foundation phase to the end of compulsory schooling and beyond.

The author is of the opinion that it is very difficult, and certainly not ideal, to be educated in music without experiencing the performance aspect. Without being able to experience music first hand, either by singing or by performing on an instrument, a learner may find it difficult to understand the discipline of Music.

There are a number of ways to encourage music education through performance on one 'or more instruments. One way of achieving this could be by allowing for extra credits on the

The normal practice in South Africa at the moment (2001) does not allow for formal recognition of hard work done after school hours in the field of music performing.

Another way of en~ouraging music education through performance is by running music programmes in collaboration with professional institutions. As an example the "Time for

Bows" programme, initiated by the Eastman School of Music in the Enrico Fermi

Elementary School in Rochester, New York (Fitzpatrick 1999: 30-32) may be cited. This programme was designed as a community-based programme "sturdy enough to succeed under less than ideal conditions". By providing tuition and supervised practising time, a youth string orchestra was established which had as its aim a community education project with a broad approach to music education.

A third option is to include genres other than classical music in the curriculum for music education. Chisholm (1963:196), for example, suggested the inclusion of jazz in the school curriculum as early as the 1960s: "I am all in favour of persons getting out their instruments and playing jazz happily together - particularly young persons whose vital creative spark has not been bull-dozed out of existence [... ]. Firstly, it is great fun and, secondly, it is creative and gives a deep-rooted satisfaction to the performer".

For music education to have an impact on or benefit for the average learner, Lehman

(1993:205-207) states eight requirements that need to be addressed:

• Every primary and secondary school must offer a comprehensive, balanced, sequential, high quality programme of music instruction, taught by qualified

educators. These should, ideally, be specialist teachers assisted by generalist teachers.

• Objectives for music instruction should be explained in simple and clear language, stating what the pupils should know and be able to do, and bypassing "esoteric jargon".

• Minimum expectations for the various levels of achievement in music should be clearly outlined, avoiding vague descriptions and foggy rhetoric.

• Music learning must be based on skills and knowledge, and the idea that music is only fun and games, or serving the aim of entertainment, must be avoided at all costs. Using this angle of music education serves the perception that music is a frill that may be QIllittedif necessary.

• Music education programmes must be made public and visible in order to build a solid base of support of parents, community, and eventually every "decision-maker, opinion-mou!.derand taxpayer".

• Natural allies such as arts councils, music clubs, arts organisations and other support groups must be mobilised to work on behalf of music education and arts programmes in schools.

• Pre-service teacher education should be at a very high level, meaning that music teachers should be fine musicians themselves, as well as enthusiastic and able teachers. "They should be able to analyse, describe, and discuss music knowledgeably. They should be able to improvise, compose, and arrange music"

(Lehman 1993:207).

• Music teachers need to be treated as professionals, meaning that their professional judgement needs to be valued, and sufficient equipment, materials, facilities and time to do their job need to be supplied.

These requirements' should, in the opinion of the author, enjoy high priority in the South

African educational policy regarding music education. It is still not true that a

"comprehensive, [... ] high quality programme of music instruction" is provided in all schools, neither that ample skilled music teachers are valued and trained to achieve this. In

.short, commitment to quality education means providing both the teaching materials and the teaching skills to comply with high quality music education. "How can any school without a strong programme in music and the arts claim to have a serious commitment to quality education?" (Lehman 1993:207).

Currently (2001), Music may be taken on three levels in those South African schools still offering Music as a subject, namely:

• Music on higher grade (harmony, aural training, form and history, with a first instrument on performance level);

• Music on standard grade (harmony, aural training, form and history with an instrument on a performance level of one grade lower than the higher grade); and

Music Performance (no theoretical components, usually taken in combination with the higher grade subject, and incorporating performance on a second instrument on one level lower than that of the standard grade, or two grades lower than the higher grade).

The system of formal music education in schools in South Africa takes Western art music as point of departure. In the modernist narrative, Western art music is regarded as having superior artistic merit, but "a price has to be paid, however, for the achievement of these towering heights. The price is that with our world of music divided into a handful of creative musicians and an army of recreative musicians whose sole function in the art of music is the almost mechanical one of bringing again to life the ideas, musical thoughts and sound patterns of the creators, the' majority of musicians are denied the opportunity of exercising their creative instincts" (Chisholm 1963: 196).

This approach also excludes those learners who participate in other genres, stemming from traditions that integrate performing and creating such as Indian music, African music, popular music and jazz. Because these music genres form an integral part of the culture of the majority of students, in the South African community, a serious re-evaluation of educational perspectives needs to be taken: "In music education there is also the need to examine the musical context of the society. This includes the nature of the music - a nation's traditional music as well as other forms, and the current national climate for music - the extent to which

national or local organisations of a variety of kinds influence directly the provisions for music education" (Lepherd 1994:3).

To address this vacuum, the inclusion of more genres of music into the curriculum must be considered, as well as the enrichment of the Western content with aspects such as improvisation and studying or practising music of other cultures, genres or styles. The area of popular music should, for example, be addressed by music educators, because this genre of music forms an integral part of the world which the average learner experiences from day to day. To approach music education this way is in line with a postmodern approach, as will be outlined in chapter 4.

As part of the MEUSSA team, the author wants to present relevant suggestions that were made by this group after discussing the frameworks of the USA during a workshop:

• The music education situation in the USA makes provision for many levels, but the group suggests that the current three levels in South Africa (Lower Grade, Standard

Grade and Higher Grade) could be kept the same, but used in a more flexible way.

• Instruction in Music theory need not be introduced from the start, but when added later in the course of music study, more weight can be given to the performance aspect.

• The main goal of music education should not be to train specialist musicians, but to provide a general education and opportunity for experiences in music.

• Focused, career-orientated schooling for exceptionally talented young musicians should, however, also be available, as it prepares them for a viable future.

More suggestions for music education in South Africa, additional to the above-mentioned, will be presented by the author in chapter 3, after critically investigating unit standards of the

USA, Australia, England and New Zealand.

"We have learned that musical doing, thinking and feeling are essential ways in which humans make contact with, internalise, express, critique, and influence their cultural contexts" (Reimer 1999:43). It is the obligation of music educators to keep the contents of the music curriculum in touch with this past and present cultural and historical context. It is

also the task of music educators to "celebrate the human capacity to express inner thoughts and feelings that transcend cultural, political, temporal and geographical barriers" (Beglarian


• the individual (maintaining a person's physical, emotional and intellectual wellbeing, enhancing spatial and abstract reasoning skills);

• the community (improving religious service, balancing the negative effects of scientific and technological progress, providing good social and moral influence); and

This project, with leader Professor Caroline van Niekerk and co-leader Professor Heinrich van der Mescht, fills an urgent need for the re-evaluation and re-engineering of music education in Southern Africa.

In order to be able to write unit standards for Southern African mUSICS,two main perspectives had to be kept in mind, namely

• The format and content of frameworks and unit standards available in various countries;

I and

Apart from these two perspectives, the on-going process of providing musical experience to and creating musical awareness in the learners had to be continually kept in mind. This aim could be described as assisting learners to experience music as "an essential strand in the human fibre" (Swanwick 1988b:3).

The matter of change in education also needed to be faced. The extent to which a society changes, usually necessitates change in education as well. This change in education includes music education, as "music education, as part of the educational process, is as inextricably involved with change as any other aspect of education" (Lepherd 1994:5). Furthermore:

"Education only flourishes if it successfully adapts to the demands and needs of time"

(England 1999:5).

Another need - one which provides quite another perspective to the music educational aspects

- is the urgency of providing a clear set of instructional directions for music and music teaching. Swanwick (1996:21) defines this quest for instructional objectives: "Much


The following words describe the process in the United States of America that preceded the National

American Arts Standards. This process shows some similarities with that of the MEUSSA project to provide standards for musics in South Africa: "This document is the result of an extended process of consensus-building that drew on the broadest possible range of expertise and participation. The process involved the review of state-level arts education frameworks, standards from other nations and consideration at a series of national forums" (MENC 1994a:22).

knowledge may indeed be


we know more than we can tell, or indeed 'want to be bothered to tell." The intuitive character of musical tuition needs to be replaced with a more articulate directory of knowledge, skills, values and understanding.

South Africa is in a favourable position to benefit from the most recent international developments regarding educational structures. The fact that a new dispensation for, inter alia, education was' launched in 1994 created an opportunity for gaining from the most positive directions world-wide. This means that present educational structures and contents in

Southern Africa can be moulded to fit the current scenario and momentum world-wide as well as locally.

The format of South African learning content and learning outcomes as currently prescribed by SAQA, will be in the form of frameworks

2 and unit standards. This format closely correlates with that introduced in four countries world-wide, namely the United States of

America (1994), Australia (1995), New Zealand (1999) and England (2000). To provide a sound basis for the writing of unit standards by the MEUSSA project, these frameworks had to be studied closcl.y. The unique Southern African context, however, required a fresh approach to provide a structure that is compatible with the indigenous scenario, cultural content, as well as the availability of trained staff, equipment and financial resources.

What is a framework? According to the Nebraska Department of Education, frameworks are a resource for educators to improve the quality of instruction and education for all learners through the systemic change process. "Frameworks are not a mandate; rather, local districts may use the frameworks to determine and implement the concepts, ideas and practices offered here" (Nebraska 2000e). Frameworks are, in other words, the outline from where a curriculum can be interpreted, and this outline provides the skeleton for curriculum design.


"A curriculum framework is a philosophical and organisational framework which sets out guidelines for teaching and learning" (South Africa 1997:16). "It is neither a curriculum, nor a syllabus, but a framework identifies common learning outcomes for all students [...


It is intended to give schools and teachers flexibility and ownership over curriculum in a dynamic and rapidly-changing world environment" (Curriculum Council of

Western Australia 2000:3).

Therefore, frameworks are not concerned with the detailed content or curricula for subjects, but: "The standards are concerned with the


(in the form of student learning) that come from a basic education in the arts,

not with how those results ought to be delivered.

Those matters are for states, localities and classroom teachers to decide" (MENC 1994a:22).

Some of the advantages of providing an educational system in terms of frameworks, unit standards and the corresponding qualifications

3 acquired, as currently also being developed .

in South Africa by SAQA and appropriate SGBs, are the following (Irwin 1997:3):

• Existing knOWledge and skills are recognised, no matter how and when acquired.

The approach of gaining purely academic qualifications without recognising skills and knowledge earned in a workplace or in an informal way is challenged.

• Progression is encouraged, as credits would count towards qualifications to be acquired, and could be earned throughout the primary, secondary and tertiary education phases, as well as in the industry.

• Cross crediting and the potential to "mix-and-match" unit standards while retaining credits would provide for a flexible system.

All systems also have disadvantages, however, and some weak points in this process will inevitably be detected and experienced. Potential problems and possible pitfalls foreseen by the author of this th~sis are briefly outlined in the following remarks:

• Excessive expectations must be avoided. All the deficiencies of the present system cannot be swept aside at once.

• No system is perfect. Unit standards registered on a qualifications framework will provide for a new approach to music education, but teething problems will have to be expected.


According to the Australian Qualifications Framework, a qualification is defined as follows: "Formal certification, issued by a relevant approved body, in recognition that a person has achieved learning outcomes or competencies relevant to identified individual, professional, industry or community needs" (AQF AB 1998:8).

• As the scope of music genre's is widened to include the musics of more cultural groups in th~ country, the establishment of similar credits and qualifications across different genres could present difficulties.

• Teacher training, which proved to be of utmost importance in the process of establishing a new approach to music education in the USA, is costly and timeconsuming, but needs to be addressed. "Since it is impossible to teach what one does not know, [it] will require professional development for many teachers and changes in teacher preparation programmes" (Artsedge 2000:24). Without the necessary expertise in the ranks of the teaching profession, the whole exercise of providing unit Standards for musics in Southern Africa could experience an early failure, or could result in a highly unacceptable situation of the lowering of standards.

• Practices that proved to be effective in the previous curriculum should not be discarded in .favour of an all-new system. In the words of Comte (1993:35): "We tend too often to 'throw out the baby with the bath water"'. A careful evaluation should be made of positive elements and foundations in the music education curriculum up to now (200I) and possible limitations and needs be identified. These findings should then be correlated with the desired outcomes of a new educational approach in music.

For success in a system like outcomes-based education, founded on unit standards, specific requisites need to be met. One of these concerns the support that a programme such as music education enjoys from government administrators, community music specialists, educational infrastructure and parents. In this regard the author compared the support system of the four countries mentioned in the introduction to this chapter (USA, Australia, New Zealand and

England) to assess governmental support for their music education programmes in comparison with both the potential and required support for a comparable programme in

· Southern Africa. A few general remarks in this regard will be presented in the following paragraphs.


According to Wing (1992:207-208), curriculum change is effected through the participation and support of all concerned with the school programme - administrators, board members, classroom teachers, art specialists and community arts people. A good example of effective governmental suppo~ is the process of providing frameworks for musics in the USA, ~ done by the Consortium of National Arts Education. This process was financially and strategically supported by the National Endowment of the Arts, the United States Department of

Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

At the start of the MEUSSA project in 2000 such support was not the case in South Africa, as facilitating unit standards for only the ten most widely used subjects could be funded by the

Department of Education. Since then this situation has changed early in 2001, as funding for the generation of unit standards for music, under the umbrella of NSB 02, has been made available by SAQA. Three Music SGBs were consequently launched in August 2001, namely one each for Music HET, Music GET and Music Industry.

The matter of infrastructure, staffing and facilities in South African music education is at present burdened with huge under-provision.

Music teachers country-wide have in the past struggled with a minimum of instruments, equipment, administrative support and school hours. Trying to keep music education on a high level normally meant and still means struggling against many odds as well as teaching core music subjects after school hours, leaving the impression that this is a non-curricular activity, and therefore less important.

As a starting point of providing unit standards for music in Southern Africa, the author will proceed to investigate the content of the frameworks of four countries that have recently produced frameworks. These are


A more detailed discussion of aspects such as staffing and facilities in each country does not lie within the scope of this thesis.

The following section will examine the National Standards of the USA, with a specific focus on aspects that are relevant in a Southern African context.

Mark & Gary (1992:vii-viii), when describing the blossoming of music education in

American public schools, quote Hanson as saying that America has surpassed itself in the establishment of school music in public schools, and that this movement has acquired world significance. This is echoed in the Nebraska Qualifications Framework (Nebraska 2000f: 1):

The study of music in our nation's schools has a long and proud tradition dating back to the inclusion of music in the curriculum of the Boston Public Schools in

1838. Today, virtually every school in the United States includes at least some music instruction in its curriculum.

In the middle of the 20


century the American school curriculum was favouring Science and

Mathematics, a result of the gaining importance of space technology.

Public education leaders, however, viewed this state of affairs as potentially dangerous. Consequently the

American Association of School Administrators, as quoted in Mark & Gary (1992:332), issued the following statement in 1959:

We believe in a well-balanced school curriculum in which music, drama, painting, poetry, sculpture, architecture and the like are included side by side with other important subjects such as mathematics, history and science.

More than 30 years later, the 1983 publication A Nation at Risk (by the National Commission on Excellence in Education) was seen by many American educators as the initiating event of

the modem standa,rdss movement in the United States of America. In this document educators were, amongst other things, warned that the school system was facing a "rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and a people" (McREL 1997b:1). A call for educational reform was formulated as an urgent matter in this publication.

As a result, an education summit called in 1989 by President George Bush and fifty governors, concluded with six broad national goals for education for the year 2000. Two of these were aimed specifically at academic achievement (McREL 1997b), of which one, namely the third goal, correlates with the South African Draft Document released in May

2000 by Minister Kader Asmal, current Minister of Education in South Africa. This third goal was formulated,as follows in the USA (McREL 1997b:3):

[E]very school in America will ensure that all students learn to use their minds well, so they may be prepared for responsible citizenship, further learning and productive,employment in our modem economy.

Educational goals for South Africa were formulated and set forth in a draft document by

Minister Kader Asmal during May 2000. Two relevant national curriculum goals in the aforementioned Draft Document of the National Curriculum Framework (South Africa

2000: 12), when compared to the American educational goal mentioned in this paragraph, are as follows:

Other educational goals for the USA named five subjects (English, Mathematics, Science,

History and Geography) for which challenging national achievement standards were to be established. Arts were initially not part of this strategy, as "This publication seems to take the view that education is important largely for its contribution to the nation's economic welfare"

(Lehman 1993:203). In 2000, however, the number of areas for which students should


"Standards [... ] appeared at different levels of organisation and structure. Standards provide a way of organising information, that is, the benchmarks that identify important declarative, procedural and contextual knowledge" (McREL 1997d:8).

demonstrate "competency over challenging subject matters" were increased to nine, and now included Foreign languages, Economics, Civics and Government and, very importantly, the

Arts (McREL 1997b:6).

Efforts to identify standards in the fields of science, civics, dance, theatre, mUSIC,art, language arts and history, to name but a few, soon followed after this summit. The

Consortium of National Arts Education Associations, after receiving a grant in 1992 from the

US Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National

Endowment for the Humanities, published standards for Arts in March 1994 to determine what children should know and be able to do in the arts. Four strands for the arts were identified, namely dance, music, theatre and the visual arts.

"The standards are one outcome of the education reform effort generated in the 1980s, which emerged in several states and attained nation-wide visibility with the publication of

A Nation

at Risk in 1983" (MENC 1994a:22). From 1996 a total of 48 states were in the process of developing common'academic standards.


Another motivational advance was the widespread agreement among professional leaders in education, political leaders of both parties (Republican and Democratic) and the general public that every student should receive education in music and other arts in school, and furthermore that the arts are an essential component in an overall balanced curriculum

(MENC 1994b:2). This policy, if properly applied, implies the provision of sufficient support by the educational system in terms of facilities, teaching staff, materials, equipment and opportunities to enable effective learning.

Lehman (1997:1) states that standards (expressed in terms of what students should know and be able to do) provide a basis for justifying the entire educational process and making it consistent in a way that has never before been possible. Standards, in other words, provide a


The Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory (McREL) began a systematic collection, review and analysis of noteworthy national and state curriculum documents in all subject areas.

Content Know/edge: A

Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K- J



a synthesis of standards in all subject areas, was published by McREL in December 1995. The documents on music standards are explored extensively in this thesis.

single, unified focus for developing curriculum, creating teaching strategies, assessmg learning, and reforming teacher education.

An important supportive perspective during this time was supplied by the input of SCANS

(the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, appointed by the Secretary of

Labour to determin~ the skills young people need to succeed in the world of work). This commission described the knowledge and skills necessary for success in the workplace

(McREL 1997b:3), and also identified a three-part analysis of skills and personal qualities that American students needed to be productive members of the work force (McREL


• The first part involved academic training, such as reading, writing, arithmetic, and mathematics, speaking and listening.

• The second part involved mind skills, such as "thinking creatively, making decisions, solving problems, seeing things in the mind's eye, knowing how to learn and reasoning" (McREL 1997e:4).

• The third part involved lifelong learning skills such as individual responsibility, self-esteem, integrity and self-management.

In 1997 a call was made by President Bill Clinton to adopt high national education standards, asking that every state should, by 1999, test every 4 th grader in reading and every 8 th grader in mathematics to make sure that these standards are met (McREL 1997b:9).

In the light of the foregoing it is clear that competent educational standards were regarded as a priority by American authorities, and these included standards in the arts as a core subject.

Common standards of high quality are important because they provide guidance as to the nature of a good education in the arts, as well as letting the arts earn a place in core education instead of being treated as optional (MENC 1994a:22). Mind skills, such as thinking creatively, seeing in the mind's eye or solving problems (such as the second part of the

SCANS analysis of necessary skills and personal qualities) form an inherent part of arts tuition, and would therefore be encouraged by the inclusion of the arts as core subject.

The implementation of a set of challenging and world-class standards is, in the light of the previous paragraphs~viewed by the American public as apriority. One of the goals of a 1989 summit on the educational preparation of the national youth, for example, stated that students

of the United States should, by the year 2000, be first In the world in science and mathematics achievement (McREL 1997b:1).

Arts education standards can make a difference because, in the end, they speak powerfully to two fundamental issues that pervade all education - quality and accountability. They help to ensure that the study of arts is disciplined and well focused, and that arts instruction has a point of reference for assessing its results

(Artsedge 1994:9).

The American educ?tion system uses a standards-based approach to education, and has no national curriculum. National standards provide a different perspective for education in the sense that they "speak of competencies, not a pre-determined course of study" (Artsedge

2000:12). In other words, explicit statements of the results expected at specified levels are prescribed, and not' detailed curriculum content. These standards are also a reflection of national values and beliefs regarding the position of the arts in the community.

American standards are written in the format of nine content standards, with several benchmarks,

7 or achievement standards, grouped under the content standards. The content standard defines what students should know and be able to do in the different arts disciplines for all grades, while the achievement standards (previously called benchmarks) describe the desired outcomes and levels of achievement expected from the students in order to attain the competency. For achievement standards terminology like "sing independently, perform expressively, create, identify, and demonstrate" is used.

According to former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, one of the chief architects of the modem standards movement (McREL 1997b:9), standards are important in the American education system because:


"The benchmark is the smallest unit of analysis. [I]t can be characterised as being declarative, procedural or contextual in the type of knowledge it describes" (McREL 1997d:6). "In summary, a benchmark can be described as an 'interval' of levels of generality in the description of information and skills" (McREL 1997d:7).

• Standards provide a common'set of expectations.

Furthermore she asserts that high standards ''will improve the effectiveness of American education, by clearly defining what is to be taught and what kind of performance is expected"

(McREL 1997b:9).

According to the authors in the Artsedge document (2000:9-10), arts education standards can make a difference, b~cause the standards are insisting and ensuring that:

• Arts education is not a hit-and-miss effort, but a sequenced learning enterprise across the four arts disciplines, thus ensuring basic arts literacy.

• Arts education takes a hands-on orientation by letting students be continually and creatively involved in the study of the arts.

• Students are taught to use technology to understand the relationship between the use of essential technical means and the achievement of desired ends.

• Students are helped to develop problem-solving and higher-order skills, which are necessary for success in life and work.

Paul Lehman, an ihfluential American music educator and past MENC president, also supports the standards when he writes that (Lehman 1997: 1):

• Standards demonstrate the types of learning and the levels of achievement that are desired.

• Standards give a basis for claiming needed resources. If students are expected to acquire specific skills and knowledge, specific minimum levels of time, materials, equipment and support will need to be set.

• The ultimate justification for standards is that they provide a vision for music education.

Providing, arts education in the form of unit standards also assists students in forming a broader understanding of interrelated areas. Learning about the visual arts or music of a country could, for e~ample, gradually lead to a better understanding of the cultures, politics

and values of the people of that country. Furthermore, the investigation of visual, traditional and performing arts provides a variety of lenses for investigating different cultures within a country.

• They help define what a good education in the arts should contain, namely a thorough foundation of knowledge and skills to understand, and achieve in, 'the specific arts discipline.

• A clear set of high quality standards, when adopted by a state or school, provides specific levels of quality, attainment and effective learning within a given structure.

In this sense they would help to improve quality of teaching and learning.

The Music Educators National Conference (MENC) believes that every student at every level, PreK-12, should have access to a balanced, comprehensive and sequential programme of instruction in music and the other arts, in school, taught by qualified teachers (MENC 1994b:2).

Arts education in the United States of America is written into federal law so as to ensure

"that no young American is deprived of the chance to meet the content and performance, or achievement, standards established in the various disciplines because of the failure of his or her school to provide an adequate learning environment" (MENC 1994a:22:). "This law acknowledges that arts are a core subject, as important to education as English, mathematics, history, civics and government, geography, science and foreign language" (Artsedge


Voluntary national standards for the arts, which address both content and achievement, were developed by the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations and approved by the

National Committee for Standards in the Arts in 1994.


The final document, What Every

Young American Should Know and Be Able to Do in the Arts, was published in 1994 with standards for every strand of the arts field (dance, music, theatre and the visual arts) organised in clusters for K-grade 4, grades 5-8 and grades 9-12 (McREL 1997c:4).

The process of writing these National Standards incorporated professional input by the arts community, the education community and the public and private sectors (MENC 1994b:2).

Many states in the United States have, since then, developed their own sets of standards, or frameworks, based on the National Standards.

On completion of secondary school, the standards require that students be able to do the following (Artsedge 2000:28):

• They should be able to communicate at a basic level in the four arts disciplines, including the use of basic vocabularies, materials, tools, techniques and intellectual methods.

• They should be able to communicate proficiently in at least one art form, including technical and artistic insight and proficiency.

• They should be able to develop and present basic analysis of works of arts, including the:ability to understand and evaluate work in the various art disciplines.

• They should have an informed acquaintance with exemplary works of art from a variety of cultures and historical periods.

• They should .be able to relate various types of arts knowledge and skills within and across the arts disciplines.

The goal of the standards in arts education is, finally, to "arrive at a broad-based, wellgrounded understanding of the nature, value and meaning of the arts as parts of their own humanity" (Artsedge 2000:29).

Using the National Arts Standards, MENC published supplementary standards and benchmarks in the Arts in three consecutive documents, which are available for use in all states as a model for their own sets of standards. Called Opportunity-to-Learn Standards, they provide guidelines in terms of aspects such as staffing, curriculum and scheduling, equipment and materials, and: facilities to maximise the learning opportunity in schools.

These publications are

• Opportunity-to-Learn-Standards in the School Music Programme: Description and

Standards; .

American standards for the arts are grouped in clusters for pre-kindergarten, grades K-4, grades 5-8, and grades 9-12. Each cluster contains a content standard with several achievement standards, previously called benchmarks, associated with the content standard.

The content standards stay the same for all grades, while the achievement standards are gradually upgraded in difficulty.

The author of this thesis will be writing unit standards for secondary school and post-school qualifications, and for this reason all content and achievement standards will be reviewed, but more attention will be given to relevant standards in the middle (grades 5-8) and high school

(grades 9-12).

Standards for music in the United States take as point of departure the fact that education should start from a very young age (two to four years), using active bodily response, singing and playing instruments as well as introductory experiences with verbalisation and visualisation. It is also considered important to use music literature of a high quality and from various cultures, styles and time periods (MENC 2000:2).

Mu~ic specialists from the community are further considered an ideal instructional medium for learners from early childhood through to grade 12. For the pre-school phase it is considered ideal to make use of early childhood specialists or visiting music specialists, employed as staff members, to provide sessions in group music.

The National standards are grouped into four clusters, which will be briefly described and discussed.

"The years before children enter kindergarten are critical for their musical development.

Young children nef;d a rich musical environment in which to grow" (MENC 2000:1).

Children of this age should, according to the National Standards, be provided with many opportunities to explore sound and music through singing, listening, moving and experimenting with various instruments. Ample opportunities to introduce them to verbalising and visualising musical ideas should also be provided (MENC 2000: 1).

Content and achievement standards

I 0 for early childhood development iri the prekindergarten phase include:

• Singing and playing

instruments; instruments: using their voices, experimenting with various

• Responding

to music: identifying sources from a wide variety of sounds, responding to and participating freely in musical activities;

• Understanding

music: describing voices, instruments, music notation and music from different styles and genres, using voice, instruments or body to demonstrate awareness of musical elements like rhythm, dynamics or tempo.


These standards are outlined and paraphrased by the author from the full version, taken from Education World

(2000:1-13) and MENC (2000:1-18).


Achievement standards are briefly outlined here for all grades. For a detailed description of the American frameworks, the reader may consult the full version of content and achievement standards at the following website: Education World, 2000: <httj>://www.education-world.com/standards/national/arts/music.html>.

According to the American standards, the basic music processes in which humans engage are


creating and responding to music. Because children at this age primarily learn by doing, the content and achievement standards utilise this perspective to:

• Teach notation in order to provide them with a skill with which to explore music individually and in a group;

• Employ listening, analysing and evaluating skills as important musical blocks of learning;

• Adopt music as a tool for historical and cross-cultural understanding In the communities.

All of these should be presented in a sequential, balanced and· comprehensive programme

(MENC 2000:5).

Contents for the gra~es K-4 phase include:

• Singing alone and with others;

• Performing on instruments, alone and with others;

• Composing and arranging music within specific guidelines;

• Reading and notating music;

• Listening to, analysing and describing music;

• Evaluating ID;usicand music performances;

• Understanding relationships between music, other arts and disciplines outside the arts;

• Understanding music in relation to history and culture.

These nine content standards are used for all grades from K-12, while the level of the achievement standards is gradually increased for each new level.

The singing achievement standards for grades K-4 include singing independently (on pitch and in rhythm, with appropriate timbre, diction and posture maintaining a steady tempo), singing expressively (with appropriate dynamics, phrasing and interpretation), singing a varied repertoire of songs from memory, singing ostinatos, partner songs and rounds, and singing in groups (blending vocal timbres, matching dynamic levels and responding to the cues from the conductor).

The performing


standards include performing on pitch and in rhythm (using appropriate dynamic levels and maintaining a steady tempo), performing easy rhythmic, melodic and chordal patterns on classroom instruments, performing a repertoire of diverse genres and styles expressively, echoing short melodic and rhythmic patterns, performing in groups (blending instrumental timbres, matching dynamic levels and responding to the cues from the conductor), and performing independent instrumental parts.

The improvising


standards ask of the student to improvise "answers" in the style of a given rhythmic and melodic phrase, to improvise simple rhythmic and melodic ostinato accompaniments, to improvise simple rhythmic variations and melodic embellishments and to improvise short songs and instrumental pieces using a variety of sound sources.

The composing and arranging standards state that students be able to create and arrange music to accompany readings of dramatisations, create and arrange short songs and instrumental pieces within specific guidelines, and to use a variety of sound sources when composmg.

The reading and notating standards ask of the student to start learning traditional music notation, and by the end of grade 4 they must be able to read note and rest values from breves to quavers, in 4/4, 3/4 and 2/4 metre signatures, to read simple pitch notation in the treble clef

(major keys only), identify and correctly interpret symbols and traditional terms referring to dynamics, tempo and articulation, and to use standard symbols to notate metre, pitch, rhythm and dynamics in simple patterns.

The listening and analysing


standards want the student to identify simple music forms, demonstrate perceptual skills with regard to music of various styles and cultures, to use appropriate terminology in explaining music, music notation, music

instruments and voices, and music performances, to identify the sounds of a variety of instruments and voice timbres, and finally to respond through purposeful movement

(swaying, skipping, dancing), to prominent music characteristics or to specific music events while listening.

The evaluating achievement standards ask that the student be able to devise criteria for evaluating performances and compositions, and to explain their personal preferences for specific musical styles and works.

The achievement standards of understanding of the relationship between music, the other

arts and disciplines outside the arts in grades K-4 require of the student to identify similarities and differences in the meanings of common terms used in the various arts (for example form, line, contrast), and to identify ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines are interrelated with music.

The last content standards ask of the student to understand music in relation to history and

culture. To achieve this, the student must be able to identify (by genre of style) aural examples of folk music from various cultures and periods, describe how elements of music are used in these music examples, identify and explain the daily use of music, identify and describe the roles of musicians in various setting and cultures, and to demonstrate appropriate audience behaviour for the context and style of music performed (MENC 2000:5-7).

The period represented by grades 5-8 is especially critical in students' musical development, as the music they experience and create often becomes an integral part of their personal preference and perspective (MENC 2000:8).



Gardner (l9S4:22-23) call this phase a "latency" stage, and describe the child between eight or nine to twelve years of age as extremely constructive: "[T]hey need to discover the specific ways in which their specific culture modulates the basic domains of human experience: language, drawing, music, sports, social norms, and the like."

For this reason a broad experience of different genres and styles of music must be provided for, in order to enable learners to make informed musical judgements. In this way the connections and relation between music and other disciplines can be experienced in a direct way, as well as the cultural forces that help shape a cpmmunity's musical heritage. "The role

that music will play in students' lives depends in large measure on the level of skills they achieve in creating, performing and listening to music" (MENC 2000:8).

To participate in these standards, it is presumed that students have successfully complied with the standards for grades K-4, as they will progressively be asked to deal will increasingly complex and sophisticated music and musical responses.

Performance courses do not exclude instruction in other aspects of music instruction. These other aspects include creating, listening to and analysing music, as well as the specific curriculum content determined by the local school districts and individual teachers.

Content standards for grades 5-8 are the same as for grades K-4, but a gradual increase in the level of achievement standards is briefly described below.

Singing alone and with others: A technical level difficulty of 2 when performing alone, on a scale of 1 to 6, is expected, as well as music sung in two or three parts and participation in choral ensembles. Singing from memory is expected for some songs, as well as music from different genres and cultures performed with appropriate expression.

Petj"orming on instruments, alone and with others: Accurate and independent performance, alone and in small ensembles, on at least one instrument is prescribed.

Good posture, playing position and breath, bow or stick control must be exercised, and music representing different genres and styles must be presented. A difficulty of

2 on a scale of 1 to 6 for at least one string, wind, percussion or classroom instrument (for example recorder-type instruments, chorded zithers, mallet instruments, simple percussion instruments, fretted instruments, keyboard instruments ~d electronic instruments) is expected. Participation in instrumental ensembles must be on a level of difficulty of 3 on a scale of 1 to 6.

It is interesting to note here that there is a difference in the prescribed difficulty between solo performance and ensemble playing, with the latter on a higher level. The reason for this may be that ensemble playing combines solo performance with listening and versatility when playing together.

• Improvising melodies, variations and accompaniments:

Simple harmonic accompaniments are expected, as well as improvised melodic embellishments and

simple rhythmic and melodic variations on given pentatonic melodies; short unaccompanied melodies over given rhythmic accompaniments must also be improvised. '

Composing and arranging music within specific guidelines: Short pieces within specific guidelines, for example a particular style, form, instrumentation or compositional technique must be demonstrated while showing how the elements of music are used to achieve unity and variety, tension and release, and balance; first steps in the arrangement of pieces for instruments other than the instruments for which it was written must also be undertaken, as well as the use of a variety of traditional and non-traditional sound sources and electronic media for composing and arranging.

Reading and notating music: Students must be able to read whole, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth and dotted notes,

11 as well as rests in 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6,8, 3/8 and breve metre signatures. They must also be able to read simple melodies in both the treble and qass clefs, as well as define standard notation for pitch, rhythm, dynamics, tempo, articulation and expression. The use of standard notation to write down their own musical ideas is also prescribed, and the participation in a choral or instrumental ensemble is used to reinforce sight-reading skills;

Listening to, analysing and describing music: The appropriate terminology must be used to describe specific events in a piece of music, for example the entry of an instrument or sudden tempo changes. Music of different genres and styles will also be used for analysis of musical elements, and students will be expected to demonstrate knowledge of basic musical principles - metre, rhythm, tonality, intervals, chords and harmonic progressions in their analyses.

• Evaluating music and music peljormances:

While listening to music performances, students must learn to develop criteria for evaluating the


The note values are named according to the American system. The corresponding South African way of naming note values is br.eve, minim, quaver and semi-quaver.

effectiveness and quality of others' and their own performances, compositions, arrangements and improvisations. Constructive suggestions are encouraged.

• Understanding relationships between music, other arts and disciplines outside the

arts: The transformation of similar events, emotions, ideas or scenes using characteristic materials of two or more of the arts must be investigated and compared. For this aim visual stimuli (visual arts), movement (dance), human relationships (theatre) and sound (music) may be used. The way in which subject matter of other disciplines taught at school is interrelated with that of music may also be investigated, for example issues to be considered when setting music to text

(language arts), or frequency ratio of intervals (mathematics).

Understandi,!g music in relation to history and culture: The distinguishing

~haracteristics of high quality representative styles and genres from various cultures must be described, classified and compared. The functions of music and roles of musicians in different cultures of the world must also be investigated and consequently'compared.

Two levels of achievement, namely




have been established for grades 9-12. "The proficient level is intended for students who have completed courses involving relevant skills and knowledge for one to two years beyond grade 8. The advanced level is intended for students who have completed courses involving relevant skills and knowledge for three to four years beyond grade 8" (MENC 2000:12).

The minimum standard for every student graduating from high school is the proficient level in at least one arts "discipline. Students at the advanced level are expected to achieve the standards for both the proficient and the advanced levels.

Singing alone and with others: Sing with expression and technical accuracy a large variety of vocal literature with a difficulty scale of 4 (on a level of 1 to 6), also music written in four parts, demonstrating ensemble skills, with or without accompaniment.

Performing on instruments, alone and with others: Performing on a difficulty of 4 on a scale of I to 6 with adequate technical accuracy and expression is expected.

Students are; also expected to demonstrate well-developed ensemble skills while performing in small ensembles with one student per part.

Improvising melodies, variations and accompaniments: Students are expected to improvise stylistically appropriate harmonising parts, rhythmic and melodic variations on given pentatonic melodies or melodies in major and minor keys, and to improvise original melodies over given chord progressions.

• Composing and arranging music

within specific guidelines: Creativity in composing music in several distinct styles is encouraged. The arrangement of pieces for voi~es and instruments other than those for which the piece was written and the composition and arrangement of music for voices and various electronic and acoustic instruments are prescribed to test the knowledge of ranges and traditional usages of sound sources.

Reading and notating music: The ability to read an instrumental or vocal score of up to four staves must be demonstrated. Students participating in choral or instrumental ensembles must be able to sight-read music with a level of difficulty of

3 (on a scale .of I to 6) accurately and expressively.

Listening to, analysing and describing music: Aural examples of a varied repertoire of music from various styles and genres must be analysed by describing the uses of musical elements and expressive devices. The knowledge of the technical vocabulary of music, as well as compositional devices and techniques must be demonstrated and explained.

Evaluating music and music performances: Specific criteria for making informed evaluations of the quality of a performance, compositions, arrangements or improvisations must be developed. Comparison to a similar or exemplary model for effective evaluating must also be used to exercise this ability.

• Understanding relationships between music, other arts and disciplines outside the

arts: Students are expected to explain how artistic processes, elements and organisational principles are used in similar or distinctive ways in various art forms.

The characteristics of two or more arts within a specific period or styles muSt be compared, using appropriate examples, and ways in which the principles and subject matter of various disciplines outside the arts are interrelated with those of music must be explained.

• Understanding music in relation to history and culture:

Unfamiliar, representative aural examples of genre, style or historical period must be classified and the.

reasoning motivated. Sources of American music (for example swing, Broadway musical or blues) must be identified, tracing the evolution of those genres and associating well-known musicians with the specific genres.

Various roles of musicians with their activities and achievements must also be identified.

• Singing alone and with others:

In comparison with the proficient standard, students have to sing repertoire on a level of difficulty of 5, on a scale of 1 to 6, and sing in ensembles music written in more than four parts, with one student per part in small ensembles.

• Petforming on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music:

A level of difficulty of 5, on a scale of 1 to 6, is expected here.

• Improvising 'melodies, variations:

Students are expected to improvise stylistically appropriate harmonising parts in a variety of styles, as well as improvising original melodies over a given chord progression.

These two achievement standards are consistent in ·both the proficient and advanced standards.

• Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines:

The only indication in this standard is that students compose music, demonstrating imagination and technical skill in applying compositional principles.

• Reading and notating music:

The ability to read a full instrumental or vocal score by describing the way in which musical elements are used, and explaining all transpositions and clefs, is expected. The interpretation of all non-standard notation symbols used by 20 th century composers as well as the sight-reading of music with a level of difficulty of 4 (on a scale of 1-6) is also prescribed.

• Listening to, analysing and describing music:

The ability to perceive and remember musical events (for example fugal entries, chromatic modulations) in an aural example must be demonstrated. Students are also expected to compare related ways in which musical materials are used in given examples of different works in specific genres or styles. The elements of music in a given work that make it unique, interesting and expressive must also be analysed and described.

• Evaluating music and music performances:

At this level students are expected to evaluate the aesthetic qualities of a musical work, and to explain the musical means it uses to evoke feelings and emotions.

• Understanding relations between music, the other arts and disciplines outside the arts:

When different art forms in different historical periods and cultures are viewed, students must compare the uses of characteristic elements, artistic processes and organisational principles in these arts. They must also explain how the roles of practitioners of different art forms are similar and different in the production and presentation of the arts.

These could include creators, painters, composers, playwrights, dancers, actors, conductors, directors and lighting designers.

• Understanding music in relation to history and culture:

When viewing a specific musical work, students must identify and explain the stylistic features that serve to define its aesthetic tradition as well as its cultural or historical context. Music genres that were influenced by two or more cultural traditions must also be identified and described, the cultural source of each influence must be identified and the historical conditions that led to the synthesis of influences must be traced.

Assessment standards are as important to music education as music standards, because the educator must know that and when the student has reached a particular standard.

"Assessment standards will become increasingly important in the next few years, and they will be especially important in music because many school administrators and decision makers have little idea how to assess learning in music in a reliable and valid manner"

(Lehman in MENC 1995:18).

Assessing students in the American educational system is done by deciding what constitutes basic, proficient and advanced performance. A description of these three levels is provided in the achievement standards.

For each achievement standard, the assessment standard will provide examples to illustrate possible teaching strategies and student responses in order to decide, in the words of Lehman, "how good is good enough" (MENC 1995: 18).

The issues of staffing, facilities and equipment are critical aspects of music education, but the scope of the MEUSSA project does not warrant a detailed discussion.

Therefore no evaluation will be made on these aspects.


Evaluating the American standards

The MEUSSA group regarded the following as positive factors in these frameworks:


• They enjoy the consensus of all music organisations in the United States of


• They are su~ported by the United States Government and the National Endowment of the Arts;

• They were developed within a time span of 24 months, implying that the planned time span of the MEUSSA project of roughly 24 months is realistic.

The following positive aspects of the American frameworks could, in the opinion of the

MEUSSA group, also be applied to the South African situation:

• These frameworks were the result of a realisation that music education had to change.

• A long-standing tradition of music education preceded the frameworks, as music has been formally taught in:the United States since 1837.


As presented by three members of the MEUSSA group, namely Chats Devroop, Marc Duby and David

Galloway, in a workshop concerning the frameworks of different countries, held on Saturday 15 July 2000, and discussed by a large proportion of the whole MEUSSA group.

• The purpose of music study is to enhance quality of life and cultural practices.

• A curriculum should include improvisation and composition.

• Music education should strive to move beyond facts to a higher order of problemsolving skills,

• Inter-disciplinary relations should be utili sed, for example where music fits into general history and art history.

• A curriculum should include and utilise technology.

• Assessment is important and should be built into the frameworks.

Each school should then decide what and how to assess.

• Provision should be made for children with disabilities as well as for gifted children.

• Elective study (for example extra instrumental tuition) in the American frameworks is regarded as a normal school subject and not as extra-curricular studies after school hours. Academic credits are awarded for these music studies in the same way as for other subjects.

• Repertoire includes all music genres, and musicians from the community are often utilised.

A few states of the United States of America have, until now, produced their own sets of frameworks, based on the National Standards provided by MENC. Examples of frameworks produced by three states will be briefly discussed, namely those for Massachusetts, Florida and Nebraska. These three states were selected at random by the author to investigate the interpretation of the National Standards.

One of the other members of the MEUSSA team, Annarine Roscher,13 provided the team with the details of other states, namely Alaska, Missouri, North Carolina and Texas. The reasons for her choosing these four states were:

• The state of North Carolina with capital Raleigh, as well as Durham and Chapel Hill forms the Research Triangle, and is characterised by intensive educational research and development.

• The diverse composition of peoples in the state of Texas has many parallels with the

Southern African situation.

As the contents of these frameworks are constantly changing and new directions being investigated by state educational boards, it may be possible that shifts have occurred in certain detailed aspects of the curriculum frameworks presented in the following paragraphs.

The Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework includes the following music genres in their frameworks: folk, popular, band, orchestral music, gospel music, oratorio, jazz, opera and musical theatre (Massachusetts 1999:41).

The division in achievement levels for grades 9-12 is grouped into "basic study" and

"extended study" (Massachusetts 1999:42), and the key elements in the arts discipline of music from kindergarten to grade 12 are stated as:


The reader is referred to A. Roscher: Music Standards for the Foundation Phase and Teacher Training in

South Africa. chapter 3.

Interdisciplinary connection strands are also described in these standards (Massachusetts


• Purposes and meanings in the arts,

where students will describe the purposes for which works in the fields of dance, music, theatre, visual arts and architecture were and are created, and, when appropriate, interpret their music;

• The roles of artists in communities,

where students will describe the roles of artists, patrons, cultural organisations and arts institutions across all of the arts disciplines in societies, past and present;

• Concepts o[styles, stylistic influence and stylistic change,

where students must demonstrate their understanding of styles, stylistic influence and stylistic change;

• Inventions, technologies and the arts,

where the analysis of the way in which performing and visual artists use and have used materials, inventions and technologies in their work are expected;

• Interdisciplinary connections,

where knowledge of the arts must be applied to the study of English language arts, foreign languages, health history and social science, mathematics, and science and technology/engineering.

The Florida Department of Education uses a simple mapping approach for Pre-Kindergarten to grade 8, with five main strands of study:

• Skills and Techniques

(the learner sings, performs on an instrument, reads and notates music);

• Creation and Communication

(the learner improvises, composes and arranges music);

• Cultural and Historical Connections

(the learner understands music in relation to culture and history);

• Aesthetic and Critical Analysis

(the learner listens to, analyses and' describes music);

• Applications'to Life

(the learner understands the relationship between music, the other arts and disciplines outside the arts, understands the relationship between music and the world beyond the school setting).

The school phases are divided into three groups, namely Pre-Kindergarten-grade 2, grades 3-

5, and grades 6-8. After completion of grade 8 the learner may specialise in one of six strands of musical study for Senior High School (grades 9 -12), which are:

• Advanced Music

(Music Theory, Comprehensive Musicianship, Musical Theatre and International Music Baccalaureate);

• General Music

(Introduction to Music Performance, Music Appreciation, Guitar and Keyboard);

• Instrumental Music

(Band, Orchestra, Instrumental Techniques and Jazz


The mission of arts education in the state of Nebraska, as stated in the Frameworks document

(Nebraska 2000e:3) is to:

• Embrace the 'extraordinary potential of the arts for communication, celebration and creativity.

The Nebraska K-12 Visual and Performing Arts Frameworks are designed to provide dire~tion, focus and co-ordination on best practices in arts education.

Frameworks are a resource for educators to improve the quality of instruction and education for all learners through the systemic change process. Frameworks are not a mandate; rather, local districts may use the frameworks to determine and implement the concepts, ideas and practices offered here (Nebraska 2000e: 1).

The Nebraska Curriculum Frameworks, which were available in 2000, represent the efforts of a diverse group of professional and educational leaders from the fields of music, dance, visual arts and theatre. The project is seen as a three year, multi-faceted project, and the first year's efforts (which were used in this thesis) were to form the basis for the development of models and performance assessments. These models were meant to follow in the second and third year of the project (Nebraska 2000e: 1).

The role of these Curriculum Frameworks is to ''translate the National Standards in Visual and Performing Arts Education into a practical, useful curriculum that meets their needs"

(Nebraska 2000e:2). The frameworks are intended to provide guidelines for both rural and urban areas, and the educators are being asked to utilise the arts organisations and institutions of the community in order to reflect the communal values. In this process appropriate and multidisciplinary material can be selected, and teachers of all the art forms are encouraged to work together.

General goals for arts education in the state of Nebraska (2000a:l) are reflected in terms of learners' achievement:

• Recognising the intrinsic and aesthetic value of the arts in their own learning and creative process;

• Recognising and investigating the many roles of arts and artists in the past, present and future;

• Exhibiting visual, kinaesthetic, auditory, oral and written communication skills in responding to their own artistic expression and that of others;

• Being able to develop criteria based on knowledge and experience in evaluating their own and others' creative expressions or work;

• Recognising the importance of diversity and equity in the creation, performance, interpretation and evaluation of the arts; and

• Solving probiems through the visual and performing arts.

The content of the Nebraska frameworks uses two perspectives, namely


(which describe the role of artist, critic, historian or philosopher as technical, creative, cultural/historical, critical and aesthetic), and


(which reveal the way in which learners perceive, interpret, evaluate and connect through the arts). This concept is explained in Figure 3-1, with the interrelated processes of perceiving, conceiving, interpreting and evaluating in the arts clearly illustrated.

Figure 3-1: Illustration of the approaches and processes of the arts (Nebraska 2000a:2)



"can be seen as overlapping lenses, [as] artists, historians, critics and philosophers all have unique perspectives and ask many of the same questions" (Nebraska

2000a:2). The


are, according to the Nebraska frameworks, the same as the skills used by artists, historians, critics and philosophers and can be utilised by teachers to motivate students and build an understanding of each arts discipline. The two perspectives of processes and approaches are being used extensively to structure the inquiry into music

(Nebraska 2000d:1), as explained in Table 3-1:

. Table


The integrating nature of approaches and processes in the arts (Nebraska

















How are the basic elements of music used creatively?



What skills/language are needed to participate in performing and listening to music?

How do the skills and language of music communicate?

From what perspective What does the is style expressed?

music mean in the context of its time and place?

What is this music communicating?




What degree of proficiency was achieved?

Does the music have significance today, yesterday and/or for the future? Why?

Is a musical message conveyed effectively?

How are the senses involved in responding to music?

Why does this music evoke a reaction/response?

How does music relate to the individual?

Are the basic elements How well does this What is the value of music used music evoke a of this music?





How do advancing musical skills encourage lifelong learning?

What correlation can be made to connecting?

What does this message communicate to the individual?

How does music relate to life?

Are meaningful connections made to personal experience?

Table 3-1 explains the common ground between the four approaches and the four processes, providing a wide arr~y of different perspectives for educators.

In Spring 1999, academic content standards for Mathematics, Reading/Writing, Science and

Social Studies/History were established. Those standards were called Nebraska L.E.A.R.N.S.

(Leading Educational Achievement through Rigorous Nebraska Standards) (Nebraska

1999:3-4). To complement these standards, 8 Essential Learnings for Visual and Performing

Arts were compiled:

• Students recognise the connections between the arts and their own lives and environments.

• Students exhibit a variety of creative skills in their own artistic expressions and in response to others.

• Students recognise diverse perspectives in the creation, performance, interpretation and evaluation of the arts.

The nature of the arts, especially music, is one of exhibiting skills and communicating levels of proficiency. "The arts have a rich heritage in performance assessment that has informed other subject areas" (Nebraska 2000g:1). According to the Nebraska frameworks (Nebraska

2000g: 1), assessment in the arts is built upon clearly defined criteria, state and local standards and educational goals. Assessment in the arts cannot be separated from a measure of subjectivity, but to achieve maximum objectivity teachers are asked to:

• Encourage appropriately varied approaches and styles;

• Allow for individual differences and developmental levels while insisting on quality work at all levels of knowledge, experience and skill; and


Enable each learner to demonstrate competency and achievement in a variety of ways.

Goals for assessment in arts education are explicitly provided in the document (Nebraska

2000g: 2). Learners will, through quality assessment:

• Be involved in the selection, design and evaluation of assessment procedures;

• Work both independently and co-operatively;

• Experience personal growth in the arts; and

• Develop positive self-concepts and confidence through accomplishments and successes.

A thorough outline: of assessment is provided (Nebraska 2000g:6), and it· is suggested to teachers, in designing a curriculum or learning unit, to use the following questions:

• Selecting performance objectives, for example interpret, investigate, compare, identify;

• Developing criteria derived from the objectives to determine whether the achievement targets are reached;

• Designing assessment activities, based on one or more of the criteria types (for example content, form, impact, process);

• Selecting assessment tools or products (for example a portfolio, multimedia, composition, discussion, interview, performance);

• Developing tools for an evaluation system (for example rubrics, checklists, specifications); and

• Setting appropriate indicators, where the teacher "determines what represents varying levels of success in meeting the criteria", in other words setting up a standard of achievement.

The provision of clear and simple outcomes for learning activities must make provision for assessment criteria, and the learner outcomes must be formulated so as to include a method or criteria for assessment. Furthermore, "assessment must extend over a period of time and be rooted in overall goals and specific performance objectives" (Nebraska 2000g:6).

In the following section a brief overview of the Australian frameworks will be provided. The author will especially focus on the structuring of music within the general outline of the

Australian Qualification Authority, with the place of the frameworks in the educational system, after which a closer investigation of the Western Australian frameworks will follow.

Music is recognised as one of the arts, and the arts are officially recognised as having a place in education. They contribute to the well-being and general'human development of children and all children should have an equal opportunity to develop their artistic potential (Lepherd


A decade-long fmancial recession that has gripped Australia has placed greater pressure on teachers to perform better with fewer resources (Lepherd


According to Lepherd

(1994:6), music education in Australia seems to suffer from a worldwide tendency, one which is also recognised in Southern Africa: "The greatest challenge is in convincing educators, policy-makers and the broad community of the value of music in the development of individuals and society."

The history of Australia seems to present many similarities with South African history, as both are comparatively young countries in terms of the number of years that they have been inhabited by people of European descent. The first British settlers arrived in Australia only in

1788, while the A1:?originesare estimated to have been in the land for more than forty thousand years (Lepherd


In comparison, the first Dutch settlers arrived in South

Africa in

1652, while the indigenous people have been estimated to be amongst the earliest human beings in the world, with Africa regarded as the cradle of civilisation.

According to Crosskell, Condous



(1984: 159)

Australia has, in terms of European settlement, mainly inherited English traditions, which are now being diffused by an influx of influences from other countries as well as the North American way of life. Another factor is the fact that the country does not have a background of centuries of arts practice, which would create an awareness and sensitivity to aesthetic heritage. The early musical development was, i~ other words, dependent on the English cultural heritage, which arrived together with the settlers. The South African scenario presents similarities with the Australian

one, in the sense that a satisfactory merge of European traditions, American culture and indigenous arts practices has to be found and applied to music education.

The scenario in Australia has changed in recent years. In the words of Lepherd (1994:8),

"Australia has become a mosaic of different cultures", and this situation has diversified the language, folk song and dance, visual arts and musical culture in the country. This also seems to present a striking similarity with the South African scenario. For both countries it is true that they have received considerable benefit from the many people originally from countries with rich arts and music traditions. And for both countries it is true that the rich variety of multi-culturalism has only recently been receiving an increased amount of attention.

The roots of Australian music education are British (Lepherd 1994:9); singing classes based on British methods were set up in primary schools by the 1850s in the states of Victoria and

New South Wales. During this time singing masters were used to teach classes, but by the

1870s classroom teachers rather than singing masters were phased in for music teaching.

The music educational scene in Australia developed along the lines of a British background, with the adoption of the British examination systems of the Trinity College of Music and the

Royal Schools of Music by the end of the nineteenth century. Another important influence was provided by the universities of Adelaide and Melbourne, which developed their own public music examinations based on these two British models (Lepherd 1994:9). Since then universities played an important role in the Australian music educational scene with the establishment of the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) in 1918. The AMEB

"establishes standards in music [... ] throughout Australia. Through its nation-wide system of syllabuses and examinations the AMEB actively promotes attainment of the highest possible levels in teaching and methodology" (AMEB, as quoted in Lepherd 1994: 10).

The examinations organised by the AMEB were the only way students could undertake music education in secondary school until midway through the first half of the 20th century.

The first state to make music a compulsory subject in the first year of secondary school was

New South Wales, and soon after that (1939) a music appreciation syllabus was adopted as elective subject for Victorian secondary schools.

A realisation of the importance of music for both primary and secondary schools began to surface in the 1950s, and a general move towards having significant classroom activities as

aiternative to the AMEB examinations were investigated.

However, according to Lepherd

(1994: 11), the relationship between the State courses in schools and the AMEB "is still debated vigorously".

Music, however, remained an extra-curricular activity and was not regarded as a core subject. Music tuition remained the responsibility of paying parents, provided by independent studio teachers. This scenario also represents a striking similarity with the present situation regarding music tuition in South Africa.

The positive influence of these teachers and the quality education for which they were responsible gradually led to an upsurge in the acceptance of music as an elective subject as well as an increase in the numbers of students involved in elective music courses. A result of this development was the establishment of a secondary school syllabus in the state of New

South Wales (in 1958) that offered music as an elective school subject. More states followed suit, with the result that Music and Visual Art were included as entities in themselves within the external examination system, as well as in the curriculum of both primary and secondary levels (Comte 1993:36). Dance and Drama, however, still had a long way to go before being accepted as having equal status with music and visual arts.

During the last approximately 25 years of the 20 th century, arts education has gradually started to receive more serious consideration from a national perspective (Comte 1993:37).

One of the first consequences of this initiative was a National Report, Education and the

Arts~ published in 1977. Amongst others, issues such as an increased status and standard of teaching of the arts were addressed, as well as the importance of specialist teaching to achieve this result. Teacher training was also considered as an important issue in this report.

Generalist teachers in primary schools are expected to teach all of the arts subjects in the curriculum, with specialist teaching in music and visual arts sometimes provided extra

(Comte 1993:37).

Music continues to be perceived as suitable study only for the talented, despite attempts over the last twenty years to provide more opportunity for all children to participate in musical development (Lepherd 1994: 13).

Music educators, according to Lepherd (1994:13-14), identified a few issues which need to be faced in order to ensure ongoing quality of music teaching.

According to Comte (1993:37), the Australian culture is largely "imported" in the sense that the British tradition still has a strong influence, and that "arts educators have certainly not drawn inspiration for curricula from the arts of our indigenous inhabitants." The same culture of "imported" music has made its mark in South Africa. This culture is also notable in the popularity of the two British examination boards, namely ABRSM and Trinity College of

Music, attracting large numbers of candidates every year. South African learners may, however, also draw advantage from the huge infrastructure of UNISA, the South African examination board. The content of this music curriculum attempts to reflect the products of

South African composers and indigenous styles.

Media, as well as readily available commercially popular music "that does not necessarily have good artistic value" (Lepherd 1994: 13), have had a marked impact on the pursuit of artistic quality. The ;intellectual rigour that accompanies the experience of art music has in part made way for entertainment (popular) music and a perceived lessening in the value of art music. In South Africa, the culture of popular music has also had an overwhelming impact on the commercial ch~acter of music. Popular music has, in the same way than in Australia, gained the majority of listeners.

Another factor is the emphasis on skills-based education, which was encouraged by an economic recession, and resulted in a (world-wide) lowering of the value of music education.

"The economic benefits of the music industry and the general educative value of music education have yet to be fully realised" (Lepherd 1994: 13).

Music in the classrooms has not yet fully realised the potential of the wide variety of cultures present in the country (Lepherd 1994:13), as the majority of the musical content focuses on

European-centred music education. The potential of the general use of technology (recording, computers, and ele~tronic keyboards), resulting in more children becoming self-reliant in terms of creativeness and performance, has also yet to be fully realised.

3.7.3 The Australian Qualifications Framework

The Australian Qualifications Framework

14 was introduced in Australia on I January 1995.

The aim was to provide "a comprehensive, nationally consistent yet flexible framework for all qualifications in post-compulsory education and training" (AQF AB 1998: 11). Introduced in phases, the frame~ork was planned to be fully implemented by the year 2000.

The State, Territory and Commonwealth Education and Training Ministers (meeting as the

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, or MCEETY A) assisted in the de~elopment of the AQF. Furthermore the AQF Advisory Bo~d was established by this council to protect the AQF qualifications guidelines and to promote national implementation (AQF AB 1998:2).

According to the AQF AB, a system of twelve national qualifications in schools, vocational education and training and the higher education sector (mainly universities) is provided in the qualifications framework for Australia. The framework "links together all these qualifications and is a highly visible, quality-assured national system of educational recognition which promotes lifelong learning and a seamless and diverse education and training system"

(AQFAB 1998: 1).

• Senior Secondary Certificate of Education

2. Vocational Education and Training Sector

• Doctoral Degree.

Both work-based and academic qualifications are, in the AQF, part of one system, allowing flexibility and continuous learning.

The possibility to mix and match qualifications is provided for, as Vocational Education and Training qualifications may, for example, be recognised either at school level or higher education level. The partial completion of a qualification is also recognised by means of a Statement of Attainment (AQF AB 1998:5).

Unit standards (call~d units of competency) are used for vocational as well as for academic qualifications: "the units will accumulate on your record of achievement and help towards retaining your job, promotion, a change in career or further learning" (AQF AB 1998:2). For these unit standards, skills as well as knowledge are considered important and are expressed in terms of outcomes. As an example of this practice, knowledge or skills previously gained in a workplace may be assessed - this process is called RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning).

Accredited organisations are used to provide training and to issue qualifications according to the requirements of the AQF All. This process may be compared to the South African process, which uses SGBs to generate standards compliant to the requirements of SAQA.


Guidelinesfor School Standards in Australia

The Senior Secondary Certificate of Education is used to indicate completion of the secondary school phase. The Statutory Boards, who are responsible for the development and accreditation of courses of study, assessment and the issue of qualifications, set learning outcomes (AQFAB 1998:21).

• Students must be prepared for university entry or entry in the workforce via studies ranging from traditional academic disciplines to vocational and semi-vocational courses.

• Directions for studies and assessments include "a mix of directed classroom studies, extensive written assessments, formal examination and/or common assessment

tasks, as well as applications of skills, understandings, performance and project work, group work and field work activities" (AQFAB 1998:21).

Assessment requirements are allocated to State and Territory Statutory Bodies, and consistency must be maintained via various forms of moderation (for example state-wide examinations, moderation of school-based assessments), and through "common core skills or the Australian Scaling Test" (AQFAB 1998:21).

In the next paragraphs the Curriculum framework of Western Australia will be investigated.

The author chose this specific framework after studying the content of the educational structures of all six Australian states, because this specific framework represents the closest analogy with the So~th African process.

The implementation of the Western Australian Curriculum Framework commenced in 1999, and is meant for full implementation in 2005 (Curriculum Council of Western Australia


The Curriculum Framework represents a major step in the reform of school curriculum in Western Australia. It is built upon a commitment to the philosophy that learning is continuous and that the essential purpose of schooling is to improve the learning of all students (Curriculum Council of Western Australia


Two frameworks are used to guide and inform curriculum provision and assessment, namely the

Curriculum Framework

and the

Outcomes and Standards Framework.

"The intended outcomes of schooling are defined in the Curriculum Framework"

(Curriculum Council of Western Australia 2000:9). In this framework the understandings, skills and values that are to be developed in each of the eight Learning Areas are described.


Outcomes and Standards Framework

is directly linked to the Learning Area Outcomes which are mostly arranged in levels of progress toward achievement. In this way they serve to inform curriculum provision.

The Curriculum Framework of Western Australia is outcomes focussed: "This focus on outcomes represents a major shift in school curriculum from a focus on educational inputs

and time allocation t~ward one that emphasises the desired results of schooling" (Curriculum

Council of Western Australia 2000:3).

This framework establishes learning outcomes for learners from kindergarten to grade 12, and has a non-descriptive character in terms of learning content. The character of the framework rather aims to provide guidelines and directions for reaching the targeted outcomes. In this way the content can be adapted to the special needs, circumstances and ethos of schools and their learners: "Its fundamental purpose is to provide a structure around which schools can build educational programmes that ensure students achieve agreed outcomes" (Curriculum Council of Western Australia 2000:4). This also enables schools to offer programmes additional to the suggestions and requirements of the framework.

The Australian Educational Council identified eight areas of learning, called Learning Area

Statements, in 1991. Those are (Lepherd 1994:33):

• Languages other than English (LOTE);

Compulsory schooling covers year 1-10, with grades 11-12 regarded as post-compulsory and preparatory towards tertiary education (Curriculum Council of Western Australia 1999a:2).

In 1995 a number Qf priorities in the curriculum were identified by the Review of School

Curriculum Development Procedures and Processes in Western Australia, and those included

(Curriculum Council of Western Australia 2000:5):

• A common c~culum direction, an even spread of curriculum support materials and the provision of professional development to enable schools to develop and adapt the curriculum to the needs and advantage of their learners;

The establishment of a Curriculum Council of Western Australia in August 1997, with the responsibility of dev..eloping a Curricll1um Framework, was one of the key recommendations of this Review.

The Curriculum Framework for Western Australian schools is furthermore underpinned by seven key principlt(s. These must serve to guide schools in whole-school planning and curriculum development in an outcomes focussed approach (Curriculum Framework

1998:16, as quoted by the Curriculum Council of Western Australia 2000:3). The seven principles are:

As preparation to the final version, a Draft Curriculum Framework was circulated for public consultation and debating. The results of this feedback were incorporated in the writing of the new Curriculum Framework: "Almost ten thousand teachers, parents, academics, curriculum officers, students and other members of the community contributed to the development, review and rewriting of the Curriculum Framework" (Curriculum Council of Western

Australia 2000:5). Seven key principles for learning and teaching were then identified as integral to the Curriculum Framework (Curriculum Council of Western Australia 2000:6):

Using these guidelines, it is suggested to teachers to develop their own balanced curriculUIJ;l,, while keeping in mind aspects such as an understanding of the outcomes and different phases of learning, a cl:early-developed school ethos and philosophy, understanding of parent/community expectations, development of a long-term strategy, and effective' use of resources and time (Curriculum Council of Western Australia 2000:7). This planning of the curriculum can be directed at the individual student, a class or at whole-school level.

According to the Western Australian Framework, values are fundamental in shaping a curriculum. As endorsement of this statement, a set of core values has been identified to underpin the Curriculum Framework. These values comprise values that are generally considered important by the members of Australia's multi-cultural society, and must be integrated and promoted through the outcomes of the Learning Area Statements.

Other essential prerequisites for the successful implementation of a Curriculum Framework concept are professional development of teachers, and curriculum support material for teachers and schools (Curriculum Council of Western Australia 2000:6).

Australian schooling is divided into three phases (Comte 1993:35). After kindergarten, children enter primary (also called elementary) school at age five or six. This phase normally comprises six years; with another six years of secondary schooling after that.

Ten National Goals for Education were set in 1990 by the Australian Department of

Employment, Education and Training. The sixth of these ten goals relates to the relevance of the arts, and therefore also to music:

• To develop in students an appreciation and understanding of, and confidence to participate in, the creative arts.

For schools to establish a proper' curriculum for the Arts Learning Area Statement, a thorough Curriculum Framework had to be delivered. The process of writing the national arts framework in Australia was initiated by inviting tenders and contracting a team of writers.

The resulting document was published in 1994 as A Statement on the Arts for Australian

Schools. The arts strands in this document were identified as:

When comparing this to the South African situation, it may be interesting to note that Media is regarded as a separate arts strand by Australian authorities, while it is meant to be integrated into the four main arts strands in South Africa, which are Dance, Drama, Music and Visual Arts.

Studies in the Arts are seen by the Curriculum Framework as benefiting students by

"developing creative skills, critical appreciation and knowledge of artistic techniques and technologies" (Curriculum Framework, as quoted in Curriculum Council of Western

Australia 2000: 12). In the Arts Learning Area, student learning is focussed on aesthetic understanding, as well as on the development of arts practice experienced singly or in combinations of arts forms.

In the new Curriculum Framework four outcomes for these five domains were identified for the years from kindergarten to grade 12. These describe the knowledge, skills, values, understandings and attitudes that learners should exhibit in order to demonstrate achievement of those outcomes, and are interrelated and inter-connected. The common ground here is the aesthetic understanding and arts practice between all four outcomes, and for all art forms.

Arts ideas, which means that students should generate works that communicate ideas;

• Arts skills and processes

, w hich are the skills , techniques , processes, con v enti o n s a nd te chnolog i es used t o genera te t he works ;

• Ar ts respon ses,

where s tudents u s e their aesthetic under s tanding t o respond t o , r etlec t o n a nd e va luate the a r ts;

• A rts in society

, w here s tudent s hav e to demonstrate their understanding of the ro l e of arts in s ociet y.

F igur

e 3 2: O

utcom es an d ke y concep t s in the C urriculum F ram e work ( C urri c ulum Council f..?

fW es t e rnAustralia 19 9 9 b : 4)

C reating origi n a l i d e a s

I nterpretin g the i d eas o f o the rs

E x plorin g a rt s i dea s

De v e lopin g m o t s idea s

Pre s enting a rt s i d eas




Respondi n g to a r ts works a n d e l <:pe r i c llces

Rel1ecli n g o n arts works and expcnc n ccs

Eval t 4'1ting arts work s and practice "

V ahrin g the a rt s

U nderslandi f lo

A u s tr a li a n a rt s

U nder s tanding hi s t o rical mid c ullttr a l co n tex t s in t he art s

U nder s ta n ding the e conom s i g ni f i ca n ce of t he a rt s i c

The s tructure of t he framework i s furthermore divided in two parts .

The ' first describes the elements, processes and s kills o f music (and t h e o t h er arts s trands) which teac h ers and s tudents must use t o achie v e t he o utcomes , as well as describing the scope of culm i nation of art forms .

T h e second s ection describes t h e learning which s tude n ts mig ht typically expe r ience at th e four o v erlapping phases of deve l op m e nt (Curriculum Cou n ci l of Western

Australia 2000 : 15) .

The place of music education in the Australian curriculum framework is limited to a place within the field of the Arts Learning Statement Area. Four outcomes are listed for all art forms, which means that music has to reach broadly the same results as art, drama or dance.

No specific allotment has been given (at the time of this thesis) for the tuition of specially gifted or disabled l~arners, and the accent is placed on a general education in the arts direction. This also means that no reference is given for instrumental tuition; but the corresponding outcome describes "Using skills, techniques, technologies and processes" in this regard.

The nature of the Curriculum Framework is very non-descriptive, and in the opinion of the author, too vague. Little direction for the content of learning, understanding and valuing is provided, and the general character of this framework lacks detail. The only indication of content for music education that the author could find were the four outcomes with the accompanying key concepts, explained earlier in Figure 3-2. That alone will not provide music teachers with enough direction to plan their curricula, and may result in indiscrepancies with regard to standard of schooling, depending on the interpretation of the outcomes.

A positive aspect, however, was found in the description of post-compulsory education

(Curriculum Council of Western Australia 1999a:4). For this document five different scales of achievement were mentioned, explaining that each course of study would have a scale of achievement spanning five distinct levels. "These levels would be comparable in cognitive complexity and/or physical skills in all courses of study". It would also provide the basis for comparability across all courses of study as well as identifying the prerequisite knowledge for entrance eligibility to post-school destinations (Curriculum Council of Western Australia

1999a:4). Different levels of achievement for standards are also found in the frameworks of the USA, New Zealand and England, and are regarded by the author as a valuable perspective for the South African situation.

The NQF of New Zealand is still in a process of establishing standards (2001), but the structures, policy, qualification system and framework, with a number of unit standards and qualifications, are already in place.

New Zealand is moving away from an economy based on commodities to one based upon knowledge and information. Our national success depends on us building a knowledge base and becoming a learning nation (New Zealand


This announcement introduced the motivation for a fresh approach to education in New

Zealand. Such a new approach was needed because new demands in terms of recognising qualifications across a wide field of education institutions and the workplace, to prepare people for a particular trade and industry as well as to encourage an attitude of life-long learning and excellence, was needed (New Zealand 1999a:7).

The background to this new direction was the increased participation in secondary schooling during the 1980s, challenging the Ministry of Education to offer a more diverse range of subjects and learning pathways. This created a need for students to obtain qualifications "that related better to the subjects or courses they took after leaving school, or the skills required for employment" (New Zealand 1999a:8).

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) was established in 1989 and appointed by the Minister of Education to "promote improvement in the quality of education through the development and maintenance of a comprehensive, accessible and flexible National

Qualifications Framework" (NZQA 2000d:2).

Its role was to co-ordinate national qualifications, and to take over the functions of several agencies that had to run schools, trades and vocational examinations.

• administering of examination regulations, conducting of examinations and issuing of results and certificates for all national examinations;15

• evaluating of qualifications, especially comparing overseas qualifications of people migrating to New Zealand with those of New Zealand; and

• registration and accreditation of programmes leading to qualifications. Government and private training establishments are approved in order to provide the public with the assurance that appropriate courses have been approved and are of high quality.

The NZQA also has a unit specifically dedicated to Maori educational issues. This unit facilitates the development of Maori unit standards and qualifications.

All negotiations between government representatives and the Maori people are based on the Treaty of

Waitangi, signed in ,1840. In this way the traditional knowledge of the indigenous people is formally recognised through an entire education field, making New Zealand a pioneering country in this regard (NZQA 2000a:3).

Unit standards are being developed in the Maori language, carving, weaving, and customs and practices. Another development is to involve Maori expert advisory groups in general subjects such as Business and Management, Tourism, and Film and Electronic Media. In this way a Maori dimension in these fields as well as assistance in the development of unit standards is being accomplished.

The NZQA also assumed new responsibilities, inter alia to develop a national qualifications framework.

This process involved the establishment of the National Qualifications

Framework (NQF) in order to recognise a broad framework of qualifications across the entire


These national examinations include the School Certificate, Sixth Form Certificate, Higher School Certificate and University Entrance examinations, as well as trades and vocational examinations, including business studies. From 2002 the School Certificate, from 2003 the Sixth Form Certificate and from 2004 the University

Bursaries will be replaced with an achievement-based national qualification, called the NCEA (National

Certificate of Educational Achievement).

education sector. Educational structures include schools, polytechnics, Industry Training

Organisations (ITOs), workplace education environments, universities, colleges of education, wananga (tertiary institutions of Maori training and education) and private tertiary providers

(New Zealand 1999a:4).

These developments led to the establishment of a unit standards-based education, which was in the first place conceived to recognise technical qualifications earned by trainees in the trade and technical industry. The unit standards development was widened to include school subjects and other learning areas, and advisory groups (later called national standards bodies or NSBs) were established to develop standards and qualifications.

This means that qualifications in the NQF must now be described in the format of unit standards, and approved by a quality approval body. The transfer of credits between qualifications is also made possible, providing for a flexible education system.


The New Zealand educational sector employs two types of curriculum standards, namely


standards and unit standards.

The assessment of credits for achievement

These standards are assessed internally as well as externally. Unit standards are assessed internally, with only two options available, namely the awarding of


Not all qualifications need to be in the format of unit standards, however. Established qualifications such as degrees and polytechnic qualifications wiII only need to be quality-assured and described in terms of level, credit and outcome-field (New Zealand 1999b: 6).

As an example of the levels of assessment, the following achievement standard for Music is offered in Table 3-2:

Perform generally accurate, contrasting music demonstrating some technical skills, appropriate musicianship and presentation skills.

Perform fluent and mostly accurate contrasting music demonstrating a range of technical skills, effective musicianship and presentation skills.

Confidently perform fluent and highly accurate contrasting music demonstrating secure technical skills, convincing musicianship and communication skills.

Table 3-3 offers a corresponding achievement standard for Aerophones (Performance) in a possible South African interpretation:

Perform at a minimum standard of an internationally accepted examination body grade 7 (I

Sf instrument) or grade 5 (2 nd instrument).

Demonstrate an ability to perform in different styles and/or genres.

Perform a balanced programme with understanding and musicality.

Perform at a minimum standard of an internationally accepted examination body grade 8 (I sl instrument) or grade 6 (2 nd instrument).

Demonstrate a developed ability to perform in different styles and/or enres

Perform a balanced programme with developed understanding and musicali .

Perform at a minimum standard of an internationally accepted examination body post-grade 8 (I sl instrument) or grade 7 (2 nd instrument .

Demonstrate an advanced ability to perform in different styles and/or enres

Perform a balanced programme with advanced understanding and musicali .

Unit standards offered in chapter 5 describe the minimum standard of performance, and the level of assessment would translate, according to table 3-3, as an achievement of credit.

A wide range of qualifications is already registered or in the process of being recognised in the NQF of New Zealand. All of these are described in terms of the following structure (New

Zealand 1999a:6):

• learning outcomes,

describing the knowledge and skills necessary for a qualification;

• credits,

which are a measure of the average amount of learning and assessment required to gain a qualification; and

• detailed field,

which is a standard set of subject classifications for all qualifications and courses.

An important outlook used by the National Qualifications Framework is that of

learning outcomes,

operating at eight levels, and signalling the increasingly complex nature of outcomes required of students.


Outcomes, in the NQF, must be expressed in terms of two aspects. These are (NZQA 2000c:8):

• what the


qualification represents in terms of the application of knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes; and

• the


of the qualification which, in their combination, make up the wholeness of the qualification (italics by the author).

Courses and parts of qualifications will be required to be expressed in terms of outcome statements (NZQA 2000c:8-9). This approach is similar to the current approach used by the

South African Department of Education, which places a high priority on the statement and delivery of outcomes in terms of what a learner is able to do after being taught.

According to the NZQA (2000d:15), national qualifications, in aiming at having internationally recognised characteristics of a good qualification, should:


The National Qualifications Framework of New Zealand defines outcomes as "clear statements about what students gaining qualifications know and can do" (New Zealand 1999a:8). This is also an important perspective currently used by the South African Education Department for the new approach in national education.

• recognise broad transferable and generic skills as well as specialised industry and professional skills;

• document clearly and openly the above and statements of what people are required to attain to be awarded the qualification.

• Levels 1-3 comprise approximately the same standard as senior secondary education.

• Levels 7-8 equate with advanced qualifications of graduate and postgraduate standard (Bachelors Degree, Honours, Master's and Doctoral Degrees, as well as numerous other postgraduate qualifications).

These levels differ in standard from those, for example, used by England, in the fact that New

Zealand's level 8 covers post-graduate study and level 1 equates the qualification of the first school certificate.


In comparison, the National Curriculum of England uses two sets of levels, namely NQF levels (similar to the eight levels defined by the NQF of New Zealand), and eight levels of attainment standards between key stages 1 to 3, in other words up to grade

9. The New Zealand levels are, however, very similar to the structure used by SAQA, as levels 1-3 are approximately the same as senior secondary education, levels 4-6 approximate to advanced trades, technical and business qualifications, and levels 7-8 equate with advanced qualifications of graduate and postgraduate standard (Grove 2000b: I). Some qualifications and credit structures are, however, not yet in a final form.


The author refers the reader to the section on England's music framework under 3.9.5, where the levels and outcomes are explained in more detail.

. From 2002, the national qualification for school learners will be the National Certificate of

Educational Achievement, or the NCEA (NZQA 2001:1), which is a qualification registered on the New Zealand NQF. Currently there are three NCEA qualifications, equalling the first three of the NQF's eight levels (NZQA 2001:3).

• Levell is rep,lacing the School Certificate. For a student to be awarded NCEA level

1 a minimum of 80 credits, of which 8 credits in literacy and 8 credit in nume~cy, must be achieved.

• Level 2 is replacing the Sixth Form Certificate (year 12). To be awarded NCEA level 2, 80 credits, of which 60 from level 2, must be achieved.

• Level 3 is replacing University Bursaries (year 13). NCEA level 3 achievement must contain 80 credits, of which 60 must be from level 3.

Graduate certificates and graduate diplomas still lack approved definitions and credit requirements, but it is suggested that these qualifications equate qualifications earned at level

7 or above, differentiating them from post-graduate certificates and diplomas. "The concept of the graduate diploma is a relatively recent innovation that responds primarily to the demand of the professional labour market" (NZQA 2000d:3). For this reason an entrant does not necessarily hav~ to be a holder of a degree, and (equivalent) relevant professional experience is sufficient.

Table 3-4: Outline of levels and applications in the New Zealand Qualifications Framework

(adaptedfrom NZQA 2000c:lO-23)




Basic foundation for further study, includin basic vocational skills.

Could be equated with achievement expected during the fourth year of secondary school; includes process work skills.

Could be equated with achievement expected during the fifth year of secondary school; includes practice and sub-trade level skills.




6 Diploma


Initial degree


Post-graduate qualifications

Could be equated with achievement expected in skilled trade studies.

Could be equated with achievement expected in the first year of degree studies, or for advanced trade or technician studies.

Could be equated with achievement expected at the second year of degree level studies, or for higher level technician and para-professional studies.

Could be equated with achievement at the final year of degree level studies, or professional studies.

Could be equated to more achievement at:post-graduate level, such as

Master's or Doctorate, or for senior professional studies.

Minimum 40 credits.

A minimum of 120 credits from level 4 or above.

A minimum of 360 credits (72 at each level) from levels 4_7.


Bachelors degree with Honours:

A total of 120 credits, with a minimum 72 at level 8.

Graduate Certificate:

A minimum of 40 credits at level 7 or above.

Graduate Diploma:

A minimum of 120 credits from levels 4-8, with at least 72 at level

7 or above.

Postgraduate Certificate:

A minimum 40 credits at level 8.

Postgraduate Diploma:

A minimum of 120 credits from levels 4-8.

Master's Degree:

A minimum of 240 credits from levels 4-8, with no less than

192 credits at level 8.

Doctoral Degree:

No indication of credits, as main component of study constitutes original research.

The NZQA uses the concept of

notional hours

to express and measure credits. This term is defined as "the amount of learning and assessment that is typically required in gaining a qualification" (NZQA 2000c: 13). The number of notional hours determines the credit value


Some Bachelor degrees, notably in professional fields such as engineering, health sciences, and similar fields, may require a longer period of study and encompass additional credits. In this regard a four-year full-time course would normally require 480 credits.

of a course or qualification. Notional hours estimate and evaluate the length of time it would take an average learner to achieve the stated outcomes required, and include:

The relation between credits and notional hours is explained by equalling one credit to ten notional learning hours (NZQA 2000c:7). The use of credits to earn a qualification was largely copied from the New Zealand system by South African educational authorities. In a document issued by SAQA one year later (2000f:9), the following explanation is offered:

"SAQA uses a credit system based on the idea than one credit equals 10 notional hours of learning".

The New Zealand Ministry of Education (New Zealand 1999a:8) explains the system as follows: "As students achieve specific identified outcomes they receive credits, and when a student has enough credits at specific levels and in specific subjects, the qualification is awarded" The NZQA (2000c: 13) defines a full-time single year programme, leading to a qualification, as translating into 120 credits. The possibility of credit transfers between qualifications is made possible in the event of an apparent match in terms of outcomes~ level, credit and subject classification.

"Unit standards based qualifications generate automatic credit transfer and accumulation through the New Zealand Qualifications Authority's Record of Learning" (NZQA 2000c:13).

Assessment is integrated into each unit standard, and formal assessment can be done only by the representative of an accredited provider, or by a registered assessor. Accredited providers are, for example, a school, private training establishment, wananga (Maori operated institutes of learning), government training establishment or tertiary institution; registered assessors are individuals registered by an Industry Training Organisation (ITO) or National Standards

Body (NSB) (NZQA 2000a:2).

Guidance towards the interpretation of unit standards must be provided to assessors "through the development of an Assessment Guide" (NZQA 2000a:6). Material for such an assessment guide may be updated regularly, drawing on material of the moderation network. In this whole process a local moderator plays an important role, because he is responsible for

moderation and approval of assessment materials, activities and schedules, as well as to award credits to learners on the NQF.

3.8.6 Detailedfields

"A detailed field is described as a way of classifying subject areas of qualifications and courses" (NZQA 2000d:7). A classification of this kind is used to enable consistency throughout the broad framework. A finalised unit of classification is, however, still not in operation, and is planned only for 2002.

3.8.7 Classification system

Seventeen fields are currently grouped in the NZQA classification system. These are (NZQA


These are broken down into sub-fields and domains, which will not be discussed in detail in this thesis. Subjects for school qualifications are English, Mathematics and Science (core subjects), and Social Studies, Physical EducationlHealth, Information Literacy, Foreign

Languages, Technology, Visual and Performing Arts, and Economics.

In comparison with the twelve envisaged NSBs in the South African system (SAQA

2000d:5-6), there are currently six established NSBs for New Zealand education. These are:

• Science and Technology.

A standards setting body for Education and Health is also currently in use (New Zealand

1999a:8), but not yet officially established as an NSB.

According to the New Zealand Ministry of Education (New Zealand 1999a:9), the following advantages were recognised in the system of education, using unit standards, credits and qualifications earned:

• The purpose of qualifications is clearly outlined, allowing students and employers to know what they can gain from the study. The transferable character of unit standards also allows for a greater flexibility to gain qualifications and raise levels of skills acquired.

• Industry and tertiary providers have been closely involved in the process of developing qualifications and standards, improving the relevance and quality of learning.

• By assessing "agreater number of skills, a broader range of educational achievement has been recognised. "People can now gain credits towards qualifications in a wide range of learning settings (such as workplaces), have prior learning recognised, and have their achievement recognised in new areas" (New Zealand I 999a: 10).

• Students are enabled to enter and re-enter education and training, allowing a change of learning settings. This has considerable advantages in on-the-job training, as well .

as acknowledging prior credits after training or education was interrupted.

The new system will acknowledge the possibility that there are many ways to reach a specific qualification.

The purpose and character of a qualifications framework is effectively summarised as follows in the White Paper of the Ministry of Education (New Zealand I 999a: I I): "We need a framework that acts like a road map for all quality education, enabling people to see how

; they can get from one place to another, and where the best route may be."

Quality, in terms of"content, teaching and research, is regarded as a high priority in the New

Zealand NQF, and therefore quality assurance systems are used to monitor qualifications in order to encourage high standards.

All qualifications offered in New Zealand will in future be quality-assured by a quality approval body. The basis of approval will be the fitness for the purpose for which it was designed, and according to their White Paper (New Zealand I 999a: 15), qualifications will include:

• any other type of qualification which meets the requirements of a quality approval body.

Registration on the NQF will take piace once the quality of a qualification or unit standards has been tested and approved by a quality approval body. A close scrutiny will be maintained to ensure the ongoing high quality of a provider (New Zealand 1999b:2). This scrutiny includes a moderation system, implemented, operated and monitored by the NZQA (NZQA

2000a:4), to moderate providers of unit standards against which learners will be assessed.

A list of accredited providers is published together with the registered unit standards.

3.8.9 The music framework of the New Zealand NQF

In the following paragraphs, the music framework of the New Zealand NQF will be briefly considered.

The music framework of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority currently (2001) uses the following four domains:

• Making Music:

28 unit standards, level 1-7 with corresponding credits;

• Music Education and Training:

6 unit standards, level 4-7 with corresponding credits;

• Music Studies:

14 unit standards, level 1-7 with corresponding credits; and

• Music Technology:

6 unit standards, level 4-5 and 7 with one qualification registered, namely a National Certificate in Music Technology at levelS.

According to the classification system of fields, sub-fields and domains, the following qualifications are currently available for Music:

• National Certificate in Music (level 2)

• National Certificate in Music (level 3)

• National Certificate in Music (level 4)

• NatIonal Certificate in Music (levelS)

• National Certificate in Music (Music therapy) (levelS)

"New Zealand qualifications are compiled of certain combinations of unit standards across all the domains. These qualifications include certain compulsory unit standards as well as electives. The selection of electives and credits required are specified" (Grove 2000b:4). This means that a student has a wide selection of fields and sub-fields when compiling a course, retaining the credits for assessed unit standards.

For this domain, 28 unit standards have already been registered on the first seven of eight levels. A brief explanation of the contents will be given below, as the full details with special notes, elements and performance criteria, range statements and assessment/moderation criteria is available at the website of the NZQA.


• Demonstrate ability to be an effective performing member of a music performance group (3 credits).

• Demonstrate music compositional skills through two short music compositions (6 credits).

