A COMPARISON BETWEEN MUSIC EDUCATION IN CYPRUS AND FINLAND
Education is an important investment for a country as it develops young people by aiming to establish well-shaped personalities and responsible citizens. It also provides a basic social element in all the levels of the educational system. Someone doesn’t become free or happy because he is educated. Through education we realize that we are happy. It stresses that there is only one freedom that matters, that of the mind. Further down, I am going to focus and compare two different curriculums. One is music curriculum in Cyprus and the other the music education in Finland. There are two reasons why I have chosen to compare these two models. The first one is because Cyprus is my country and as a future teacher there, I would like to see one of the best music curriculum models particularly for young children. The second one is that Cyprus is going through an educational reform based on the Finnish Music Curriculum. The students of Finnish schools may not differ from other students in the world, but their educational performance stands out. It is widely accepted and based on international research (refs), that while the educational system of Finland is highly successful the cost is lower than in other European countries
3.1 Cyprus Education System. Music Curriculum and Music Opportunities
This chapter will start with a small general review of the music curriculum in Cyprus, from age 6-18. At the age of six the child has the opportunity to attend a public school or a private school. As far as public school concerns, from the age of 6 until the age of 12, the child is obligated to attend a primary school. At the age of 13 the child is required to attend ‘gymnasium’ which lasts 3 years and is also obligatory. From the age of 16 until 18 the child attends Lyceum or ‘technical’ schools but is not obligatory.
As far as music concern, in both primary school and the gymnasium, music lasts 45 minutes twice a week and music lesson is compulsory. In contrast, in Lyceum children are free to choose any lessons they like. For those who choose music, music lesson also lasts two periods, forty five minutes each. In private schools the ages are divided the same as above, with the different names. The names are primary and elementary. In primary schools usually the teachers are non-specialists, but in the universities where they are trained they have a one hour music lesson once a week. On the other hand, in gymnasiums teachers are specialists and should be music graduates from a university recognized by KY.S.A.T.S. KY.S.A.T.S is the Cyprus Council for the recognition of qualifications.
Now that a general plan has been presented above about Cyprus musical education system, further down will be presented the preschool music curriculum. In Cyprus, nursery schools are optional for children between the ages of two and five years. The music lesson in Cyprus kindergartens is taught two times a week, sometimes three-it depends from the teacher-and lasts 25 minutes each. The children are obliged to attend pre-primary school for one year from the age of five until the age of six and the music lesson also lasts 25 minutes, twice a week. The music teachers in government nursery and pre- primary schools are not specialists and they don’t possess any special music qualifications. Sometimes private nurseries and private pre-primary schools employ a music specialist teacher, paying extra.
In both public and private nurseries and pre primary schools there are no music classrooms and music lesson runs into the classroom where children are taught all lesson. Though there is a “music corner” in the classroom where could be found musical material like musical instruments and books with songs. Regardless of musical material existence, still the variety and quantity of them is not too much.
The music analytical programme concerns only pre primary children and its aims, objectives, outcomes and content is the same with six year old children who attend for the first time the primary school. The whole program is based on modern musical systems places and is divided into the following: 1) singing 2) listening 3) music and movement 4) use of instruments 5) reading and writing music and 6) creative works
The aim of the detailed programme for music in Cyprus, according to the Ministry of Education and Culture (1996 page?) is:
…to assist students’ progressive entry into the world of sound, develop their musical sensitivity through the understanding and use of sound patterns, which are an essential element to the development of their inner emotional and innate musical abilities. In this way they become able to enjoy and create music, as well as contribute both to their own musical development and to that of society.
There are several objectives and outcomes in the detailed music programme for pre primary children. Pre primary children are expected to:
Sing correctly and with pleasure
Develop their acoustic ability
Learn music symbols and use them for reproducing and creating music
Express their inner world, by producing or creating music according to their abilities, using several ways(voice, improvise instruments,
traditional instruments, movement, etc) for their satisfaction and communication with other
Intimidate and understand the basic elements and concepts of theory, morphology and history of music
Appreciate, enjoy and accept good music and aim at listening to it
Appreciate other countries music heredity
Cultivate their ability to set and choose folk compositions
Develop their individual music abilities
Use music for developing team spirit, cooperation, responsibility, discipline and communication
Acquaint, use and be familiar with contemporary technology according to music
Become acquainted with, love and respect their national music tradition.
