This qualitative study focuses on building a fully immersive musical-architecture composition curriculum for three general music classes of kindergarteners (N=45). Students composed original music using a set of engineering and design precepts. As part of the compositional process, they used Lego bricks to construct three-dimensional representations of their compositions. The children also wrote musical scores using their own notation as a mnemonic device, a “blueprint,” which they read while they played their pieces. They could then choose to perform their completed pieces in class and record them as part of their creative process. Each child composed using a keyboard, which allowed individual children to work at their own pace over several weeks. Curriculum design was founded on the following elements: 1. Differentiated teaching practice. 2. Process-oriented learning environment. 3. Acknowledgement of the children’s acquired musical and general knowledge. 4. Embedded skills in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, visual art, and math), which were used in service of musical thinking. 5. Engineering “habits of mind.” Data collection included: Videos of children reading and playing their original pieces; children’s written musical scores; researcher observational notes; and interviews with the children about their creative processes. Data were analyzed for individual children and then examined for trends within the whole group. Results showed evidence of immersive learning, accelerated development of musical thinking, and clear application of STEAM skills within the compositional process.
"Musical architects: Immersive learning through design thinking in a
kindergarten music composition curriculum,"
Visions of Research in Music Education: Vol. 31, Article 2.
Available at: https://opencommons.uconn.edu/vrme/vol31/iss1/2