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CLeaR Fellows 2015 – Dr Gregory Camp

Teaching theory into practice: A model from opera

Dr Gregory CampGregory has been a lecturer in music at the University of Auckland since 2013. He teaches a variety of topics in musicology and music theory, and his current research focuses on characterisation through music in film. He also has a strong interest in music history and theory pedagogy. Originally from Colorado, he graduated in 2012 from Oxford University with a DPhil in musicology, studying the contemporary performance history of Claudio Monteverdi’s operas.

Within Music the achievement gap is especially apparent in music theory and musicology courses. A system of lectures and small-group tutorials is already in place, a framework which should create a space for active engagement: students learn the historical or theoretical material in the lecture, they do some work on it at home, then they come to the tutorial to share what they have learned, ask any questions they have, and deepen their understanding. Unfortunately, however, these tutorials often become mini-lectures as we strive and fail to get students to participate actively, or they become dialogues between the lecturer and one or two more active students, leaving the others to sit in silence. This lack of engagement seems to have a direct correlation with achievement, as the students who participate actively in tutorials nearly always score higher on assignments and exams.

Over the course of the fellowship year Gregory hopes to develop strategies to make in-class engagement more attractive. This might involve re-thinking teaching styles, developing more interactive lesson plans, instigating group work, and finding ways to reward students for engaging with the subject matter and with each other.