Children in Cyprus also have some extra - curricular music opportunities. At the age of 6, they have the opportunity to learn an instrument, particularly those that are less popular such as the saxophone, trumpet, and cello, paid by the Ministry in order to cultivate and develop the teaching of the less known instruments. At the age of nine they can participate in a State Youth Symphonic Orchestra or in the Chamber Orchestra. Pre primary children can have private instrument lessons at home or there is an alternative choice of going to a conservatory for instrument lessons. In conservatories is essential to attend in groups or individual lessons in theory, harmony, solfege and history of music. The cost for a child to attend all these lessons plus the instrument lesson is high. There are several recitals and concerts that take place in Cyprus, performed twice or three times a month in a theatre hall, where young children can attend. Special facilities for Cypriot students are the different competitions either instrumental or singing competitions.
While a general description of the place music has in Cypriot education, you must make a clear statement as to what is available to pre-school children. Also you need to make informed comments about these issues. You also need to have analysed in some detail any RESOURCES available to pre-school teachers for the teaching of music to pre-school children. All this serves to support your contention that music ed for young children is weak in Cyprus. You have not given me any evidence for this yet – it is the whole basis of your study!!
3.2 Finland’s Education System. Music Curriculum And Music Opportunities
In this chapter the Finnish educational system will be introduced, starting with a general presentation of Finnish curriculum. From the ages of seven to twelve children are required to attend lower comprehensive and between the ages of thirteen to fifteen the upper comprehensive, which both of them are compulsory. Generally speaking, comprehensive schools are those for children of all ability levels. In Finland this term is used with this meaning but also in the sense that every child has to complete nine years of education between ages seven and fifteen.
In point of music, in both lower and upper comprehensive schools music lasts one hour and occurs once a week. In lower comprehensive schools usually the class teacher teaches music without any music qualifications, but they have some music training in the university. In the upper comprehensive they are specialists and have a degree in music.
Moving to music in preschool, in Finland there are only private pre-primary schools for children between the ages of three to six years which are optional. The music in Finnish private nursery schools lasts 45 minutes almost every day. Moving on to the music teachers and their qualifications, in pre-primary school they are not specialists but some basic knowledge is needed.
In Finnish music schools there is a classroom where ……………………………..
The objectives of Finland’s detailed music programme are that the pupils will learn to express themselves by singing, playing instruments and moving. They will learn to appreciate the heritage of other cultures and understand the diversity of the musical world. They will also learn to use different elements of music to compose. The elements that are expected from the students to learn are to sing in unison with others and know how to act as members of a group. In addition they are expected to recognize the music they hear and be familiar with the history of music of several countries. The curriculum of Finnish schools consists of a varied repertoire of songs and singing exercises and instrumental repertoire. It also consists of composing, using sound repetitions and improvisation and vocal and instrumental repertoires of music from Finland and from other countries.
There are also extra curricular opportunities in Finland where children who are keen on music can attend. For younger children there are music playschools for children who are under seven to learn music. Children under three attend the class with a parent. The duration of the class ranges from 30-90 minutes, depending on the age of the child and on the school policy. The class structure does not include instrumental studies but involves listening to music, playing instruments, singing, playing games and movement. The aim of the lesson is to support the children’s cognitive, emotional, motor and social development. Attending music playschools does not guarantee automatic entry to Music Schools.
Private music schools also exist to provide music education for children from age 7 to18 but they often also have a kindergarten (age?) The basic curriculum consists of instructions of an instrument, theory, history and solfege. The duration of the class is 30-60 minutes and most popular instruments that are taught are piano, guitar, violin and flute. The students that play in the orchestra are required to play in school bands. In order to attend these schools children are chosen through examinations and auditions. The teachers should be well-qualified with a Master of Music and Pedagogical studies.
The curriculum at playschools is divided into two parts. The general curriculum where any child can attend without auditions and the extended curriculum which is only for the most talented students and auditions are used. The extended curriculum is also divided into two levels. The basic level where students finish at around 15 years old and the institute level finish at the age of 18. Another significant afterschool music opportunity is the Sibelius academy which is the only music university in Finland and one of the biggest in Europe. The teaching takes place mainly at weekends and the tuition fees are 340 euro per year. They teach lessons such as composition, jazz and folk music, chamber music, orchestral playing and music theory. In Finland there are some special facilities for talented students, like youth orchestras, competitions, festivals, funds and scholarships.
You need to summarise the opportunities available for young children and look in detail at resources available so that you can compare the two approaches to music in the early years. Why is Finnish pre-school music ed better? There is no evidence here to suggest that it is as yet.
Your research methodology and results need to have a chapter of their own. New page is needed. This is the most important part of your whole dissertation and needs a lot of detail and comment as to what decisions you made and why and analysis of the replies in all cross-referenced to your literature chapters.
CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND PLAN OF ACTION
To better understand the Cyprus preschool policy and especially to learn about music education at early age, four Cypriot educators were interviewed. These individuals had a wide range of perspectives and experiences covering areas from different educational stages: a kindergarten head teacher; a kindergarten teacher; a headmaster of a private English school (age group?); a headmaster of a conservatory; a primary school teacher. All of the interviews were conducted over a 2 month period between July 2010 and August 2010 The main purpose of this evaluation interview is to help us understand how much importance is given on music education in Cyprus and to highlight the weaknesses of Cyprus educational system, regarding music materials, educational staff, material that could be used in a future preschool music program.
The applicable research tool of this investigation is based on Qualitative Interviewing methodology in order to expand understanding of kindergartens and educators’ thoughts about music education in Cyprus. Although various things were discussed in the interviews, the focus was on respondents’ actual opinions about the weaknesses of the current educational system based on their experiences. For this purpose a series of questions were devised in order to examine new programs or school developments and suggests improvements. Interviews are particularly useful for getting the story behind a participant’s experience and it can pursue in-depth information around the topic (McNamara, 1999).
The reasons for choosing each type of educator???? Why are they relevant to your study? DETAIL
The educators were called to answer a set of open and close questions in a certain order. The interview was conducted individually so that each educator wouldn’t be influenced by the other and it lasted around 10 minutes.
You need to put the questions into an appendix (Appendix 1) and analyse them IN DETAIL - why you have asked them and why you asked them in that order. You have already provided transcriptions of the interview responses - label them Appendix 2a, 2b, 2c etc?- one for each participant
4.2 Answers Interview responses (see Appendix I)
According to E A (see Appendix 2a) head teacher of a kindergarten, music education in Cyprus kindergarten is satisfactory. The teachers’ role in the education process is to teach children how to be self-sufficient through a specific plan of action and not to help them develop their music skills. She agrees that teachers should pay attention to music education, however she proposes that at this early stage music should not be the first priority. She suggests that there is a music curriculum for the Kindergarten but is the same as the curriculum in primary school as five year old kindergarten children are taught the same musical content as six year old primary children. According to her answers there is no music class in most kindergartens, mainly in public, but there is a small place called “music corner” in each class, where they have some music material like musical instruments or books with songs. Unfortunately, because of the fact that they don’t have much space in the class for music, they are unable to have a big amount of music material, especially musical instruments. Despite the fact that they don’t have many instruments she suggests that those they have are enough and sometimes they don’t use them all. There are several activities that music curriculum applies like listening to music, singing, musical stories, use of instruments, dramatization. The music lesson in kindergarten is taught by the class teacher who is a non- specialist. She proposes that a music specialist is not needed because at this age music is not so complicated and the teacher knows how to teach the basics.
Mr Kyriakos Vassiliou is the headmaster of an English school (age group?) and he underlines that their school is based on a different philosophy than the rest of public schools. He believes that the educational system in Cyprus should undergo some changes since it cannot meet students’ fundamental demands. He believes that especially in music, student’s first contact with it must be in an early age, even from Kindergarten if it is possible. Moreover, the state must provide every school with the fundamentals instrument in order to help the children to develop their skills. He noticed that in contrary to the primary public schools, the music lesson in their school from the age of six until the age of eighteen is taught by a professional musician. It is very important for a student his music teacher to be a specialist in order to make him love the music from an early age. Moreover, a specialist has a more holistic view on music education than a non specialist and it will be easier for him to descry gifted and talented children and help them develop their skills. One way they use to motivate children to get into music is by giving some extra credits on their grades and they also give some scholarship to the students that participate to the school’s music event. He supports that the same policy must be adopted in every school in Cyprus.
Mrs Ioanna Pettemeridou is the principal of a music conservatory and she supports that education in the first five years of life is very important. However she continues, the truth is that our educational system has weaknesses especially regarding music education. The field of early childhood music education objective is to promote music in the lives of young children, regardless of talent and to create and enhanced the development of the whole child. Unfortunately this? strategy does not contribute to this direction. She believes that learning an instrument is important, but in early age is not a priority because in this age children should see music as pleasure and as a relaxation. Learning an instrument needs hours of practice and children are already stressed from all other lessons they are taught in school. She also underlines the issue about the debate that occupied many teachers, musicians and educators. As a musician she believes that music should be taught from a professional musician because as she mentioned at the beginning, early age is important. Children should receive the proper knowledge on music in order to relate with music and because professional musicians are educated in more details on their subject they are more able to transfer their interest to the child. Someone becomes a musician because he loves music. For this person is easier to transmit music to someone else. Her impression about music education in schools is that children who show an interest in music are not many. They encounter music lesson as 45 minutes of break. They don’t care about the grade they are going to get on tests and they don’t have any interest in taking a part in choir or orchestra.