• Demonstrate music performance skills through two pieces of contrasting style (8 credits).

• Demonstrate developing music compositional skills through three music compositions (6 credits).

• Demonstrate music performance skills as soloist on a second instrument in three pieces (8 credits).

• Demonstrate music performance skills before an audience through three pieces of contrasting styles (8 credits).

Level 3:

• Demonstrate developed mUSIC compositional skills through two or three compositions of substance (8 credits).

• Demonstrate essential music arrangement skills (5 credits).

• Demonstrate music performance skills as soloist on a second instrument in extended pieces (8 credits).

• Demonstrate music performance skills before an audience through a selection of extended pieces (8 credits).

• Make a significant contribution to a music performance ensemble (10 credits).

Level 4:

• Conduct music to a rudimentary standard (5 credits).

• Improvise music to a rudimentary standard (5 credits).


• Arrange music to a developed standard (10 credits).

• Compose music to a developed standard (10 credits).

• Perform music on an instrument to a developed standard (15 credits).

• Perform music to a developed standard as soloist on a second instrument (15 credits).

• Direct music rehearsal(s) to a developed standard (15 credits).

• Improvise music to a developed standard (15 credits).

Level 7:

• Demonstrate advanced music arrangement skills (35 credits).

• Demonstrate advanced music compositional skills (35 credits).

• Demonstrate advanced music performance skills as soloist in an ensemble situation

(30 credits).

• Demonstrate advanced music performance skills as a soloist on a second instrument

(30 credits).

• Demonstrate lldvanced music performance skills as a soloist on one instrument (40 credits).

• Demonstrate advanced music performance skills as soloist on a second instrument in an ensemble situation (30 credits).

• Describe, manage and direct a music ensemble for public performance (40 credits).

• Describe, manage and direct a music ensemble for studio and live recording performance situations (30 credits). Unit standards/or Music Education and Training

Six unit standards have been registered up to date (2001), with no official qualifications yet.

Unit standards at levels 4, 5, 6 and 7 are currently available.

Level 4:

• Explain and show the use of creative musical improvisation for therapeutic purposes

(10 credits).

Level 5:

• Demonstrate the ability to select and present music for therapeutic use (10 credits).

• Demonstrate knowledge of how to teach musical instrumental performance in

AotearoalNew Zealand (10 credits).

Level 7:

• Demonstrate rudimentary ability to use music therapeutically In response to identified client needs (15 credits).

• Teach musical instrument to student(s) (30 credits).

Fourteen unit standards are currently registered for Music Studies, with no qualifications yet.

Unit standards are available for levels 1,.2,3,5, and for level 7, with those for levels 4 and 6 not yet registered (2001).


• Demonstrate ,knowledge of music materials, and the ability to read, write, and listen to music (5 credits).

• Demonstrate rudimentary knowledge of New Zealand music (3 credits).

• Describe and· examine three music works of varying genre (5 credits).

Level 2:

• Demonstrate developing knowledge of music materials, and the ability to read, write, and listen to music (5 credits).

• Describe and examine four music works, and explain evaluations of performances

(5 credits).

• Demonstrate developed knowledge of music materials, and the ability to read, write, and listen to music (5 credits).

• Describe, analyse, and compare SIX music works, and evaluate public music performances (5 credits).


• Demonstrate developed musical listening and analytical skills and knowledge (10 credits).

• Demonstrate knowledge and skills associated with musical research methodology

(10 credits).

• Describe music-making in AotearoalNew Zealand (10 credits).

Level 7:

• Complete a research study on music in AotearoalNew Zealand (15 credits).

• Demonstrate advanced ability to read and analyse 20 th century music (20 credits).

• Demonstrate advanced research skills in music (30 credits). Unit standardsfor Music Technology

Six unit standards at levels 4, 5 and 7 are currently registered for this domain, with one qualification (National Certificate in Music Technology) available at level 5.

Level 4:

• Demonstrate, rudimentary knowledge of retailing in the music retail industry (6 credits).


• Demonstrate·knowledge and application of the production of audio recordings (12 credits).

• Demonstrate knowledge and manual skills associated with sound recording technology (10 credits).

• Demonstrate knowledge and skills of retailing in the mUSIC retail industry (8 credits).

• Demonstrate knowledge of acoustics in relation to music technology (l0 credits).

• Design and make substantial products in the field of musical sound technology (30 credits).

In a document for a MEUSSA workshop, Grove (2000b: 1) used the following table to compare the NQF levels and possible qualifications of South Africa and New Zealand:

Advanced trades

Technical and business qualification

First degrees

Postgraduate degrees








Grade 10


Grade 11


Grade 12



First degrees




General Education and



Further Education and



Higher Education and


From this table it is clear that, although both countries use a system of 8 NQF levels, the interpretation of these 8 levels differs. All post-graduate studies in the NZQA system for example, is slotted at level 8, with the final year of the first or Bachelor's degree at level 7. A

Bachelor's degree, in the South African structure, fits into level 6, a Master's degree at level 7 and a doctoral degree at level 8 (SAQA 2001 :3-6).

In the New Zealand structure, the domain of Music Education and Training is, especially in comparison with the domain of Music Making, still lacking in definition and only contains six unit standards between levels 4 and 7. The same applies to the domain of Music

Technology with also only six unit standards between levels 4 and 7. The domain of Music

Technology, however, covers music retail and industry, music production, recording sound technology, acoustics and music design in sound technology, while Music Education and

Training has unit stapdards for music therapy and instrumental music only.

Music studies, which are relevant in the teaching of general music, are also limited to only a few unit standards. In the opinion of the author this domain needs to be more explicitly explored and enriched to reflect the plenteous potential of music in the general class.

The flexible nature of core and elective standards, however, offers a valuable contribution to the Southern African perspective, and will be explored further in the chapter on unit standards for aerophones.

Like its South African counterpart, the New Zealand framework is clearly still in progress, with no unit standards for level 8 currently available. The structure is also still lacking qualifications for each level, with only seven qualifications at the moment registered between levels 2 and 5.

The music of the indigenous people, the Maoris, is added as a separate item with its own advisory board. In the opinion of the author this is an unsatisfactory situation, as the scope of music learning and experience is in this way limited to a specific style. It would be more appropriate to integrate the Maori music into the holistic structure, and not to reserve it as an optipn, treated diffe~ently and kept on the side. The place of popular music is also not clear, and needs to be addressed.

Because the official document does not make use of the collective term


when referring to the National Curriculum, the author will make use of the actual wording as defined by the English Department for Education and Employment (England 1999), namely

The National Curriculum of


The National Curriculum of England, implemented from August 2000, uses a system of attainment targets and key stages in providing guidelines for music education and assessment.

"Popular education in England has developed in an aesthetically rich world" (Allison

1984:61). The roots of education are based on a historically long and hierarchical class structure, with many influences from the elitist classical education. According to Green &

Waleson (2001 :35), the post-Second World War British schools were blessed with a "golden age" as far as instrumental teaching was concerned. During this time a largely successful music service system was organised and funded by local educational authorities, making use of peripatetic instrumental specialists giving lessons to individual pupils in the schools at a low cost. The place of music as subject in the curricula, however, varied from ''the impressive to the indescribable" (Green & Waleson 2001 :35).

During the 1990s the National Curriculum was positioned, and music given a new and compulsory status in the classroom at primary and early secondary level.

But the comprehensiveness of this new system depended on the attitudes and budget appraisals of individual head teachers, because legislation granted them control over their own budgets.

For this reason, according to Green & Waleson, some music services disappeared altogether.

A 1997 report by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music evidenced a massive decline of 300 000 in the numbers of children playing music instruments.

This decline seemed to have come to a halt at the beginning of 2000 (according to the latest ABRSM repOrt), because of the stabilising effect that the impact of the National Curriculum in Music

; is having (Green & Waleson 2001 :35-36). One of the reasons for the increase in positive results is the fact that the present Labour Government has set up a Music Standards Fund, as well as created a National Foundation for Youth Music with £10 million available each year

(Green & Waleson 2001 :36).

Before the national curriculum was provided, "the teacher could be considered a more or less free agent in terms of both teaching method and content" (Allison 1984:62). This meant that a freedom and diversity of educational content and direction was generally accepted, with the only dictation in terms of subject syllabuses provided by the external examination system at the end of mandatory schooling. Swanwick (1996:21) describes the non-explicit attitude of music educators towards a uniform music curriculum: "Until fairly recently, music educators had a tendency to be professionally inarticulate, leaving [... ] national policy formulation to others." He also uses the word "erratic" in describing music education in Britain.

Music was part of the curricula in most English schools before the National Curriculum, but music as a subject "seemed to languish in status by being perceived as 'un-academic'; pleasurable rather than educational" (Swanwick 1996:23). The fact that schools and curricula gradually became more vocationally focussed also meant that a perceived waste of time, space, equipment and staffing resulted in a strong pull away from arts subjects.

"England is rapidly becoming a multi-racial, multi-ethnic society, [... ] it is becoming necessary to recognise cultural pluralism as a fact of life, and this is profoundly affecting educational practices" (Allison 1984:66). These two factors, namely the non-structural format of (arts) education and the multiplying character of ethnic composition in schools, were two moulding and urging factors leading to the implementation of a national curriculum for English schools.

Another element of influence is the fact that, according to Swanwick (1996:24), two traditions of music education were inherited, especially in secondary schools. The first derives from the private school system, which sees the music educator as the music director.

It is his task to run the band, the choir and the orchestra, to manage the chapel choir and organise individual instrumental teaching.

The second tradition stems from the framework of the class music lesson, where general music education is treated as any other subject and pupils were withdrawn from other classes to work with specialist instrumental teachers. In most instances the music educator has to perform both the role of music director and general music teachers. In most cases instrumental teaching as well as orchestra rehearsing takes place after school hours, and very often quite apart from the school curriculum (Swanwick 1996:25), with peripatetic teachers working with individuals and small groups.

Many similarities with the South African scenario can be drawn, as the scenario in music education mentioned in the previous paragraph is well known to many music teachers in this country. Music is also, in South Africa, regarded by many head teachers as "pleasurable" and therefore as an optional extra on the school timetable. Because the academic content is furthermore considered as low, music as a subject is often replaced by so-called core academic subjects.

The process of implementing a National Curriculum in the UK was started in 1987.

Swanwick (1996:27) mentions that the earliest statements on the subject basis of the National

Curriculum occurred in a document of 1987.

Music educators in England have prepared the way for the National Curriculum for roughly two and a half decades, with projects such as the Schools Council project "Music in the

Secondary School Curriculum" (1982), as well as many more individual efforts by music educators. The acceptance of a detailed General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) course content signalled an acceptance of a specific music curriculum, but with "the actual structure and status of the music curriculum before legislation [... ] not markedly dissimilar from what is now being proposed" (Swanwick 1996:22). The main difference, according to

Swanwick (1996:22), lies in the national formulation of content, instead of leaving all decisions to local schools and teachers.

Education in England is divided into two levels - a general education (GCSE level), and higher education (the so-called A-levels). General education is mandatory for all children between the ages of five and sixteen,2\ with optional higher education for those up to eighteen or nineteen years of age. The current GCSE level and a large section of the A-levels are the responsibility of the local education authorities.

Primary education (between ages five to eleven) is frequently divided into infant schools

(ages five to seven) and junior schools (ages seven to eleven). Secondary education may provide one continuous education, or divide into high schools (ages eleven to fourteen) and upper schools (ages fourteen and older).

During the 1980s, arts subjects were still, despite the fact that they had values and purposes attributed to them in varying proportions, regarded as peripheral subjects. The reason for this was the so-called non-academic content of arts subjects against other academic subjects

(Allison 1984:64). S.wanwick (1996:27) states that music still appears at the end of the list of foundation subjects in the National Curriculum, along with art and physical education, and


In the mandatory ph.ase a system of three or four key stages for different subjects is applicable. After mandatory education the A-levels may be followed.

that these subjects were the last to be brought into the curriculum framework. With regard to time and resources. available, this approach also implies that music is at the end of the receiving row, with around ten percent of time allotted in the curriculum framework. Time allocated for music is also easily substituted by "more important" subjects when deemed necessary. This practice for general music education in English schools is also a familiar one in the South African situation.

A revision of the national curriculum in England was announced by the Secretary of State on

9 September 1999, to be implemented from August 2000.


These changes were focussed on raising the standards of pupil attainment, providing a more flexible framework and making teaching requirements clearer (QCA 2000: 1).

Only three subjects are indicated as National Curriculum core subjects, namely English,

Mathematics and Science.

Six key skills are described in the national curriculum, "because they help 'learners to improve their learning and performance in education, work and life" (England 1999:24, 40).

These are also described as follows in the National Music Curriculum, and the way in which music can be used to promote the key skills is described in brackets:

• Communication,

namely speaking, reading and writing (presenting music to different audiences, discussing and sharing ideas with others);

• Application of number,

namely the facility to develop a range of mental calculation skills (recognising pattern, sequence, order and rhythmic relationships);

• Information technology,

which includes the ability to include, interpret, evaluate and present a range of information (composing or performing music using a range of

ICT, or-Information and Communication Technology);

• Working with others,

which includes the ability to work in small and whole-class groups so as to develop a growing awareness of the needs of others (taking different roles in groups and ensemble work, supporting the different contributions in groups);

• Problem solving

(achieving intentions when composing or presenting performances to different audiences in different venues);

• Improving own learning and petformance,

including the ability to reflect on and critically evaluate own work, identifying ways to improve (appraising own work, recognising the need for perseverance, developing the ability to use time effectively, and increase the ability to work independently).

• Establish an entitlement, meaning that all pupils, irrespective of background, culture, race, gender or abilities, are entitled to a number of learning areas. They must be given the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to mature into competent and responsible citizens;

• Establish standards,

meaning that the national curriculum sets expectations for the attainment of certain learning and performance standards;

• Promote continuity and coherence,

by providing a coherent national framework that facilitates the smooth transition of pupils between schools and provides the foundation for lifelong learning; and

• Promote public understanding.

By increasing the public understanding in the· work done in schools, an increased confidence and basis for discussion among lay and professional groups are encouraged.

The development of the school curriculum, which comprises all learning and other experiences that learners in a specific school will enjoy, must use the framework of the national curriculum as reference for values, aims and purposes. The two main aims when providing a school curriculum should be (England 1999:2-3):

• To promote the development of pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural awareness so as to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and challenges of life.

Alongside this, a st~tutory statement sets out three principles for inclusion in all stages of curriculum planning, namely

• Overcoming potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups. This is aimed specifically at pupils with special educational needs, pupils with disabilities and pupils for whom English is an additional language (QCA


"The curriculum [... ] must be responsive to changes in society and the economy, and changes in the nature of schooling itself' (England 1999:5). This means that the curriculum, as adapted from the national curriculum in specific schools, should not remain static, but be continuously re-appraised in order to suit the needs and resources of pupils and the society.

This process is also followed in the South African educational situation, as the unit standards generated by SGBs will be reviewed every three years.

A clear guideline to providing effective learning opportunities for all pupils is also provided in the National Curriculum (England 1999: 55). This includes:

• Setting suitable learning challenges (in other words differentiating In order to achieve as high a standard as possible).

• Responding to pupils' diverse learning needs (including gender, special educational needs or disabilities, different social and cultural backgrounds, different ethnic groups inclu<;ling travellers, refugee and asylum seekers, and those from different linguistic backgrounds). Special efforts should be made to create effective learning environments, secure pupils' motivation and concentration and provide equality of opportunity .

• Programmes of study;

• Attainment targets for learning; and

An early stage, callep the pre-school stage for age 3-5, is to be implemented from September

2000 to encourage six areas of learning:

• knowledge and understanding of the world;

• physical development; and

· After this pre-school stage, three phases are distinguished, namely a foundation phase (for pupils between grades 1-3), an intermediate phase (grades 4-6), and secondary school or senior phase (for grades 7-9). During these three phases four, and for some subjects

(including music) th!ee key stages are distinguished. NQF levels for England are the same as those being used in South Africa, as explained by the author in Table 3-6:

A course of general music in NQF level 1 (grade 9) is provided in the English system. An option of specialisation in performing orland composing, together with general music as a subject, is available from NQF level 2 onwards (grades 10-12). Two of the six compulsory subjects for this phase may consist of music subjects. A learner taking three music subjects has to take the 3 rd music subject as 7 th subject. The application of the English system is explained by the author in Table 3-7:

Grade 0


Grades 1-3


Grades 4-6


Key stage 1

(age 5-7, or years


Key stage 2

(age 7-11, or years


General Music

General Music


GET and ABET 2

General Music

Private, individual lessons on an instrument

GET and ABET 3

Grades 7-9


Grade 10

Grade 11

Grade 12

Year 13

Key stage 3

(age 11-14, or

years 7-9)


Key stage 4

(age 14-16, or

year 10)

GCSE ends with an exam

(Age 17, year 11)

AS level

(Age 18, year 12)


(Age 19,year 13)

GCE qualification

Level 1 (grades 0General Music


Private, individual

Compulsory lessons on an instrument( s)

Level 2


Level 3


Level 4



General Music

Individual lessons on an instrument( s)

Specialisation in performance or composition

General Music

Individual lessons on an instrument( s)

Specialisation in performance or composition

General Music

Individual lessons on an instrument( s)

Specialisation in performance or composition

General Music

Individual lessons on an instrument( s)

Specialisation in performance or composition

GET and ABET 4





After key stage 4 it is expected that skills, knowledge and understanding will be at a more advanced level. Two optional qualifications, comprising a six-unit structure, may be achieved after GCSE, namely

• an AS (Advanced Supplementary) level, done in the twelfth year of schooling or one year post GCSE; and

• programmes of study23 (which set out what pupils should be taught, or the content of study); and

• attainment targetsllevels24 (which set out the expected standard of pupils' performance in terms of 8 levels, with an additional level for exceptional performance ).

These are implemep.ted in four key stages,25 with eight level descriptions of increased difficulty for key stages 1-4, plus a level for exceptional performance above level 8.2


These level descriptions describe the type and range of performance expected from pupils, as well as providing the basis for making judgement on pupils' performance at the end of each level.

Key stage 4 uses natIonal qualifications as the main means of assessing attainment.

The following table will explain the level of attainment levels for the average learner .

between key stages 1-3, and at different ages.


"The Education Act 1996, section 353b, defines a programme of study as 'the matters, skills and processes' that should be taught to pupils of different abilities and maturities during the key stage" (England 1999:38).


"The attainment target for music sets out the 'knowledge, skills and understanding that pupils of different abilities and maturities are expected to have by the end of each key stage' " (England 1999:39).


History, Geography, Art and Design, Music, Modem foreign languages and Citizenship all have three key stages or less. Music uses three key stages (England 1999:6).


The author wants to focus the attention of the reader to the fact that the National Curriculum of England uses the same terminology, namely "levels", to describe the attainment standards / targets at different phases, as well as for the appropriate NQF phases. While being described with the same word, two different concepts are implied. For the sake of clarity, the author will differentiate between "NQF level" and "attainment level".

Table 3-8: Explanation of the average attainment levels for learners between key stages 1-3

(England 1999:39)

Key stage 1

Key stage 2

Key stage 3

At age 7

At age 11

At age 14

3.9.4 The structure of the National Music Curriculum

The aspects of music that are used to define the educational perspective are:

• Performing (controlling sounds through singing and playing);

• Composing (creating, adapting, communicating and developing musical ideas);

• Appraising (responding and reviewing); and

• Listening (applying knowledge and understanding).

The listening aspect is described as being developed through the interrelated skills of performing, composing and appraising (England 1999:6). This means that the three main domains of music are performing, composing and appraising, with the listening aspect threading through these three domains. The author of this thesis also advocates this approach in the unit standards provided in chapter 5 - while listening must be assessed separately, it must be integrated with all other aspects of music education.




The outcomes of these three aspects of music, namely performing, composing and appraising are as follows:


• Performing:

perform music alone and together, enabling the development of the student individually and socially;

Appraising: three areas for musical response must be cultivated, namely a cognitive, affective and skill-learning response.

Of these three, the composing aspect has more weight in the British frameworks, because this

"composing allows greater levels of musical cognition" (Swanwick & Franca 2000: 18).

General outcomes are also provided, which would, in the South African situation, translate as generic outcomes. These are more descriptive in nature than those used for defining the three aspects in the struc~e:

• Pupils recognise and explore how sounds can be made and changed. They apply their voices in different ways such as speaking, singing, chanting, and perform with awareness, together with others.

• Pupils repeat short rhythmic and melodic patterns, and create and choose sounds in response to given starting points and patterns.

• Pupils recognise and explore how sounds can be organised. They sing with a sense of the shape of the melody, and perform simple patterns and accompaniments, keeping to a steady pulse.


These are taken from a document produced by three members of the MEUSSA group (Elma Britz, Vinayagi

Govinder and Antoinette Hoek) on the unit standards of Britain, and discussed by the MEUSSA group during a workshop on 15 July 2000.

• Pupils choose carefully and order sounds within simple structures such as beginning, middle, end, and in response to given starting points, they represent sounds with sYmbolsand recognise how the musical elements can be employed to create different moods and effects. Pupils improve on their own work.

Level 3:

• Pupils recognise and explore the ways sounds can be combined and used" expressively. They sing in tune with expression and perform simple parts in a limited range of notes rhythmically.

• Pupils improvise repeated patterns and combine several layers of sound with awareness of the combined effect. They recognise how the different musical elements are combined and applied to their own work, commenting on the intended effect.

• Pupils identify and explore the relationship between sound and how music reflects different intentions. Performing by ear/simple notations they maintain their own part with awareness of how the different parts fit together and the need to achieve an overall effect.

• Pupils improvise melodic and rhythmic phrases as part of a group performance, and compose by developing ideas within musical structures. They describe, compare and evaluate different kinds of music using an appropriate musical vocabulary. They suggest improvements to their own and others' work, commenting on how intentions haye been achieved.

• Pupils identify/explore musical devices and how music reflects time and place. They perform significant parts from memory and from notation with awareness of their own contribution such as leading others, taking a solo part and/or providing rhythmic support.

• Pupils improvise melodic and rhythmic material within given structures, use a variety of notations and compose music for different occasions, using appropriate musical devices such as melody, rhythms, chords and structures. Pupils analyse and compare musical features.

• Pupils evaluate how venue, occasion and purpose affect the way music is created, performed and heard. They refine and improve on their own work.

• Pupils identify and explore the different processes and contexts of selected musical genres and styles. They select and make expressive use of tempo, dynamics, phrasing and timbre. They make subtle adjustments to fit their own part within a group performance. They improvise and compose in different genres and styles, using harmonic and non-harmonic devices where relevant, sustaining and developing musical ideas and achieving different intended effects. They use relevant notations to plan, revise and refine material. They also analyse, compare and evaluate how music reflects the context in which it is created, performed and heard.

They make improvements to their own work and to that of others; they work in the light of the chosen style.

• Pupils discriminate and explore conventions in, and influences on, selected genres, styles and traditions. They exploit the characteristic and potential of selected resources, genres, styles and traditions. They perform in different styles, making significant cpntributions to the ensemble and using relevant notations. They improvise and compose extended compositions with a sense of direction and shape, both with regard to melodic and rhythmic phrases and as overall form. They explore different styles, genres and traditions, working by ear and by making accurate use of appropriate notations, both following and challenging conventions.

They discriminate between musical styles, genres and traditions, commenting on the relationship between the music and its cultural context, making and justifying their own judgements.

Another aspect of study is described in the National Curriculum, namely the breadth of study.

This describes the ''types of activities that bring together requirements from each of the aspects, the different starting points and size of groups, and the range of music to be experienced, including live and recorded, and from different times and cultures" (England


Three aspects of learning are considered important when describing music education. These aspects must be integrated in the teaching and teachers should, for example, provide ample

opportunities for pupils to use information and communication technology as they learn the subject. The three aspects oflearning are (England 1999:9):

• The promotion of key skills, such as communication, IT, working with others, improving own learning and performance and problem solving; and

• Promoting other aspects of the curriculum for example thinking skills, entrepeneuriaI skills and work-related learning, as well as links with other subjects.

These links are provided in the description of the programmes of study for music.

The nature of music education stays informal for key stages 1 to 3, with music theory only formally being taught after key stage 3. At this stage the composition component also receives more weight within the framework, because it allows for greater levels of cognition.

A flexible approach with no rigid content descriptions is used throughout all the key stages, with the listening aspect used to integrate the performing, composing and appraising aspects.


Assessment goes hand-in-hand with the content of a curriculum: "It is reasonably clear that to establish any assessment is to produce a curriculum to accommodate it" (Bradley


The legacy of English assessment was that of a complicated system of external examinations and a multiplicity of examination boards (Allison 1984:67). This system was replaced with a simpler form of assessment in the national curriculum, one in which the teacher now has a bigger role to play. The external examination at the end of mandatory schooling is still in place, but teachers are also expected to assess their pupils at the end of each key stage in preparation for the final exam. In other words, the English educational structure now uses


These conclusions are taken from a presentation made by three members of the MEUSSA group, namely

Elma Britz, Vinayagi Govinder and Antoinette Hoek, to a large proportion of the whole group on Saturday 15

July 2000.

only two levels of assessment, namely assessment by the teachers, and statutory assessment at the end of each key stage (England 1999:7).

When assessing, a teacher should select the description of a level which best fits a pupil's performance, and when doing so, "each description should be considered alongside descriptions for adjacent levels" (England 1999:8). The level descriptions can also be used as a basis to describe pupils' progress to parents, and they can help to "determine the degree of challenge and progression of work across each year of a key stage" (England 1999:8).

During key stage 1 pupils listen carefully and respond physically to a wide range of music. They play musical instruments and sing a variety of songs from memory, adding accompaniments and creating short compositions with increasing confidence, imagination and control. They explore and enjoy how sounds and silence can create different moods and effects (England 1999: 16).

The programmes of study for all non-core subjects (that is everything except English,

Mathematics and Science) contain two sets of requirements, namely

Teachers are furthermore asked to "ensure that listening, and applying knowledge and understanding are developed through the interrelated skills of performing, composing and

appraising" (England 1999: 16).

In the first key stage the focus is on listening, and children may respond physically through movement and dance.

Programmes of study for performing skills are described as follows:



These standards are briefly described by the author. The full version is availal?le online at England 1999:


• The use of the voice by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes should be taught. Pupils should play tuned and untuned instruments, as well as rehearse and perform with others.

• The creation' of musical patterns, and the exploration, choice and organisation of sounds and musical ideas.

• The exploration and expression of ideas and feelings about music, using movement, dance, and expressive and musical language. Pupils should also be able to make improvements on their own work.

• Pupils should listen with concentration, learning how to internalise and recall sounds with increasing aural memory.

• Pupils should be taught how the combined musical elements of pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture and silence can be organised and used expressively within simple musical structures.

• The way in which sounds can be made in different ways, for example vocal ising, clapping, using musical instruments or the environment, must be explored.

• How music is used for particular purposes, for example as a dance or lullaby, must be taught.

In this key stage, pupils are expected to sing songs and play instruments with increasing confidence, skill, expression and awareness of their own contribution to a group or class performance.

They improvise, and develop their own musical compositions in response to a variety of different stimuli with increasing personal involvement, independence and creativity.

They explore their thoughts and feelings through responding physically, intellectually and emotionally to a variety of music from different times and cultures (England 1999:49).

The nature rather than the content of outcomes is defined, and response to music may also include movement and dance. Compulsory music education includes one hour a week as general or class music.

• The singing of songs in unison or two parts, with clear diction, pitch control, a sense of phrase and musical expression;

• The presenting of performances with an awareness of an audience is considered important at this stage.

• Exploring, choosing, organising "and combining of musical ideas within musical structures.

~ Exploring and explaining of pupils' own ideas and feelings about music. For this, movement, dance, expressive language and musical vocabulary can be used;

The listening and understanding aspect, to be integrated with the previous three aspects, includes:

• Listening with attention to detail, and to intemalise and recall sounds with increasing accuracy;

• Teaching pupils to know how the combined musical elements of pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture and silence can be organised within musical structures, and used to communicate moods and effects;


• The influence of time and place on the way music is created, performed or heard.

"'An important element of music in schools is instrumental teaching" (Swanwick 1996:25).

From key stage 2, the need for specialist instrumental tuition becomes apparent, as an increasing technical demand in performance or singing is prescribed.

During key stage 3 pupils deepen and extend their own musical interests and skills.

They perform and compose music in different styles with increasing understanding of musical devices, processes and contextual influences. They work individually and in groups of different sizes and become increasingly aware of different roles and contributions of each member of the group. They actively explore specific genres, styles and traditions from different times and cultures with increasing ability to discriminate, think critically and make connections between different areas of knowledge (England 1999:51).

• Singing in unison and part songs, developing vocal techniques and musical expression;

• Practising, rehearsing and performing with awareness of the contribution of the different members of a group, the audience and the venue.

• Producing, developing and extending musical ideas, as well as selecting and combining resources within musical structures and given genres, styles and traditions.

• Communicating ideas and feelings about music, using expressive language and music vocabulary to justify opinions;

• Adapting own musical ideas, with refinement and improvement of own and others' work.

The listening, applying and understanding aspect are described as follows:

• Listening with discrimination, internalising and recalling sounds;

• Identifying the expressive use of musical elements, devices, tonalities and structures;

• Identifying the resources, conventions, processes and procedures used in selected musical genres, styles and traditions, including the use of leT, staff notation and other relevant notations;

• Identifying contextual influences affecting the way in which music

IS created, performed or heard.

3.9.10 The Attainment Targets

In the British framework, attainment targets are described in terms of eight level descriptions of increased difficulty, as well as a description for exceptional performance after the eighth level (England 1999:67). These level descriptions provide the basis for teachers to assess pupils at the end of key stages 1 to 3. By the end of key stage 1, the majority of pupils are expected to work between a range of attainment levels 1-3 with an average of level 2, by key stage 2 it should be levels 2-5 with an average of level 4, and by the end of key stage 3 the expected levels should be level 3-7 with an average of level 5/6 (England 1999:7).

A brief description of these attainment levels is as follows:

• Levell: "Pupils recognise and explore how sounds can be made and changed'

(England 1999:68). In this first level, the focus is on imitating rhythmic and melodic patterns and responding to given fragments of rhythm or melody.

• Level 2: "Pupils recognise and explore how sounds can be organised' (England

1999:68). Pupils start performing and ordering sounds. They start acquainting themselves and experimenting with musical structures and elements.

• Level


"Pupils recognise and explore the ways sounds can be combined and used

expressively': (England 1999:68). Technical control, such as singing in tune and expressively, and improvisations on repeated patterns, are introduced in this level.

Level 4: "Pupils identify and explore the relationship between sounds and how

music reflects different intentions"

(England 1999:68).

Simple notations for performance, as well as playing by ear, are used; composition and improvisation in a group is regarded as important and judging/critical listening skills must be developed anCIexercised.

Level 5: "Pupils identify and explore musical devices and how music reflects time

and place" (England 1999:69). Performance is done from memory and notation, and improvisation forms a substantial part of this level. The composition aspect is increasingly more important, and the way venue, occasion and purpose affects the manner in which music is created must be evaluated and analysed.

Level 6: "Pupils identify and explore the different processes

and contexts

of selected musical genres and styles" (England 1999:69). Aspects such as tempo, dynamics, phrasing and timbre must be handled expressively, and the pupil must be sensitive to his contribution when performing in a group.

Improvisation and composition become more advanced, achieving intended effects. Evaluation by the pupils of their own work is also important.

Level 7: "Pupils discriminate and explore musical conventions in, and influences on, selected genres, styles and traditions" (England 1999:69). Performance, using relevant notations, is an integral part of this level. The composition aspect expects of pupils to create, improvise, develop and extend intemalised ideas, working within given and chosen instruments and musical structures or genres.

Level 8: Pupils discriminate and exploit the characteristics and expressive potential of selected musical resources, genres, styles and traditions" (England 1999:69). The level of performance, improvisation and composition is advanced, and a developed sense of direction, shape and structure is expected. The forming and motivating of own judgements on the relationship between music and its cultural content is prescribed, and innovative thinking processes are encouraged.

Exceptional performance: in this level pupils develop different interpretations, and express their' own ideas and styles regarding the possibilities of their instrument and/or voice.

They must give convincing performances, produce coherent

compositions and b e able to recognise the particular contribution o f signi f i cant per f ormers an d co mposer s.

C hanges to the A S a nd A lev e l specifications were implemented in September 2000 (B ro wne

2000:16). New assessment objectives, weightings and nature o f c omponent s were offer ed by th e Department for E ducation and Employment , together with a number of requirement s for new specifications.

• Petform:

interpr e t musical ideas with technical and e x pressive control , a sens e of style and aw a r en ess of occ a si o n and/or ensemble;

• Compose :

deve l op mus i ca l i d eas with technical a n d exp r es s ive co ntrol , maki n g c r e ati ve u se of musica l devices a nd co nv e ntions ;

• A ppraise :

demons t rate u n ders t a nding of t he s tructur a l , expressive a nd co nt extual a sp e ct s of m u s ic .

A system of six u ni ts for these two leve l s (t hr ee for e ach le vel) is used as str u ct u re. Units I, 2 and 3 (t h e so-called AS units) comprise one year of post GCSE study, a n d units 4, 5 and 6

(the so ca ll ed A2 units) rep r esent a f ur t h e r year of pos t AS study .

These six u n its comprise the whole a d vanced GCE qualification (Bro wn e 20 00: 1 7 ). The possi b le qual i f i cations in the

English schooling system for music may, in ot h er wor d s, be summarised as in Ta b le 3-9:

Key stage I (schoo l year 4 and 5)

Key stage 2 (schoo l year 6 an d 7)

Key stage 3 (schoo l year 8 and 9)

Key stage 4 (school year 10 an d 11)




AS l e v el (school year 12) (u n i t s 1-3)

A2 l eve l (sc h oo l year 13) (units 4-6)


8 level des c r i pt i on s

. In England, three main examining and awarding bodies are offering a wide range of qualifications and programmes, namely

These three organisations are independent examination companies with corresponding standards of performance, and are operating in schools, colleges, universities and in the work place across the country.

Table 3-10 summarises the different AS units as interpreted by these three examination bodies:

Ensemble perfonnance.

A realisation of one of the piecies composed in unit 2, as weIl as a written appraisal.

Two compositions

(maximum IO minutes) of which one must be capable of being realised in unit 3.

Unit 1: Perfonning

• Solo perfonnance, one or more pieces (5-6 minutes).

• Perfonnance during the course of at least four pieces, including the perfonnance of one of the student's own compositions.

Unit 2: Developing musical ideas

• A portfolio of composition technique exercises.

• One composition.

Area of study 1: Western tonal tradition 1700-1850.

Questions on three set works, including a detailed analysis of short recorded excerpts and printed passages, and a choice of essay questions.

• Area of study: Change and development in a musical genre, style or tradition.

• Essay question on a topic chosen by the teacher.

Unit 3: Listening and understanding

• Short answers and/or notional exercises on timbre and texture, comparison of perfonnances.

• Two structured questions based on the areas of study.

OCR Unit I; Performing Unit 2: Composition I

Solo performance (5-8

Language of minutes), of at least Western tonal two pieces.

harmony: six exercises.

Choice of one from:

Performing on a second instrument.

Expressive use of instrumental techniques; one option from two.

Performing in a duet or ensemble, or as accompanist.

Performing own composition.

Unit 3: Introduction to historical study

Aural extracts.

Prescribed works.

Contextual study.

Unit 6: Performing

• A programme of solo music.

• A viva voce session of approximately three minutes on stylistic, technical and interpretative aspects.

Unit 5: Investigation, report and composition

Area of study 3: Musical genres

Area of study 4: The origins and

and the musical setting of text in developments of the western the

2d h and

21'1 centuries.

tonal tradition /700-1850.

Structured questions based

An investigation of two works connected by aspects such as genre, place or occasion but separated by at least 100 years.

A report on these findings.

on up to five excerpts of recorded music, including structure, harmonic, melodic and rhythmic features, compositional techniques, instrumentation, performing and recording techniques.

• The composition of one piece of music that is informed by some aspects of the two works selected for investigation.

• Questions on the musical setting of a given text.

• Essay questions on one set work.

Unit 4: Specialist options

Pathway B

• A solo recital of at least 20 minutes on one or more

Unit 4: Specialist options

Pathway A

• Compositional portfolio.

• Two compositions, one from each of the two chosen topics.

Unit 6: Analysing music

• A listening paper.

• Five questions based on the extended study and the new area of study.

OCR instruments.

Unit 5: Performing

(and composing)

Performing during the course, one or two must be solo performances.

Unit 5: (Performing and) composition

Compositional techniques examination.

Unit 4: Performing: interpretatron

A solo recital lasting between

12 and 15 minutes on one instrulJlent.

Performance investigations: comparative study of recorded interpretations

Unit 5: Composing 2

Areas of study: Tonality and words and music.

Vocal composition.

Stylistic techniques or composition assignment

(film storyboard).

Unit 6: Historical and analytical studies

Aural extracts.

Prescribed historical topic

(one from four).

Synoptic essay.

The perspective of England's National Curriculum shares a focus with all of the frameworks studied by the author in this chapter, as well as with the South African frameworks, namely that of acquiring a habit of lifelong learning: "to inspire in pupils a joy and commitment to learning that will last a lifetime" (England 1999:3).

To this a dimension of maturity in the development of the learners is added: "Progression in music also occurs within each level in terms of pupils' increasing confidence, independence and ownership" (England 1999: 67).

• To ensure that pupils develop from an early age the essential literacy and numeracy skills they need to learn;

• To give teachers discretion to find the best ways to inspire a joy and commitment to lifelong learning in their pupils.

These aims are very valid for the Southern African perspective, and could, in the opinion of the author, be kept ifl mind for all structures of music education.

In the British framework, the composing (creating) skills are considered important and are very often regarded as primary skills. This differs from other frameworks, for example the framework of the USA, as well as the South African practice, which regards the performance aspect of music education as a high priority. "Composing is widely practised and is generally thought to be both desirable and feasible" (Swanwick 1996:28). Furthermore: "Composing

(including improvising) offers greater scope for choosing not only how but also what to play or sing and in which temporal order" (Swanwick 2000: 10). In South Africa, a performanceweighted approach may be enriched by incorporating an improvisational aspect into performance. Improvisation skills were a familiar facet of performance in Western Classical music before 1900, and still are an active ingredient in the popular genre of jazz, the indigenous genre of African music as well as in Indian music.

In the various work~hops and discussions held by the MEUSSA group, it was also generally agreed that theory of music should not outweigh performance. The tendency to teach music from a "director's chair" without providing opportunities to participate in and experience music-making, was regarded by the group as highly undesirable. The author is also of the opinion that practical experiences in music-making will provide learners with a better understanding of music concepts than a mere explanation of theoretical components.

Another important focus of the National Curriculum is on singing, rooted in the acquiring of the skill of learning to sight-sing from notation. With few resources available in the Southern

African situation, the voice must be regarded as an important medium of participation in music-making.

The National Curriculum of England acknowledges the multi-cultural character of schools, and does not want to limit musical experience only to the Western classical tradition (Swanwick 1996:24). The use of jazz, pop and rock, world musics and ethnic styles are thus widely accepted. Once again this approach is a very valid one for the

Southern African situation in schools, and widening the scope of musical experience and learning will be strongly advocated by the MEUSSA group.

The following table outlines the difference between the core and non-core subjects of the

USA, Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa. Core subjects are marked with ~, and non-core subjects with #.

Table 3-12: Comparison of core and non-core subjects of the USA, Australia, England, New

Zealand and South Africa.





SCIENCE .........
























Visual and

Performing Art

















~ ~

Languages other than



Modern Foreign























Design and













Information and





Social Studies







The direction of South African Education is taken mainly from the New Zealand framework, using the concepts of unit standards, a national qualification authority, as well as credits and qualifications earned. The flexible and transferable nature of unit standards, as well as the way of measuring credits by means of notional hours, are taken directly from the framework developed by the New Zealand Qualification Authority.

The New Zealand concept of achievement standards, with three levels of accomplishment


credit, merit or excellence),

may provide a progressive dimension to the current

South African process. This could encourage increased performance standards in learning areas, and motivate learners not to accept mediocre or low standards in their own work.

In the opinion of the author positive aspects of all four countries viewed in this chapter should be kept in mind, and not only those employed in the New Zealand framework. For example, the English approach of integrating the listening aspect with the three concepts of performing, composing and appraising may also prove valuable in the South African context.

A separate listening exam, consisting of both repertoire recognition and aural evaluation (as currently being practised in English schools as part of the GCSE course), is, in the opinion of the author, a sensible and estimable way of integrating practical music elements into a music curriculum.

By synthesising feasible and attainable options available from the four countries studied in this chapter with the unique Southern African situation and challenges, a healthy perspective may be gained, avoiding the blind following of a recipe that may work for one country but prove problematic for another. South African education is currently in a favourable position to gain from the best in the world, provided that a flexible approach is maintained.

This chapter will provide a perspective on recent shifts in Western culture, intellectual discourses and Weltanschauung. The author will, in the ftrst place, provide a broad overview of modem and postmodern developments in the area of cultural activities such as architecture, literatur~, art and music. Because the exploration of postmodern activities is still relatively unknown in the field of Southern African formal music education, especially at the level of secondary schooling, the author will present a detailed explanation of both modem and postmodern outlines. Limited space also prompted some choices regarding exponents and characteristics of both modernism and postmodernism.

Following this, a rationale and alternative approach for music education at the beginning of the 21 st century will be deducted for Southern Africa. Music education has in principle been viewed from the (modernist) perspective of Western art music, which has normally excluded genres such as popular or indigenous music, and this is still the case in many educational ins~itutions. It is only at the end of the 20 th century that these styles came to be regarded as substantial enough to deserve academic scrutiny. This then, will be considered as a viable enrichment or alternative for music education.

During the chapter the author will use many direct citations. The rationale for this lies in the hesitation to paraphrase primary philosophical sources, as well as to provide an overview of the wealth of secondary sources concerning postmodernism, indicating the current lively debate on this subject.

The current age or culture is generally, in Western societies, being considered as a postmodem age or culture. Important cultural shifts over roughly the last forty years of the

20 th century began shaping the understanding of the world we live in. A rethinking of the traditional foundations and paradigms of thought has proliferated "which problematise the

great ordering principles of rationality, unity, universality, and truth, recasting them as special cases of contingency, plurality, historicity and ideology" (Kramer 1995:xi). For the project of writing unit standards for music to be relevant, it is necessary to reflect on these changes.

Because of an increasing acknowledgement of a postmodern condition in Western societies, it is also necessary to describe this condition, for the reason that it profoundly inf!uences

policies and other activities undertaken in the area of arts education within a specific culture.

Although postmodernism, as intellectual practice, is primary a Western phenomenon, the widespread influen~e of Western culture throughout the world, made possible by the processes of modernisation, technology, telecommunications, globalisation and the spread of

Western popular culture, has made its mark on virtually every comer of the globe (Adams


According to Rossouw (1995:75), the culture of a specific society may be described as having three important functions:

• Firstly, it is the mechanism through which the members of a society understand each other and the reality around them.

• The last function is to organise relationships between members of a society, and between those members and the world around them.

The author does not want to offer such a wide definition, but will stay within the sedimentation of art forms in the culture of a society, therefore understanding culture as the mechanism through which members ofa society handles and interprets reality. The focus will be on architecture, literature and especially music, because in these manifestations of culture, a condition of postmodernism relevant to this thesis may be clearly observed. The reader must note that, because this theme poses a minefield of conflicting notions, the author is often forced into simplification for the sake of finding conclusions appropriate to music education.

