Summer 2024 - EDUC 478 D100

Designs for Learning: Music (4)

Class Number: 4259

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Wed, 9:30 a.m.–1:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    EDUC 401/402 or corequisite EDUC 403.



Designed for in-service and pre-service teachers who would like to acquire the skills that will allow them to teach music competently and creatively. They will learn basic conducting techniques, design their own curriculums and have an opportunity to prepare and teach their own lesson plans. Previous musical experience is welcome, but not required.


This course explores the dynamics, complexities and nuances of creative music pedagogy – across a range of student demographics, from young children to adult-learners – and covering topics and practices as diverse and varied as ensemble/band leadership and conducting, cross-cultural and anti-racist approaches to music theory and ear-training, creative approaches to teaching improvisation, composition, songwriting, electronic music production, and popular music education.

Building off of inclusive and critical approaches to music education, the course emphasizes and explores ways of cultivating participatory cultures and communities of musicking, from which we can, as much as possible “let music teach”. The defining mark of this educational approach involves an emphasis on active music-making through co-participation in a shared musical taskscape (Ingold, 2017). Engaging with Biesta’s (2017) account of arts education, we explore how creative music pedagogy is neither primarily aimed at processing musical information/symbols, nor chiefly about enabling self-expression or creativity – but rather, of cultivating “sustainable” practices of being in dialogue with musicking.

This class is hands-on and involves group music playing and participation in a wide range of musical activities and rituals.  Students will play, in-class, a range of percussion, stringed and wind instruments, and be involved in embodied musicking generally (singing, dancing, movement, sound-making, etc.,). Through leading class ensembles and designing music and sound-based learning experiences and resources, students have opportunities to develop and refine their own personalized approaches to music pedagogy and curriculum.

Previous musical experience is welcome, but not required. Reach out to the instructor if you have questions about the course.


  • Amplify your understandings of music pedagogy considering diverse musicking traditions, discourses, and social locations;
  • Understand the relations between sound, music, place, and lived experiences and how such relations can come to inform music teaching and curriculum design;
  • Facilitate and design creative and inventive musical learning experiences and curricula;
  • Refine basic conducting and ensemble leadership skills;
  • Explore (cross-cultural) approaches to teaching music theory;
  • Reflect on the impact of musicking and musical experiences in our daily lives;
  • Analyze musical curriculum in relation to a range of historical and social issues;
  • Explore educational, sociological and historical perspectives in music education.


  • Creative Musicking Workshop Leadership (weeks 6-10) 25%
  • Sound-based Curriculum Artefact (week 13) 25%
  • Listening/reading logs (submitted week 13) 25%
  • Group musical improvisation events (Weeks 2-12) 25%



Stevens, John. (1985). Search & reflect: A music workshop handbook.

Biesta, Gert. (2017). Letting art teach: Art education after Joseph Beuys. ArtEZ Press.

ISBN: 9789491444371

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.