Antigoni Andreou, is a teacher in a kindergarten and her opinion is that music education that children receive in kindergarten is satisfactory. At this age teachers main concern it is not the music education of the pupil but to teach them the basics things about how to meet their fundamental needs e.g how to eat, how to use the toilet and help them socialized with other children. She underlines that there is a music curriculum and teachers are required to follow the activities, the aims and the objectives of it. Usually, the headmaster of the kindergarten attends the class and looks over while music lesson takes place and ensures that what is taught is according to the curriculum. About the question where music takes place it depends from the kindergarten. She worked in both private and public kindergartens and usually private schools have a separate class with all the musical equipment in it and with many musical instruments, sometimes and with a piano. On the other hand, public schools usually they have a small place in the classroom which is called “music corner”. Public schools do not have many musical instruments because they cost too much and public kindergarten fees are low. Musical activities varied in kindergarten. Some of them are dance, singing, listening to music, musical games, theatricalization or construction of improvise instruments. As I mentioned above Mrs Antigoni used to teach in both public and private kindergartens and she noticed many differences between the two of them. One was about the variety of instruments and the second one was about specialists and non specialists. In public kindergartens the teacher of the class teaches all the lessons including music. In contrast with private kindergartens where in some is the same like public but some other brings a specialist to teach music lesson.
After interviewing these four educators there is a clearer idea about music education in kindergartens. Regardless of the fact of interviewing educators from several fields, different gender, age and dissimilar positions in schools, the results would be more valid if the interviewers were more. Since the interviewers’ positions in schools are not the same, the questions made were also different. The answers we received from kindergarten teachers were almost the same. From the answers we received, according to the importance of music in kindergartens, about music classroom and musical instruments we conclude that either because of the music class deficiency, neither because of the non specialist teacher, music does not consists a priority in early years. It could be noticed that although there are Orff music instruments in the class, teachers and children do not use them all in music lessons.
A topic that in this research needed to be examined is teachers specialization or not according to music section and how much effective can a non specialist could teach music. From the answers we received it could be concluded that the deficiency of specialization makes music education in kindergarten hard. Unfortunately most teachers do not realize the importance of music specialist. From the interview we can observe the debate between teachers and music specialists which is a worldwide problem. Of course this also happens because of materials lack, but also because of the lack of specialized staff, who they could help children to build up correctly the musical concepts through the proportional activities.
Another problem that can be detected from the interview, are the important differences between public and private kindergartens. In private the music lesson is taught by a specialist from very early age, in contrast with public in which students are taught music by a specialist at the age of 12. Moreover private schools pay more importance on music by giving motivations to the child.
Generally through this research emerge the need of musics development in kindergartens, but the circumstances do not help something like that. There are severe lacks on materials substructures, on teachers training and education,
4.4 Proposed Plan of Action for Cyprus. A Need for Early Age Music Preschool
“Early childhood is a crucial stage of life in terms of children’s physical, intellectual, emotional and social development and of their well-being. A significantly high proportion of learning takes place from birth to age six”.
The term preschool age has been used to refer to children early childhood, from their birth until around five-six years old “which are deliberately designed to stimulate and support their mental, physical, emotional, language, social, etc development” As also Eliou (1986, p.40) said preschool education concerns child’s education during his birth and finishes with his accession in primary school. The last few years a great importance is given on childrens education from early age, which this age considers as one of the most crucial periods regarding childs development and education (Elkind, 1969, Zafrana and Bargar, 1980).
According to Singh (2007, p. xiv), “Preschool education is an indispensable instrument for the proper personality development of child. We must know that early years of the children are important because rate of growth and development is fastest and environmental influences are minimum”.
4.4.1 Teachers Abilities and Attitude.
The wise teacher will provide a happy, ordered environment in which the children can find security. She will supply suitable materials and give them freedom to experiment with them. She will stimulate their imaginations and cater for their physical needs with large apparatus.”
Kindergarten activities in order to be successful succeeded and advantageous for the children, activities should be psychologically and pedagogically fundamental. Meaning that teacher should consider a methodological or didactical procedure, abide by some general and particular basic authorities. These authorities correspond to children needs as well as activities specific aims (Koffa, 1985, p. 45). By saying didactical procedure we mean the domestic organization of teachers attempt to adjust appropriate three familiar pedagogical factors, from which every activity consists. These factors are: the preschooler, the material and the teacher (Elzer, 1968, p. 97). According to Rapti and Kavvada( p. 36), the teacher should take into account and combine the following factors: a) logical b) psychological and c) didactical.