The period preceding postmodernism, namely modernism, extended from more or less the last third of the 19 th century roughly to three-quarters through the 20 th century. The nature of

this culture of modernism underwent its most significant change after World War II, gradually preparing the path for a postmodern culture towards the end of the 20 th century.

Many people are aware that Western societies since the Second World War have radically changed their nature in some way. To describe these changes social theorists have used various terms: media society, the society of the spectacle, consumer society, the bureaucratic society of controlled consumption, postindustrial society. A fashionable description of such societies is that they are postmodern (Sarup 1988:117).

Because music is generally accepted as one of the basic expressions of culture, it is important to situate it within the sphere of postmodern culture. Changes in cultural conditions essentially exercise an influence on the musical practices of a society and, in the perspective of this thesis, the approach and content of music education. Postmodernism evolved as a critique on, a reaction against and an extension of modernism, therefore it is essential to take cognisance of modernism, as well as postmodern culture's stance regarding these issues.

The terms modernism/modernity and postmodernism/postmodernity, must first be clarified before embarking on a discussion.

The author uses the words "modernism" and

"postmodernism" to describe the cultural period, ideology or worldview manifesting in the cultural reproductions and activities of a specific society, and "modernity" or

"postmodernity" to describe the social formation or condition within a society (Epstein

1999:1). Modernity may, in this sense be considered a necessary pre-condition for modernism.

In this chapter the author will therefore first provide a brief description of general and cultural events, especially in the field of modernist music that preceded the development of postmodernism. The trends and characteristics of postmodernism will then be discussed, with a specific perspective provided for music education at the beginning of the 21 st century.

Postmodernism is an elusive subject. The development of postmodernism in Western societies has not gone uncontested or without critique, and the outcome is still far from clear, but its impact is unmistakably evident, recognisable and undeniable (Kramer 1995:xi).

Postmodernism is often described in terms of, and in contrast to, modernism: "No one exactly agrees as to what is meant by the term, except, perhaps, that 'postmodernism'

represents some kind of reaction to, or departure from, 'modernism'" (Harvey 1990:7).

Klages (1997: 1) also defines postmodernism in terms of modernism when she says that the easiest way to start thinking about postmodernism, is perhaps by thinking about modernism, the movement from ~hich postmodernism seems to grow or emerge.

An accurate and simple definition of postmodernism is very difficult because it comprises a wide array of smaller definitions and trends. In the opinion of the author the difficulty in defining postmodernism points to and contains one of the key elements of this condition, namely that it contains a wide diversity of perspectives, possibilities and individual approaches to living and thinking, all valid and part of the same condition.

When describing postmodernism :from the departure point of modernism, this last concept must then first be thoroughly understood and defined, because modernism contains the seedbed from which postmodernism evolved.

In this section, the author will provide a brief description of modernist culture. This will be done in the first pla~e by briefly looking at the history, mood and underlying philosophy of this era, roughly between 1870 to 1960, and then by comparing this with the way the character of the period is reflected in the music.

The era of modernism in the arts encompassed approximately the last third of the 19 th and the biggest portion of the 20 th centuries, a time associated with rapid industrial and technological developments. "The condition of modernity is often spoken of as the rapid pace and texture of life in a society experienced as the result of the industrial revolution" (Berman, as quoted in Piercy 1999:4). Modernism, as worldview, often carries the connotation of transgression and rebellion associated with fast and drastic changes in society.

An important origin of modernism was the phenomenon of urban migration and an explosive urban growth, together with industrialisation and mechanisation.

"The pressing need to confront the psychological, sociological, technical, organisational and political problems of massive urbanisation was one of the seed-beds in which modernist movements flourished"

(Harvey 1990:25). The impact of living in the city was, for example, vividly illustrated in the

work of 20 th century artists and architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier and Otto


The genesis of modernism as a period and style in the arts is usually associated with the first signs of Impressionism, which signified a break with Realism as a style in the visual arts. In philosophy, modernism is equated with the scientific worldview of the Enlightenment of the

18 th century.


The focus of the dogma of the Enlightenment turned away from the church as power structure, seeking to provide the people with sovereignty. A line of social and scientific theorists such as Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer and, later, Nietzsche, were part of this philosophical frame of thought, of which the last pronounced that God was dead and that a race of supermen were destined to rule the world (Solomon 2001 :1).

According to Solomon (2001: 1), the world of the Enlightenment was a world ruled by dictators and monarchs, enforcing a belief that civilisation was steadily progressing from primitive beginnings to perfection. Reductive science, master codes, exploration, imperialism and colonisation were characteristic of this era. Society was ruled by the Newtonian principle that the future could be determined and mastered completely by applying the powers of reason - abstract theories were regarded superior to subjective observations, and the universe was viewed as a huge deterministic machine which had to be explored and controlled.

The modern age of the early 20 th century was the fmal stage of the European Enlightenment, with the extreme cillmination of the social theories of progress, knowledge and culture resulting in the atrocities of two World Wars. The Enlightenment was rooted in what JUrgen

Habermas (1985:8) refers to as the

project of modernity.

"That project amounted to an extraordinary intell~ctual effort on the part of Enlightenment thinkers 'to develop objective science, universal morality and law, and autonomous art according to inner logic'" (Harvey


The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement in the 18 th century that believed human reason could be used to combat ignorance, superstition and tyranny exercised by authorities such as the Roman Catholic. Church and the aristocracy. By applying reason, it was believed that nature could be progressively understood, thereby building a better world (Brians 1998: 1). One of the earliest advocates of the Enlightenment was Descartes, and other followers were inter alia Voltaire, Rousseau and Locke.

The project of modernity was established roughly during the middle of the 18 th century as the product of a group of philosophers such as Descartes, Pascal, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot and Rousseau (RemPel 200 I: I).

Modernity is equated with the scientific worldview of the Enlightenment.

This powerful and successful approach to nature and culture has come to dominate the modem university and our social, economic, moral, and cognitive structures.

Human reason, as exemplified in the deductive thought of mathematics and physics, would come to replace the superstitious worldviews of religion and other forms of irrationality. Reason, science, technology, and bureaucratic management would improve our knowledge, wealth and well being through the rational control of nature and society (Grassie 1997:1).

Rose (2000:2) explains that the project of modernity "was that epoch in which man was to master himself and to legislate for himself'. Art and science, so the exponents of this project believed, could be made' autonomous by applying the human mind and reason.

One of the foundations of modernity, according to Rempel (2001:1), was the faith in the instrument of reason rather than in a mere accumulation of knowledge. The Enlightenment, as a movement of .thinkers, believed that science could explain nature, and encouraged society to employ science, exploring nature and questioning established frames of thought.

People were encouraged to participate in government and to rethink old ideas such as feudalism (Dowling 2001: 1). They believed that human reason could be used to combat ignorance, superstition, and tyranny and to build a better world, and their principal targets were religion (embodied in France in the Roman Catholic Church) and the domination of society by a hereditary aristocracy (Brians 1998: 1).

The basic ideas of the Enlightenment, as briefly described by Klages (1997:1, 3) correspond with the main characteristics of modernism as described by (Rossouw (1995:3-6):

• There is a stable, coherent and knowable self. This self is rational, conscious and universal, with no physical conditions or differences affecting the functioning of the self.

• This self knows itself and, importantly, the world through reason, which is proposed as the highest form of mental processing, and the only objective form of knowing.

• The mode of knowing produced by this rational and objective self is "science", which can provide universal truths about the world.

• Reason is the ultimate judge of what is true, what is right and what is good.

Therefore, in a world governed by reason, the true will always be the same as the good and the right, and there can be no conflict between good and right

• Science is neutral and objective, and stands as the paradigm for any useful form of knowledge.

• Language, as the vehicle of expression used in producing knowledge, must be rational also and serve only to present the real world observed by the rational mind.

Habermas (1985:9) describes the "extravagant" expectation of Enlightenment thinkers that the arts and sciences would promote not only the control of natural forces, but also understanding of the world and of the self, moral progress, the justice of institutions and even the happiness of human beings.

"Totality is basic to modernist thought" (Kramer 1995:8). In modernist terms this meant that central truths could be proved valid for all people. A prominent theme in the modernist era is the theme of grand narratives, or meta-narratives,2 which may be simply described as a comprehensive system of general truths (Kramer 1995:8) or the story that a culture tells about its practices and beliefs. An example of a grand narrative may be that democracy is the most advanced form of government, and that it can lead to universal human happiness

(Klages 1997:4). Other examples are ideologies such as Marxism and Darwinism. This culture of grand narratives further established itself in aspects such as the prescription of genres in art and literature, and governmental control of music played by broadcasting corporations. Decisions were, for example, made by central authorities on the nature and kind


The term meta-narratives as defined by Lyotard (1979), is used as functioning within a culture to explain indigenous practices and principles. Within the context of this thesis, it is employed to indicate large-scale theoretical interpretations, purportedly of Wliversal application.

visual art that was acceptable in a society (Hamm 1995:47). In this way modernism tried to create order amidst a perception of chaos.

According to Hamm (1995:1-2), whose significant research on popular music in his book

Putting Popular Music in Its Place

is used extensively in this chapter, meta-narratives were extended to national power structures, as the modem era was signified by a concentration of power in the form of new, large nation-states and colonialism. These macro powers swallowed smaller, previously autonomous city-states, regions and smaller countries, leaving military and economic control to a handful of large countries (Hamm 1995:1). It goes without saying that these macro powers then determined policies and principles for the relevant societies, serving as .meta-narrativesunderlying the reality of everyday life.

This notion of unifying smaller units into one big corporation, country, state or morality, was one of the main characteristics of modernism. Smaller enterprises very often had to merge with these giants in order to survive in the huge cities that formed. In the same way smaller stories or narratives that deviated from the prescriptive principles were regarded as invalid.

Furthermore the functioning of meta-narratives served to keep the modernist values of order and rationalism alive and legitimate. Anything not fitting in with these was regarded as leading to chaos and was therefore illegitimate.

Another characteristic of modernism was the condition that one set of rules or truths was valid for every member of a society. This was quite evident in the Enlightenment project of the late IS th century, which took it as axiomatic that only one ideal answer was to be found for each question (Harvey 1990:27). This answer was true only if it was possible to find it rationally, by reason. Therefore, if it is possible to find one universal moral law, or universal reason, this law, answer or reason could be proved valid for all people. "Doctrines of equality, liberty, faith in human intelligence, and universal reason abounded" (Harvey


A further development after 1945 became apparent when a period of "high modernism", drawing even more on values of universalism and rationalism, became characteristic of .

Western societies. Art of this period was absorbed into establishment and power structures, and was meant to run parallel with the modernisation of European economies to restore war-

· tom communities and governments. After World War II, the dominant powers in society became more stable, and "the belief in linear progress, absolute truths and rational planning of ideal social orders under standardised conditions of knowledge and production was particularly strong" (Harvey 1990:35).

The two world wars, especially World War II, were the great turning points of the 20 th century in the Western world. Mitchell (1997:10) alleges that much of the drive for postmodern thinking has sprung from World War II, of which the consequent human suffering and powerlessness is viewed by some as leading to the ultimate collapse of the modernist paradigm.

In the period after World War II, America and its leaders played an essential role in determining the future of the post-war world, with, for example, the headquarters of the

United Nations stationed in New York. Countries wrecked by war were economically, physically and politically assisted by the American government, which became one of the two macro powers ih the world (the USSR was the other macro power at this stage). In the same vein, developments regarding cultural, especially popular culture, directions also largely originated from America (Hamm 1995:7).

The period after 1945 was also the period that experienced a return of the worship of the efficient machine to embody all human aspirations. The extremes of this approach were illustrated by not allowing or approving personalised design - house tenants were, for example, not allowed to modify their environment to suit personal taste and needs, and the students living in Le Corbusier's

Pavillon Suisse

had to "fry every summer because the architect refused, for aesthetic reasons, to let blinds be installed" (Harvey 1990:36).

Isaacson (1999:18,22) notes that the 20 th century, especially the first two-thirds, was marked by exceptional scie.ntific discoveries and achievements: "The 20 th century will be most remembered for its earthshaking advances in science and technology, in particular for our ability to understand and then harness the forces of the atom and the universe."

The anticipation that scientific achievements would lead mankind along the road to a peaceful, happy, healthy life (Hamm 1995:67) and the admiration for the scientists who were

showing the way, were important characteristics of this period in history. An optimistic view of humans being uplifted by the sciences was common amongst modernists.

A full and rational comprehension of scientific laws would, for example, promote understanding and consequently domination of the world, thereby making life easier and happier. The general view was that tec~ology and science would free people by alleviating the burdens of everyday struggles while promoting understanding and therefore domination of the forces of nature. Francis Bacon, British modernist philosopher (as quoted by Rossouw 1995:34), said in this regard that the aim of science is to enrich everyday life by means of new discoveries and the utili sing of nature's powers.

Hamm (1995:65) even states that the years after World War II witnessed such a succession of scientific discoveries promising a better life, that merely listening to the radio or reading a newspaper became an exciting event, anticipating yet another scientific marvel or miracle.

These scientific marvels included achievements such as the first supersonic flight, a roundthe-world airways service, global telecommunication services, the beginnings of satellite technology, miracle drugs combating diseases such as polio and mental illnesses, and colour television broadcasts. "Indeed, our century may be noted most for the work of those who went out to their garages (metaphorically, at least) and helped bring us televisions and transistors, plastics and penicillin, computers and the World Wide Web" (Isaacson 1999:4).

This mood of optimism was gradually brought to an end, being replaced with pessimism and doubt towards the last third of the century that technology and science will ever make life significantly better. Habermas (1985:9) stated that: "The 20 th century has shattered this optimism".

The optimistic mood was replaced by disillusionment and bitterness, as the emancipation that was promised by mobilising the powers of technology and science did not result in improved quality of life or freedom from daily struggles, but in the two World Wars.

The image of science was tarnished as it continued to develop more powerful and terrible weapons for warfare, to furnish procedures and means for industry to pollute and poison the air, earth and water, and to drink up billions of dollars from the national 5udget for such things as the space program, an exciting adventure but of little immediate benefit to the millions of people who still needed decent shelter, food, clothing, medical care and education (Hamm 1995:86).

Knowledge in the modem paradigm had a distinctly rational character. This meant that phenomena that could not be explained by means of reasoning had no place. This also implied that modernism is inherently reducing in character (Bosman 2001:13).

The ideal of rationality was, after World War I, gradually extended to a metaphor of rationality incorporated in technology and machines. Rationality was now defined as technological efficiency. In this sense a city was referred to as a "living machine", houses and cities were openly designed as "machines for living in", and language was thought of as ideally conforming to machine efficiency.

A poet such as Carlos Williams "specifically held that a poem is nothing more or less than 'a machine made of words'" (Harvey 1990:31). Language was furthermore seen as a transparent signifier referring to or describing an object (as sign), with its only function being to serve as medium between object and reader.

Postmodem language is seen as a network of signs (Klages 1997:4) and the meaning of language is constructed by the relationship between words. The origin of language is furthermore seen more as forming the subject than being formed by individuals (Bosman

2001: 14). The rule of reason is furthermore broadened by utilising, reaffirming and exploring the powers of religion and spirituality. Not all matters can be explained in terms of rationality, and not all existing matters had a rational or single explanation.

This trend of a broader rationality had an enormous impact on the music of postmodemism that was to follow from roughly the last forty years of the 20 th century.3This could especially be seen in the lesser support of the so-called rationally or mathematically inspired music of the mid-20 th century, shifting to music influenced by mysticism and religion such as that of the Russian Orthodo"XChurch. This shift will be discussed later in this chapter.


As with all other periods in history, no cut-off date can clearly be provided for a conclusion of modem ism and the onset of postmodernism.

The 1960s are generally accepted as showing the first manifestations of a new condition following modernism. While the new paradigm was starting to emerge, modernist activities were, and still are, continuing. The onset ofpostmodernism does not imply the end of modernism.

4.4.6 The essence of modernism

According to Harvey (1990:27), it still remains difficult to determine the essence of modernism. He offers the following viewpoint for modernist reasoning in the following sequence of logic:

• The ideal of a universal approach to problems exists, in other words only one possible and ultimately valid answer to each question.

• This means that the world could be controlled and rationally ordered if we could picture and represent it accurately.

• This in turn means that a single correct mode of representation, which could be scientifically and mathematically uncovered and would provide an answer to the original question, exists.

Mitchell (1997:5) describes the chief characteristic of modernism as "the attempt to take command ofhumanity's destiny and this world, in the interest of moving towards·a utopia of some sort". This modernism can be found in:

• the segregation of the individual's activity into isolated compartments of work, leisure and belief;

• a society of individual strangers rather than communities, the elimination of difference or the deviant;

• transformational technical achievements like the computer, television, car and aeroplane;

• the elevation of dispassionate professional judgement over that of intuition or "lay" experiences; and

• the enshrinement of the rights of the individual.

Between roughly 1910 and 1920, modernist trends underwent a radical transformation. The viewpoint of a singular, fixed idea or answer was gradually and increasingly challenged, reaching "its apogee shortly before the First World War" (Harvey 1990:28). It was during

this time that the arts entered a mode of experimentation and shifting of boundaries. A few of the cultural benchmarks produced during this time were:

• Literary wor~s such as Death in Venice (1912, T Mann), Sons and Lovers (1913, DH

Lawrence), and The Wasteland (1922, TS Eliot),4

• Emerging importance of art works by artists such as Klee, Braque, Kandinsky,

Matisse and Picasso.

• Music by composers such as Bartok, Berg, Schonberg, Varese and others, incorporating different sounds, textures and techniques;

• Psychoanalysis and Freud.

The radical nature of change that took place within this short space of time is notable. A sceptical approach to previously set ideas and formulas came to the foreground. Harvey

(1990:29) provides t.woreasons for this changed perspective:

• Political upheaval instigated by a class struggle resulted in a gradual loss of faith in the Enlightenment mode of thinking. Furthermore, the effects of capitalism made the disparities between rich and poor more and more evident. In some instances art and artists were directly involved with radical political parties, in this way casting doubt over the idea of "auratic art" (art that shrouded the artist with a certain exclusive aura), and the artist as individualistic. Political parties, such as the Communist Party, also strove to mobilise culture in the service of their aims.

• The seeds of disorder and despair sown by Nietzsche, the scenario of political restlessness and instability between the two World Wars, and the articulation by

Freud of "erotic, psychological and irrational needs" (Harvey 1990:30), further necessitated a shift in the tone of modernism. Gradually a position of multiple

perspectives and relativism started to emerge, laying the foundation for a postmodern view of the world.

To understand postmodern art and conditions, it is useful first to understand the roots and trends of modernist art, together with influences that helped shape this culture. The reason for this is that postmodernism and postmodern art may also be viewed from a


perspective - in other words, postmodernism did not signify a total break with modernist principles, but a culmination of modernist developments.

Snyman (1995:67) describes the developments in the world of art in the nineteenth century, starting with art being viewed as alternative discourse within the

project of modernity.

Art retained the potential to act as agent for alternative forms of rationality, and to achieve this the artist had to emancipate himself from the demands of social structures. But parallel to this emancipation a new social elite, namely the financially well off art lovers, started to, determine the marketability of art works. This meant that the autonomy of artists was gradually subjected to the value of their art works in the market place. Art now turned into events, with only the most interesting art works selling, and the artist posing as "the individual who can afford to challenge social and aesthetic codes continuously and be seen to do it" (Snyman 199~:68).

The role of the modernist artist, according to Baudelaire (as quoted in Harvey 1990:20-21), was to "concentrate his or her vision on ordinary subjects of city life, understand their fleeting qualities, and yet extract from the passing moment all the suggestions of eternity it contains". The mode of representation became an important aspect of the artist's work, therefore innovation was considered essential. The artist had to create new codes and significations, sometimes using shock tactics, to bring home the message he wanted to convey. But it also meant that artists had to struggle against each other and against their own

, tradition in order to sell their products, resulting in an individual effort to produce a unique work of art finding a unique place in the art market.

The era of "high modernism", according to Klages (1997:1) was roughly between 1910 and

1930. The founders of 20 th century modernism and the major figures defining poetry and fiction in this time were authors such as Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, TS Eliot, Mallarme

and Kafka. The author will mainly focus on this era of modernism in this chapter, as many of the defining cultural activities were produced during this time.

• an emphasis on HOW things are perceived, rather than WHAT is perceived; It implies, in other words, subjectivity in writing and self-consciousness of the author;

• a blurring o~ distinctions between genres, "so that poetry seems more documentary

(as in TS Eliot), and prose seems more poetic (as in Woolf or Joyce)";

• a tendency towards a self-conscious creation of art, so that each piece calls the attention of ~e reader to its independent stature as production, rather than fixing it on the subject, for example the story, of production;

• a rejection of elaborate and formal aesthetics, favouring minimalist designs, as well as a movement away from formal aesthetic theories in order to advance discovery in creation.

This atmosphere of change had inspired some of the 20 th century's biggest achievements, with perspectives and approaches drastically shifting and changing. Rosenblatt (1999:44-45) describes this chain of events in

Time Magazine:

Art's elimination of semblances to the physical world correspond vaguely vltith

Einstein's way of seeing time and space, but it really sprung from an atmosphere of change, in which Einstein was yoked with Freud, Marx, Picasso, Bergson,

Wittgenstein, Joyce, Kafka, Duchamp, Kandinsky, and anyone else with original and disruptive ideas and an aggressive sense of the new. By that tenuous connection did the discoverer of relativity become a major figure of a world consisting of individuals interpreting the world individually. He was similarly associated with the pluralism of modem music and the eclecticism of modem architecture.

The invention of photography, film, radio and television had a huge impact on the concept of the artist's social and political role. Pop artists of the 1960s, for example, reflected the ominous reality of the mass media in such as way that the image of the newspaper, radio and television itself became a theme. By doing this, it was shown that these communication media had radically changed the consciousness and perceptions, the sense and values and the relationship of citizens with their surrounding world (Staudek 2001:3).

The technical ability to reproduce and sell books, the concept of an increased influence of the media such as film, radio and television, also "radically changed the material conditions of the artist's existence and, hence, their social and political role" (Harvey 1990:23). Art and art possessions were no longer a sought-after luxury, meant only for the very rich, but made accessible by means of the mass media and mass production. It now became difficult to define the elements that classified a great work of art, because reproduction and technology were accessible.

In this way art was gradually conforming to a culture of mass-production and consumption, which characterised the 20 th century. Snyman (1995:69) describes the de-mystifying nature of art in a consumer society as seen by Benjamin - instead of being a diversion, it participates in the class struggle; instead of being used as decoration, it is employed as a tool to help change the world. Modernist authors such as Woolf and Joyce put into words the view that the world of 1910 was felt to be much more complex than the world .of the 19 th century.

As a reaction to developments and changes before World War I, such as new conditions of production (machines, factories), new systems of transport and communications, as well as consumption (the rise of mass markets, advertising and mass fashion), modernist artists provided ways to "reflect upon and absorb and codify these changes" (Harvey 1990:23). An institution such as the German Bauhaus, for example, viewed the machine as a modern medium of design, in this way influencing production and design to make it more attractive to the masses for which the products were intended. "The [Bauhaus] design school itself preached rational attitudes based on social needs and mass-production techniques" (Munro

1961:264). Le Corbusier took the possibilities inherent in the machine, factory and improved transport system to create a utopian future. American households were, in this sense, depicted as "a factory for the production of happiness" as early as 1910 (Harvey 1990:23).

Cubism, Dadaism, Absurdism, Surrealism and the other "isms" of the early 20 th century viewed formal and defined ideals as outdated. They moved away from traditional or fixed viewpoints, sometimes even describing art as "nonsense activities", fusing high art with popular culture and everyday commodities. "Behind abstract art lies a long history of declining interest in subject matter of the traditional kind" (Munro 1961:259). Schickel

(1999:90) describes the drastically new direction of the arts as follows:

The shock of the new drew much of its re-shaping, revolutionary force from frustration with outworn artistic conventions and had been gathering strength and energy out of repression and dismissal for at least 50 years.

The music of the modem era reflected the changes in society accomplished by technological inventions, the growth of a capitalist economy, and improved transport and communication systems. An interest~g perspective is provided by Russolo, composer and spokesman for a group of pre-World War I futurists (quoted by Ewen 1991:ix) to explain a new set of aesthetics with which to express the modem world in music: "Life in ancient times was silent. In the nineteenth century, with the invention of machines, noise was born".

Music as an interpretation of the machine of the industrial age, was an important theme in the modernist idiom of Western art music. Examples of this are Honegger's tribute to the locomotive in Pacific 231 and Mossolov's description of a factory in Iron Foundry. The incorporation of extra-musical noises such as the clicking of typewriters, the whirring of roulette wheels and the sounds of airplane motors in Satie's ballet Parade of 1917 (Ewen

1991 :x), as well as sirens and machine-produced sounds such as hissing or whistling sounds in many ofVarese's compositions, were also exploited.

Furthermore, the explosive growth of popular musicS is another important modernist characteristic:

Popular music, as we understand the term today, was a product of the modem era, extending from the late eighteenth century through the first two-thirds of the 20 th century, or from the industrial revolution through late capitalism (Hamm 1995: 1).

American culture, especially with regard to popular music, was a determining force for this culture in the rest of the world. The roots of popular music, at that stage the antithesis of


Popular music is used here as an umbrella term for a wide range of styles and sounds, including the so-called sentimental ballads of the post-war era, other styles such as jazz, blues and rock-and-roll, as well as extreme styles such as punk and rock.

serious music or "high art", were laid with genres such as jazz and rock-and-roll,6 which originated in America. For this reason the perspective of this chapter will mainly focus on events happening in the USA.

After the Second World War, "musical life in America was rich and complex" and "many people lived with music most of their waking hours". Both light classical and popular music flourished, and Hamm (1995:68), describes musical life in America during this time as follows:

School, community and regional symphony orchestras were founded in unprecedented numbers, as were amateur and semi-professional opera groups. The locus of music instruction shifted dramatically from private instruction and conservatory instruction to music schools and departments of music in colleges and universities.

Not only music majors but other students as well involved themselves in choral groups, school orchestras, various chamber ensembles and opera, performing for large audiences.

A division in the Western world between the music of the elite classes (so-called "high art" music) and the technically less demanding music of the working class (or "low art" music), was an important manifestation of culture in the modernist era. Because the social distinction between the higher and lower social classes was even more distinct by the end of the 19 th century, these musical divisions also became even more rigid. In this regard, the classical genre represented music of a more permanent and ordered nature, while the popular music of the people "was taken to be regional and ephemeral", sometimes passed on orally more than being notated and preserved (Hamm 1995:3).

Popular genres earl:)' in the 20 th century, for example rock-and-roll, were described as important because of the role they played in voicing the social history of the people through the use of lyrics and melody. The music itselfwas not considered by musicologists in general as having much artistic merit or quality (something which Hamm [1995:7] calls the "myth of inferiority"), but it was rather regarded as having value because of the combination of words


According to Henry (l989:vii), rock-and-roll originated as a fusion of black rhythm-and-blues and white country-and-western music, with two early sub-genres being underground rock and punk-rock. Later developments included glitter-rock (David Bowie).

and music describing the way of living and thinking, by catching the mood of an era in history. Belz (1972:ix) mentions that the many essays available on the subject regularly feature the exponents of the style, but generally fail to impose a critical view of its characteristics.

Because the value o~music was considered, for the best part of the modem era, to rely on the intrinsic residual value of the composition itself, and not in its reception or use, an ideal of

"higher" and "lower" music genres was developed by academics and scholars. The division between the masses and the elite was pursued throughout the 20 th century, with specific powers within the discourse

7 of modernist music reserved more for the academic elite than for the exponents of popular music (Henry 1989:vii).

For the author, one way of reflecting on modem music is to view it from two perspectives, namely

The true artist in the modem era was, ideally, obedient only to the laws of art, not adhering to any prescriptive authority (Rossouw 1995:20). This meant that originality was of utmost importance: the role of artist meant constantly shifting boundaries and constantly breaking out of the traditional boundaries. The artist was, in other words, autonomous. The artist came to be regarded as isolated and alienated from society, and "place[d] himself high and dry"

(McGowan as quoted in Piercy 1999:9). The creation of exclusive art had as its aim


to satisfy the cultural taste of the masses.

This kind ofmodem,ist art has always been, as described by Harvey (1990:22) "auratic art, in the sense that the artist had to assume an aura of creativity, of dedication to art for art's sake, in order to produce a cultural object that would be original, unique and marketable at a

monopoly price". The artistic process, in other words, had to be characterised by a struggle and creative dedication on the part of the artist, with the work of art finding a unique place in the world. The ideal of the artist was autonomy, to be obedient only to laws of art, and free of any prescriptions by external powers (Rossouw 1995:20). Sarup (1988: 133) explains that the modem aesthetic was organically linked to the conception of an authentic self and a private identity which can b~ expected to generate its own unique vision of the world and to forge its own style.

One way to achieve this autonomy was to strive for originality, to do something that had never been done or said before in a widely different way than before, and by doing this, to find the hidden and universal truth concealed behind the veil of art (Hamm 1995:69). This trend was intended as a reaction to popular culture, which was mass-produced, commercially rooted, widely' available and affordable to the middle class. These highly individual works of autonomous artists also served to interpret and re-construct reality through the eyes of the artist.

During the first half of the 20 th century this, in the opinion of the author, was one of the main differences between popular culture and exclusive art. Exponents and consumers of mass cultural art very often chose not to reflect the grim reality in their cultural products, but chose to escape to a more ideal and imaginary existence. Exponents of "serious art", on the other hand, reflected the stark reality using sometimes shocking techniques and subjects. This power to interpret society was sometimes even used for revolutionary purposes by artists such as the French Dadaist painter Marcel Duchamp, and architects like Le Corbusier and

Walter Gropius.

Music, as exclusive art, was also meant to explore the advanced and complicated state of science, philosophy and mathematics.

Hamm (1995:74), for example, quotes Babbitt, a modernist American composer, in explaining the correlation between modem science and contemporary music from a modernist perspective:

The time has passed when the normally well-educated man without special preparation can understand the most advanced work in, for example, mathematics, philosophy and physics.

Advanced music, to the extent that it reflects the knowledge and originality of the informed composer, scarcely can be expected to appear more intelligible than these arts and sciences to the person whose musical education usually has been even less extensive than his background in other fields.

hi other words, the complicated nature and content of science and related subjects had"to be matched by music, which was viewed as another form of science by many modernist musicians, composers and musicologists. Music, as ultimate cultural expression of a society, could not be conceived as a simple or straightforward product, accessible to people of average educational level, but had to reflect the current progressive status of science and intellectual advances in a society. In this way, technological advances such as synthesisers and tape recorders ~ere incorporated as new avenues of artistic endeavour, for example i~ the music of classical composers such as Varese, Boulez, Stockhausen and Penderecki.

In the genre of classical music, composers were moving away from the confining walls of structure, tonality, rhythm, metre, harmony and traditional sounds while experimenting with new sounds and compositional techniques. The first definable division of the first half of the

20 th century arose between, what Pettitt (in Ewen 1991:xix) calls, the "serialists", those who radically reflected the mathematical characteristics of music in their compositions


(Stockhausen, Berlo) and the "non-serialists" (Bart6k, Hindemith).

Many approaches were used in the modernist style period; since 1945 ''the world of music has seen such a bewilderingly rapid rate of change, at least until the late 1970's, that observers have had no time to take breath and identify trends with any degree of certainty"

(Ewen 1991:xix). Electronic media, for example tape recorders, synthesisers and computers, were"increasingly utilised by composers such as Babbitt, Stockhausen, Berio and Xenakis

(Ewen 1991:x). New instruments, such as quarter-tone instruments (quarter-tone pianos, trumpets and clarinets) were also invented and used in experimental compositions. John Cage concocted a "prep~ed piano", giving this instrument percussive qualities previously unknown (Ewen 1991:xi).

Composers opened new areas of sound by combining tonalities, rhythms, metres and notes which never before had been joined for artistic ends. Some composers exploited noises from non-musical equipment, such as sirens and whistles and


Ewen (1991 :xxiv) uses the music of Xenakis as an example of serialist and computer-aided music: "[It] is uncompromising in its use of the laws of mathematics and physics, as well as computers as aids to composition" .

motors, and after that by enlisting the seemingly limitless resources of electronic instruments to produce still newer noises and sounds.

This series of events, however, in the opinion of the author, alienated classical music from many of its listeners. Music in this style is often conceived as difficult to listen to, and not as accessible as music of the earlier styles such as the Baroque or Classical style periods. The result was that audiences were gradually shrinking to the informed and curious, with the general music consumer resorting to more accessible listening material, in spite of serious composers trying to bridge the gap between audience and composer.

Kramer (1995:4-5) explains this process as the result ofa combination of factors, inter alia as the result of an increasing professionalisation of musicology, music analysis, music performance and music theory, as well as the increasing world of sound recording and mass entertainment that led to a decrease in the culture of home performances. The net effect was that classical music ~nthe sense of "high art" was gradually passing out of the public sphere, and that the abyss ,betweenpopular and serious music was gradually becoming deeper.

In 1997 Larry Wilker, president of the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC, drew the consequences of the scenario painted above when he explained that there are not enough young people in the audiences. The reason, according to Wilker, was that a whole generation, now in their twenties and thirties, have had no exposure to the performing arts. "It's not that they reject the experience - its not on their radar screen" (Church 1997:32).

The modernist ideal of exclusive artists and intellectuals, consciously keeping a distance from the average citizen and separated from a capitalist society (McGowan as quoted in

Piercy 1999:9), created a cultural vacuum, because their expressions in art were not readily accessible to the general citizen. This vacuum was filled by mass or popular culture: "Mass or popular culture inevitably springs up to fill the vacuum created by the elitist artist's divorce from a wide audience" (Piercy 1999:9).

Thus it happened that the other side of the coin, with regard to modernist art, was the creation of a culture accessible to the masses. Schickel (1999:90) describes this growing popular

culture as an antidote to serious artists who tried to acknowledge the "agony and horror of modern life". He further explains this mass culture in the following way (SchickelI999:91):

It was not that tunes would suddenly disappear from music or realistic representation of the world from art or narrative cohesion from fiction.

Increasingly, though, these comfortable and reassuring sources of pleasure were segregated in a popular culture that was dismissed by finer sensibilities as aesthetically retrograde.

In staying within the limits of a comfortable and ideal reality, Schickel (1999:91) describes how practitioners of popular culture in modern art were helping along the "destruction of the artwork's 'aura' or magic". This was done by keeping the content of films, popular music and television "stubbornly locked to the 19 th century traditions of melodrama and romance".

No artistic struggle or shocking originalities were utilised here, but exponents of popular culture surrounded their products with a soft cloud of sentimentality, something that addressed the masses much more effectively.

This situation gradually changed towards the second half of the 20 th century, in other words by the end of modernism. Styles such as rock-and-roll originated in the United States in the early 1950s, exploiting rebelliousness and nihilism as themes. "Elvis Presley and James Dean had become idols of a youth culture whose aim was sexual liberation and emancipation from the constraints of a petty-bourgeois star cult which was subordinated to the cliches of the

Hollywood movie industry" (Staudek 2001:1).

The 1960s experience(l an even more aggravated form of rebelliousness - Kimball, for example, describes the spirit of the Sixties in what it undermines more than what it champions. It also encompasses protest, youth culture, a "new permissiveness together with a new affluence: Dionysus with a bank balance and a cause" (Kimball 1999:1).

The Sixties is often called "the long decade", because the characteristics of this period started during the late 1950s and only ended in the early 1970s (Kimball 1999:1-2). The contrast between the moods of the 1950s and the 1960s may be captured by using the following fragments, quoted by Kimball from

The Sixties

by Arthur Marwick (1974), and adapted by the author:

Rigid social hierarchy

Subordination of women to men and children to parents

Cliche-ridden popular culture, especially popular music

Cold War hysteria

Strict formalism in dress codes, language, etiquette

Unquestioning respect for authority in the family, education, government, law, religion, national symbols

Changes in personal relationships and sexual behaviour

Black civil rights

Popular music based on Afro-American models

Emergence of "the underground" and a


Youth culture and trend-setting by young people


Optimism and faith in the dawning of a better world

Apart from protest' and the emergence of civil rights movements, the 1960s were also characterised by a cultural phenomenon commonly known as Pop Art. This form of popular culture evolved around consumerism and commercialism, often depicting these consumer objects in a distorted, enlarged or decorated version, or using mechanical means of production. The initial aim of pop art was to break down the barriers between art and life, mirroring contemporary reality and involving everyday commodities in works of art.

Subsequently it resulted in the de-individualisation of art, giving it a mechanical and anonymous quality. Visual artists of this style include Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein in the USA, as well as David Hockney and Clive Barker in Britain (Staudek 2001:4).

By signifying the cultural choices of the working class as inferior, the elite class was trying to achieve the opposite, according to MacDonald Smith Moore (as quoted in Harvey 1990:7), namely to privilege the art of their choice: This art included films such as Citizen Cane, music such as Strayinsky's The Rite of Spring, or literary works such as TS Eliot's The

Wasteland. The consumers of popular art, however, were gradually claiming their share of both the economy and the arts, gaining support by the rapid spread of radio and the media, and in this way dictating the content of both.

This stage is put in words by authors such as Piercy (1999:9): "The frenzied expansion of the mass media is a mark of our postmodemity". In other words, if it made money, it was played on the radio and heard by a nation. The resulting mass-culture with regard to music and

visual arts is described by Hamm (1995:7-10) as an important perspective on modernism and modem art. This phenomenon was reinforced by two factors, namely that:

• the masses dictated the content of the cultural goods because they were buying the records and art works; and

• the media, because their livelihood depended on the money spent by the masses, produced the cultural content that was wanted by the masses.

Furthermore popular styles, such as rock and pop, were oriented towards the radio because the music was generally and primarily meant for the recording industry rather than for live performances (Belz 1972:45). "F. Scott Fitzgerald had it right: Culture follows money"

(Schickel 1999:91).

4.4.11 Popular music in a modernist discourse

The emergence of popular music had its early roots in a post-war youth culture, and this genre of music is often linked with delinquency, protest and rebellious youth, spreading rapidly because of a· growing recording industry. The development of popular music was also catalysed both by the post-war surplus cash and leisure time of the youth, as well as the growing dimensions of the recording industry, placing recorded music well within the financial reach of teenagers and young people (Hamm 1995 :21).

Popular music was regarded as inferior by music scholars, inter alia because of its ephemerality.

Classical music in the Western tradition was, however, considered superior, one of the reasons being that it had its structure and material written down in a specific notation system, therefore being fixed and accessible to all future generations. "High art" was regarded as belonging to the classical genre, implying the tradition of Western art music.

The development of ways to preserve popular music and providing it with a permanent status overturned this early modernist argumentation. The debate now turned to ways to distinguish between higher and lower forms of art within a popular genre itself. Hamm even goes as far as to say that the "c~assical" repertoire within the jazz genre was gradually being recognised towards the second half of the 20 th century, meaning those pieces that earned permanency and status because of an inherent, artistically fine quality. Eventually more genres were added to this classical defmition: "The notion that a canon of artistically superior and hence

'classic' pieces can -be identified within a given popular genre has now spread from jazz to

Broadway musicals, popular ballads, and even country-Western music" (Hamm 1995: 18-21).

It is interesting, once again, to note that these divisions of "classical" and "lower" repertoire within the popular genre were imposed on the art by scholars and academics trying to describe the music, and not by the mU&iciansand audiences themselves.

Popular music only became the subject of significant scholarly and academic interest in

1981, when the first issue of the journal

Popular Music

was introduced, and the First

National Conference on Popular Music Research was held in Amsterdam (Hamm 1995:23-

24). Before this year a handful of articles and books appeared on the subject, but no academic discipline or profile was committed to the specific study of popular music or the inclusion of popular music in the field of musicology. It was about this time that academics started to debate the topic of popular music, because "one cannot deny that they [the exponents of popular music] are. part of the rich, or at least multifarious, pattern of American (and everyone else's) life" (Mellers,9 as quoted in Hamm 1995:34).

In spite of the difference in approach between music from the classical repertory and popular music (the former being considered mainly from the perspective of abstract musical concepts and the latter mainly for its social interaction, political commentary and context), the musical contents of popular music were increasingly being analysed by musicologists. Aspects such as blue notes and syncopated rhythms in jazz and Renaissance harmonies were increasingly being described in terms of the resulting expressionist qualities (Hamm 1995:33-34).

Still, the academic discourse on popular music was mainly practised by outsiders, and the music that was being discussed normally excluded commercially successful products. It was supposed that artistic value and commercial value are not the same, and that the second usually excludes the first. The modernist narrative which views the cultural taste of the masses as crude and unrefined was still very alive by the end of the 1980s and early 1990s.

This modernist approach to popular music was, according to Hamm (1995:37-40), restricting the understanding of this genre in its social context. Because musicologists compared music


Wilfrid Mellers, American composer and historical musicologist, undertook a comprehensive history of

American music, Music in a New Found Land (1965). The revised edition (1987) included genres not only from the "high art" music, but also topics on popular genres such as folk, jazz, country and pop_

from the classical repertory with music in the popular genre, using the same criteria such as musical concepts and abstract analysis, the principle of viewing popular music as a valid cultural product was misformed.

Belz (1972:8) offers. an alternative perspective when he explains that a particular song in rock style must be judged for the specific and immediate realities (of experience) that it offers, and not for the quality of musical or literary concepts within the song, concepts that are used to judge classical music. He also alleges that the realities in a particular song carry greater significance than the art of that song - rock music has been a confrontation with reality rather than a confrontation with art.

Street (1993:4-9) also presents his readers with an alternative approach to judging and analysing popular music. Because the criteria used in musicology do not accurately and completely capture the characteristics of popular music, he offers the idea that the study of popular music may be viewed either as an expression of cultural products, or as the product

; of an industry. Both these options offer a sociological viewpoint of popular music more than a musicological one, in this way accounting for some of the problems experienced by musicologists in the genre of popular music.

Music in the popular genre was not considered within the academic discourse, because it did not contain any universal or higher meaning, appropriate for all people. Henry (1989:vii) writes that the relative newness of a style such as rock-and-roll, together with the rebellious and experimental nature of this genre, insulated it from serious scholarly study. In general, the artistic merit of popular music was not (and still is not) considered to be on the same level as music from the classical repertory (Hamm 1995 :6). One of the reasons for this, in the opinion of the author, lies in the character of the audience - according to Belz (1972:ix), juvenile delinquency, drugs and mysticism were common amongst the rock audiences.

Scholars trained in the intelle~tual vigour of Western art music did not feel themselves at home in a society of informally trained exponents of aggressive art.

The following quotation by Denis Stevens,lo one of the previous directors of graduate studies in musicology at Colombia University and a noted writer in early music (in Hamm 1995:43),

serves to illustrate the viewpoints previously held by musicologists in general on the intrinsic value of popular music as well as the audience of young people listening to this kind of music during the second half of the 20 th century:

Many immatUre quasi-illiterates understand perfectly the atavistic, hysterical and social appeal of this noise. For noise most of it is, if you will consider the deafening volume at which most of it must be produced, and the incidence of permanently damaged eardrums among its practitioners.

[It is] primitive vomiting noises wallowing in over-amplified imbecility that typifies most "commercial" non-music of today.

The followers of serious or high art used strong words to describe these "lower" form~ of art practised by the masses. In this regard D.G. Mason,

11 professor of music at Colombia

University (as quoted by Hamm 1995:8-9), alleged that "It is a fundamental axiom that majority taste is always comparatively crude and undeveloped. As an instance of this crudity of majority taste one may cite the case of jazz". Serious music, or "high art", on the other hand, was regarded as a rational and intellectual phenomenon, with serious musicians trained at university or college, holding academic positions and publishing articles.

