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No Teachers in Rock & Roll: Music Classroom Culture via Catchphrases

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 16, 2015 at 12:01 PM

classroom culture"Welcome to show business".

That's how Brad Fuller, music teacher at Northern Beaches Christian school in Sydney, starts his classes. As he tells it on The Learning Capacity Podcast," Welcome to show business" changes everything. It's not, "Good morning class 7J, please stand behind your chairs".


Why does he use this catchphrase: Welcome to show business? "Because it changes everything. It's just amazing to put magical names to mundane tasks. It gives a magic to learning and creates a positive classroom culture", says Brad.

By changing the language in the music room (he does not call it a classroom), he changes how the students see themselves. No longer students, in the music classroom they become entertainers.

Fuller was a musician before he became a teacher. He considers himself a member of the showbiz fraternity and he got the idea of catchphrases from television sitcoms. He uses them with his teacher colleagues and students to describe the kind of culture he wants in the classroom.

He explains, "Instead of coming up with lofty terminology and jargon, encapsulate what you're trying to achieve in a catchphrase. So all my students now consider themselves members of the showbiz fraternity". 

The students' belief that they are entertainers is strengthened by other catchphrases, including:

  • "It's time for a band meeting" instead of "everybody please sit down".
  • "Go back to the green room" instead of "go back to your classroom"
  • "It's all about the gig", meaning it's about the creative output, the performance or the composition, not about learning music to pass a test.

So does this use of catchphrases help students learn music?

Fuller says: "Catchphrases enable me to work together with the students so we can all improve. There are no teachers in rock and roll !".


Related Posts

Innovative Music Teaching: Reactions from Australia & New Zealand  (Brad Fuller Part 2)

Can Playing Music Help Develop Working Memory and Improve Attention?

Is Playing Music a Form of Brain Training?


Topics: School, Podcasts, Music

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