Details of Thesis

Title Education for an Australian Choral Tradition: evaluating the philosophies of Stephen Leek
Author Stephens, Annette
Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 2005
Abstract The thesis aimed to assess the philosophies of Stephen Leek, in regard to the education for an Australian choral tradition. In order to address Stephen Leek's philosophies, a study of Australia's existing choral tradition and its history was conducted. This was followed by a general overview of music education in Australia post 1960. In light of these findings, Leek's educational philosophies were discussed, with specific influences, including biographical information. Leek's educational work Voiceworks was found to encapsulate his ideas. The program is creative-based, and aims to facilitate the discovery of new artistic concepts, and foster acceptance and interest in contemporary Australian choral music. Using the voice as the sole instrument, students can perform the pieces from Voiceworks, or use the ideas for further creativity in their own compositions. The program is based on experimentation, discovery, structuring, formulating, rehearsal, performance and discussion. Leek advocates that these stages are the quickest and most effective way of facilitating the learning of contemporary music techniques. In the evaluation of Leek's philosophies, case studies using a lesson from Voiceworks, were conducted with two Year 7 music classes in two different government coeducational schools. The findings revealed that Voiceworks can be a successful resource in the education for an Australian choral tradition. However, it was also found that excitement, enthusiasm and enjoyment are the key to its success, and hence excellent teaching is required in its presentation.
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