The modernist character of one central truth for all mankind was also evident in the popular music of that time. "Most decisions affecting the lives of Americans were made by the institutions of the ~ountry (political, religious, educational, economic, social), that people were under the impression that they were offered freedom of choice but this choice was from other options that were essentially the same" (Hamm 1995:47). The popular music l2 of the mid-20 th century did not question the American way of life, or the principles regulating society. The lyrics, mood and musical style were limited within a narrow field and listened to by a homogenous group of people (affluent, mainly white Americans), while the content


D.G. Mason. 1931. Tune in, America. New York. According to Hamm (1995:9), Mason uses the term "'jazz" in this context as a comprehensive term for the products of the music industry.


Popular music in this ~ense include ballads and songs by singers such as Perry Como, Doris Day, Frank

Sinatra and Pat Boone, in other words the non-eritical and soothing styles common to the years after World War

II. Belz (1972: I 6) places artists such as Perry Como and Eddie Fischer in the style of Pop, and calls it an extension of the ballad tradition of the I 940s.

almost always included the theme of romantic love between man and woman. Styles such as jazz, blues, rock, country music and folk music were performed and listened to by a minority group living in poverty and repression, as the majority chose not to be disturbed by music offering social commentary on American society, or deviating from the post-war consensus.

This situation changed after the second half of the 20 th century, with Belz (1972:16) and

Hamm (1995:45) offering the year 1954 as a dividing line. Belz mentions that three general fields existed within the field of popular music (in America) until roughly 1954, namely Pop,

Rhythm and Blues, and Country and Western. An interesting perspective is offered by Hamm

(1995:45,48), when'he quotes the list of the top ten songs of the years 1954 and 1970:

The songs of 1954 :were very alike regarding criteria such as content, style and lyrics, and appealed to adult taste and values. The homogeneous nature of this repertory (which Hamm calls "sentimental ballads"), also extends to the style of texture and orchestration: "Each was sung by one singer, or occasionally a small vocal group, to the accompaniment of an orchestra dominated by strings but making some use of winds and brass. Each used the same melodic style (diatonic, tonal, and heavily dependant on sequential writing) supported by a common harmonic style. Each is written in precisely the same form, in the same meter, moving at more or less the same tempo" (Hamm 1995:46).

By the time of the gradual dismantling of this modernist axiom of popular music, the hit songs of 1970 differ in important aspects from those of the 1950s. This change in approach and sound represented the general disillusionment of a central rational truth or meta-narrative offered by authorities, and is evident in novels, films and journalism, as well as in the popular music of the time. Belz (1972:31) calls it a "protest art", because it rebelled against the music of the past and of an older generation, as well as against the values of that generation as they were expressed in the softer, sentimental style of popular music.

The content of the hit songs and the style of the popular music at this period in the century was less concerned with romantic love, but instead offered different perspectives on

American life, love, relationships, religion, war, drugs and politics. The style, melody and orchestration of songs moved away from the homogeneous sound of the mid-century hit song, with influences from other styles such as black music, folk music, art music, country music, electronic music, rock-and-roll, blues and jazz. These influences were also notable in the equally wide range of musical forms (Hamm 1995:48-52).

Belz (1972:4) explains how the style of rock music for example emerged as a youth movement in response to a series of changing values and as a reflection of a way of life which radically changed from the 1950s. The character of music as the voice of the people rather than an abstract expression of art was inherent to popular music of that time.

Another interesting observation provided by Belz (1972:18) is that the impact of rock influenced not only the content and style of popular music, but also its commercial structure.

According to him, many people in the business felt that the music industry had been transformed into chaos and unpredictability.

In summary, four general styles can be identified towards the final stages of modernism, namely:

The training standard of musicians in the Western musical tradition was usually very high, while (black) jazz musicians were largely untrained and usually could not read music. Even when the genre of jazz became known to white audiences and played by white players, the original character was largely retained, with an informal training based on oral traditions

(Hamm 1995:76).

According to Belz (l972:viii), the original character of jazz was rooted in live performances

(in contrast with, for example, rock, which primarily relied on the recorded music industry).

Furthermore jazz musicians had an unbroken improvisation tradition, something which classical music lost in the 20 th century (Nicholson 2001 :50).

This informal and untrained character of jazz gradually changed as the 20 th century advanced, with some groups

13 even using formal structures such as the fugue, and formal dress for their performances. The combination of Western classical musical elements, such as contrapuntal techniques, and traditional jazz aspects was called third stream jazz (Such 1993:3). Western influence served to ~roaden the technical and structural resources of this style of jazz.

By the end of the 1940s jazz was entering the arena of academically trained musicians, and their audiences were listening quietly and seriously, rather than physically responding to the rhythmic elements. Nicholson (2001:52) describes how jazz moved out of the dance hall

(with styles such as Swing) and into the club during the 1940s to 1950s, with styles such as

Bebop, hard bop and free jazz. These styles experimented with chromatic harmony, which replaced the use of modes as basis for improvisation by the late 1950s.

The sudden and unexpected rise of rock transformed the jazz scene and the musical .

landscape (Nicholson 2001 :53). The reason for this was that rock took over from jazz in

13The Modem Jazz Quartet and Dave Brubeck can be mentioned as examples of this style, using similar techniques, and having similar backgrounds. They also incorporated instruments usually found in Western classical music, such as flutes, cellos and violins (Such 1993:3).

popular culture, re-articulating the essence of popular music culture and thereby almost casting jazz out into musical obscurity. Jazz musicians answered by fusing these two styles and forming jazz-rock bands during the 1970s, combining jazz elements such as big-band riffs with rock rhythm.

This fusion resulted in the jazz style being commercialised and homogenised into jazzinfluenced pop mus:ic. So-called free jazz survived mainly in artistic circles, returning to more traditional styles (Nicholson 2001 :56).

Postmodem jazz, as Nicholson (2001 :56) calls it, started when the club The Knitting Factory opened its doors in 1986. This provided the forum for musicians to transform practices, fragments and "signifiers" from different musics and cultures and to relocate them within their own expressionism. The new era in jazz was, according to Nicholson (2001:56), created by the decontextualisation and juxtapositioning of these different references. Postmodern jazz was characterised by the absence of a single, coherent style. "The sheer stylistic diversity of postmodemism resisted categorisation, so its impact was restricted to the recognition of a single player" (Nicholson 2001:56).

The success of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, who simultaneously won Grammy awards for a jazz as well as a classical recording, encouraged record companies to sign up jazz musicians.

This resulted, during the 1980s and 1990s, in the rebirth and commercial success of



traditional styles such as the hard bop style of the late 1950s and early 1960s (Nicholson

2001 :57). Commercial achievement meant that jazz was no longer exclusively steered by the

American musical scene. "Many thirty-something European jazz musicians set about putting the pieces of the jazz puzzle together in their own distinctive ways" (Nicholson 2001:57), thereby extending jazz as a global phenomenon.

Apart from being influenced by styles such as rock, jazz also provided for fertilisation in the classical genre. Composers such as Gruenberg (1884-1964) and Shostakovich (1906-1975) incorporated the stylistic features and techniques of jazz into serious concert music. As an example Gruenberg's Jazz Suite for orchestra (1929) and Jazzettes for violin and piano (Ewen

1991 :328), as well as Shostakovich's two Jazz Suites can be cited.

Modernism had its roots in the critique against a simplified, linear world-view of the

Enlightenment and the previous era of Realism and Naturalism. The development of the principle of relativity provided momentum towards the development of a broadened awareness of relativism, eventually leading to a crisis in legitimisation during the postmodem era (Muller 1992:397). In this new direction the visual arts, architecture and literary arts took the lead.

The artist assumed a new role in the search for an accurate version of a complex world.

Because modernism proclaimed that it was no longer possible to pinpoint reduced essences or simple, linear pro'gress in history, the recognition of a complex coherence of world-views and the expression thereof often took on an appearance of provocative reactions on the one hand, or the auratic isolation of the artist on the other. The place of popular culture, however, still remained outside the academic discourse.

Lyotard,14who is considered one of the foremost philosophers on postmodernism, describes the postmodern condition as the "condition of knowledge in the most highly developed societies" (1979:xxiii). Jencks, one of the foremost spokesmen on postmodern architecture, calls postmodernism a "social condition and cultural movement" (in Giroux 1994:1).

The use of the terms "postmodernity" and "postmodernism" must first be explained, because these two words may easily cause confusion. For this chapter the author will chiefly apply the latter term, as "postmodernism" usually refers to a social or cultural movement, while

"postmodemity" is normally used in the context of the condition in which the late 20 th century finds itself.


Peters (1999b:l) describes Lyotard's groundbreaking work The Postmodern Condition: A Report on

Knowledge (1979) as an original interpretation of the status and development of knowledge, science and technology in advanced capitalist societies. It is considered important because he "brought together for the first time diverse threads and previously separate literatures in an analysis which many critics believed to signal an epoch break with not only the 'modem' era but also with various traditionally 'modem' ways of viewing the world".

The temptation here: would be to place modernism and postmodernism in opposition to one another, because the "post" of postmodernism may be interpreted as a reaction to modernism,

Postmodernism, however, cannot simply be viewed as anti-modernist, but rather as the conclusion of modernist ideas; it builds upon modernist culture and cannot be understood separately (Bosman' 2001:7). Foster (1985:xi) is of the opinion that the deconstruction of modernism did not take place in order to close it off, but to open it and to rewrite it in the postmodern idiom and to challenge its meta-narratives.

Postmodernism is not, according to

Jencks (postmodern architect and theorist, quoted in Mitchell 1997:6), anti-modem, because for the most part it accepts and builds upon many modernist achievements in science, medicine and industrial technology.

It rather amalgamates, continues and transcends modernism.

The simplest, and in the opinion of the author an effective, definition of postmodernism is coined by Adams (1997:2) when he argues that it is a way ofrecognising that the world is in a period of transition. The last thirty to forty years of the 20 th century may most accurately be described as an epoch that has ceased-to-be, but not yet assumed a new or definite character of what it is.

Kwok (1998:15) states that the postmodern age was initiated by disappointment caused by the two World Wars, environmental problems, and by the fact that man's longing for ultimate meaning has not been fulfilled by the progress brought by science, technology and economic growth. In other words, disillusionment with Enlightenment dogma gave momentum to the advance of postmodernism, as modernism did not provide the final truth and freedom it had promised. Postmodernism is rooted in the perception that "there is no going back to the certainties of the universalist project of modernism" (Mitchell 1997:5). Another momentumgiving factor was the emerging of a global culture in the last third of the 20 th century

(Solomon 2001 : 1).

Events paving the way to postmodernism were, inter alia, the 1968 student protests in Paris and the Algerian War of Independence (Chagani 1998:2-3). Forerunners to the postmodern way of thinking were philosophers such as Nietzsche (1844-1900) and Heidegger (1889-

1976). These thinkers have, in the words of Chagani, led the attack on modernism and rooted the alternative in the form of postmodernism, to be taken up by confirmed postmodern

thinkers such as Lyotard and Baudrillard. Postmodem roots can also be traced to literary criticism in the 1950s, rising to global conceptualisation in the 1980s (Kwok 1998:15).

Harvey (1990:41) considers the year 1968 as a starting point of the postmodem movement.

This year was characterised by global instability and, although not coherent, an accumulation of the counter modem movement into a full-blown postmodem culture.

"Postmodemism [... ] has only emerged as an area of academic study since the mid-l 980s..

[It] appears in a wide variety of disciplines or areas of study, including art, architecture music, film, literature, sociology, communications, fashion and technology" (Klages 1997:1).

Gablik (as quoted in Piercy 1999:10) explains that the origin ofpostmodemism in the arts can be traced to the point near the end of the 1970s when it referred to a loss of faith in a stylistic mainstream. At that point is seemed as if the whole history of styles had suddenly become unstuck and uprooted. Therefore postmodernism has also been described as a

"constantly shifting condition" (Davies 1996:3). Sarup (1988:131) writes that some philosophers view postmodernism as a concept whose function it is to correlate the emergence of new features in culture.

A single definition of postmodernism is impossible, as it comprises a variety of developments in art~, intellectual culture, literature and fashion since the 1970s and 1980s.

There are, however, certain trends that can be said to fit into the postmodem perspective, and these will be briefly discussed.

4.5.1 Main aspects of postmodernism

A common ground for the main postmodem philosophers is the opinion that the

project of modernity

has become questionable and is "now deeply problematic" (Foster 1985:ix,

Snyman 1995:63). Although this project is still at work where the purity of each art form and the autonomy of culture as a whole are valued, it provoked aggressive reactions in the form of avant-garde movements, this reaction returning (in revised form) in postmodem art (Foster

1985:x). Chagani (1998:3) describes this as a radical anti-essentialism or antifoundationalism, in other words not to be contained under one umbrella as ideally foreseen by the

project of modernity.

From the 1950s onwards a series of unrelated arts and political events started the gradual dismantling of the modernist idiom. Matters such as human rights of individuals and minorities, commentary on the negative effects of scientific achievements in the name of technological progress, critique on the restricting of opportunities for women (particularly married women), the importance of having meaningful inter-personal relations rather than exclusively assisting the machinery of science, and criticism on war and war-related activities were gaining more and more prominence. A growing consciousness that science was destroying the natural environment was campaigned by artists and writers. "We, who are creatures of modernity, must confront a crisis of faith in [science's] notions of progress and universal social betterment" (Burbules 1995:2).

An essential factor in the developing of a postmodern condition, was the rapid spreading and interaction of loc~ and global knowledge, made possible by the explosion of communications technology. This led to globalisation processes, the shifting and even dissolving of cultural boundaries, and manifestation in cross-cultural interaction (Weiss &

Wesley 2000:2).

Jencks (as quoted by Piercy 1999:8), in his critique on the postmodern debate, and Giroux

(1994: 1) offer a short summary of themes or aspects relating to this condition:

• Philosophical principles of


and the notion of the sacred have become suspect.

• Fixed boundaries of academic knowledge

have been challenged by a "war on totality" and a disavowal of all encompassing, single worldviews. Giroux (1994:1) also maintains that the postmodern challenge involves a contextual discourse that has challenged specific disciplinary boundaries in fields such as literary studies, education, feminism, architecture, performance art and many other areas.

• Rigid distinctions between high and low culture

have been rejected by insistence that the products of mass culture, popular and folk art forms, are proper areas of study.

• The modernist

faith in rationality, science and freedom

has incurred deep-rooted scepticism, as did the Enlightenment line of reason connecting history and progress.

• History, as unilinear process

that moves the West progressively towards a final realisation of freedom, is spumed.

• The fixed and unified identity of the humanist subject has been replaced by a call for narrative space that is pluralised and fluid.

Chagani (1998:4) and MUller (1992: 398) also explain that the clear distinctions between/act

and fiction have also been gradually dissolved, with no necessary relationship between words and things, signifier and signified, subject and object. Harvey (1990:49) mentions that the connection between the signified (what is said) and the signifier (how it is said) is continually breaking apart and re-attaching, forming new combinations.

Porter & Grey (2001: 1) add another dimension in this regard, namely that image and reality are blurred, for example in the creation of television personalities.

Broadly speaking, these characteristics of postmodernism may be put together under one overarching concept, namely that of a pluralistic approach. This means that there is no longer one universally acquired and singular stance, or meta-narrative, on any matter, be it science, arts, literature or architecture, but a multiplicity in the acceptance of many other worlds, cultures, possibilities, narratives and perspectives. The following paragraphs will explain the impact of this approach in more detail.

4.5.2 Dismantling of "grand narratives"

According to Snyman (1995:63), the modernist quest for reason reduced the world into a set of categories for the sake of control. This was realised as a trend of colonisation, suppressing that which did not fit into the overarching categories of control. As illustration, the violence of the Nazi gas chambers and the destruction of Hiroshima during World War II, as well as the colonial impulses of the major Western powers, may be quoted (Mitchell 1997:7).

In contrast to the macro power structures and large-scale economies of the modern era, the postmodern era is characterised by "fragmentation, discontinuity, ephemerality, and chaos in economics, politics, social relations, and the arts" (Hamm 1995: 1). Those aspects that would not fit into the mould of modernity now had to be identified. Totality has changed places with fragmentation and pluralism. In the place of a set of comprehensive truths or meta-narratives,

postmodernism embraces what Lyotard (1979) calls "the infinity of heterogeneous finalities"

(Owens 1983:64).

Lyotard (1979:xxiv) provided a now-famous definition of the postmodem, namely as

"incredulity towards meta-narratives". Owens (1983:57) describes postmodernism as a crisis of cultural authority, specifically of the authority vested in European culture and its institutions. Narratives are rejected when they become associated with broad philosophies of history. According to Sarup (1988:133), grand narratives have also become associated with a political programme or party, with little narratives linked to localised creativity.

In postmodernism, as reaction to the overarching belief in meta-narratives, alternative thought and local perspectives are valued. Priority is given to an inclusive, rather than an exclusive viewpoint; the co-existence of mini-narratives or

petites histoires,

as Hassan calls them (in Harvey 1990:43), is one of the main tendencies in postmodernism.

During the 1960's and early 1970's an era in American culture dominated by institutional control over the minds and hearts of individuals and groups was giving way to an era in which such imposed consensus was questioned and resisted. Even more simply, the modem period was giving way to a postmodem era.

Lyotard (1979:xxiii) defines a discourse as modem when it appeals to one or more of the grand narratives (which he calls meta-discourses) for its legitimacy. These narratives could be, for example, the hermeneutics of meaning, emancipation of the rational subject, the accumulation of wealth, the belief in unlimited development and progress, or the classless society.

In this context, the evaporation of the grand narratives of the postmodem era has an important momentum - Klages (1997:4) describes postmodemism as the critique of grand narratives. "Postmo~ernism, in rejecting grand narratives, favours


stories that explain small practices, local events, rather than large-scale universal or global concepts.



are always situational, provisional, contingent and temporary, making no claim to universality, truth, reason or stability". The postmodemist also believes that there is no single theoretical discourse that could offer an explanation for all forms of social experience and relations, or for every mode of political practice (Sarup 1988:135).

One of the implications of the stance quoted above is that the power-discourse relation, the question of who determines the direction and content of the discourse, is unstable. A central theme is the relation between power and knowledge, a direction explored by Foucault

(Harvey 1990:45). When universally accepted meta-narratives are no longer taken for granted by the postmodern citizen, it also implies that the positions of power within the discourse, as well as the canon, or the content of the discourse, are being challenged.

Klages (1997:2) is of the opinion that postmodern art has many similarities with modern art, especially the modern art of the first half of the 20 th century. Those include rejecting boundaries between high and low forms of art, not complying to rigid genre distinctions, emphasising irony and playfulness, fragmentation, self-consciousness and discontinuity, to name but a few. The difference between modernism and postmodemism, however, lies in the attitude toward these trends (Klages 1997:3):

Modernism, for example, tends to present a fragmented view of human subjectivity and history (think of T. S. Eliot's The Wasteland, for instance), but presents that fragmentation as something tragic, something to be lamented and mourned as a loss. Postmodernism, in contrast, doesn't lament the idea of fragmentation, provisionality or incoherence, but rather celebrates is. The world is meaningless. Let's not pretend that art can make meaning, let's just play with nonsense.

Postmodernism bridged the gap between serious and popular art in a way that was different from modernism, namely by embracing both and thereby legitimising the latter. Mitchell

(1997:7) refers to the dismantling of the distinction between "high culture" (for example opera, literature, ballet and theatre) and "low culture" (such as film, TV, popular music, and

Mills and Boon novels), but shrouded more in a postmodem veil than Klages did. In this respect the debate over canon, in other words, the question of power within the discourse and especially who determines the canon, is relevant.

The phenomenon of Pop Art - a fine art style that has been directly stimulated by popular or mass culture - provides another example of the fusion between "high" art and "low" art. This movement in the fine arts has brought the utilities of everyday life, for example supermarket billboards, comic strips and advertising banners into the realm of serious art, encouraging the notion that the "entire panorama of life can be viewed as a work of art" (Belz 1972:4).

Wicks, however, is of the opinion that the "classical-music-only" orientation is still dominant in educational institutions world-wide. She claims in an article (1998: 1-2) on popular music versus classical, European-originated art music, that education authorities almost exclusively focus on music generated outside their own culture, ignoring both the indigenous and popular music traditions. She strongly advocates a widening of perspectives and inclusion of more music genres in formal study, because these "academic elite perspectives run counter to the wider American public's attitudes about music" (Wicks 1998:3).

The author of this thesis agrees that popular music is often neglected by many music teachers. The world of the electronic media, a world familiar to the majority of learners, is filled with an overwhelming proportion of popular music when compared with classical music, and this has to be taken into consideration when teaching music in a postmodern era.

The 1960s were the .age of free speech, underground movements and permissiveness (Hamm

1995:87). This was the time of exceeding boundaries set up by institutions and administrative powers, and this protest was carried by film makers, actors, feminist movements, student movements such as the Hippies, and characterised by the general breakdown of blind faith in education, churches and states. In short: individuals were starting to do their own thing, breaking away from institutionalised authority.

Lyotard (1979:81) further describes the work of art of the postmodern time as not being governed by pre-established rules, and that it cannot be judged by applying familiar categories or criteria. The postmodern artist and writer are working without rules, and in this way the work of art takes on the character of an event.

Schickel (1999:91) provides an important perspective on this postmodern approach to art in the medium of film or narrative genres. The generation born in the last third of the 20 th century was "born with a TV remote in its hand, hip-hop on the CD player and a computer screen on its face". Therefore this postmodern generation will not easily acknowledge the traditional narratives or boundaries:

They will speed it [traditional narratives] up, scramble it - and render it in new tonalities, using new palettes. You can see it in the way Pulp Fiction or Run Lola

Run toys with time. It's a kind of back formation from computer language, this

narrative revolution manifesting itself in film. It will extend to the other arts. It reorders our perceptions more surely than Matisse and Stravinsky did, for a pixel unlike paint, canvas or score paper - has no past to overturn, is radically innocent.

It has no tradition to draw on.

This protest extended to the arts. Giroux (as quoted in Piercy 1999:8) is of the opinion that the postmodem condition constitutes a challenge to specific disciplinary boundaries in fields such as literary studies, geography, education, architecture, performance art, feminism, and many other areas. Mitchell (1997:7) describes the dispute of boundaries between disciplines and between nation-states in the same breath as the segregation between the sexes. Vander

Dungen (1996:8) provides an example of this mode of thinking, when he states that the sterile division between human and natural sciences is questioned.

"The combination of modern techniques with 'something else' which takes into account history, and which is able to communicate with its users is indeed typical of the postmodem approach and its entanglement with art." This "something else" is very often a cultural approach, something which Kramer (1995: 5-6) calls "cultural-constructed subjectivities and objectivities". In this way, "postmodem strategies of understanding are incorrigibly interdisciplinary and irreducibly plural" (Kramer 1995:5). In practice this couId also mean that popular music could make use of techniques reserved for classical music, for example contrapuntal techniques used in jazz, or jazz rhythms in serious music.

Literary science provides another example: postmodem literature often ignores boundaries between author, character and reader, or the world of the story and that of the author, and allows the text to fold in on itself (MUller 1992:399). In architecture "traditional limits have become indistinguishable, so what is commonly on the outside of a building is placed within, and vice versa" (The Prentice-Hall Guide to English Literature as quoted in Piercy 1999:6).

Postmodemism is even said to create and enjoy chaos and play as contrast to formal intellectual structures: "It delights in excess, play, carnival, asymmetry, even mess, and in the emancipation of meanings" (Piercy 1999:7). The boundaries between play and formal structures, in other words, are challenged in fields such as architecture, music and literature.

Therefore, in the words of Kramer (1995:10), the mandate ofpostmodernism is to establish a means of conceiving, valuing and practising that is very mobile and contingent in nature.

4.5.5 The nature of knowledge

The definition of knowledge is another important tool in discriminating between modem and postmodern trends. For the modernist, knowledge was only true and valid when it was acquired rationally, scientifically and objectively. Modernist theories such as Marxism were based on referential truth, scientific fact and a belief in progress. Habermas (1985: 14-15) explained that knowledge is always served by a specific interest, the interest of modemis~ knowledge being the discovery o(truth.

Rose (2000:2) provides an important perspective on modernist knowledge when he explains that the epoch of mO,dernism became rooted in justification of reason because it overcame the dictates of authority; knowledge was not to be justified by its origin of authority (for example the state or the church), but by an appeal to reason by the individual himself. "For an individual to accept the truth, he must reflect on it and see the truth for himself'.

The postmodem mode of thinking and knowledge contrasts with this modernist emphasis on rational thinking, and is rather "committed to modes of thinking and representation which emphasise fragmentations, discontinuities and incommensurable aspects of a given subject"

(Piercy 1999:6-7). Context determines truth. This means that several truths may co-exist at the same time, because the contexts and their relevance to these truths differ. "Postmodernist reason always serves interests other than truth, and by that means enables itself to serve truth, however imperfectly" (Kramer 1995:7). One of the conditions of postmodem knowledge is partial perspective, manifesting as local truths.

Kramer refers to the relative orientation of knowledge in the disciplines to which it is subordinated, or the fields that produce and circulate knowledge. The contexts of different disciplines are a determining factor of the relative truth or knowledge. Knowledge is also inescapably "affected by and affecting the knower's position in a cultural, social or physical matrix" (Kramer 1995 :6-7). This is the direct opposite of the ideals of modernism and the

European Enlightenment which called upon the impartiality of reason to know the world, independent of and unintimidated by any social or religious context or authority.

"Postmodernity is seen as involving an end of the dominance of an overarching belief in scientific rationality and a unitary theory of progress"

(The Harper Collins Dictionary of


as quoted in Piercy 1999:6). Instead, a certain reason is only "temporarily

considered to be true by a limited' set of highly specialised sign-interpreters, and their conclusions are relative, fallible and open to refutations" (Van der Dungen 1996:9).

This belief in objectivity by modernists forms the essence of the reaction experienced in postmodern thinking. Underlying this "avant-garde of the modernism", as it was called by

Eco (quoted in van der Dungen 1996:7), is the belief that no knowledge is absolute and objective, but all propositions are time-bound and context-sensitive. This does not mean that reason and logic are no longer valid, or that irrationalism is freely invited, but that the importance of an overall coherence, complexity and interdependence of systems is recognised. Postmodernism is not irrational, but a co-existence of a broader rationality and a context-driven perspective is an inherent characteristic.

Rose (2000:1) describes the reaction to the modernist notion of legitimising all knowledge through the constraints of universal reason as twofold:

• The cultural relativist declares reason, but this reason is relative to one's tradition and cannot be overcome.

• The pluralist accepts that any form of truth is but a perspective and therefore not absolutely or universally binding.

Modernist knowledge was controlled by the intellectual and political elite, who usually underwent years of dedicated and specialised training. Because knowledge was power, the diffusion of knowledge was strictly screened by the intellectual minorities (Adams 1997:4).

Postmodernism, however, brought along a momentous change. Satellite television networks, computers with modems and fax machines, even in remote, non-Western countries, have made both censorship and control obsolete. Knowledge is no longer controlled by the intellectual and political elite, but is freely distributed by communications networks.

Influences on the way in which knowledge is acquired, classified, made available and exploited are threefold, as offered by Lyotard (1979:4):

· As early as 1979 Lyotard offered more than a hint that modernism has changed because the technical and social conditions of communications and knowledge have changed (Harvey

1990:49). In a discussion on education, viewed through the lens of performativity, Lyotard

(1979:49-51) argues that the goals of education should be to create the skills that are indispensable to the social system. These skills can be broadly classified into two groups, namely professional skills (for example doctors or teachers) and technical skills (in other words a workforce that can address new domains of knowledge by means of new techniques and technologies). Without the last group, the first group would advance slowly and with difficulty.

This is because bOth the nature and communication of knowledge have undergone considerable change between the modem and the postmodern era. According to Sarup

(1988:118) and Lyotard (1979:4), the impact of technological transformations has especially led to this altered stance of knowledge in postmodern culture. Lyotard maintains that the two principal functions of knowledge - research and the transmission of acquired learning - are already feeling the effect of technological advances to such a degree that ''the transmittance of knowledge is only possible if it can be translated into quantities of information" (Lyotard

1979:4). The ultimate will be that anything in the body of knowledge that is not translatable in computer-based language will be abandoned, and the direction of new research will be dictated by the possipility of the eventual results being computer-translatable.

In other words, the postmodernist, with the explosion of computer technology and global communication starting in the 1960s, could regard anything that cannot be translated into a form recognisable ~d storable by a computer, as irrelevant. Because it is not computermanageable it will therefore cease to be knowledge (Klages 1997:5). This definition of computer-driven knowledge is, like the modernist idiom of reason-driven knowledge, reductionist in character, although these two are the direct opposites of each other.

Computer-based knowledge was taken a step further with the development of the World

Wide Web and the Internet. Van der Dungen (1996:8) describes this modem method of distributing knowledge as a "new type of global culture" facing the multi-cultural, pluralistic and eclectic nature of a postmodern world and "challenging the fossilised limitations invoked by societies which embraced (or were forced into) modernism". Added to this was the growing influence of the computer with its manipulative capacity. In the words of Rosenblatt

(1999:114): "He [Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web] took a powerful communications system that only the elite could use and turned it into a mass medium."

Lyotard (1979:5) even states that knowledge, as a form of informational commodity indispensable to productive power, will perhaps be the major stake for competition for power.

Furthermore, science no longer has as its only goal the discovery of truth, but rather the empowerment of the subject. Science for the sake of science has no objective value any more, but the performativity of the products of science are relevant. "The question now being asked by the student, the state or the university is no longer 'Is it true?' but 'What use is it?'"

(Sarup 1988:125, Lyotard 1979:48-50). In the place of science being regarded as autonomous and worthwhile in itself, the postmodern citizen wants to know to what use the scientific advances can be put. Kramer (1995:11) quotes J.L. Austin when the latter suggests that modernism privilege the


that which is judged true or false, over the


that which is judged successful or unsuccessful. The postmodern privileges neither of the two, but acknowledges that while all constative acts are also performative, not all performative acts are constative.

The status of science in the postmodern idiom means that the natural sciences, especially physics, no longer prescribe the model of scientific knowledge. Universal criteria for scientific knowledge shifted to different academic disciplines, each developing their own criteria for integrity (Rossouw 1995:38). Together with this, the postmodern citizen no longer accepts that anything sprouting from scientific research is necessarily valuable, or that the natural sciences hav~ objective value. Other sciences, such as social sciences, are gaining in importance and validity.

Without the authority of Western meta-narratives, a plurality of perspectives and values is left. In the place of a singular stance towards truth, knowledge or culture, postmodernism is marked by a pluralistic approach. Giroux (1994:4), one of the foremost postmodern philosophers, alleges that postmodemism pluralises the meaning of cu,lture,while modernism firmly situates it theoretically in apparatuses of power. In a lighter tone, Adams, a theologian,

quotes a colleague in saying that postmodernism equates intellectual Velcro dragged across cultures (Adams 1997:1).

An oversimplification of pluralism, in the sense that all positions in culture and politics are open and equal, that anything goes, is however not part of the postmodern idiom, although many writers use this stance to criticise it. This culture is rather marked by uneven developments (Foster 1985:xi).

The roots of pluralism in the postmodern sense, were sown by the realisation that "the concepts with which man thinks are not pure, nor can such a pure state be reached by the suspension of our cultural identity" (Rose 2000:3). The categories and manifestation of understanding are interwoven with our own tradition and language, therefore a meaningful way of knowing is to know and to talk within the horizon of one's own tradition. No pure or universal concepts, standing aside from tradition, are therefore possible. Where the

Enlightenment was; designed to eliminate uncertainty and to emancipate humanity from mysticism and tradition, postmodernism has again resurrected these aspects (Mitchell

This means that, once no universally and rationally acquired knowledge is possible within a postmodern culture, the only valid and possible forms of knowledge are local ones deriving from local traditions. Authority is not derived from a universal truth, but within the manifestation of one's own tradition, and the establishment of local knowledges.

This truth, acquired from the manifestation of a local tradition, is furthermore not absolute and binding, but merely serves as a perspective. This implies that many perspectives within different traditions are possible, and this opens up the way to pluralism, in other words, accepting and respecting the different views and perspectives of other traditions. The assertion of modernist theory that only one foundation exists upon which to build a critical theory, was thus replaced by the assertion that there are many foundations (Grassie 1997:4):

The postmodern view of self comes as a natural consequence of its view of reality and truth. Like the truth and reality, the modern self is also a social construction.

The problem of the modern self is not that it is a construction but that it claims to be the only. valid one. To a postmodernist, there does not exist any




nature of man or self. Man constructs his own self. It is man who wrongly put himself at the centre of the world. It is man who naively believes that he is the master of this world. The constructed modern self is oppressive and violent. Therefore, a postmodern man should deconstruct the modern self.

Postmodernism dismantles the


of modernity. Modernists are activist, optimistic, and self-confident. Postmodernists are passive, cynical, and insecure.

A postmodernist welcomes the idea of a decentred self because in this way one can be whoever one wants to be. There is no need to take on a fixed self. "The keyword here is pluralism. Everyone should be in a process of constructing and deconstructing one's self. In other words, the self becomes a carnival type of costumes and roles. We are all role-playing"

-(Kwok 1998:24).

The widening and loosening of boundaries is another characteristic postmodern phenomenon.

The canon of what constitutes the study material in the liberal arts is even widened to be without boundaries - Mitchell (1997:8) provides a few examples of this process:

• Novelists are enticed to explore juxtaposition and playfulness in their novels, to confuse and to remain inconcl~sive. The reader is also invited to participate in determining meaning rather than seeking the intention of the author.

• Musical taste and consumption are eclectic in nature, encouraged by a choice-laden radio-dial.

• In philosophy, attempts to eliminate the mind, soul or God from the brain are cast aside in favour of relativism.

• Urban planners and engineers seek not only to provide housing, but to enhance a person's or a community's sense of place and belonging.

• Politics is no longer bipolar and ideological, but enmeshed in "murky tribal conflicts and global terrorism".

Another example is provided by Harvey (1990:41) when he quotes McHale in arguing that the postmodem novel is not characterised by an epistemological nature, but rather by an ontological one. A singular reality has moved to the background in order to make space for questions such as the co-existence, colliding and interpenetrating of radically different realities - constituting pluralism.

A further consequence of the postmodem, pluralistic world is the labyrinth of choices that are available. Mitchell (1997:8) regards television as the principal tool reinforcing consumer

culture, and Giroux (1994:4) warns educators that the mass media playa decisive role in the lives of young people. In the current culture of consumerism the rampant virtues of choice and freedom are sometimes marked by anxiety and doubt. This is vividly illustrated in the following quotation by Joe Jackson (quoted by Mitche111997:8): "It's all too much for me to bear, what kind of shampoo suits my hair, two hundred brands of cookies, 87 kinds of chocolate chip. They say choice is freedom, I'm so free it drives me to despair".

Another aspect of pluralism is the possibility of different groups speaking for themselves,

"something the universalistic concepts of Enlightenment no longer allow" (Mattson 1990:4).

As a consequence of this post-structuralist relativistic situation, one of the most valued virtues in the postmodem world is one of tolerance. Because truth is relative, no judgement should be passed, because no-one is in a position to advance one point of view above another. In educational matters, postmodem culture for example requires instructors to teach students how to think, rather than teaching the truth. Therefore teachers expose students to different viewpoints on an issue without presenting one as the central truth (Kwok 1998: 19).

The postmodem world is, in contrast to the modernistic assumption, characterised by a notion that one expert does not have the only or final word, and that minority groups may not be represented by a singular power. It is also characterised by an interpretation of history not as the mission to find tpe truth of the past as one story of powerful decision-makers, but as the inclusion of the narratives of "everyday folk and oppressed groups, like ethnic and religious minorities, and of women" (Mitchell 1997:8). Harvey (1990:49) explains that the pluralistic stance of postmodemism implies the legitimisation of experiences and views of groups such as feminists, blacks· and colonised people, and that these groups have acquired the right to speak for themselves.

Feminism, as repressed and marginalised discourse, constituted one of the earliest forms of critiques on authority and universal claims (Foster 1985:xiii; Harvey 1990:48).

Other minority groups now being offered liberalising potential are for example ethnic groups, the working class, religious groups, gays, ecologists, and various other groups or disciplines who had little recognition in the dominant discourse of modernist culture. "The idea that all groups have a right to speak for themselves, in their own voice, and have that voice accepted

as authentic and legitimate is essential to the pluralistic stance of postmodernism (Harvey

1990:48). The notio~ to legitimise the voices of marginalised groups can therefore be viewed as an extension of the postmodern concept of pluralism.

The terms postmodernism and post-structuralism are often used synonYmously,for example.

by Sarup (1988:118), who views postmodernism in part as a description of a new type of society, but also, in part, as a new term for post-structuralism in the arts. Postmodernism (as a description of style in the arts) is also, according to Foster (1985:x), hard to conceive'without the structuralist and post-structuralist movements (the latter two being language-based theories).

The difference between postmodernism and post-structuralism, according to Kwok

(1998:15), lies in the fact that postmodernism had its origins in America, while the association with post-structuralism started in France with deconstructivists such as Derrida and Foucault. Post:structuralism originated from the resistance to ideological (such as socialism and Marxism) and scientific grand narratives. The common ground is the attempt to transcend what was seen as the self-imposed limitations of modernism; a position of treating deconstructionism as the philosophical basis and theoretical formulations for the postmodern worldview may be a valid one in this context (Kwok 1998:15; Jones 2001:1).

Post-structuralism is an extension of structuralism, which held that a work has intrinsic meaning, and that this meaning is already there before it is discovered and identified (Lye

1997b: 4-5). Post-structuralism also prescribed that an ontological reality exists and can be explored by means of empirical research, or that a central truth is locked away in social constructions and could be uncovered by philosophical reason. This structuralist mode of thought originated from scientific thought; the ideal of an objective science of epistomology generated by the natural sciences and reason, held in the modernist era, was dominated by scientific thought ~ a whole. The rejection of knowledge based on tradition and authority

(for example, as prescribed by churches such as the Roman Catholic Church in the premodern era), was now replaced by an epistomology based on reason and natural science

(Morley 2000: 1).

This meant that four criteria. derived from the natural sciences, were applied to the nature of knowledge, namely that it should be:

For any science to be regarded as true, it had to conform to these four criteria.

The modernist sciences also used (and still use) the idea that truth is locked away

in the

object, and that this truth may be discovered through scientific research. David Goodstein, professor of physics and applied physics at the California Institute of Technology, was quoted as saying at a conference in



"All scientists have a fundamental faith - and it is a faith - that there is a real world out there that has rules and that can be understood by rational means" (Hoke


This ultimately meant that there is only one truth to be discovered, and this could be done by closely analysing or investigating the object.

Postmodernism has many facets. A central theme is that the natural world cannot be perceived directly and objectively. This has been reiterated in constructivist movements such as social constructivism, radical constructivism and post-structuralism. These movements state that perceptions pass though filters such as language and culture which define our understanding of the world (Hoke


The constructivist movement furthermore opened the eyes of the scientific community to the fact that the scientist himself makes a constitutive contribution to knowledge, in the sense that knowledge is perceived subjectively. The first step in this direction was taken by the radical constructivists,16such as Ernst von Glasersfeld,

Gebhardt Rusch and Niklas Luhman, who stated that knowledge is formed to such an extent by the mind-processes of the scientist/observer that it is impossible to speak of inter-


This 1995 conference was sponsored by the New York Academy of Sciences and called "Flight From Science and Reason".


The tenn "Radical Constructivism" was coined by Ernst von Glasersfeld in 1974, with the basic tenet that any kind of knowledge is constructed rather than perceived through the senses (Riegler 2000: I).

subjectivity, or a sharing of knowledge. This implied that knowledge is purely subjective, exists in the mind of the individual only and cannot be shared. It also ultimately challenges the modern project of science as a whole because different understandings of reality may all prove viable, with an infinite number of "real experiences and therefore realities" (Holtorf

1997:2-3). It is also impossible to find out whether a certain state of knowledge represents reality, because the observer cannot step outside the conditions of mind and society which determines knowledge.

The post-structuralists challenged this approach, moving away from such a radical perspective. In language and communication, instead of a tight and identifiable relation between· what was· said and how it was said (message and medium), post-structuralist thinking sees this process as continually breaking apart and reassembling in new combinations (Harvey 1990:49). Post-structuralism, however, retained the essence, namely that "there is no direct experience of reality without interpretation; and all interpretation is in some sense corrupted by the cultural and personal prejudices or pre-judgements of the interpreter (Grassie 1997:3).

Another reaction to radical constructivism was to move the focus to a social construction of knowledge (Kenneth Gergen, Lev Vygotsky, and others). "For the social constructivist, the multiplicity of possible interpretations about an 'object', all socially justifiable, prevents objectivity, because realities exist in the form of multiple mental constructions, socially and experientially based, local and specific, dependent, for their form and content, in the persons who hold them" (Mazzotti 1999:2).

The movement of social construction of knowledge resulted in the acknowledgement that there is no objective knowledge; it also resisted the subjectivism of the constructionist movement. Meaning in/of language is constructed by the speaking or writing subject, and is not given or fixed (~wok 1998:17). Social constructivism means that knowledge is localised within a specific community, and many local truths may exist at the same time. In this way the claims of universal truth are avoided. The social construction of knowledge is therefore not a subjectivistic process that only takes place in the mind of the researcher, but within a community of scientists or researchers (or learners) sharing a common language. In this way a network of local truths may be established.

The direct and extreme consequences of the post-structuralist view of truth and reality, in other words by constructing it socially, are relativism and anti-foundationalism (Kwok

1998:18). That means that no universal objective foundation exists on which truth may be discovered, and all ~th is relative, depending on the position of the subject. "Since there is no objective foundation for knowing the truth, no truth can claim to be absolute" (Kwok


• It has led to developments in the field of feminist research, psychoanalysis, literary theory, anthropology, sociology and history.

• It has also led to cross-fertilisation among different disciplines, as well as intellectual advances in newly configured fields such as film theory, medieval studies, postcolonial studies, feminist and gender studies, queer theory, Afro-American and

Hellenistic stUdies,and cultural studies.

4.5.9 Affinities and differences between structuralism and post-structuralism

Peters (l999b:4) interprets post-structuralism as a philosophical response to the alleged scientific status of structuralism, a movement which sought to decentre the structures, systematicity and scientific status of structuralism, and to extend it in a number of different directions while preserving central elements. Lye (l997a:2-5) and Peters (1999b:4) summarlse its main theoretical tendencies in terms of affinities and differences with structuralism, of which the author selected a few items relevant for this study:


• Both share a suspicion of phenomenology's and existentialism's belief in autonomous and accessible human consciousness as the sole basis of historical interpretation, understanding and action.

• A general theoretical understanding of language and culture interprets the interrelation of constituent elements as more important than the elements considered in isolation ftom one another.

• A general belief that hidden structures in socio-economic forces and the Unconscious

(as clinically investigated by Freud) govern and constrain behaviour. Freud's study especially undermined the notion of pure rationality and self-transparency of human behaviour.

• Post-structuralism challenges scientism in the human sciences, and seeks a new emphasis on perspectivism in interpretation. It criticises the capacity of the structuralist approach to identify universal structures of all cultures and the human mind. Instead it offers a theory of culturally based and environmentally shaped configuration of the self.

• A critical philosophy of technology based on the writings of Heidegger, is also brought to the foreground in post-structuralism, one that criticises the role of technology in our existence as a system that can alter our mode of being.

