Finally, a book has culminated as a synthesis of his work and that of 12 others, all of whom arel working in similar spheres. The co-contributors represent some of the finest music educators working with boys, such as Clare Hall, Anne Lierse, Paul Holley and Robert Smith.
It is one of the most important additions to the literature in boys’ education and if only part of its recommendations and solutions are adopted by educators in decision-making roles, then Australian music-making, as well as male culture will be the beneficiary. As a teacher, the awareness that this book can bring to one’s teaching of boys will be valuable.
Concepts it covers well are cultural norms, stereotypes, adolescence, cognitive and emotional development of boys, identity through music making, the role and importance of singing as a natural experience for boys, special needs of indigenous boys, technological issues, rural communities, and experiencing singing in ensemble situations.
Its scope is sociological and philosophical, as well as musical.
The question could be posed: “What are the discoveries for the studio teacher?” Here are just some key points:
- Boys are not great talkers but they learn a lot from ‘doing’.
- Boys need a ‘reason’ to learn.
- Boys like to ‘create’ music.
- Boys respond to a high level of teacher involvement and interaction.
- Music is not a ‘manly’ thing to do. (This statement is an all too common perception. This book addresses this stereotyping very well.)
- Music education needs to start early in life.
- Boys’ fine motor skills develop later than girls.
- Music activities can sometimes be stressful for boys in co-educational contexts.
- Parents need to support boys in their musical activities.
This is essential reading for all those involved in teaching boys (whether that be in schools – co-ed or single-sex, or in the studio setting).