The teacher should take into consideration some principles, which should be applied during activities development. He should create a familiar atmosphere (Petala, 1963, p. 97), atmosphere of freedom and enthusiasm, love and pleasure and mutual trust between the teacher and the preschooler (Xoheli, 1983, p. 81).
There are several opinions about who should teach music in a preschool. Some support that the teacher is the most capable and some other support that a music specialist is the most appropriate. As said by Gilbert (1981) “If the advice and guidance of a specialist teacher is available, then the ideal situation of working within a planned structure for the school as a whole can be attained”. In my opinion, music lesson should be taught from a music specialist but supported from children’s teacher if needed. The class teacher somehow could help children better because he/she knows them more and is acquainted with their needs and interests. On the other hand, music specialists have much more knowledge on music than the teacher and could help children to love and learn more about music. Thereby, the combination of the two teachers will be the most appropriate for children.
Music teacher should have some particular abilities and attitudes for what will be taught and also should have the sensitivity to offer music in an appropriate environment. For a successful music lesson teacher should:
Prepare lesson material before it will be presented in the classroom (materials used in a lesson should be assembled in advance. When a teacher makes advance preparations for a lesson by doing such routine things as assembling materials, writing on the chalkboard the titles and page numbers of the songs, words or rote songs, notation for class study, the order of music activities and other directions, he promotes general efficiency
Interrelate music education with children interests and vocabulary
Use her/his voice correct and with expressiveness
Use the appropriate way and material, in order to help children express freely their inner world
Learn use simple instruments like recorder, guitar or mandolin
Know children individual differences which they have as a result the creation of different music levels
Use comfortably percussion, melodic and rhythmic instruments
Play piano, if possible good enough, so she/he could use it comfortably and also check children with her/his glance
Use with children the dexterities they acquired and keep practicing them
Chose and present a variety of musical activities with a good balance in between them
Be guided by childrens recommendations, for a creating teaching
Participate without constraints in music lesson
4.4.2 Place Room Organization, Materials and Ways
“Room organization is a key to motivating the child’s choice of activities”
For an effective music lesson, necessary requirement is the appropriate place, a comfortable room. The learning becomes harder, when it runs in a room without normal ventilation, improper lighting and temperature. Therefore, is teacher’s responsibility to ensure that all the above elements exist.
It is known that furniture’s arrangement in a class, affect the teaching method. Children should be placed in a way so that they would be able to participate easy, wherever they sit in the class, in general conversations, individual or team exercises and to have the opportunity to listen other speaking, singing or playing an instrument. Chairs and desks should be chosen according to children’s size (dimensions), so that they could sit at ease. It is necessary in musical activities the furniture’s to be able to remove easily. According to the activity, children maybe will have to sit, or stand temporarily when they sing, or play musical instruments, to move rhythmically or dance. Chairs placement should be in a semicircle in order to ease movements in musical activities. (Nye & Nye, 1974. p. 6)
In order to avoid confusion and loss of time, teacher should give comprehensible and clear instructions, about how children will move from one activity to another and should exist a common planning between children-teacher. A part of the daily organization and routine is teacher’s understandable instructions about get in or leave the classroom, as well as books or musical instruments carriage. It should be noticed that for health reasons musical wind instruments should not be used from several children before they disinfect.
In a music classroom a variety of objects that makes sound are required for experimentation. Music instruments, music books, books relevant with music, pictures, and puzzles are essential equipments. All these should be set and arranged in places where they would be accessible by children, safe, clearly labeled and attractively presented. Paugh & Paugh
The choice of musical several materials and mostly musical instruments is important. The teacher should choose instruments which produce the best sound quality, they have resilience, they can be stored easily and they are appropriate for childrens development. The correct decision of the songs is also essential. Teachers should offer songs suitable to the age of the children. The songs should have a simple and vary melody, repeated parts for easy learning, proper range for the voices, rhythmic appeal, and an attractive accompaniment. The fundamental equipment that is needed in a music classroom are:
Musical instruments: tuned and unturned percussions, different types and with different tonality, woodblocks, maracas, castanets, cymbals in different sizes, finger cymbals, tambourines, τριγωνακια, καμπανουλες, κουδουνακια, triangles, rattles, sand blocks, jingle bells
guiros, γκογκ, chime bars, xylophone, glockenspiels, metallophones, recorders, guitar, mandolin, keyboards and piano
Instruments created by children, homemade rhythm instruments Pictures, puzzles
Books: song collections and books relevant to music and musicians
Also, a radio, tape recorder, record player, projector and a camera are vital.
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