• A philosophy of difference characterises a post-structuralist approach. Lyotard (as quoted in Peters 1999b:6) explains this as a "case of conflict between (at least) two parties that c~ot be equitably resolved for lack of a rule of judgement applicable to both arguments". Post-structuralist notions of difference have subsequently been developed in the field of gender studies and ethnicity.

• Post-structur~lism rejects the concepts of canonicity, final vocabularies, and totalising or foundationalist meta-narratives. Instead it sees "reality" as being fragmented, diverse, ephemeral and culturally-specific.

Finally, the post-structuralists emphasise the local and contingent and "have a hatred of all overarching theories" (Sarup 1988:150).

According to Rossouw (1995:19), the most spectacular effect in the sphere ofpostmodernism took place in the arts. Extreme positions are taken by philosophers, some supporting postmodernism as P9pulist and attacking modernism as elitist, others supporting modernism as elitist (proper culture), discarding postmodernism as mere kitsch (Foster 1985:xi).

The postmodern architect Charles Jencks, according to Harvey (1990:39), dates the start of postmodernism as "4.32 PM on 15 July 1972, when the Pruitt-Igoe housing development in

St Louis (a prize-winning version of Le Corbusier's 'machine for modem living', which was built only twenty years earlier), was dynamited as an uninhabitable environment for the lowincome people it housed". According to the Encyclopaedia


(1999:1) several similar apartment blocks in Europe and North America were demolished in the following decade, but it was at:St Louis that the postmodemist era was begun.

Architecture is considered one of the original and continuing roots of postmodern influence, because (according to Solomon 2001:2) it is in architecture that the manifestations of this era are most clearly visible, and therefore most easily described. Architecture is also viewed by

Jameson (1984, as quoted by Terranova 2001:1) as the privileged aesthetic language of postmodernism.

"Postmodern architecture seeks to be true to a particular place, to affirm the unique environment, to borrow from many styles or traditions in order to create something in harmony with the site and its uses. To add a bit of decoration or pastiche for its own sake would also be an aspect" (Mitchell 1997:4).

Pastiche, central to postmodemism, is often used in postmodern architectural designs. The juxtaposing of different cultures in a contrasting and eclectic way, or the combination of a style from the past together with designs for comfortable living, is described by Solomon

(2001 :2). In the visual arts, a collage of techniques and materials is more acceptable than

: having to choose between them. Furthermore, the borders between disciplines and spheres are transgressed to widen the meaning of art, including being social agent for the marginalised groups in a society (Snyman 1995:70-71).

As such, postmodernism may represent a period of transition, because a uniform aesthetic style has not yet matured.

The avant-garde movements of the 1920s in the arts are seen by some as one of the momentum-giving happenings to postmodemism, because art, as an autonomous institution, was criticised by groups such as the Dadaists and Surrealists (Sarup 1988:128-129). The past, which culminated in World War I, was powerfully rejected and criticised by the ,challenging of accepted techniques and media. According to Harvey (1990:59) movements such as Dada, early Surrealism, Constructivism and Expressionism also attempted to bring art to the people as part of a modernist project of social transformation. This rapprochement (as it is called by

Harvey 1990:59) between popular culture and what has once remained isolated. as "high culture" had a revolutionary undertone, as it was meant to take down the pedestal on which the artist had placed himself and bring art to the people. It is ironic to note, however, that the anti-artistic protest of groups such as the Dadaists failed to such an extent that their techniques are now being used for artistic ends and their works exhibited in museums.

When compared to movements such as the Dadaists, the closing of the gap between auratic art and popular art in the postmodern sense of the word has completely lost the character of social commentary.

It is, on the contrary, often described as commercialised and commodified, answering a gap in the market of mass culture (Harvey 1990:59).

The 1960s saw several counter-modem movements with new values such as "individualised self-realisation,iconoclastic habits (in music, dress, language and life-style), and the critique of everyday life" (Harvey 1990:38). The shift in cultural, social and economic orders was such that it could no longer be ignored. Although the modernist sentiments were generally rejected by this time, it was still not clear exactly what systems of thought and living replaced them, and exactly what the postmodern trends and styles entailed.

The existence of postmodernism was gradually and generally accepted, but the nature of this change in feeling and condition was still not quite clear.

The ~rst signs of p~stmodernism manifested in architecture, as a reaction to the "monotony of universal modernism's vision of the world" (Harvey 1990:9) and the "restricting purism of modernism"

(Encyclopaedia Britannica

1999: 1). Modernist styles lacked the irony and complexity that enrich historical architecture, and left modem buildings without meaning. It is interesting to note· that an architect such as Le Corbusier was still, in 1961, regarded as "the greatest architect of our century" (Munro



Approximately ten years later, however, his concepts were regarded as uninhabitable. In this respect the impersonal, abstract and linear designs of architects such as Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd


"He built large Unites d'habitation (residential units), immense monolithic buildings standing on piers, housing not only large numbers of flats but also all the shops and social facilities that are part of life" (Munro


Wright l8 were opposed with trends to design for people rather than for man (Harvey

1990:40). The AT&T building in New York City (1978, Philip Johnson), the Vanna Venturi

House (1962, Robert Venturi) and the Disney Studios (1990, Michael Graves) may serve as examples of postmodern architecture (Pennsylvania State University 1999:2).

This meant that the architectural trend moved away from abstract concrete blocks and glass towers to user-friendly imitations of mediaeval styles, fishing villages and ornamented buildings.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

distinguishes three styles that followed the purist modern styles, namely:

• a neo-rationalist or elementist approach that echoes the stripped classicism of the 19 th and early 20 th century.

Capitalism, especially the consumer capitalism of the second half of the 20 th century, generally provided the average man with more money in his pocket than the 19 th century citizen. This also meant that he had a greater say as to the nature of his likes and dislikes, what type of house he preferred, the furniture he wanted in his house, the entertainment he preferred and the clothes he wanted to wear. In this way the value of individuality came to be highly regarded. This, in its turn, influenced the destruction of universal values and truths, and the advance of postmodern axioms.

Individualism in styles of living manifested firstly in the habitat of living. In this same breath the concepts of town planning moved from soulless, machine-effective cities to a collage of individualised spaces and structures. The process of urbanisation in a postmodern sense is uncontrollable, even chaotic. Keep (1993: 1) describes this eclectic style as follows:

Modernism's valorisation of the new was rejected by architectural postmodernism in the 1950's and 1960's for conservative reasons. They wanted to maintain elements of modern utility while returning to the reassuring classical forms of the


Early modernist architects drew a lot of their inspiration from the "purely functional possibilities inherent in the machine, factory and automobile age, and projected them into some utopian future" (Fishman 1982, as quoted in Harvey 1990:23).

past. The result was an ironic brick-a brack or collage approach to construction that combines several traditional styles into one structure.

Postmodern architecture (Pennsylvania State University 1999:3), evolved from modernism, but is:

• eclectic combinations of convention, collage and design; and

Because the subject of deconstruction is contained within a specialised field of philosophy, it is not the intention of the author to embark on a discussion of philosophical matter. Therefore only appropriate aspects, characteristic of a postmodern approach to literature, will be mentioned.

In literary discipline~ the postmodern novelist views the world not as exhibiting or containing a singular reality and truth, but as a co-existence of different valid realities.

The set boundaries between reality and fantasy may even be trampled over, with the reader led into a world occupied by both. The postmodern novel is not regarded as, for example, a mastercode of a specific genre, but simply as an open text, containing its own rhetoric. Characters in a postmodern novel often "seem confused as to which world they are in, and how they should react with respect to it" (Harvey 1990:41). No universal truth, meta-theory or meta-narrative is considered valid anymore and the possibility of a superior rational prescription or description of reality does not have any foundation left.

Regarding literature, postmodern literary criticism, or structuralist hermeneutics, implies that the writer does not have control over the text, once it is being read. "The text is radically influenced by the author's intentional construction of the word, but also has its own independence from the author, as a text always has a life of its own. Because the writer uses

the basis of all other previous texts read and encountered, the same can be said of the reader,

"who also has personal psychological and social~cultural presuppositions that radically influence how the text is read and understood. So the reader operates within a context"

(Grassie 1997:3). This concept of intertextuality means that every text is conditioned and influenced by a network of relations and experiences, which in turn affects the meaning of that text (Adams 1997:5).

This means that communication of any kind is a series of intertwined texts and encounters, producing "intertextual weaving with a life of its own" (Harvey 1990:49).

Deconstructionism, as pioneered by Derrida,

19 means that no one texrO has a universal truth to be discovered by the reader, but that the consumer must look into one text for another text, either dissolving or building one into the other. The effect is to deconstruct the power that the author has to impose meanings on his readers, or to offer a continuous narrative (Harvey

1990:51, Orban 19~8:2-4). It seeks to examine a text from all possible perspectives so that individual bits of information are extracted and separated from each other (Adams 1997:5).

In this way the hermeneutical dynamic of understanding "explodes in complexity" (Grassie

1997:3), dissolving the idea of an overarching or single meaning. Kramer (1995:11-12) summarises this approach effectively when he concludes that the author is sowing without hopes of reaping a harvest.

The concept of different worlds within one space is another important trend in postmodem literary and cinema art forms. The co-existence of more than one fragmented and contrasting world is, for example, exploited in the groundbreaking film

Citizen Kane

(1941). Kobal

(1988:9) describes how the director, Orson Welles, discarded the conventional, linear and chronological narrative style in order to construct his character like a jigsaw puzzle, using the subjectivity of the various people who knew him. In this way multiple perspectives and


Jacques Derrida (1930-) is regarded as a post-structuralist and sceptical postmodernist.

In much of his writing he is concerned with the deconstruction of texts and the relationship of meaning between texts (Weiss




reminiscenses of the: main character are gathered in order to understand him. Run Lola Run is a recent example ofa film that "toys with time" in a postmodern sense (SchickeI1999:91) as it has three different endings.

The pop star MadOlma is considered by Newitz (1993:5-6) as a self-conscious postmodern icon, especially in the way she represents herself in her music videos. According to Newitz, she understands her own identity as a series of images and representations, distinguishable from each other mainly by understanding what they refer to (for example her Marilyn

Monroe personification or her fascist dictator lesbian image).

By displaying multidimensional facets of her image, she conveys different and contrasting reflections of her character.

Another aspect of different worlds within one space is also illustrated by the Madonna music video "Express yourself'.

In this video she presents many versions of her image simultaneously, inter alia with two frames being used at the same time. In one frame, for example, she is shown "watching" herself in the other frame (Newitz 1993:4).

Another characteristic of postmodern art is the populist character it gained, according to some philosophers by giving the masses the power to determine their own cultural identities, finding a so-called "consumer culture". This meant that "auratic art" was largely replaced by pop art, pop culture and mass taste (Harvey 1990:60). "The modem, romantic image of the lone creative artist was abandoned for the playful technician (perhaps computer hacker) who could retrieve and recombine creations from the past" (Keep 1993: 1).

One of the reasons for this was that the unrepeatable, for example a masterpiece such as Da

Vinci's Mona Lisa, could now be immaculately reproduced, achieving an exact image.

Postmodern artists, in contrast with modem art delving for eternal truth, are not concerned with eternity and truth. They concentrate on the immediate and superficial reality, relating to a consumer society (Rossouw 1995 :21).

This mass culture also implied that fashion, pop art, television and other forms of media image were mobilised and became part of urban daily life. Klages' (1997:4) adds another dimension to this reaction against "auratic art", namely the fact that in postmodern society

there are no originals - only copies. She names CDs or music recordings as examples, of which millions of copies may be sold at roughly the same price, with no original being kept in a vault. The concept of virtual reality, found in the world of computer games, such as Sim

City and Age of Empires, represents another version of this concept of non-originality, because this reality is no reality, but only created by means of simulation.

The eternal and timeless character of masterpieces, which disappeared with the advent of immaculate reproduction facilities, are instead, in the opinion of the author, being replaced by the high esteem' in which artists in the different genres and styles are held. Auras of celebrities, such as concert pianists or violinists, film, rock and television stars and, to a lesser degree, visual artists, are instigated and kept alive by the very media that reproduce their works of art, namely the communication media. In this sense the performing artists became as important as the author or composer.

Expressions of art such as fashion, television, cinema, advertisements, the print media and recording technology have imposed a significant influence upon daily life. The matter of collage, for example, has manifested to a great extent in the way millions of people watch television, namely in a fragmented, interrupted and superficial way. Television programmes are mostly produced with this approach in mind, namely to entertain by putting together an eclectic composition of images or situations. Magazines are read by people not wanting to spend time and effort reading in-depth books, but rather wanting to be entertained by fragmented and non:related information.

The death of the author is signalled by the interpretation of the spectator or reader being as important as the intention of the creator or author.

Viewing the cultural environment from the perspective outlined in the previous paragraphs, it is clear that the postmodern process is one of "happening" rather than "staying", and

"participation" rather than "dictation". History, also, is being rid of continuity and progress, and rather being viewed in a subjective manner, absorbing whatever is useful for the present.

This, in turn, leads ~o an eclectic style of architectural, literary and visual art forms, using whatever is useful for the purpose and putting it together, rather than being dictated by genre or style.

An aid to view the differences between modernism and postmodemism is provided by the

. following schema df Hassan, one of the first writers to describe postmodem theory and culture, as quoted by Harvey (1990:43), Weiss


Wesley (2000:9) and Solomon (2001 :3-5).

The author selected only appropriate comparisons, valid for a focus on postmodemism in the arts, to use in this taple:

Table 4-3: Schematic comparison of modernism and postmodernism

(adapted from Harvey

1990:43 and Solomon 2001:3-5)


Narrative / grande histoire

Form (closed)


Art ~bject/ finished work







Genre, boundary


Reductive, analytic

Harmonious, integrated

Utopian, elitist

European, Western

Newtonian mechanics, relativity


Anti-narrative / petite histoire

Antiform (open)



Dispersed .





Against interpretation

Text, intertext




Eclectic, non-integrated


Global, multi-cultural

• The synthesis of classical and popular styles in the works of composers such as Philip


• Punk and new wave rock (The Velvet Underground, a punk group also associated with Andy Warhol, Alice Cooper and the Sex Pistols);

Music in postmodern culture is, typically of this condition, fragmented in style and of various genres. Styles as far apart as pop art, spiritually-inspired Western art music, jazz, light

Viennese classical, ethnic music and punk all have achieved validity and supporting audiences. An example of this eclecticism, in the opinion of the author, is the combination of pop songs, opera arias and Gregorian chant on the same Top Twenty list of hits. A fusion of styles is also very common. As an example, later developments in the jazz genre may be cited: "While fusion seemed to dominate the jazz market in the 1970's and early 1980's. there were other developments as well. Some performers started borrowing from 20 th century classical music as well as African and other forms of world music" (Sabatella 1992: 14).

Kramer (1995:13) is of the opinion that modernist conceptions of music are profoundly at odds with the postmodern ethos. The author agrees with this statement, in so far as the legitimisation of a variety of genres, styles and traditions is concerned. This perspective will be further explained in the following paragraphs by using three genres of music as illustration of postmodernism in music, namely classical music, rap and punk.

The prelude to a postmodern condition in (classical) music was, according to Hamm

(1995:88-89), first seen in the experimental mode of music notation accompanying avantgarde music explorations. A system of staff notation, acceptable for Western music for many centuries, was challenged and alternatives subsequently offered. This was because composers were creating music that could not always be notated in the traditional system, resulting from an expanded exploitation of timbre, melody, texture and rhythm. "All such innovations call for new kinds of musical notation which, in many avant-garde compositions, resemble plans for guided missiles" (Ewen 1991 :xiv).

An important change of direction was to allow musicians to merely co-exist in a performance, defying any order imposed by aspects such as structure, barlines, key or traditional tonal structures. In this respect John Cage, according to Bernstein (1999:1) played an important role in "postmodernising" music. He started as an exponent of the avant-garde, but, according to Hamm (1995:xi) and Bernstein (1999:1), a transition from modernism to postmodernism occurred later in his work. Elements such as the co-existence of events, which came to be typically postmodern, are characteristic of his work (Hamm 1995:xi):

[John] Cage imagined a non-linear universe in which things simply existed, without the connecting tissue of cause and effect. His proto-postmodern aesthetic proposed that an uncountable number of different events take place, none of them privileged in significance of power over any others and none of them understandable from the perspective of a single dominant system of meaning. This is not rampant relativism, but rather an affirmation of the uniqueness and value of each happening.

This view of postmodernism in music means that "every musical event is equally worthy of attention" (Hamm 1995:xii), and ultimately legitimises the study and practice of any genre of music, from Western art music through to popular music and world music. Porter & Grey

(2001 :1) note that, as different musical structures convey different forms of meaning, it is no longer possible to operate notions of musical value from content alone - context must also be employed to define meaning and value.

According to Kramer (1995:4), however, classical music is in trouble, losing its prestige and popularity, with a shrinking and greying audience. One possible reason for this, according to him, is the loss of a viable public discourse about classical music. Another reason, in the opinion of the author, may be that the core repertoire of classical music is still associated with the modernist narrative, and therefore poses a challenge to the postmodern citizen who is exposed to daily d,oses of easily-accessible popular music.

New directions in classical music, however, started to emerge towards the 1970s and 1980s, with many composers investigating sounds, structures and tonalities different from those explored during the period of high modernism, as well as pre-modernist styles presented on the same magnitude of popular music concerts (for example the successful concerts of the

Three Tenors). Any attempt to offer a streamlined summarisation of recent directions would, however, be impossible, because of differing currents and continuous forking taking place

within classical music. Therefore the author will offer a few examples of various trends of the last twenty to thirty years.

One of the trends is explained by Adams (1997:2) as the "unsecularization" of the world, while Stephens (1999:134) calls it the creation of a timeless quality in surveying human culture. Modernism, the search for new and sometimes radical approaches in music and the arts, was constantly seeking a new language and purity of vision. Postmodernism, in contrast, deviates from this singular stance and embraces elements from high and low culture, future and past, secular and religious traditions. The revival and renewal of traditional religions are undoing the rule of reason insisted upon by modernist philosophers and scientists, and

Adams (1997:2) even states that there is a direct relationship between the decline of modernism and the rise of traditional religions.

Therefore an impo~t direction followed in postmodern music is one that moves away from complicated and mathematically inspired styles, such as serialism, to intuitive, spiritually inspired styles. This last category includes styles that signify, according to Steinberg

(1992:6), the return to sacred foundations, some of which are influenced by religions such as the Russian Orthod~x Church. The English composer John Tavener (born in 1944) is one of the major exponents of this last-mentioned style. A brief overview of the titles of some of his compositions will illustrate the nature of this music:

In his large oeuvre, the overarching theme of the music of John Tavener is one of spiritually inspired, mystical influences, which is in stark contrast to the serial and mathematicallyinspired music of the early and mid-20 th century. He often combines the long phrases of eastern chant (of various orthodox traditions) with a more active spirit of western sacred music; the' fusion of different spiritual styles and influences makes for a unique sound. The

Akathist o/Thanksgiving,

for example, is based on the Byzantine theory of musical tones, and

·draws on actual Russian chants. His treatment of orthodox tradition, however, is radical as he presents traditional motifs and Orthodox spirituality in a freer form (Stephens 1999: 133).

In the same vein, much of the music of leading British composer James MacMillan (born in

1959) is also inspired by religion.

Griffiths (1999:32) even calls him a "Catholic expressionist".

An example of this style is his Easter triptych Triduum (composed in 1997), in which "his intense religious faith has found expression in his music" (Lambton 19~9: 18).

The symphony, forming part of this triptych, specifies the use of a battery of percussion, including a large plywood cube, thunder sheet, and a piece of pipe struck by a metal hammer.

Harrison Birtwhistle (1934-), another major English composer, wrote music which is "rugged and earthy, often dealing with ritual and myth" (italics by R. Bosman, Griffiths 1999:32).

One of his operas, The Last Supper, was also spiritually inspired. This opera was premiered in 2000 by the Glynt/ebourne Touring Opera (Hayes 2001), and was also performed in, inter alia, London's Queen Elizabeth Hall and Berlin's Staatsoper during 2001.

Within the perspective of postmodernism and Western classical music, the return to sacred music - liturgically .inspired and accessible to a wider audience - is therefore an important change of direction. Another shift was the cross-fertilisation between the musics of other countries and cultures and Western traditions.

The American composer Steve Reich

(integrating West African drumming rhythms) and the Chinese composer Tan Dun may serve as examples of this crossing of cultural barriers (Stephens 1999: 133). Tan Dun mixes

Chinese sounds and traditions with Western ideas - in his Ghost Operd' (1994) a Western string quartet performs together with the pipa (a Chinese lute), water, paper, stones, gongs played with a bow, Tibetan bells and paper whistles.

It is interesting to note that Reich did not approve overt exotic connections or sounds in his music, criticising the imitation of non-Western music in Western styles. Rather, the study of

(in his case) African music must be integrated with "the instruments, scales, and any other sound one has grown up with" (cited in Griffiths 1981: 178). Glass has also, according to

Griffiths (1981 :178), in spite of a striking resemblance to Balinese gamelan music in some of his compositions, started a process ofre-investigation in his Western heritage.


In the Chinese tradition the performer in a ghost opera has a dialogue with his past and future life. In the

Ghost Opera by Tan Dun, the past life is China and the future life is the West (Stephens 1999: 134).

Eclecticism is illustrated in the music of the Russian composer of German descent, Alfred

Schnittke (1934-98), who developed a "startlingly eclectic technique of combining, adapting and assimilating styles of the past" (Stephens 1999:134). His four string quartets, written between 1966 and 1989, may also serve as an example of the transition from modernism to postmodernism. "The first quartet is serialist (with a thorny serial complexity), the second quartet more rhapsodic and intuitive. The fourth quartet, with its ineffable sadness, seems like a summation, and so its poly-stylism is more extreme" (Schwarz 1998:1). His Concerto

Grosso no. 4/Symphony no. 5 (1988) embraces two styles in the very title of his piece

(Stephens 1999:134).

Minimalism, another different current in music from the 1960s with Philip Glass and Steve

Reich as two main exponents, is concerned with sounds or textures of long duration. The nature of music in this style is therefore repetitive and drone-like in character, requiring streamlined rhythmic precision (Griffiths 1981:177).

In England, as well·as in Europe, the scene of serious music bloomed since the late 1970s.

According to Griffiths (1999:32), the musical compositions of British origin have proliferated to such a state of abundance that good pieces no longer have scarcity value.

Furthermore, Griffiths also mentions that the composers who dominated the scene in the

1960s and early 1970s were but a handful, but that he could now easily name fifty successful composers of classical music in England alone.

Griffiths (1981:294) offers a common identity that sets the music of the modernist culture apart from postmodernism, namely the concern of composers "not so much with musical composition in the abstract, as with the effect of music on the listener." An important dimension of the musical experience is therefore provided by the listener, depending on factors such as where the listener is seated, sub-melodies heard within repeated melodic patterns by individuals, or opportunities of analysing and forming perceptions while listening to a performance. Rap as postmodern genre

Mattson (1990:2) is of the opinion that rap music is postmodern art par excellence: "It relies on media generated sounds which are then combined through high technology and tape loops into a pastiche type of music with a grinding beat." Best


Kellner (1999:5) compares rap to

other postmodern artistic products, because "rap

IS eclectic and pastiche-oriented, and subverts modernist notions of authorship."

Rap, according to Toop (as quoted by Street (1993:11), originated from the project housing slums in New York, as an indigenous ghetto expression. Audiences, however, gradually grew into both black and white listeners, cutting across class and ethnical boundaries. He describes rap as a combination of music, vernacular poetry, attitude and style, reflecting the conflicting moods, strategies and experiences of young African-Americans.

As a postmodern form of music, rap is a manifestation of games played with words and sounds without conveying a clear and unambiguous meaning.

Best & Kellner (1999: 1) describe this genre as an articulation of "black rage" spilled over to white audiences. It embodies a postmodern aesthetic because it absorbs widely different musical styles while migrating to various national cultures. It has also influenced other musical styles by laiocking down boundaries between music, spectacle and everyday life. Its close relation with music technologies also placed the style in a postmodern approach. In the words of Best & Kellner (1999:2), rap became "the flagship of the global popular, bringing style, attitude and voice to marginalised groups".

Music videos of, inter alia, rap may serve as an illustration of the fragmented character of postmodernism, because of a random blending of unrelated visual images. These images seldom represent the content of the music~ but rather attempt to reproduce the "structures of feeling not easily reducible to words" (Coe 2001 :4).

Davies, in an article called "The Future of 'No Future': Punk Rock and Postmodern Theory", investigates the connection between a postmodern culture and punk-rock style music. This investigation was rooted in punk groups' approach to resist meta-narratives, their attack on consumer capitalism by means of shocking their audiences, and their resistance to being recuperated as heroes. The punks were the "progenitors of a plurality of

petites histoires

at the same time that they wreaked havoc with the smooth self-image of corporate culture"

(Davies 1996:13). Van Dorston describes how the concept of the group,

The Dream


was to sustain notes for two hours at a time, an endeavour that was undoubtedly fuelled by the acid, opium and grass that the group was dealing in. Their aggressive worship

of drugs, sex and anything decadent further brought them to new heights of obscenity (van

Dorston 2001: 3,4).

The 1970s were even more rebellious in nature than the 1960s: the philosophy of "no future", as taken from a song by the Sex Pistols (one of the most famous punk-rock bands), was central to the music of this time and in this genre (Henry 1989:vii). Pessimism, nihilism and political commentary were also characteristic: "Constituting itself musically against the bOring old farts of the mid 1970s hit parade, and politically against the post-war consensus, punk deals with the issue [of consensus] explicitly" (Davies 1996:4). In this article it is also noted that the punks' lack of musical skill removed barriers between performer and audience, demystifying artistic production. "Punk had always been inseparable from working-classyouth rebelliousness. As a movement or a fashion it offered an oppositional identity" (Davies

1996:5). Van Dorston (2001:6) also describes the "musical ineptness" of the punk group

Dolls, with one of the band member's guitar as harmonically unstable and unpredictable as the viola-player in the Velvet Underground,22 a punk group of the early 1960s, resulting in "a sound like the screech of the New York subway". One of the characteristics of a punk performance was that the performers and audience could easily change places, because both parties had more or less the same musical skills. The positive side of this genre of music, however, was that it was capable of cutting across class, and ethnic and regional boundaries.

Music in styles such:as punk, rock and heavy metal no longer aimed to satisfy the sentimental taste of the middle-class masses, but chose to confront its (younger, more aggressive) listeners with a stark version of reality. According to van Dorston (2001:12) the most important aspect of punk was that "most of its significance lay within the barriers of language and expression that were broken down. It was a breakthrough in free speech for underclass youth who rarely have a voice, neither culturally nor politically".


According to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Paddison 2001 :384), Velvet Underground became one of the most influential bands in the history of rock music. The Punk rebellion, the New Wave music of the 1970s, art-rock and the phenomenon of "cross-over" can all "trace their origins to the radical experimentation of the group's first three albums:' Influences were provided by, inter alia, rhythm-and-blues, rock-and-roll, the avant-garde music of John Cage and Le Monte Young, as well as the pop art of Andy Warhol.

Extreme reactions, such as designing punk paraphernalia as trash or throwaway' art, or not numbering fanzines (small magazines catering for fans), were common, in this way reflecting the nihilistic philosophy of this genre. An aggressive viewpoint was adopted against the cultural mainstream, even making punk and punk culture inaccessible for outsiders. British and American punk originally represented working-class youth reacting against the bourgeois status quo (Henry 1989:viii-ix; van Dorston 2001:12), claiming the right to speak in their own voice.

In summary, the growth of a mass culture during the modernist period seems to be balanced by a growth in accessible serious music in a postmodern era. The experimental mode of expression in the classical music of the early and mid 20 th century did not find a wide supporting audience; on the contrary and in the opinion of the author, it gave momentum to an audience preferring either accessible light classical music or popular music. However, the wheel seems to be turning, starting in the last two to three decades of the 20 th century, with musical heroes in both broad genres of popular and classical music having a long line of followers as well as commercial success.

One application is the collage of original and previously composed classical and popular music, extensively used in films. This form of entertainment has done much to both juxtapose different genres, and to popularise classical music previously considered elitist in nature. An excellent example is the Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber, primarily made popular because it was used in the film Platoon. Furthermore, current composers in the classical tradition such as Arvo Part, John Tavener, Gorecki and Andrew Macmillan "seem to be among the most popular of our times" (Stephens 1999: 134).

Not all philosophers support the conditions of postmodernism with the same measure of enthusiasm: "Postmodernism has many opponents.

They see it as the ungrateful


terrible of the Western intellectual tradition. It is destructive, relativistic, nihilistic,· and, worst of all, it is trendy"; (Chagani 1998: 1). Hartman (1996:2) disposes of the relativism that underlies postmodernism quite cynically: "Although nothing, according to the postmodernist,

can be 'determined to be 'true', postmodernism itself is, of course, 'true"'. According to

Giroux (1994:1), many theorists would, rather than come to grips with the new forms of knowledge, experiences and conditions that constitute postmodernism, write its obituary.

A notion to reject all that is modernist, adopting postmodernism as the only viable alternative, is, in the opinion of the author, short-sighted. "Tradition always operates as a prejudgement in our reading of the present/ed moment. We adopt some critical lens~s, through which to interpret the present/ed structures and projected possibilities of some better future. Whatever change does occur is always continuous with the past" (Grassie 1997:7).

Therefore it would be naive to embrace postmodernism as the only viable approach in music

; education, discarding everything modernist as outdated. A postmodern view can, however, provide a wider and richer perspective to view the world, and especially the world of music.

It is therefore important, in the process of maintaining a balanced approach, to take note of the problems within 'postmodernism as well.

One of the main objections to the postmodern condition is the notion to view everything as relative. This, in its extreme form, could mean that NO truth or value exists any longer, and all knowledge, truth and values are relative. On the other end of the scale it could also mean that all alternative forms of knowledge, values and truth be regarded as equally valid. For this situation, Giroux (1994:4) offers an alternative argument: "Rather than proclaiming the end of reason, postmodernism can be critically analysed for how successfully it interrogates the limits of the project of modernist rationality and its universal claims to progress, happiness and freedom".

The fact that postnlodernism rebels against the scientific and universalistic approach of modem thinking, and the relativism with which this notion was replaced, is criticised by many writers on the subject: "It is not the case that all systems of knowledge are equivalent and culturally relatiye. Some knowledge is truer than other knowledge" (Carleton 2001:5).

The replacement of one basis of universally accepted knowledge with a pluralistic stance on the matter does not necessarily, in other words, constitute equally legitimate and valid sets of knowledge.

Consensus is regarded as an escape route from postmodernism' s fragmentation and relativism (Davies 1996:1,3). In a constantly shifting condition without set definitions and parameters, such as postmodernism, consensus is regarded as one way to progress within

fragmented academic discourses. This would imply that a group of researchers (such as the

MEUSSA research group) construct or agree upon a version of reality as they see it.

Rosenau (in Weiss & Wesley 2000:8) sees contradictions within postmodernism. Not all are relevant to the current area of study, but the following may be noted in this context:

• Postmodernism stresses the irrational, although instruments of reason are freely employed within the perspective.

• Postmodernists contradict themselves by relinquishing truth claims in their own writing.

• Postmodernists criticise the inconsistency of modernism, but refuse to be held to consistency norms themselves.

The trends of postmodernism are furthermore discarded by some philosophers as a fashion hype, meant to be short-lived and not taken seriously. The author would here take the stance of Giroux (1994: 13), who is of the opinion that a resistant postmodernism seems invaluable in helping educators and others to address the changing conditions of knowledge production

"in the emerging m~s electronic media and the role these new technologies are playing as critical socialising agencies in redefining the meaning of pedagogy." The sediment of postmodernism has been layered for too long to merely write it off as a fashion trend. For educators, and music educators, to provide a meaningful approach and content to learners, they need to come to grips with the world their pupils are living in. Postmodernism is to be neither romanticised nor casually dismissed.

Adopting a postmodern approach to music education means that the musical events of not only the modernist era, but all eras before that as well, must not be dismissed or discarded.

The current developments in the music scene are built on a tradition of not only the modernist time, but of many centuries before that as well. The postmodern culture urges

; music educators to take cognisance of current trends and values in music, and to make those available in education. But tradition accumulated in times before the postmodern also needs to be taken into consideration in order to provide a balanced perspective. In other words, the entire curriculum arid approach to music need to be reconsidered and re-structured, with the parallel lines of all major and noteworthy musical events conceived as part of musical encounters. Postmodernism is, finally, continuous with modernism.

The MEUSSA group, as a research group, has experienced the postmodern fragmentation of discourse and the shifting intellectual stances among its members, learning to tolerate differences and to adapt set modernist viewpoints.

Postmodern knowledge is not simply a tool of the authorities; it refines our sensitivity to differences and reinforces our ability to tolerate the incommensurable.

Its principle is not the expert's homology, but the inventor's paralogy (Lyotard 1979:xxv).

The MEUSSA project for music education in Southern Africa was initiated at the turn of the

20 th century, roughly thirty to forty years beyond the modern era. This project endeavours to be a postmodern research project in its broad approach as well in the detail of the research:

• The project takes place within a specific research community that shares a common language, namely music and music education.

• Furthermore the project generates knowledge by a process of social construction.

New perspectives, definitions and structures were formulated by means of workshops as well as bY,debating central issues. In this way, a new local concept of knowledge is being constructed.

It would, however, be a simplistic perspective to view all processes within the musIc education community of Southern Africa as postmodern.

Different communities find themselves in different stages of the transition from pre-modernism to postmodernism.

most still largely relying on the narrative of universally generated truths, valid for all mankind. In the same vein it would, however, also be narrow-minded to expel all modernist characteristics from the music educational scene. In the process of writing unit standards for musics in Southern Africa, the MEUSSA group had to acknowledge both the modernist roots, and take cognisance of the postmodern condition world-wide as well as in its midst.

The following aspects of this project illustrate the postmodern condition within the MEUSSA group:

• In the detail ;of the research output it acknowledges and embraces music genres and styles that were formerly marginalised and suppressed.

In this regard music that formerly fell outside of the broad mainstream of what was regarded as worthwhile of

research is now taken into account and considered on the same level as music that was previously regarded as mainstream, such as Western art music.

• The reality of South Africa, with varied music practices within its borders, needed to be accommodated within a formal structure, resulting in a social construction of knowledge. This was realised to be of importance because, in the words of Mngoma

(1988: 11) "the pooling of such resources would accelerate the kind of cohesion we want in South[ern] African music education".

• Because the group agreed that music, in whatever style or genre, must be viewed as practical experience and treated as such, concepts, rather than genres, were used in the model developed by Petro Grove, one of the group members. In this way the wide array of styles and genres practised in Southern Africa could be accommodated.

Extensive discussions and lengthy argumentation during the various workshops on the matter of Western music versus world music and popular music served to widen perspectives of all group members regarding the inclusion of all music genres as a basis for music education, recognising the principle of various local truths.

• The fact that specialists from a wide cross-section of music practices were assembled to co-operate in this project furthered the construction of a localised research community. Music education in Southern Africa with its unique situation requires an adaptation of research criteria and traditions, in order to fill the need for relevant unit standards. This was applied in the MEUSSA group, with exponents of different music styles and practices striving for one goal, namely unifying the microcosms of musics in Southern Africa.

• Facilities of e-communication and Internet information, the technology of post modern culture, was extensively utilised. The author will even go as far as stating that without these (postmodern) technological advances, this project would have been either impossible or much more difficult to accomplish.

The group has experienced the diversity and pluralism of culture, characteristic of a postmodern condition, in the process of writing unit standards, and had to develop tolerance towards widely different perspectives and towards each other. In this sense, the process of social construction of knowledge is a first in this country for music education.

The mood of the time is reflected by the cultural content of a nation, of which music is one of the essential expressions. For music education to be relevant, it is imperative to recognise the different modes of expression in music and the current cultural shifts, and then to incorporate these modes and shifts into the content of, or approach to, music education.

Giroux (1994:4) fixes the attention on the hesitation of modernist intellectuals to grasp the contemporary experiences of youth and the wide-ranging proliferation of forms of diversity within "an age of declining authority", economic uncertainty, the proliferation of electronic mediated technologies and the extension of, what he calls, "consumer pedagogy".

These aspects are integral to daily life during a postmodern era, and must be acknowledged.

For music education to be relevant, it is necessary to understand the world in which both music and education functions.

Giroux (1994:3) provides an important motivation for understanding the culture of the current era:

[The postmodern condition] is a fundamentally important discourse that needs to be mined critically in order to help educators to understand the modernist nature of public schooling.

It is also useful for educators to comprehend the changing conditions of identity formation within electronically mediated cultures and how they are producing a new generation of youths who exist between the borders of a modernist world of certainty and order, informed by the culture of the West and its technology of print, and a postmodern world of hybridised identities, electronic technologies, local cultural practices and pluralised public spaces.

Southern Africa, in the constitution of its people, resources and skilled music educators, poses a unique problem.

The matter is not a simple one of treating all learners as understanding and living in a postmodern culture, because a large number of learners are, for example, not even computer-literate.

The scope of resources such as the Internet varies from pre-modem to postmodern conditions within the borders of the country, as many schools have neither electricity nor computers at their disposal, and others have computers in almost each classroom.

The world that the majority of learners are experiencing is, however, changing, with the media reaching even the most remote villages in the form of radio and television.

It is therefore imperative that the nature of postmodern narratives in music, especially the decentralisation of meta-narratives in the form of the Western canon (as outlined above) be taken into consideration, and the objectives, content of and approach to music education in Southern Africa harmonised with these narratives. Educators must be able

to communicate with their learners in a meaningful way while trying to find common ground between the learners' world after school and the school curriculum.

The dilemma here is, in the opinion of the author, that both classical music and education are at odds with a postmodern condition, both functioning better in a modernist establishment.

The reasons for this will be explored in more detail in the paragraphs below. Opposite to that, the dilemma is that the canon, as we understood it, is "changing, being renegotiated, or disintegrating (depending on one's point of view), under the pressure of too many 'others'"

(Koskoff 200 1:546). The "others" entail, according to Koskoff, the valuing of many different and often conflicting voices, a scenario that may result in chaos.

Koskoff approaches the aspect of widening the canon of music education from a different angle. Instead of viewing this from the perspective of (multiple) canon(s), she suggests an approach of problem solving in a two-stage process (Koskoff 2001 :538). The first part involves becoming comfortable with moving effortless from "own music" to the music of others, something she calls "living with likeness and difference". This implies that inherent values and complexities of cultural systems have to be recognised and considered in the content of syllabi, without loosing the foothold of one's "own music".

The second stage would be to help learners pass through the labyrinth of possible canons and values "with an underlying bedrock philosophy that all values, just like all people and all musics, have equivalent meaning to someone, somewhere" (Koskoff 2001 :538). This means that the canon has to be de-canonised, resulting in, what she calls, a "superview" of all possible canons.

In South Africa, the first stage has just started with the forming of three multi-cultural SGBs for music and the resulting formulation of neutral unit standards for the musics of South

Africa. The canon of music education still centres around a core repertoire of Western art music, while music educators have long been advocating the inclusion of more styles and genres (Hauptfleisch 1997:10). The condition of postmodernism in music education must therefore, in the first place, serve to sensitise music educators to the values of all the "others" practising music in this country before the second stage advocated by Koskoff, namely that of helping learners to discover their own music, may be attempted.

The basic constitutional activities of education, in the words of Burbules (1995:7-8), pillars on the following:

• every teaching act implying a judgement on those things that will lead towards these two aspects, constituting privileged knowledge and values;

authority, implying a decision-making body, as an inevitable dimension of every educational relation in which we encounter one another; and

• education involving activities of bringing people to become more alike, at least in certain respects, in other words normalising pupils.

Each of these dimensions, namely progress and betterment, privileged knowledge and values, authority and normalising, are challenged by a postmodern approach. A valid question to ask regarding postmodemism and education, according to Burbules (1995:6), would then be:

"What sustains a commitment to education in the face of postmodern doubt? How does this change in commitment change also our conception of education and of the activities that constitute it?"

When adopting and integrating a postmodern, post-structuralist approach to music education, the implications are profound, both with regard to teaching and research methodology

(Mifflin 2001:1). A: myriad of education theories (for example by Piaget, Vygotsky and

, others) are on the table, and it is not the intention of the author to present these in this study.

The aim is merely to provide a broad postmodern perspective to the approach to and content of music education, .in this way supplying a basis for the project of writing unit standards for musics in Southern Africa.

• Firstly, he is of the opinion that the engagement among persons, and between persons and the matters to be explored, must maintain a critical distance. Authority and methods of inquiry must be interrogated, exploring both their usefulness and the limits of their usefulness, as authority in itself is not blindly accepted by postmodern youth.

• Secondly, the purposefulness and direction of education must stay open to the unexpected and multi-faceted moment. Having a certain purpose in mind must not mean squandering other educational opportunities while slavishly following this one direction, but sometimes to provide for the multiplicity of educational purposes not to be all fully realised. Giroux (1994:14) refers to this as the production of new maps of meaning to be understood within new cultural practices.

• Thirdly, the conception of growth or development is also under pressure. In a postmodern sense, growth is neither linear in nature, nor steady and unambiguous.

Here, a high tolerance of difficulty, uncertainty and error is valued. These three are even viewed not as "flawed states to be overcome, but as ongoing conditions of the educational process itself - indeed, as educationally beneficial conditions, when they can serve as correctives to complacency or arrogant surety" (Burbules 1995:7).

• The status of betterment, in the fourth place, is also being questioned. Apparent gains and successes, when turned upon themselves, become ambivalent, partial and provisional, so that ''when we attain a kind of betterment it is not unalloyed"

(Burbules 1995:8). Furthermore, the convictions of today may, from a future vantage point, be seen as laughable or containing blundering errors.

These four guidelines are indeed, in the opinion of the author, valid points of challenge for education in a postmodern era. The temptation for a postmodern educational system may be to succumb to an extreme relativistic, pluralistic, fragmented and chaotic system - one that is in line with the postmodern environment. Experienced teachers, however, will be able to testify that a learning environment that is fragmented, succumbing to chaos and without structure is not conducive to learning, exploring or experimentation, and as such may not facilitate optimal personal growth or the acquiring of knowledge and skills.

Both sides of the coin have to be considered, however. A postmodern perspective built as extension of modernist principles, pointing to the critical interrogation of limits, the exploration of different perspectives on a matter, the construction of local and culturallybased truths, or the inclusion of different genres of so-called "lower" and "higher" art genres in the classroom, may lead to an enrichment of curricula and the personal growth of learners.

Koskoff (2001:546), however, also points out that it is impossible to structure an ideal

curriculum, and that there is 'no way to add any more to the canon without leaving out something important, something that has been taught up to now.

Giroux (1994:5) also considers the tension between schools as "modernist institutions" and the fragmented nature of a postmodern culture, saying that this conflict must be increasingly faced as it poses a challenge for critical educators. Giroux sees three problems here:

• Firstly, there is the challenge of understanding the modernist nature of existing schooling, with a specific view of knowledge, culture and order.

• Secondly, the background of a new generation of youth, influenced by postmodern economic and cultural conditions, is to a large extent still being ignored by schools and education authorities;

• Thirdly, the significant importance of critically integrating those elements of a postmodern pedagogy that might be useful in educating today's youth is still more of a challenge than a reality.

Rationality and the role of reason still feature and govern as modernist trends. Regarding the first problem, Giroux describes the dominant features of public schooling as utterly relying on instruments of reason, and the standardisation of curricula, seen in the rigid forms of testing and sorting. Furthermore, the rule of reason "reveals its Western cultural legacy in highly centred curricula that more often than not privilege the histories, experiences and cultural capital of largely white, middle class students" (Giroux 1994:6).

