I'd like to start a discussion about team teaching. With undergraduate music majors pulled in so many directions --- lessons, ensembles, theory, history, methods classes, etc. --- I've noticed that many of them, including those who excel, struggle to form constellations out of all of the stars. They need continuous, explicit coaching in order to see that what they are learning in my courses is related to (informed by, applicable to, sometimes one and the same as) what they do in their other musical activities. I'd imagine that many of my colleagues at other institutions face similar challenges.
Over the last few years, I've teamed up with some of my music colleagues outside of theory in order to build more concrete bridges between different curricular islands. Some are in the form of entirely team-taught courses, such as a
performer and a theorist co-teaching a Performance and Analysis
seminar. Others are more informal and one-off: a
theorist visiting an orchestra rehearsal to bring aspects of a piece's
form to life, a cellist coming to a counterpoint course to provide a
performer's perspective on compound melody in Bach's solo suites, or a theorist
and a musicologist bending the usual order of undergraduate topics so
that students simultaneously explore the intricacies of sonata form and
engage with the history of the symphony.
The aim is to model between faculty the integration and curricular cross-pollenation that we'd like students to achieve in their own learning. It's been just as exciting for us as for our students to get two expert colleagues from different disciplines answering each other's questions, finding common perspectives, and learning from the process of taking each other's musicianship to heart.
I am curious to know what kinds of team-teaching other
theorists are doing and how well it is working. Aside from my own personal enjoyment of collaborative teaching,
integrative learning is a direction in which institutional winds
are blowing increasingly strongly across higher ed. My university and
many others have defined integrated learning objectives focused on
broadly applicable skills and thinking strategies as opposed to highly specialized topics. I'm especially interested in unusual pedagogical
collaborations, such as any between theorists and music education
faculty, theorists and jazz faculty, theorists and musicologists, or
theorists and any faculty outside music.
I look forward to the conversation!