Regarding the diversity of cultural expressions and the integral role of communications technology and the mass media in a postmodern culture, Giroux is also of the opinion that public schooling refuses to incorporate popular culture or take account of new electronically generated media and information ,systems.

Although these are typical postmodern characteristics, it is, in the opinion of the author, also true that these two aspects of postmodernism are being denied a formal educational position in South Africa.

Although the racial mix of schools in South Africa has drastically changed over the last few years, and learners can no longer be viewed through a lens of cultural uniformity, a new postmodern culture of difference, plurality and multiple narratives is still only theoretical in nature. Already in 1988, Mngoma (1988:2-3) suggested an approach of "enrichment".

While the Western component of music syllabuses should be retained as a kind of lingua franca, it

should not be limited to that. Other types of music must be evaluated and interpreted in terms of themselves, as part of the many styles of music performed in Southern Africa. The heritage of varied musical styles "implies greater resources for the music educator" (Mngoma

1988:4), and therefore a richer music education.

The propagation of Western music (Popular and art music) is powerfully advanced by means of the mass media, partly because it has developed an "advanced paleography that has been stimulated by technological advances and advances in compositional techniques" (Mngoma

1988:2). But it is also true that musics that were positioned as minority musics in the narratives of modeI:Il music education, has, in a postmodern culture, gained respect and should be included in formal music education.

In the light of this, the entire curriculum of music should be rethought, reconstructed and decentred in order to reflect the postmodern trends of the world around us and to open up new pedagogical spaces. When generating unit standards for musics in Southern Africa, it should be regarded as imperative to include the aspects of pluralism, diversity and fragmentation, characteristic of a postmodern time, and not to insist on a rigid framework in which all learners and cultures should be forced to fit. Keeping pace with a postmodern condition, the boundaries between different fields of study should be softened so as to illustrate the extension of the canon.

The postmodern understanding of the future, not as part of a fixed meta-narrative, but as uncertain, changing and open-ended, should also influence the approach and content of curricula. In this sense, curricula should not be designed as closed and centred, but openended and sensitive towards differences and change. Postmodernism should be appropriated as part of a broader pedagogical project while engaging the most progressive aspects of modernism (Giroux 1994:7).

A critical stance towards postmodern trends should, however, be taken, in order to cancel out the negative dimensions of postmodernism while appropriating some of its more positive aspects.

A postmodern pedagogy must address the shifting attitudes, representations, preferences and desires of a new generation of youth being educated within the current junction of culture, politics and history. Educators need to understand how different identities among youth are being produced in spheres generally ignored by schools and curricula.

Pedagogy needs to redefine its relationship to modernist and postmodernist forms of culture, art, and canonicity, but it must also serve as vehicle of cross-fertilisation between these two conditions. Furthermore, the mission of schools needs to be re-examined and adjusted to the meaning of work and labour in a postmodern world.

• to institutionalise conditions for change and plurality among postmodern youth, rather than institutionalise set master narratives;

• to balance these conditions for change with the most advantageous aspects of modernism's order and structure;

• to address the conditions of teaching and in the process taking note of a world in which the youth lives that is vastly different from the situation offered in most modernist versions of schooling.

Postmodern discourSes offer the promises, but not the solutions, to alert educators to a new generation of "border youth" - youth that is growing up amidst postmodern uncertainty and randomness.

The constructivist theory, one of the popular theories in postmodernism and discussed earlier in this chapter, manifested .in educational theory in a very specific way. In educational constructivist theory, two approaches have emerged, namely




constructivsm (Piaget) and


constructivism (Vygotsky). These approaches are different in emphasis, but have many common perspectives regarding learning and teaching. It does not fall within the scope of this thesis to explore the detail of these educational theories, but merely to provide a basis for postmodern education, using a constructivist perspective. A more detailed consideration will be offered in another

MEUSSA team member's contribution.



The reader is referred to the work in progress by Elma Britz, one of the MEUSSA'team members, entitled

Unit Standards for Music Education within the context of Arts Education and Music as an elective sub-field in

South Africa. MMus in progress, University of Pretoria.

Constructivists view learning as the result of mental construction, fitting new information in with what is already known, and actively constructing own understanding. "Constructivism's central idea is that human learning is constructed, that learners build new knowledge upon foundation of previous learning" (Hoover 1996: 1). The most important implication is that learning, from a postmodem point of view, is student-centred.

Social constructivism in education also emphasises the critical importance of culture, as well as the social context for cognitive development. This, in a postmodem reference, means that no overarching metanarrative or single truth may be offered, but that all knowledge is context-driven and culturally related.

According to Mifflin (2001: 1), all constructivists share some common beliefs about the ways of knowing:

• Constructivist knowing assumes that learning and perceiving take place actively,

• Prior knowledge and experience are the springboard for useful, personal knowledge construction. There is no

tabula rasa

on which new knowledge is etched.

• Learning experiences of a constructivist nature include reflective thinking and productivity, authentic and original activities (individual projects as well as student collaboration), and the consideration of multiple perspectives.

• Teachers act as facilitators between students' prior knowledge and their active worlds, creating learning environments that will help them develop increasingly complex understandings, skills and knowledge.

The assumptions of constructivist learning are therefore that

• Knowledge is active, situated in real and lived worlds.

• The emphasis is on learning and reflecting, not teaching.

• Individuals construct knowledge. Learning is therefore seen as a process, facilitated by enquiry and critical experience by the learner.

• Meaningfull,earning is built on what the student already knows.

• The learning style and attitude of the student is taken into consideration, as well as the context in which learning takes place (Hoover 1996: 1-2; Chen 2001: 1).

Teaching, then, cannot be seen as merely the transmission of knowledge from the informed to the uninformed. The role of the teacher becomes that of mediator, facilitator and strategist.

In Southern Africa a shift in cultural narratives was, and still is, increasingly being experienced together with the change in the political scene. The shift from modernism to postmodernism in Western societies during the last third of the 20 th century also necessitates a basic and fundamental re-evaluation of music education in Southern Africa. This reevaluation proved valid not only for the roots and principles, but for the content and approach of music education as well.

The question of the validity of the arts, and more specifically music in education, has experienced a revival during roughly the last two decades, with many relevant investigations being undertaken by renowned researchers.

As an example, the controversy and interest aroused by the so-called Mozart effect, Undertaken by Rauscher and Shaw of the University of California in 1993, may be cited.


Music education as an academic discipline has acquired a renewed status.

The members of the discourse now also include not only academic experts, but also teachers, members of the music industry, exponents of popular as well as classical music, and the community. In short, the canon, as well as the power in the discourse of music education, is no longer clearly spelled out. According to Stephens (1999: 134), one of the results of the modernist and avant-garde revolution in music during the early 20 th century is that composers

(and educators) now have an enormously wide choice of directions in which musical language and education can be developed. This development is ideally suited for a multicultural society.

To stay relevant, a renewed content and approach of music education in Southern Africa need to be considered.

Giroux (1994:2), for example, says that "postmodernism as a site of

'conflicting forces and divergent tendencies' becomes useful pedagogically when it provides


Other references to research projects on the effects of arts education, and specifically music education, are provided in chapter 2.

elements of an oppositional discourse for understanding and responding to the changing cultural and educational shift affecting youth".

The meta-narrative of Western art music as the only valid framework in music education is being challenged as a tool for teaching formal music in schools. At the beginning of the 21 st century, it is still true that a restricted era in the span of music history, as well as a limited choice of repertoire, is often used in the classroom. Although it is true that other genres are being explored in class music, this is not considered valid for examination purposes. The core of formal teaching seems to be avoiding quality music in genres other than classical Western music (Wicks 1998).

When considering popular music as teaching tool in schools, traditional musicology must be reconsidered and reinvented, because the conditions and context of popular music demands and expanded approach to aspects such as composition methods and sound production.

Covach (2001:468-469) explores the issue of popular music, and he is of the opinion that the study of popular music may enhance traditional musicology, because

• The compositional process used in popular music (combining the creative input of more than one composer, for example the Beatles' Lennon & McCartney) differs from the accepted classical method.

Alternative versions of older hitsongs are often included as "bonus tracks" on many CD repackaging, casting light on the process musicians used to produce the final version.

• The role of the recording producer has no direct parallel in art music. Covach

(2001:469) quotes the way the music of Elvis Presley, for example, changed when he moved from Sun Studios in Memphis to RCA's Nashville studios, each with a different producer. In this way the notion of an artist controlling all aspects of a work's creation is conceived differently in the genre of popular or classical music.

• The history of popular music is still largely unmapped.

This field is very often difficult for scholars of Western art music, because "tracing the history of any popular-music style demands that the musicologist be immersed in the popular culture from which the music arose" (Covach 2001 :468).

The implications of positioning oneself within the postmodern condition with regard to music education in Southern Africa can be summarised as follows:

• Music educators must take cognisance of the postmodern condition in terms of the nature of knowledge, the importance of the arts, the increased role of minority groups and their expression through music, as well as the diminishing role of broad or overarching meta-narratives. It is· imperative that educators be sensitive towards the postmodern condition in the arts. The music educationalist must critically place himor herself within this condition, especially in the way it manifests in cultural expressions such as music.

• A discriminating distance must be taken both from the modernist and postmodernist approaches in the arts. Everything that is postmodern must not blindly be accepted as the norm and all modernist items be regarded as wrong or outdated. It is true that different societies experience postmodernism in different measures, and that acknowledging the postmodern mood of an era does not mean that a clean break with modem trends has to be made. The author is of the opinion that the progressive aspects of modernism are still very active in Southern Africa at the beginning of the

21 sl century, both in styles of living and in music education. But it is also true, in the opinion of the author, that the principles of modem culture underscore effective education more comfortably than postmodem parameters. Therefore, in the words of

Giroux (1994:5), the relationship between modernism and postmodernism must become "dial~ctical, dialogic and critical" in order for postmodernism to be relevant.

• In doing this, music educators themselves must have a thorough knowledge of different music genres and styles. This is necessary in order to acquire a balanced position on the musical traditions of different peoples in this country, as well as trends worldwide.

• Music education policy and content must take the practices of minority groups into account. To achieve this, teachers must have access to in-service training to familiarise themselves with music practices outside their own field of expertise.

Music education in Southern Africa must, in order to stay relevant, take cognisance of the cultural expression through different musics of all peoples in the country, the music in the world of the learner outside school hours, and the music that may form part of the extension of the canon. This may transpire while building on the backbone of an extended core repertoire.

When writing unit standards for musics in Southern Africa, this perspective seems to the author to be of utmost importance. Therefore, a sensitive, informed and discriminating approach, with contents relevant to the world-owning youth of the 21 st century, has to be made available in the postmodern classroom.

The skill of performing on an instrument, often acquired by informal means or private tuition, is, for the majority of learners, their primary point of active involvement with music. Therefore it is of utmost importance to provide unit standards for performing on all instruments, because the "how" of formulating unit standards is determined by the

"who" they are aimed at. Therefore unit standards should serve as guide to (SAQA


• the educator and/or assessor (defining the learning and acquiring of skills, as well as the areas of assessment to be done);


• the student or learner (describing the level of performance and enabling a uniform but flexible system of education);

• the provider and/or the materials designer (describing the learning content and materials needed to assist in the learning process); and

• the parent (knowing what to expect from the educational system and how to assist his child).

The beneficiaries of the unit standards and qualifications, registered on the National

Qualifications Framework, are:

• learners (who benefit from quality education and the provision of qualifications that enjoy national recognition as well as, where appropriate, international comparability);

• workers (who benefit from clear working paths in the qualification structure, to facilitate and support life-long learning and career advancement);


Because of the limited supply of manpower in South Africa, the reality in the majority of schools means that the roles of educator and assessor are very often performed by the same person.

• employers (who benefit from a work force which is competent in skills and .

attitudes required in a competitive global economy); and

• society (which benefits from a learning nation).

As part of the MEUSSA team, the author will compile a set of unit standards for

Aerophones in this chapter, based on the model for music education developed by Petro

Grove, another of the members of the MEUSSA team. This model will be briefly outlined later in the chapter.

5.2 Unit standards for Aerophones in the GET and FET phases

This section will oriefly explain the components of education and training relevant to the generation of unit standards for Aerophones (performance).

5.2.1 Starting with an instrument

The tuition of instruments to children has different ideal minimum starting times. This is due to:

• the level of difficulty of acquiring skills on the particular instrument;

• the level of physical maturity and development of lung capacity or muscle control needed to perform on the instrument; and/or

• the level of music background.

When attempting an instrument such as violin or cello, the ideal starting time is as early as possible, with an optimal starting age of between four/five to seven/eight years of age.

Piano or keyboard tuition may start later, any time between the ages of roughly four or five years until well beyond primary school age.

Woodwind tuition should, ideally, only start when the child's physical maturity meets the physical requirements of the particular instrument (Bosman 1999:28). Factors such as breathing and lung capacity, the size of the hands and the stage of teeth development are crucial factors in determining an ideal starting time. For this reason many children only start a woodwind instrument from rougWy nine/ten years of age or later, taking advantage of this extra time by learning the basic music rudiments while receiving tuition on another instrument.

The aspect of aural training should receive constant attention, because it can be considered one of the building blocks of music training. Therefore a pre-school learner should be led to distinguish, for example, between high or low pitches, fast or slow music, a sad or happy mood, or different basic timbres. These skills should be integrated into the process of learning an instrument, as they are inseparable from other musical skills.


According to Olivier (2000: 15), a standard is an acknowledged basis for measuring attainment or criteria, with statutory organisations usually mandated to set standards.

Within the framework of the NSB, the bodies responsible for the setting of standards are the SGBs. Three music SGBs (for GET, HET and Music Industry) have been recently registered to start with the process of generating and registering unit standards.

A unit standard ,is defined by SAQA (2000b:4) as a "nationally registered statement of desired education and training outcomes and their associated performance, with assigned credit ratings on the basis of one credit equal to ten notional hours of learning" (SAQA

2000b:4). Unit standards originated in industry because of a need to formalise specific skills and knowledge required to perform a task, for example to drive a large passenger service vehicle safely and in a fuel-efficient manner (NZRT & ITO 2001:1).

Some unit standards may be considered compulsory because they describe core skills and knowledge, and others will be regarded as elective because they may be achieved supplementary to compulsory standards. The New Zealand system allows for some additional, optional unit standards to be grouped as a strand, but this is not applied in the

South African system.


One of the MEUSSA team members, Annarine Roscher, generated unit standards for, inter alia, aural training at the foundation phase. The reader is therefore referred to A. Roscher, 200 I:

Music Standards for the Foundation Phase and Teacher Training in South Africa.

Doctoral thesis, University of Pretoria.

The decision as to what unit standards will be considered core and elective will be made by the appropriate SOBs appointed by education and training stakeholders.

Unit standards and qualifications are predetermined SAQA-approved standards and combinations of standards that must be achieved by means of learning and doing. This learning will be verified by a quality assurance body, such as an ETQA, to either confirm compliance or facilitate corrective measures.

5.2.3 Qualifications

Qualifications are compiled of unit standards in specific associations. SAQA (2000b:4) describes a qualification as "a planned combination of learning outcomes which has a defined purpose or purposes, and which is intended to provide qualifying learners with applied competence and a basis for further learning".

Two types of qualifications, both equally valid, are provided for in the NSB regulations, namely

• qualifications based on exit-level outcomes (which capture the planned combination of learning outcomes required for competence at the particular level of the qualification); and

A learning programme (the sequential learning activities associated with curriculum implementation) leads to the achievement of a particular qualification, partial qualification (SAQA 2000b:5) or short course. A programme consists of a coherent set of courses, and leads to a certain certificate, diploma or degree. Different ways of arriving at a qualification are possible by means of a core curriculum and optional courses

(Vroeijenstein 1995, as quoted in SAQA 2000b:5).3

Three categories oflearning are described (SAQA 2000f:42-43):

Fundamental learning describes the learning that forms the basis needed to undertake the education, training or further learning.


A more detailed discussion of the structure of SAQA and the National Qualifications Framework is provided in the thesis of one of the MEUSSA members, J.P. Grove.

Credit structure: a minimum of 20 credits at levels 1-4 from the. field of

Communication Studies and Language, and a minimum of 16 credits in the field of Mathematics).

• Core learning describes compulsory learning required for a contextually relevant qualification.

• Elective learning describes a selection of additional credits at the specified NQF level.

Credit $tructure: a minimum of 36 credits between the core and elective learning categories at levell, and a minimum of 52 credits between them at levels 2-4).

5.3 A framework for Aerophones, with specific application to flute playing

In this section, unit standards for Aerophones will be presented in two formats. Tables illustrating the integration of generic and specific outcomes, and assessment, will be the main form of presentation. The format that complies with the SAQA specifications entails duplication when presented for all unit standards, therefore only one unit standard will be presented as an example.

The present qualifications framework, as prescribed by SAQA and the NQF, requires the first qualification only at the exit of the first level, namely at the end of grade 9, or NQF level 11ABET 4. The MEUSSA group, however, agreed that it would be shortsighted to present the first set of outcomes at this level only. Instead, a holistically conceived approach is suggested, implying that outcomes for the stages before grade 9, and which would gradually lead to acquiring the first NQF qualification, should be specified.

For this reason, unit standards for the foundation phase were, or are, in the process of being generated by MEUSSA members, and the author of this thesis prepared a unit standard for a preparatory level to be applied before NQF level!.

When designing a system of unit standards for music, it must always be kept in mind that music consists of 'several conceptual layers that are being applied simultaneously. One cannot, for example, single out the aspect of rhythm without regarding concepts of melody, harmony, tempo, form or texture. It may well be possible to focus on one of

. these .concepts at a time, but it is important never to lose sight of the broad application of all music aspects. These aspects are valid for any genre, regardless of style or cultural origin.

When the approach to unit standards in music is based on the accrediting of music


rather than music content based on one




(for example Western art music or African music), the learner will be gradually equipped to value and judge any style of music, using a firm set of guidelines. The ability to distinguish between higher and lower quality music in any genre must, for example, be considered one of the valuable outcomes of music education. This principle also forms the basis for a culture of



lifelong learning with applications in all spheres of life.

It must also be kept in mind that the NQF prescribed a set of critical outcomes, which are

"an additional mechanism through which coherence is achieved in the framework"

(SAQA 2000a:8). They describe the kind of citizen that the education and training system should try to produce, and are common for all learning areas. They are the following:

• Identify and solve problems in which responses display that responsible decisions using critical and creative thinking have been made.

• Work effectively with others as a member of a team, group, organisation or community.

• Communicate effectively using visual, mathematical and/or language skills in the modes of oral and/or written presentation.

• Use science and technology effectively and critically, showing responsibility towards the environment and health of others.

• Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation.

In addition to these seven critical outcomes, five more aspects should underpin any programme of learning (SAQA 2000a:8-9):

• Participate as responsible citizens m the life of local, national and global communities.

These outcomes must continuously be integrated with the specific and generic outcomes for music education.

As the credit structure for NQF level 1 is provided by another member of the MEUSSA team,

4 the following structure is proposed for learners in NQF levels 2, 3 and 4 in the FET phase, in other words, from grade 10-12. The reader must note that learners usually have to take a minimum of six subjects between NQF levels 2-4, of which Music may be currently assigned to one or two subjects. The author suggests that three options be made available, namely

• taking music as two subjects, specialising in performance



(GMAP and MPP or MCP);5 and

• taking music as three subjects, specialising in performance

(GMAP, MPP and MCP).



When three music subjects are taken, the author suggests that the third subject be taken as a seventh subject.


The reason for this is that learners still have to receive a rounded education while at school, and a total of three Music subjects out of a maximum of six presents an unbalanced learning programme.


The reader is referred to J.P.


2001. Music Education Unit Standards for Southern Africa: A Model

and its application in a General Music Appraisal Programme. DMus thesis, University of Pretoria,

Pretoria, p. 44.


MPP: Music Perfonnance Programme; MCP: Music Composition Programme.


The reader is referred to the discussion of the National Curriculum of England in chapter 3, where this system is explained.



Graphic illustration of one, two or three music subjects at NQF levels


or grades 10-12

At least 15 credits



Conceptualising (2)

Contextualising (2)

Analysing (2)

Literacy (2)

First instrument at

NQF level 2-4 (6)

Second instrument at

NQF level 2 (4)

At least 21 credits



Conceptualising (2)

Contextualising (2)

Analysing (2)

Literacy (2)

First instrument at

NQF level 2-4 (6)

Second instrument at

NQF level 2-4 (4)

At least 21 credits



Conceptualising (2)

Contextualising (2)

Analysing (2)

Literacy (2)

First instrument at

NQF level 2-4 (6)

Composition at

NQF level 2-4 (6)


Ensemble (2)

Choir (2)

Revue (2)

Band/orchestra (2)

Other art forms:


Ensemble (2)

Choir (2)

Revue (2)

Band/orchestra (2)

Other art fonns:


Ensemble (2)

Choir (2)

Revue (2)

Band/orchestra (2)

Other art forms:

Dance (2)

Drama (2)

Dance (2)

Drama (2)

Dance (2)

Drama (2)

Visual art (2)

Visual art (2)

Visual art (2)


Listening and appraising must


Listening and appraising must


Listening and appraising must be integrated with other concepts, be integrated with other concepts, be integrated with other concepts, but assessed separately.

but assessed separately.

but assessed separately.

Core standards are marked in bold. A minimum of

15 credits


GMAP and


credits for


is indicated. In case of MPP, the core standards, marked in bold, add up to 15 credits, and the learner must choose between the remaining options to earn the minimum of 21 credits. This may be done by, for example, performing on a second instrument and as well as performing in an ensemble.

Extra credits

may be earned by choosing between the other remaining options. For the

MPP option, the learner may achieve the required 21 credits by electing any of the available options, which does not necessarily have to include a

2nd instrument. In this way, recognition for extra work done will be reflected on the certificate earned at each exit level, namely NQF levels


Learners will further be able to perform on

one or two instruments,

depending on the programme. For GMAP, one instrument is included as core standard, and this is referred to as "first instrument". When doing the Music Performance Programme (MPP), one instrument is considered as part of the core standards, with another as possible elective standard. These are referred to as "first" and "second" instruments. The Music

Composition Programme (MCP) describes only one instrument as core standard, referred to as the "first" instrument.

When following both the Music Performing and Music Composition programmes,

no duplication in the choice of instruments

may be allowed. In this case, learners may offer one instrument each for MPP and MCP, totalling two (different) instruments. An option of performing on three different instruments is available when following the MPP and MCP options. Offering three instruments for MPP is, however, not included.

Accommodating all genres, styles and practices in Southern Africa posed a challenge to the MEUSSA group. The first step was to develop a suitable model for music education; one that could be applied in a flexible way. The model for music education in Southern

Africa was developed by Petro Grove, one of the MEUSSA group members, and refined during many work-shopsby the process of action research. A detailed discussion of this

model is provided in her thesis as part of the MEUSSA project.


A brief outline will be provided in the paragraphs below.

The model is in the form of a Rubik's cube, with six different sides, each side consisting of nine smaller and moveable sections (Grove 2001:4). The possibility of changing combinations by turning the surfaces of the cube, when applied to music education, presents an almost endless array of potential associations. Such a variety of associations, contained within one "self-contained whole" (Cube History, as quoted by Grove 2000:4), was seen as poteRtially accommodating all the diverse music practices and styles of

Southern African music.

The aim of the model, according to Grove, is to "structure unit standards in an organised and musically logical way." It does not attempt to prescribe syllabi, curricula or methodology. The model is divided into two categories, namely music skills (composing, performing and, appraising, according to the English standards), and music knowledge, integrating styles and practices, knowledge and NQF levels/assessment.

A diagrammatic version, with the six columns representing the six flat surfaces of the cube, may be presented in the following way (Grove 2001:5):

Table 5-3: Mapping the context of the MEUSSA modelfor music education in South

Africa (Grove 2001:5)




































S. African music

Art music

Indian music

Folk music

Popular music


World music











1 N










J.P. Grove, P. 200 I: Music Education Unit Standards for Southern Africa: A Model and its application in

a General Music Apprf/isal Programme. DMus thesis, University of Pretoria.

T h e thr ee -dim e n s i o n a l verSIO n of t h e M E U SSA mod e l w i l l be illu s t r ate d i n th e fo ll owing two figures (Grov e 2001:10):

Fi g

ure 5-1 :

ME US SA model : Musi c knowl e dge , sty l es


practic e s and NQF lev e ls

(Grove 200 I :


, ,

;",,// 2 ;"/,,, 3

" ,."









, ,"

: .


"I ' " //'

4 /' 5 /' ABET


---, .

,, : -----, !':-- -------

, , " , ,"

, "'/ 7 , , ," 8


// ' ,/'




: ;






• •









, , /" : ART


, '.,


../ t

: MUSIC ,..









, , "

/f rECI "I N0 :



: ,,;/

,/ :

, /










I ,





T h e f ollow i ng diagr a m o u t lin es the di ff er e n t component s of t h e M E U SSA Mo d el .

As g u ide li nes, colo u rs wil l be applied as exp l aine d in Ta bl e 5-4:

Table 5 4: Explanation of the components of t


e MEUSSA model, as usedfor Ae r ophones





The nature of the model for music education i n South Africa, as developed by t he

MEUSSA team members , is such that it can be adapted according t o the genre or style of music applied in the classroom. Once the generic standards for the different components have been met , the educator can integrate appropriate aspects , relevant to the specific gen r e and style of music practised.

The aspect of improvising is included as a generic standard for all genres or styles in the standards for Aerophones.

Although it constitutes an integral part of ge n res such as

African music and jazz, it does not currently form part of the system of Western art music as presently taught in schools. The reason for the inclusion of improvisi n g for all

Aerophones students is t aken from a viewpoint that creativity should be n ur tured and encouraged. Improvising, as a component of unit standards , is one way of achieving that.

The aspects ofk .

nowledge and appraising wi ll consti tu te a smaller part in t h e sta n dards for

Aerophones (Performance), as they wi ll be i n cl ud e d i n unit standards for History of

Music a nd ot h er related areas. They wi ll , however, b e i n tegrated to a lesser degree with as p ec t s s u ch as contextualising and conce p t ua lis ing .

The contents of the unit standards for Aerophones (performance) may be interpreted in many ways, because the flexible nature of the MEUSSA model allows for the substitution of some components with others, according to the specific geme and style that is chosen for performance.

Ensemble is considered as one of the eight generic standards, therefore a part of each unit

. standard. It will al~o be possible to specialise in ensemble, and in this case the reader is referred to standards generated by another MEUSSA team member, Antoinette Hoek.


For this option, the focus will be on playing together using available instruments.

The MEUSSA model lends itself to different interpretations. Various versions supplied in the following section will provide examples of its application to different gemes or styles as it may be applied to performing on Aerophones. The general remarks in the following paragraph must be read together with all applications of this model.

• The different cells are divided by broken lines. This demonstrates the interchangeable and flexible nature of this model.

• Because of a lack of a standardised alternative, the grade levels of accepted examining ?odies, such as ABRSM, UNISA and Trinity College of Music, are used as reference for standard of performance, equalling eight levels of assessment as well as a beginners grade.

• History is captured by contextualising, and may be facilitated using oral assessment on related aspects during the practical assessment.

• Technique will contain all related scale and arpeggio structures, as well as other appropriate technical exercises. These must be described in relevant range statements.


A. Hoek., 2000: South African Unit Standards for a General Music Appraisal Programme and an

Ensemble Specialisation Programmefor Available Instruments.

DMus thesis, University of Pretoria.

• Ensemble means the combination of any number of instrumentali~ts, in a combination of the leamer's own preference, and at a standard corresponding to the standard of performance in the relevant NQF level.

• The standard of sight-reading is usually two grades below the standard of performance.

• The open cells may be substituted with one or more of the options arranged around each version of the MEUSSA model. According to the style or genre, the other cells may also be interchanged with relevant cells.

• Pitch and intonation is categorised as an appraising/listening activity, because it involves accurate and trained listening and adapting to other players.

• As the figures on the following pages only indicate one side of the threedimensional model, other relevant components, such as timbre, rhythm, harmony or dynamics may be added as part of the unit standard.


Different applications of the MEUSSA model

In the following section, the MEUSSA model will be explored to exhibit the different styles and genres of music(s) practised in Southern Africa. According to the flexible nature of the model, the open cells in each cube may be substituted with anyone or combination of the floating cubes.












______ __ _____ _

• This version o f th e M E USSA model utilises t h e

generic standards


Aerophone s, as ex plained lat e r i n t his chapter.

A n i nterpretation of t he M EUS SA mod e l , s uch a s ex plored in f igure 5 3 , may b e mapped u s in g a diagrammat i c ve r s ion.

T abl e 5-5 of fers t he basic a pplication o f t he M E USSA model ex plained abo ve a nd o n t he following pages in a diagram .





I mpro v ise

R e cital

E n s emble






Pitch and intonation

Co nt ex tualise

(s t y le )

C onceptualise

( knowledge)



(Conceptualis e) (


Conte x tualise)



(assessment )

W e stern art music

L evels 1 8

Harmon y


For m



Me l o d y

R h ythm

His t o r y and composer(s)

Text ur e

Ti mb re lndian music

Popu l ar music

World music

African m u sic

So u th Africa n music

ABET 1-4



• Contextualising

will depend on the music style(s) chosen to study , in this case


Ensemble w i ll utilise instruments typically used in a jazz band.

Conceptualising will include the building blocks of music , s uch as tempo , form , dynamics , r hythm, melody and timbre.

This v ersion utilises the unique concepts and practices of jazz , while utilising the generic standards for Aerophones as basis .






















··· ··..·-






- ·-1












; .



,; ..

; , ~ " .






• Improvisation ,

as one of the generic standards for Aerophones , is indicated a s one of the components in this i nterpretation of the MEUSSA model .

• Notation

may b e applied to the component of


( using the colour red ) or to the process of


( using the colour green) when applied to composition or improvisation.

• ~ Ie aIItI -

pnwiatiD .

are gro fDgdbec .

, bec ; ame emem J

Ie p l aying

m dDisstyle

odB i e n

i m~!va

; creatiDg by meam ofim p rovismioo .


/ I Dhe l n~

' l M Q fS i in t tr~ mil i i~ J flr~ c1 f ( £l !

ilJll i hiiotl d l

~ : mrd I

' d l ~ b t ftre ~ t VX f A l ii : i icml

: n t 1 fue

~ ~ .

~ pqp < d lu r i ilm a ~~ l U l I l i~d ' ~ .

i U ; ~

W l l l l

R : $

J l .

" !

) '

~ A I i i i t:ma

1 b l }y l M .

t 1 k i i ~~



d !


• History

w ill be c aptured b y

contextualising ,

dependin g o n the chosen mu sic p ractic e and ge nr e , i n t h is cas e I ndian music.

• Sight-reading notation .

a s w ell as

i mprovisation and creating

form s an integral part of


~ t








; :







• As t he s kill of arranging is ve r y o ften c onsider e d as co mponent o f popul a r mu s ic , t hi s i s g rouped t ogether with composition , with both c oncepts applied as c reative activ i t ies.

• T he history of popular music i s c aptured by conte x tualising, and w ill b e different i n c ont e nt from h i stor y as, for e x ample , part of the genre of Western a rt music or Indian music .

In t hi s s ection unit s tandards for the MPP , or Music Performance Programm e s trand

( Aerophones) , will b e pro v ided . U nit standards for the GMAP strand are designed by

other members of ~e MEUSSA group, and must be read together with the unit standards provided in this chapter. Unit standards for the MCP strand do not fall within the scope of this thesis.

The following eight standards are proposed as general guidelines, or generic standards, with specific application in the learning area of Aerophones (Performance).

For NQF' levels 6-8 the 3 rd outcome, namely that of technical dexterity, must be integrated with the performance and not necessarily assessed separately.

The author consid~rs these eight generic standards as the point of departure for all aspects of performance on Aerophones at NQF levels 1-8.

• Deliver a balanced recital of varying time durations, as described In the outcomes f?r each NQF level.

• Demonstrate tone control appropriate for the level of study and the instrument.

I 0

• Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and control over technical exercises and scale structures.

• Participate as member of an ensemble together with other instrumentalists of own choice, at an appropriate level of performance.

• Demonstrate understanding of music concepts in relation to repertoire performed.

10 This constitutes the following aspects: the quality of the tone, breath control, appropriate articulation technique, accurate and musical performance of dynamics, and control of intonation.

5.6.2 Specific unit standards for Aerophones

The following section contains the unit standards for Aerophones (Performance). Because of a current lack of other suitable systems, range statements are explained in terms of internationally accepted examination boards such as the Associated Board of the Royal

Schools of Music; Trinity College of Music, or UNISA. These boards share a general standard of performance, and are widely used in South Africa in formal music education.

The National Qualifications Framework of England recently recognised the full range of examinations offered by Trinity College of Music by accrediting it on the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). Corresponding regulatory authorities in Wales

(ACCAC) and Northern Ireland (CCEA) did the same (Trinity College of Music 2000:1).

With the majority of learners in formal music education in South Africa playing examinations offered by either UNISA (the South African examination board), ABRSM or Trinity College of Music, the standard of performance presented by these three bodies may, in the opinion of the author, be considered and/or officially integrated in the framework of music education in Southern Africa.

One of the advantages of doing this is that both the content and standard of all three bodies are fairly ~ell-known amongst teachers and players, and could therefore present a benchmark against which a common standard of performance throughout the country could be measured. Another advantage is the fact that the ABRSM (2000/2001:1) offers some examinations in the genre of jazz (currently limited to piano grades 1-5 and jazz ensembles in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand), and candidates for Trinity College of

Music examinations may offer their own compositions as part of the performance for grades 1-8 (Trinity College of Music 2000:3-6). Utilising these standards may present valuable guidelines for the implementation of standards for popular music or composition in a Southern African context.

A huge disadvantage, however, is that neither UNISA nor Trinity College provides

; opportunities for formal examinations in jazz, with the ABRSM offering limited options as described in the previous paragraph. Not one of the examination bodies that are currently offering examinations in Southern Africa makes any provision for African or

Indian music.

Because the field of performance on an instrument constitutes a complex integration of music skills, knowledge and appraising, each standard contains substantially more

outcomes than an; average unit standard. SAQA (2000f3) recommends that a unit standard usually contains between four and six specific outcomes, but each unit standard for Aerophones in this chapter presents' eight generic outcomes with specific outcomes classified under each generic standard. Compiling this, the author followed the example of standards generated for High School Concert Band and High School Jazz Band as interpreted by Omaha Public Schools in the USA (Omaha 1997:1-8), which utilise eight

"topics" with one "goal" underneath each.

Each NQF level is initially explained in tables. An example of the format as required by

SAQA is provided for the first unit standard only, because the reproduction of all standards for NQF levels 1-8 entails, in the opinion of the author, too much unnecessary duplication.

Following the example of the New Zealand system, assessment may be done on four levels, namely no credit, basic, proficient and advanced. Antoinette Hoek, one of the

MEUSSA team members, defined the three levels of assessment for South African learners as follows.(Hoek 2001:5.11):

• Basic represents the level of achievement expected by learners who made distinct progress but have not yet reached the proficient level.

• Proficient represents the (minimum) level of achievement expected of every learner, according to NQF levels 2,3 or 4.

• Advanced represents achievement above the advanced level, for example, gifted learners.

She further classifies proficient and advanced achievement into different stages of difficulty, for example:

Stage 1


Easy keys, metres, and rhythms

• Limited ranges.

Stage 2

• Moderately easy

• Moderate technical demands

Expanded ranges, and

Varied interpretative requirements.

Stage 3

Moderately difficult

Well-developed technical skills, attention to phrasing and interpretation

• Ability to perform various metres and rhythms in a variety of keys.

Stage 1

• Difficult

• Requires advanced technical and interpretative skills

Contains key signatures with numerous sharps and flats

• Irregular metres

• Complex rhythms

• Subtle dynamic requirements.

Stage 2

• Very difficult

• Suitable for musically mature students of exceptional competence.

For the sake of uniformity within the MEUSSA group, the author regards it as essential that a common system of assessment be utilised for the ranges of NQF level 1 (grade 9 , and ABET level 1-4) and levels 2-4 (grades 8-12). Therefore it is suggested that the three levels of assessment (basic, proficient and advanced) be implemented in the unit standards provided further in this chapter, as well as by the rest of the MEUSSA group .

This means that the standard of performance be assessed on one of these three levels for all styles and genres .

According to SAQA (2000f:40) not all specific outcomes or assessment criteria require range statements.

This is also true for outcomes in the field of music, specifically


The minimum statement of performance standard, where relevant , is partially provided :within each standard under the heading of specific outcomes. Range statements for technical requirements, with specific application for flute players, are summarised in Table 5-7.


5-7 :

Range statements/or scale structures (flute)



Pr~p(l st)

Gr , ~(1 st)

' NQFlevel


level 4


D, E (2 oct)

G, A (12 th)

B flat , B

(1 oct)

D (2 oct)

E , F,G

( 12 th)

B flat (Ioct)

C , D , E flat ,

E , F (2 oct)

G , A (12 th)

B (1 oct)



D, E (2 oct)

G, A (12 th)

B (1 oct)

D (2 oct)

E, G (12 th)

B (1 oct)

C , D , E , F

(2 oct)

G , A (12 th)

B (1 oct)



D, E (2 oct)

G , A (12 th)

B (1 oct)

D (2 oct)

E, G (12 th)

B (I oct)


(2 oct)

G , A (l2 th)

B (1 oct)




D, E (2 oct)

D (2 oct)

F, G (1 oct)

D , E , F (2 oct)

D (I oct)

D , E flat

(2 oct)


F ( I oct)

G (1 oct )

F ( I oct )

D , E

(2 oct )

C , D , E flat ,

E (2 oct)

F , G , A

( 12 th)

B flat , B

(I oct)

C , D , E

(2 oct)

C , D , E

(2 oct)

F, G A (12 th)

F, G A (12 th)

B (I oct)

B (I oct)

D , E flat (2 oct)

D (2 oct) D (2 o c t )

G" : I0(l st}

C , C #, D , E flat , E , F , G


(2 oct)






Prep (1 st)

C , D , E flat ,

E , F,G

(2 oct)

C , D, E flat ,

E,F , G

(2 oct)

A , B flat , B A flat , A , B

(12 th


(12 th)

C , C#,D,E flat , E , F , G

(2 oct )

C,C# , D , E ,

C , C#,D , E,

F (2 oct) F (2 oct)

G , A (12 th)

A flat , A , B

(12 th)

G , A (12 th)

A , Bflat , B

(12 th)

B (l oct) B (I oct)

C , C #, D , E flat , E , F .

F# , G , A flat , A I B flat , B (2 oct )

C , C #, D , E flat , E , F,

F# , G , G# .

A , A flat , B

(2 oct)

C , C #, D , E flat , E , F ,

F# , G, G#.

A , A flat , B

(2 oct)

D, E flat , E , F ,

F#, G (2 oct)

D, E flat , E

(2 oct)

E , F ,

(2 oct)

C , C# , D , E flat ,

F #, G

E, F , F# , G , G#.

( 2 oct)

A , A flat , B (2 oct)

C , D , E

(2 o ct)

D , E flat (2

E , F oct )

( 2 o ct)

C , D , E , F ,


(2 o ct)


C,C#,D,E C,C# , D,E flat , E , F, G flat , E , F,

(2 oct) (2 oct)

C,C#,D,E flat, E, F,

(2 oct)

D, E flat , E, F,

F#, G (2 oct)

A flat, A, B flat , B (12 th)

G, A flat , A

(l2 th)

B flat , B

G ,


A flat th)

, A

(1 oct)

B flat , B

(1 oct)

C#-B (2 oct) C#-B (2 oct) C#-B (2 oct) C#-B (2 oct)

C (3 oct) C (3 oct) C (3 oct) C (3 oct)

E , F (2 oct)

C (3 oct)


C , C#,D , E flat, E, F,

C, C#,D, E flat, E , F ,

C,C#,D,E flat, E, F,

F# , G (2 oct) F#,G

; oct)

A flat, A, B flat , B


A flat, A , B

F#, G (2 oct)

A flat, A, B flat , B (l2 th) flat, B (12 th)

C, C#, D, E flat,

F# , G

E,F , F#,G

(2 oct)

(2 oct)

D oct )

C ,





(2 oct



D ,

E flat , E , F

(2 oct )

C , D , E ,F

Table 5-8: Range statements for arpeggio structures (flute)



Gr : 'de _ ~ (l~



Grade 9 (2






D, E (2 oct)

G , A (12 th)

B flat , B

(l oct)

D (2 oct)

E, F , G (l2 th)

B flat (loct)

C, D , E flat , E,

F (2 oct)

G, A (12 t h)

B ( 1 oct)

C , D , E flat , E

( 2 oct)

F , G , A (l2 th )

B flat , B

(1 oct)

D , E (2 oct)

G , A (12 th)

B (1 oct)

D (2 oct)

E , G (12 th)

B (l oct)

C , D,E , F

(2 oct)

G , A (l2 th)

B (1 oct)

C, D , E (2 oct)

F , G A ( l2 th)

B (1 oct)

C , C# , D , E flat , C , D , E flat , E , F , G

E , F , G (2 oct)

(2 oct)

A, B flat , B

(l2 th


A flat , A , B (l2 th)


" 7TBS starting on

D (2 oct)


7msin , the ke y .


G , A (2 oct )

D (l oct)

D , F (2 oct)

D, F (1 oct)

G (1 oct)

A , B flat (2 oct )

G , A flat , A (2 o ct)

D , E flat , E (2 oct)

F, F# , A fla t, A, C,

(2 oct )

;\( ';:: i >'?

' ,t,


: ' .~ '; ' :': , ,'


· P~p(lst) .

' t


C, c#, D, E flat, C, C#, D, E, F (2 oct)

E, F , G (2 oct)

G, A (12 th)

A, B flat , B

B (I oct)

(12 th)

C, C# , D , E flat, C , C#, D, E flat , E, F,

E, F, F#,G,A F# , G, G#. A, A flat , B flat, A, B flat, B (2 oct)

(2 oct)

C , C#, D , E flat, C, C# , D, E flat , E , F ,

E , F , G (2 oct) (2 oct)

A flat, A , B flat ,

G , A flat , A (12 th)

B (12 th)

B flat, B

(I oct)

C#-B (2 oct)

C (3 oct)

C#-B (2 oct)

C (3 oct)

C, C#, D, E flat , C , C#,D, E flat, E, F ,


F#, G (2 oct)

(2 oct)

A flat, A, B flat ,

B (12 th)

A flat, A , B flat , B

(12 th)

D, E flat , E (I oct)

F , F# , G (2 oct)

D, E fla t, F , G flat

(2 oct)

A , B flat , B (2 oct)

F, G flat , G (2 oct)


A, B flat , C (2 oct )

F, F# , G, A f la t, A ,

B flat, B , C ( 2 o c t )

G , A flat , A (2 oc t)

All keys (2 oc t)

F, F# , G , A f la t, A ,

B flat, B, C (2 oct )

Unit standards for a preparatory level for Aerophones are provided , using the same outcomes as for NQF levels 1-8, in order to prepare learners for formal qualification s, as outlined from NQF level 1 .

The following table will illustrate the integrative nature of generic outcomes , spe ci f i c outcomes and asse~sment criteria. Duplication in the explanation of the different le ve l s is unavoidable , as it may be necessary to extract a specific set of outcomes in its com pl ete form .

Deliver a balanced recital of a total duration of 7-10 minutes.


Demonstrate basic tone control, appropriate for the level of study and the instrument .

Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and control oYer technical aspects of performance.

Perform at a standard of an internationally accepted body grades 3 4 (151 instrument) or grades 1-2 (2 nd instrument).

Assess the recital in formal examination or public concert conditions.

Demonstrate the ability to perform in different styles and/or genres.

Perform a balanced programme with understanding and musicality.

Demonstrate a basic ability to play with a focused tone, relative to this standard of performance.

Assess the performance regarding different styles and/or genres .

Assess the content of the programme, as well as the standard of performance.

Assess tone control, whether being clear and reliable, while controlling aspects such as projection, intonation and clarity.

Assess the musical approach to breathing and phrasing.

Demonstrate appropriate breath control, basic understanding of phrasing and corresponding breathing opportunities, depending on the level of study and instrument .

Demonstrate a basic control of tongue technique and articulation in using legato and staccato.

Demonstrate a basic ability to perform with a good tone and so.me degree of dynamic control, without negatively affecting intonation.

Demonstrate technical fluency over selected scale and arpeggio structures. Technical exercises may substitute scale and arpeggio structures where appropriate.

Assess the accurate musical and technical control of legato and staccato tongue technique, as well as articulation indications .

Assess intonation and dynamic control at a basic level, appropriate for the specific instrument , style and genre .

Assess the technical control over scales and arpeggio structures or technical exercises, appropriate to this level of playing.

Assess the tone control and musical approach to scales and arpeggio structures.

Demonstrate understanding of context according to style, genre and history.

Demonstrate a developing ability in improvising.

Research basic contextual aspects Assess understanding of context relating to repertoire performed, relating to style, instrument and such as information on composer, style and history, form and key.


Participate as member of an ensemble together with other

Demonstrate the ability to perform in an ensemble with two instrumentalists of own choice, at or more instrumentalists of own an appropriate level of performance.


Improvise in a style chosen by the learner at an elementary level.

Assess the ability to perform as member of an ensemble.

Assess the musical outcome of an ensemble.

Assess the improvising proficiency at an elementary level. .

Demonstrate sight-reading ability Perform music read from sight at a level of two grades below accurately up to a standard of an performance standard.

internationally accepted

: examining body two grades below performance standard.

Assess the accurate version of a piece read from sight, up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Demonstrate understanding of music concepts in relation to repertoire performed.

Research the application of basic music concepts to repertoire performed.

Assess knowledge on basic music concepts in relation to repertoire performed.

When interpreted in the format required by SAQA, outcomes described in the table presented above will be offered in the following version.

Preparatory level


This unit standard is a preparatory standard towards a General Education and Training

Certifica,tein Music Performance on the National Qualifications Framework level I. It provides learners with the opportunity to access learning and experience in Music

Performance, with specialisation in Aerophones. The learner must be prepared to further hislher studies in focused music education from grade 9 onwards.

Learners will be able to integrate fundamental, contextual and focused learning outcomes, as well as to exercise accurate judgement as to the quality, structure, music elements and technical contents of repertoire which have been studied.

Learners will, at the end of this qualification, be able to demonstrate competence in their instrument by means of a satisfactory tone production, and competent technical skills, as well as by integrating these skills with music content such as theory and history. A short performance, in concert-type or formal examination circumstances, of differing lengths at different levels, will serve as demonstration of musical and technical skills acquired.

Repertoire of different genres and styles will have been studied, and the learner will demonstrate sufficient understanding of these genres and styles. Contextual aspects such as cultural background, historical information as well as conceptual music knowledge will be integrated with music skills.

Learners will have a choice of the following elective areas, w1)ere they will be able to apply knowledge and skills outcomes in:

• oboe and re.1atedinstruments;

• bassoon and related instruments;

• euphonium~

• other instruments determined by the needs of the performer, and which may be categorised as Aerophones.

The fundamental h~arning acquired will be applied in the sub-field of Music, preparatory level.

• Learners will have attained a working knowledge of an appropriate notation and theory of .music system applicable to the style and genre of the chosen performance instrument( s).

• Learners will have attained language and communication proficiency at a satisfactory and workable level.

• Learners will also have an elementary knowledge of the elements of sound, for example pitch and dynamics.

• Learners will have a workable knowledge of history and style appropriate to the chosen genre( s), and appropriate to this level.

• Perform at a standard of an internationally accepted examining body grade 3-4

(1 st instrument) or grade 1-2 (2 nd instrument).

• Demonstrate a basic ability to play with a focused tone, relative to this standard of performance.

• Demonstrate appropriate breath control, basic understanding of phrasing and corresponding breathing opportunities, depending on the level of study and the instrument.

• Demonstrate a basic control of tongue technique and articulation in using legato and staccato.

• Demonstrate a basic ability to perform with a good tone and some degree of dynamic control, without negatively affecting intonation.

• Demonstrate technical fluency over selected major, harmonic minor, melodic minor and chromatic scales, as well as corresponding arpeggio structures and diminished sevenths. Technical exercises may substitute scale and arpeggio structures where appropriate. Optional: whole tone, blues, pentatonic scales and dominant sevenths.

• Research basic contextual aspects relating to repertoire performed, such as information on the composers, styles, history, form, key and character of music.

Participate as member of an ensemble together with other instrumentalists of own choice, at an appropriate level of performance.

• Demonstrate the ability to perform in an ensemble consisting of three or more instrumentalists of own choice.

• Perform music read from sight accurately up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body, grade 1-2 (1st instrument) or beginners level (2 nd instrument).

• Assess tone control, whether being reliable, while controlling aspects such as projection, intonation and clarity at a basic level.

• Assess the accurate musical and technical control of legato and staccato tongue technique, as well as articulation indications.

• Assess overall intonation, appropriate for the specific instrument, style and genre.

• Assess the technical control over scales and arpeggios appropriate to this .level of playing.

• Assess understanding of context relating to style, instrument and genre.

• Assess the accurate version of a piece read from sight, two grades below performance standard.

• Anyone assessing a learner against this unit standard must be registered as an assessor with the relevant ETQA.

• Any institution offering learning that will lead to achievement of this unit standard must be accredited as a provider through the relevant ETQA by SAQA.

• Moderation of assessment will be overseen by the relevant ETQA according to the moderation guidelines in the relevant qualification and the agreed ETQA procedures.

The minimum standard of Performance will be that of an internationally accepted examining body beginner's level (2 nd instrument) to grade 2 (1 st instrument).

Suggested range statements for scale and arpeggio structures will be provided separately for different instruments, and may deviate from or enrich the scale ranges used by internationally accepted examining bodies.

The following table will illustrate ·the integrative nature of gene~c outcomes, specific outcomes and assessment for NQF level 1:

Deliver a balanced recital of a total duration of 10 to 12 minutes.


Demonstrate tone control appropriate for the level of study and the instrument.

Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and control over technical aspects of performance.

Perform at a standard of an internationally accepted examination body grades 4-5 (l

Sf instrument) or grades 2-3 (2 nd instrument .

Demonstrate the ability to perform in different styles and/or enres.

Perform a balanced programme with understanding and musicality.

Demonstrate the ability to play with a clear and focused tone, relative to this standard of performance.

Demonstrate appropriate breath control, understanding of phrasing and corresponding breathing opportunities, depending on the level of study and instrument.

Demonstrate a basic control of tongue technique and articulation in using legato and staccato.

Demonstrate a basic ability to perform with a good tone and some degree of dynamic control, without negatively affecting intonation.

Demonstrate technical fluency over selected scale and arpeggio structures.

Assess the recital in formal examination or public concert conditions.

Assess the performance regarding different styles and/or genres.

Assess the content of the programme, as well as the standard of performance.

Assess tone control, whether being clear and reliable, while controlling aspects such as projection, focus and clarity.

Assess the musical approach to breathing and phrasing.

Assess the accurate musical and technical control of legato and staccato tongue technique, as well as articulation indications.

Assess the overall tone, intonation and dynamic control, appropriate for the specific instrument, style and genre.

Assess the technical control over scales and arpeggios appropriate to this level of playing.

Assess the tone control and musical approach to scales and arpeggio structures.

Demonstrate understanding of context according to style, genre and history.

Research basic contextual aspects Assess the understanding of relating to repertoire performed, context relating to style, instrument and genre.

such as relevant information on the composer, style, history, form and tonality.

Participate as a member of an ensemble together with other

Demonstrate the ability to perform in an ensemble in a style instrumentalists of own choice, at and with two or more performers an appropriate level of oerformance.

of own choice.

Demonstrate a basic ability in improvising.

Improvise in a style chosen by the learner at an elementary level.

Assess the ability to perform as a member of an ensemble.

Assess the musical outcome of an ensemble.

Assess the improvising proficiency at an elementary level.

Demonstrate a sight-reading ability at a level of two grades below performance standard.

Demonstrate understanding repertoire performed.

of music concepts in relation to the

Perform music read from sight accurately up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Research the application of basic music concepts to the repertoire performed.

Assess the accurate version of a piece read from sight, up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Assess knowledge of basic music concepts in relation to the repertoire performed.

Table 5-11 will illustrate the integrative nature of generic outcomes, specific outcomes and assessment for NQF level 2:

Deliver a balanced recital of a total duration of 12 to 15 minutes.


Demonstrate improved tone control appropriate for the level of study and the instrument.

Demonstrate appropriate knowledge and control over technical aspects of performance.

Assess the recital in formal examination or public concert conditions.

Assess the performance regarding different styles and/or genres.

Demonstrate an improved ability to perform with a good tone and some degree of dynamic control without negatively affecting intonation.

Demonstrate technical fluency over selected scale and arpeggio structures, as well as technical exercises where applicable.

Assess the content of the programme, as welI as the standard of erformance.

Assess tone control, whether being clear and reliable, while increasingly controlling aspects such as projection, focus and clari .

Assess the improved musical approach to breathing and phrasing.

Demonstrate developing breath control, understanding of phrasing and corresponding breathing opportunities, depending on the level of study and instrument.

Demonstrate a developing control of tongue technique and articulation in using legato, staccato and mezzo staccato.

Assess the accurate musical and technical control of legato, staccato and mezzo staccato tongue technique, as welI as articulation indications.

Assess overall intonation, appropriate for the specific instrument, style and genre.

Assess the successful and musical application of dynamic control.

Assess the technical control over scales and arpeggios appropriate to this level of playing.

Assess the tone control and musical approach to scales and arpeggio structures.

Demonstrate understanding of context according to style, genre and history.

Research contextual aspects relating to repertoire performed, such as information on composer, style, history, form and tonality.

Assess understanding of context relating to style, instrument and genre.

Participate as member of an ensemble together with other

Demonstrate the ability to Assess the ability to perform as perform in an ensemble in a style member of an ensemble.

Assess the musical outcome of an instrumentalists of own choice, at and with two or more performers an appropriate level of performance.

of own choice.


Demonstrate a developing ability in improvisin2.


Demonstrate a sight-reading ability at a developing level.

Improvise in a style chosen by the learner at an improved level.

Perform music read from sight accurately up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Assess the improvising proficiency at an improved level.

Assess the accurate version of a piece read from sight, up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Demonstrate understanding of music concepts in relation to the repertoire performed.

Research the application of music Assess knowledge of basic music concepts to the repertoire concepts in relation to the performed.

repertoire performed.

Table 5-12 will illustrate the integrative nature of generic outcomes, specific outcomes and assessment for NQF level 3:

Deliver a balanced recital of a total duration of 15 to 20 minutes.


Demonstrate improve4 tone control appropriate for the level of study and the instrument.

Assess the recital in formal examination or public concert conditions.

Assess the performance regarding different styles and/or genres.

Assess the content ofthe programme, as well as the standard of rformance.

Assess tone control, whether being clear and reliable, while increasingly controlling aspects such as projection, intonation and clari .

Assess the improved musical approach to breathing and phrasing.

Demonstrate an improved breath control, understanding of phrasing and corresponding breathing opportunities, depending on the level of study and instrument.

Demonstrate an accurate control of tongue technique and articulation in using legato, staccato and mezzo staccato.

Demonstrate an improved ability to perform with a good tone and dynamic control, without negatively affecting intonation.

Demonstrate the improved ability to control dynamics without negatively affecting other aspects of performing.

Assess the accurate musical and technical control of legato, staccato and mezzo staccato tongue technique, as well as articulation indications.

Assess overall intonation, appropriate for the specific instrument, style and genre.

Assess the successful and musical application of dynamic control.

Demonstrate appropri~te knowledge and control over technical aspects of performance.

Demonstrate technical fluency over selected scale and arpeggio structures.

Assess the technical control over scales and arpeggios appropriate to this level of playing.

Assess the tone control and musical approach to scales and arpeggio structures.

Demonstrate understanding of context according to style, genre

. and history.


Research contextual aspects relating to repertoire performed,

Assess understanding of context relating to style, instrument and such as information on composer, genre.

style, history, form and tonality.

Participate as member of an ensemble together with other

Demonstrate the ability to Assess the ability to perform as perform in an ensemble in a style member of an ensemble.

Assess the musical outcome of an instrumentalists of own choice, at of and with two or more an appropriate level of performers of own choice.



Demonstrate an improved ability in improvising.

Improvise in a style chosen by the learner at an improved level.

Assess the improvising proficiency at an improved level.

Demonstrate a sight-reading ability at an improved level.

Perform music read from sight accurately up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Assess the accurate version of a piece read from sight, up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Demonstrate improved understanding of music concepts in relation to the repertoire performed.

Research the application of music

Assess knowledge of basic music concepts to the repertoire concepts in relation to the performed.

repertoire performed. NQF level 4

The following table will illustrate the integrative nature of generic outcomes, specific outcomes and assessment for NQF level 4:

Deliver a balanced recital of a total duration of20-25 minutes.


Demonstrate advanced tone control appropriate for the level of study and the instrument.

Perform at a standard of an internationally accepted body grades 7-8 (IS! instrument) or grades 5-6 (2 nd instrument).

Demonstrate a developed ability to perform in different styles and/or genres.

Perform a balanced programme with developed understanding and musicality.

Demonstrate an advanced ability to play with a clear and focused tone, relative with this standard of performance.

Assess the recital in formal examination or public concert conditions.

Assess the performance regarding different styles and/or genres.

Assess the content of the programme, as well as the standard of performance.

Assess tone control, whether being clear and reliable, while increasingly controlling aspects such as projection, intonation and clari .

Assess musical approach to breathing and phrasing.

Demonstrate advanced breath control, understanding of phrasing and corresponding breathing opportunities, depending on the level of study and instrument.

Demonstrate advanced control of tongue technique and articulation in using various forms of articulation, specific to the instrument.

Assess the accurate musical and technical control of tongue technique, as well as articulation indications.

Demonstrate an advanced ability to perform with a good tone and dynamic control without negatively affecting intonation.

Assess overall intonation, appropriate for the specific instrument, style and genre.

Demonstrate appropriate knowledge and control over technical aspects of performance.

Demonstrate technical fluency over selected scale and arpeggio structures.

Assess the technical control over scales and arpeggio structures appropriate to this level of playing.

Assess the tone control and musical approach to scales and arpeggio structures.

Demonstrate understanding of context according to style, genre and history.

Participate as member:of an ensemble together with other

Research contextual aspects relating to repertoire performed, such as information on composer, style, history, form and tonality.

Demonstrate the ability to perform in an ensemble with two instrumentalists of own choice, at or more performers and in a style an appropriate level of of own choice.


Demonstrate an advanced ability

Assess understanding of context relating to style, instrument and genre.

Assess the ability to perform as member of an ensemble.

Assess the musical outcome of an ensemble.

Improvise in a style chosen by the

Assess the improvising learner at an advanced level.

proficiency at an advanced level.

in improvisin~.

Demonstrate a sight-reading ability at an advanced level.

Perform music read from sight accurately up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Assess the accurate version of a piece read from sight. up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Demonstrate advanced understanding of music concepts in relation to the repertoire performed.

Research the application of music Assess knowledge of advanced concepts and compositional music concepts, compositional techniques or harmonic devices to techniques and harmonic devices the repertoire performed.

in relation to the repertoire


Because NQF levels 5-8 consist of after-school programmes and qualifications, a higher level of minimum requirements regarding content, notional hours and standard of performance necessitates a separate structure for the accumulation of credits. The allocation of credits was calculated using two guidelines, namely

• A percentage of the total number of credits for the qualification, based on 120 credits per year for all learning programmes, was calculated.

Table 5-14 provides descriptions of possible credit allocation for NQF level 5. It is important to keep in mind that this, as well as the suggested credit allocation for NQF

levels 6-8, is onl~ a proposed distribution of credits, because the compilation of the complete qualification was not yet available at the time this thesis was completed.

Solo instrument at NQF level 5



• ensemble (5)

• orchestra/band (5)

• accompaniment (5)

Second instrument at NQF level 5



Listening and appraising must be integrated with other concepts, but assessed separately.

Composition at NQF level 5 (20)

First instrument at NQF level 5



• ensemble (5)

• orchestra/band (5)

• accompaniment (5)


Listening and appraising must be integrated with other concepts, but assessed separately.


The accumulation of credits is based on one hour contact time and nine hours non-contact time a week., for an average of 40 weeks per year. A total of 240 credits, equaling 120 a year in all learning areas, is expected at this level.

The following table will illustrate the integrative nature of generic outcomes, specific outcomes and assessment for NQF level 5, which indicates programmes and qualifications that may be achieved after the school career (NQF levels 1-4) is finished:



Specific outcomes and assessment for NQF level

5 -


Deliver a balanced recital of a total duration of 45-60 minutes.


Demonstrate advanced tone control appropriate for the level of study and the instrument.

PeIfonn at an advanced standard appropriate to the field of specialisation.

Demonstrate an advanced ability to peIfonn in different styles and/or genres.

PeIfonn a balanced programme with refined understanding and musicality.

Demonstrate an advanced ability to play with a clear and focused tone, relative with this standard of peIfonnance.

Assess the recital in formal examination or public concert conditions.

Assess the peIfonnance regarding different styles and/or genres.

Assess the content of the programme, as well as the standard of peIfonnance.

Assess tone control, whether being clear and reliable, while convincingly controlling aspects such as projection. intonation and clarity.

Assess musical approach to breathing and phrasing.

Demonstrate an advanced breath control, understanding of phrasing and corresponding breathing opportunities, depending on the level of study and instrument.

Demonstrate an advanced control of tongue technique and articulation in using various forms of articulation. specific to the instrument.

Demonstrate an advanced ability to ~Ifonn with a good tone and dynamic control without negatively affecting intonation.

Assess the accurate musical and technical control of tongue technique, as well as articulation indications.

Assess overall intonation and dynamic control, appropriate for the specific instrument, style and genre.

Demonstrate advanced knowledge and control over technical aspects of performance.

Demonstrate appropriate technical fluency and control in performance.

Assess the technical control over scales and arpeggio structures appropriate to this level of playing.

Assess the tone control and musical approach to scales and arpeggio structures.


Demonstrate understanding of context according to style, genre and history.

Participate as member of an ensemble together with other

Research contextual aspects relating to repertoire performed,

Assess understanding of context relating to style, instrument and such as information on comJX?ser, genre.

stvle, history, form and tonality.

Demonstrate the ability to perform in an ensemble with two

Assess the ability to perform as member of an ensemble.

Assess the musical outcome of an instrumentalists of own choice, at or more instrumentalists of own an appropriate level of performance.



Demonstrate an advanced ability in improvising.

Demonstrate a sight-reading ability at a developed level.

Demonstrate understanding of music concepts in relation to the repertoire performed.

Improvise in a style chosen by the Assess the improvising learner at an advanced level.

proficiency at an advanced level.

Perform music read from sight accurately up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Assess the accurate version of a piece read from sight, up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Research the application of music

Assess advanced knowledge of concepts and compositional music concepts, compositional techniques or harmonic devices to techniques and harmonic devices the repertoire performed.

in relation to the repertoire performed.

Table 5-16 :

Credit structure/or

NQF level 6




Solo instrument at NQF level 6 (54)

Group :

• ensemble (6)

• orchestra l band (6)

• accompaniment (6)

Second instrument at NQF level 6 (30)


Listening and appraising must be i ntegrated with otHer concepts, but assessed separately .

Composition at NQF level 6 (30)

First instrument at NQF level 6 (30)

Group :

• ensemble (6)

• orchestralband (6)

• accompaniment (6)


Listening and appraising must be integrated with other concepts , but assessed separately .

The follo w ing table w i ll illustrate the integrative nature of generic outco mes , specifi c outcomes and assessment for NQF level 6:

Deliver a balanced recital of a t otal duration of 60-90 minutes .

1 9

Perform at a standard comparable to an international performing arts standard .

Demonstrate an advanced abilit y to perform in a wide range of different st y les and / or genres.

Perform a balanced programme with refined understanding and musicalit y.

Assess the recital i n formal examination or pu blic concert conditions.

Assess the perform ance regardin g different st y les and / or genres .

Assess the content ofthe programme , as wel l as the standard of perfor mance .

1 8

A total of 360 credits , equaling 120 a year in all learning areas , is expected at this level .

P erformanc e w a s c alculated at one sixth of the total amount of credits for this qualification.

Demonstrate refined and Demonstrate an advanced ability advanced tone control 'appropriate to play with a clear and focused for the level of study and the instrument.

Assess tone control, whether· being clear and reliable, while tone, relative with this standard of convincingly controlling aspects performance.

such as projection, intonation and claritv.

Demonstrate advanced breath control, understanding of phrasing and corresponding breathinJi!:opportunities.

Demonstrate an advanced control of tongue technique and articulation in using various forms of articulation, specific to the instrument.

Assess musical approach to breathing and phrasing.

Assess the accurate musical and technical control of tongue technique, as well as articulation indications.

Demonstrate understanding and history.

of context according to style, genre

Demonstrate an advanced and refined ability to perform with a good tone and dynamic control while accurately manipulating

Participate as member .of an

Demonstrate the ability to ensemble together witli other perform in an ensemble with two instrumentalists of own choice, at or more instrumentalists of own an appropriate level of performance.


Assess overall intonation and dynamic control, appropriate for the specific instrument, style and genre.


Research contextual aspects Assess understanding of context relating to repertoire performed, relating to style, instrument and such as information on composer, genre.

style, history, form and tonalitv.

Assess the ability to perform as member of an ensemble.

Assess the musical outcome of an ensemble.

Demonstrate an advanced ability in improvising.

Improvise in style chosen by the learner at an advanced level.

Assess the improvising proficiency at an advanced level.

Demonstrate a sight-reading ability at a developed level.

Demonstrate understanding of music concepts in relation to the repertoire performed.

Perform music read from sight accurately up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Assess the accurate version of a piece read from sight, up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Research the application of music Assess advanced knowledge of concepts and compositional music concepts, compositional techniques or harmonic devices to techniques and harmonic devices the repertoire performed.

in relation to the repertoire performed.



3 Credit structure/or

NQF LeveL7

As this level constitutes an advanced level of study, the performance unit standards as part of a possible qualification will require substantially more time of study and therefore offer more credits to the student .

At least 240 credits


(60 per year , over 4 years)

At least 240 credits (60 per year , over 4 years)

Solo instrument at NQF level 7


Composition at NQF level 7



• ensemble (40)

• orchestra (40)

• accompaniment (40)

First instrument at NQF level 7


Second instrument at NQF level 7



Listening and appraising must be integrated with other concepts , but assessed separately .

Group :

• ensemble (10)

• orchestra (10)

• accompaniment (10)


Listening and appraising must be integrated with other concepts, but assessed separately .

The following table will illustrate the integrative nature of generic outcomes, specific outcomes and assessment for NQF level 7:

Deliver two balanced recitals, each of a total duration of 60-90 minutes.


Demonstrate refined and advanced tone control"appropriate for the level of study and the instrument .

Demonstrate understanding of context according to style, genre and history.

Perform at a standard comparable to an international performing arts standard .

Demonstrate an advanced ability to perform in a wide range of different styles and/or genres .

Perform balanced programmes with refined understanding and musicality .

Demonstrate an advanced ability to play with a clear and focused tone, relative with this standard of performance.

S~~N~ ;';:

~!~~ ~; D~ ~ ;j

Assess the recitals in formal examination or public concert conditions .

Assess the performances .

regarding different styles and / o r genres .

Assess the content of the programmes, as well as the standard of performance .

Assess tone control, whether being clear and reliable, whil e convincingly controlling aspects such as projection, intonation and c1ari .

Assess musical approach to breathing and phrasing.

Demonstrate advanced breath control, understanding of phrasing and corresponding breath in

0 ortunities.

Demonstrate an advanced control of tongue technique and articulation in using various forms of articulation , specific to the instrument.

Demonstrate an advanced and refined ability to perform with a good tone and dynamic control while accurately manipulating intonation.

Research contextual aspects relating to repertoire performed , such as information on composer, style, history, form and tonality.

Assess the accurate musical and technical control of tongue technique, as well as articu l at i on indications .

Assess overall intonation and dynamic control, appropriate for the specific instrument, st y le a nd genre .

Assess understanding of cont ex t relating to style, instrument and genre .

Participate as member of an ensemble together with other

Demonstrate the ability to perform in an ensemble with two instrumentalists of own choice, at or more instrumentalists of own an appropriate level of performance.


Demonstrate an advanced ability in improvising.

Improvise in style chosen by the learner at an advanced level.

Assess the ability to perform as member of an ensemble.

Assess the musical outcome of an ensemble.

Assess the improvising proficiency at an advanced level.

Demonstrate a sight-reading ability at a developed level.


Demonstrate understanding of music concepts in relation to the repertoire performed.

Perform music read from sight accurately up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Assess the accurate version of a piece read from sight, up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Research the application of music

Assess advanced knowledge of concepts and compositional music concepts, compositional techniques or harmonic devices to techniques and harmonic devices the repertoire performed.

in relation to the repertoire performed. Credit structure/or NQF level


As part of the unit standard for NQF level 8, a student has to offer three recitals of a time duration of 60-90 minutes each .

In order to achieve this, a substantial amo unt of preparation (contact and non-contact) time has to be spent. Therefore the credit all ocation is considerably more than at NQF level 7.

Solo instrument at NQF level 8



• ensemble (50)

• orchestra (50)

• accompaniment (50)

Second instrument at NQF level 8



Listening and appraising must be integrated with other concepts, but assessed separately .

Composition at NQF level 8


First instrument at NQF level 8


Group :

• ensemble (20)

• orchestra (20)

• accompaniment (20)


Listening and appraising must be integrated with other concepts, but assessed separately.


A total of 600 credits, calculated at a total of 120 credits per year for five years , are described for NQF level 8 (Grove 2001 : 4 4). A minimum of two thirds (or 400 credits) of the complete qualification must , in the opinion of the author , consist of performance credits. NQF level 8

The following table will illustrate the integrative nature of generic outcomes, specific outcomes and assessment for NQF level 8:

Deliver 3 balanced recitals, each of a total duration of 60-90 minutes.


Demonstrate refined and advanced tone control appropriate for the level of study and the instrument .

Demonstrate understanding of context according to style , genre and history .

Participate as member of an ensemble together with other instrumentalists of own choice , at an appropriate level of performance .

Perform at a standard comparable to an international performing arts standard .

Demonstrate an advanced ability to perform in a wide range of different styles and/or genres.

Perform balanced programmes with refined understanding and musicality.

Demonstrate an advanced ability to play with a clear and focused tone, relative with this standard of performance.

Assess the recitals in public concert conditions .

Assess the performances regarding different styles and / or genres.

Assess the content of the programmes, as well as the standard of performance.

Assess tone control , whether being clear and reliable, while convincingly controlling aspects such as projection , intonation and c1ari .

Assess musical approach to breathing and phrasing.

Demonstrate advanced breath control, understanding of phrasing and corresponding breathing opportunities.

Demonstrate an advanced control of tongue technique and articulation in using various forms of articulation, specific to the instrument .

Demonstrate an advanced and refined ability to perform with a good tone and dynamic control while accurately man i pulating intonation .

Research contextual aspects relating to repertoire performed , such as information on composer , style, histo , form and tonali .

Demonstrate the ability to perform in an ensemble with two or more instrumentalists of own choice.

Assess the accurate musical and technical control of tongue technique , as well as articulation indications.

Assess overall intonation and dynamic control , appropriate for the specific instrument, style and genre genre


Assess understanding of context relating to style


Assess the abilit y to perform as member of an ensemble .

Assess the musical outcome of an ensemble.

, instrument and

Demonstrate an advanced ability in improvising.

Improvise in style chosen by the learner at an advanced level.

Assess the improvising proficiency at an advanced level.

Demonstrate a sight-reading ability at a developed level.


Demonstrate understanding of music concepts in relation to the repertoire performed.

Perform music read from sight accurately up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Assess the accurate version of a piece read from sight, up to a standard of an internationally accepted examining body two grades below performance standard.

Research the application of music

Assess advanced knowledge

0 concepts and compositional music concepts, compositional techniques or harmonic devices to techniques and harmonic devices the repertoire performed.

in relation to the repertoire performed.

The unit standards offered in this chapter form part of a new dispensation in music education for Southern Africa. For music to become relevant and part of general education, and to assist in producing rounded, civilised, creative and responsible citizens, it is imperative that the canon of styles and genres be widened to include the music practices of all learners in the country in formal education, while striving for high standards. This approach was followed when generating unit standards for Aerophones, with the aim of aCGommodatingas many learners as possible.

.Generating unit standards for music(s) in Southern Africa entails an ongoing process.

Because relevant SGBs for Music, namely for Music Industry, Music GET and Music HET, have been officially positioned only months before this study was concluded, it means that the standards written in this thesis may be heeded as suggestions towards the future direction of music education in Southern Africa and not as the final format or content of unit standards.

6.2 Answering the main research question

The main research question for this study was:

What outcomes are desirable for performance on Aerophones, and how would this translate into unit standards for Southern Africa?

After studying the content of relevant unit standards in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and

England in chapter 3, the most progressive aspects, appropriate for the South African context, were utilised in the generic and specific outcomes for instrumentalists.

The outcomes, considered· by the author as desirable for Aerophones (Performance), were subsequently outlined in chapter


During the process of exploring and describing desirable outcomes, a philosophical basis for widening the canon to include music of various cultures and genres, as well as the potential to include Aerophones that are not part of the Western Classical practice (for example

African or Indian instruments and styles) were explored in chapter 4.

Action research conducted during many workshops and discussions within the MEUSSA group, analysis of relevant standards generated in other countries, as well as the author's own experience in the field of performance and teaching of Aerophones, sedimented in the formulation of a set of generic standards for Aerophones.

These were used to form the

backbone of specific outcomes for the different NQF levels. The author concluded that the following generic outcomes are essential for each unit standard, namely

• Deliver a balanced recital of varying time durations, as described in the outcomes for each NQF level.

• Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and control over technical exercises and scale structures.

• Participate as member of an ensemble together with other instrumentalists of own choic~, at an appropriate level of performance.

The following sub-questions were formulated in the process of generating unit standards and outcomes for Aerophones as part of the MEUSSA group:

To answer this question, the author will briefly refer to the performance standards of the four countries studied in ~hapter 3.


This constitutes the following aspects: the quality of the tone, breath control, appropriate articulation technique, accurate and musical performance of dynamics, and control of intonation.

The USA frameworks differentiate between content and achievement standards, the latter upgraded gradually to reflect an increase in difficulty. Of the seven outcomes into which music is grouped, performing on an instrument


improvising, both utili sed by the author for the unit standards generated in this thesis, comprise the 2 nd and 3 rd outcomes.

The content standard for performing is formulated as follows: "Performing on instruments,.

alone and with others." The achievement standards for performing in the K-4 phase include:

• performing on pitch and in rhythm (using appropriate dynamic levels and maip.taining

a steady tempo);

• performing in groups (blending instrumental timbres, matching dynamic levels and responding to the cues from the conductor); and

• An accurate and independent performance, alone and in small ensembles, on at least one instrument.

• An expected minimum difficulty of 2 on a scale of 1 to 6 for at least one string, wind, percussion or classroom instrument (for example recorder-type instruments, chorded zithers, mallet instruments, simple percussion instruments, fretted instruments, keyboard instruments and electronic instruments).

• Participation in instrumental ensembles must be on a level of difficulty of 3 on a scale ofl to 6.

• Performing on a difficulty of 4 on a scale of 1 to 6 with adequate technical accuracy and expression.

• The demonstration of well-developed ensemble skills while performing in small ensembles with one student per part.

The petj"orming achievement

standard for grades 9-12 (advanced standard) consists of one standard:

In the opinion of the author, the content of the achievement standards for grades 5-12 does not constitute a clear enough guide to the interpretation of this standard. Therefore the set of eight generic standards provided by the author in chapter 5 were applied in the same way as the content standards in the USA structure, while increasing the grade of difficulty and minimum expectations from NQF level 1 through to level 8.

The method of indicating performance standard by using, for example, a minimum level of difficulty on a scale of 1 to 6 may prove useful in a South African context. It is the opinion of the author, however, that the scale of difficulty may comprise more levels to make room for both disabled and gifted children. Therefore the author made use of the standards of existing examination bodies, comprising 8 levels of gradation, with levels that are well known to music teachers throughout the country.

In the Australian framework, no specific unit or achievement standards for performing could be found. Of the four outcomes applicable to the five arts strands (Dance, Drama, Music,

Visual Arts and Media) the 2 nd outcome seems to present the logical slot for this area of music education:

Arts skills and processes, which are the skills, techniques, processes, conventions and technologies used to generate art works.

A possible reason for this lack of focused unit standards for Performing could be that the

Australi3.Q structure: is still undergoing construction and development, with the different

states in different stages of implementation.

Therefore the author did not utilise any of their unit standards or outcomes for the area of Aerophones (performance).

The education structure in New Zealand applies two kinds of standards, namely achievement standards and unit standards. Achievement standards provide for a moderated assessment as well as four levels of assessment (no credit, credit, merit, excellence), while unit standards are assessed internally only with assessment done on a level of credit or no credit. The assessment of standards on different levels of achievement is considered by the author as a particular aspect that may be explored in future endeavours.

Performing is slotted into the first of four domains, namely Making Music. In this domain aspects such as performance on a first or second instrument, composing, arranging, rehearsing, conducting, ensemble playing and improvising are described at random, and the author of this thesis could not utilise the content of specific unit standards for performing.

The aspects of performing on a 1 st or 2 nd instrument, improvising and ensemble playing were, however, integrated into the unit standards generated in chapter 5 of this thesis.

From key stage 2, or years 4-6, it is considered important in the English frameworks to present rhythmically accurate and controlled performances with

an awareness of the audience

(refer to chapter 3, section 3.9.8). This aspect, namely performing in front of an audience, is also considered by the author as an important part of performing. Therefore the first generic unit standard in chapter 5 prescribes a recital which may be assessed either in front of an audience .or in formal examination circumstances.

In the English system, an increased technical demand in instrumental or vocal performance is prescribed from key stage 2, and an "increasing control of specific techniques" is expected in key stage 3. In the AS level, musical ideas should be performed with technical and expressive control, a sense of style and awareness of occasion and/or ensemble (chapter 3, section

3.9.11). Eight attainment levels as well as a level for exceptional performance are used to assess learners at the end of a key stage, but no specific indications for performance standards are indicated. In the opinion of the author clearer indications for performance

standard could be provided, for example a scale of 1-6 (as in the USA frameworks), or the equivalent of an internationally accepted examining body, as used by the author in chapter 5.

The duration of recitals are furthermore used as an indication of the expected standard of performance in the AS and A2 years in England, with a 20 minute recital prescribed in the specialist option during the 13 th year. Because the author of this thesis considers the assignment of recital duration to different performance levels an effective method of grading performance standards, the same principle was also applied in chapter 5 to indicate the gradual increase in technical ability expected between the different NQF levels. Therefore a recital of7-10 minutes is suggested for the preparatory level, a 20-25 minute recital for NQF level 4 (the equivalent of the AS level), and finally three balanced recitals of 60-90 minutes each for NQF level 8.

What role did the current philosophical climate, such as postmodernism, play in the forming of a project such as the MEUSSA project?

Postmodern inclinations, when used as a tool to refine our senses towards music practised outside the current music education discourse, may encourage a qualified widening of both the power and the content within the discourse. Musicology is challenged with a paradigm shift to include, for example, popular music within its discourse. Different approaches have been proposed to achieve this, and it is the opinion of the author that a musicology that is context-driven, in other words one that derives its criteria from the text at hand while locating it within the context of origin, should be encouraged.

The MEUSSA project of the University of Pretoria was initiated early in 2000. The present developments in restructuring education in Southern Africa had a direct influence on the forming of the MEUSSA group, as it was a foreseen absence of unit standards for music(s) that initiated the project. In character as well as in detailed research content, this project represents the broad outlines of a postmodern condition. The challenging of accepted metanarratives in music education formed part of the dynamics within the group, and the project endeavoured to include more than a narrow repertoire of Western Classical music in a new structure for music(s) in Southern Africa, representing a widening of the accepted canon.

Postmodern tools of communication, such as the Internet and e-mail facilities, proved to be essential equipment within the group, and the author is of the opinion that the project would not have been possible without these technologies. This statement is substantiated by the fact that it was often difficult to network with the few MEUSSA members who did not have ecommunication.

Contrary to this situation, those members with e-mail facilities formed a lively communication system, discussing and exchanging ideas in cyber space.

What is the influence of postmodernism on the widening of the canon in music education in

Southern Africa?

The hesitation of many modernist intellectuals and educational experts to grasp the contemporary experiences of youth within a period generally known as postmodernism, prompted the author to investigate the influence of this era on music education. If the general characteristics of postmodernism may be formulated as a wide-ranging proliferation of forms of diversity, a mood of declining authority, economic uncertainty, the extended nature of electronic mediated ;technologies, alternative methods of knowledge accumulation and the challenging of meta-narratives, this condition must certainly be acknowledged as having a profound influence on (music) education.

The potential effect" of postmodernism on music education is impossible to capture in one sentence, in the same way that it is impossible to provide a simple formulation of this condition.

Therefore the author will, while suggesting that this needs to be explored substantially in further studies, reflect on the current scenario in very broad lines.

It is not possible to treat all learners in South Africa, and therefore music education in general, as part of postmodern culture. Depending on available resources, ways of living in

South Africa may be considered on a continuum from pre-modernism to postmodernism.

It is, for example, not possible to explore postmodern approaches to knowledge without electricity or the Internet.

The other side of the coin, however, is furnished by international trends, of which a movement such as postmodernism invites music education to acknowledge changes and shifts on the music scene. If the validating of marginalised groups is considered, it means that

other genres, such as world music and popular music should be deliberated within the discourse. The dismantling of meta-narratives urges the widening of a canon currently consisting of a narrow range of repertoire spanning roughly 350 years of history of Western art music.

Applying these suggestions would entail a context-driven musicology, one that could include relevant criteria for the study of more genres than Western art music. While retaining

Western art music a$ the backbone of serious music studies, positive elements from different styles and genres could be applied to benefit the learners in Southern Africa, for example:

Because a project of this nature is a first for South Africa and Southern African musics, not all possible problems could be envisioned, and some had to be addressed during the course of time.

The members of the MEUSSA group are situated within the vast borders of South Africa and

Botswana. This means that an effective and reliable communication system was one of the critical conditions for the capable functioning of the group.

Three ways of communication have been used, some extensively. The main system of communication, and the one that proved to be most effective, was using the Internet and email facilities. Problems were, however, encountered as not all members of the MEUSSA group had private e-mail facilities, and a further portion of the group did not respond to their e-mail correspondence timeously and regularly.

Apart from regular workshops that were held at the University of Pretoria, telephone conferences with members who could not attend these workshops proved to be very

effective, and were held on a regular basis. In this way the Pretoria members could exchange opinions with members in Durban, Botswana and the Drakensberg. Video conferencing was also utilised, but was found to be more expensive than the telephone conference, while not more effective.

The fact that the MEUSSA group had wide differences with regard to background and practice in the music field proved to be both problematic and enriching. In this regard the group divided naturally into a Western-orientated group and a group practising other musics such as jazz, Indian music and African music. For the success of the project it was realised that these two groups had to find common ground, and much discussion and e-mail communication was utilised to achieve consensus. A joint mission and vision were also formulated and described in the theses of other members of the MEUSSA group.

Widening the field .of music education by including musics of all genres and cultures in

Southern Africa, is, in many respects, still undefined and unstructured. Therefore the main challenge for the author was to structure the research. For this reason a chapter on modernism and postmodernism was included, because the process of inclusion and breaking away from the "main truth" or meta-narrative of Western art music is understood better when viewed as part of the postmodern condition world-wide.

Another problem was the relatively unknown field, within the formal scenario of music education, of African and Indian music. As the Western-oriented approach to music education was challenged within the group, it was realised by the author that inclusive unit standards, encompassing specific styles and genres, had to be generated. For this, the expertise of appropriate members within the group was utilised extensively.

Unit standards are,' in nature, non-prescriptive in the sense that they do not stipulate a curriculum. It is the task of each provider, for example schools, colleges or training institutions to compile learning programmes, and in this process to specify a curriculum using the unit standards as benchmark. It is, however, necessary to prescribe a minimum standard of performance when designing unit standards for focused music performance. In

this, the author recommends that the criteria applied by the most successful providers be used as backbone for the generation of unit standards, and not the average or below-average schools or educational institutes. The emphasis on skills-based education, encouraged by an economic recession, must also not result in a (world-wide) lowering of the value of music education. The aim must not be to produce average scholars, but to allow learners to excel themselves while striving for high standards. This approach would result in a schooling system that could compete with world standards.

Furthermore, the current practice of "fixed music", or music strictly prescribed by the printed page, must be expanded to include creative aspects such as improvisation and 'musical creativity. The tragic truth is that a rigorous discipline such as Western art music very often stifles and subordinates young musicians' natural musical creativity, and this vacuum may be addressed by allowing more freedom of expression in terms of improvisational explorations.

A postmodern approach to music education also entails an encounter with a diverse range of styles and genres. It is therefore the opinion of the author that:

• The content of the Classical repertoire should be broadened to include a wider span of history, investigating pre-Baroque as well as very recent developments and compositions .

.• Examples of high quality music from the popular music scene, as well as the history of popular music, may be included in formal music studies.

• Learners should be given the opportunity to formally study music from their own culture, such as Indian or African music, from the first year at school.

• Music education of a high quality should be made available to all learners from their first school year. Employing skilled and motivated teachers, therefore providing quality training and sufficient resources, are essential in achieving this goal.

Music from a variety of cultures may be included in formal music studies while working towards quality education, because that would be in line with the postmodern condition active in Western societies.

The content and approach of music education in Southern Africa is in need of urgent readjustment and re-evaluation. Music in all its facets and sounds must be deliberated and considered while addressing the musics of all nations forming part of this country. To achieve this, Western art music may, in the words of Mngoma (1988:3), be used as a "lingua franca", but the canon needs to be widened to include popular music, African music, Indian music, other world musics and Music Technology. The sources of music practices available in Southern Africa may, in other words, be mined to enrich the content of music education, while keeping the foundational concepts and components of a quality education in music alive.

The process of generating unit standards for music(s) in Southern Africa has only just begun.

The set of standards for Aerophones (performance), provided in this thesis, indicates the commencement of a new process of restructuring music education. In doing this, music educators must utilise the opportunity to integrate the after-school environment of the

. learners during school hours, thereby helping them to make sense of their world while benefiting from all the advantages that a quality music education can offer. This must be done without sacrificing the achievement of high standards, and by exploiting prime music examples.

The following themes may still be explored for future research:

• How can a common ground for music education, applying to both Western art music and popular music, or Western art music and African/Indian music be found?

• What does a systematic and practical application of postmodernism to music education result in?

• What does a comprehensive history of popular music entail, and how would that differ from History of Music, as currently understood?

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