British Journal of Music Education

Research Article

Seeing yourself as others see you: developing personal attributes in the group rehearsal

Mark Pulmana1

a1 University of Huddersfield, University Campus Barnsley, Church Street, Barnsley S70 2YW, UK m.pulman@hud.ac.uk

Abstract

An important part of the process that enables us to improve ourselves as musicians in group music making involves developing an awareness of our personal attributes as they are displayed in the rehearsal. In order to help students become more aware of themselves and of their band members’ personal attributes as they rehearse, a peer assessment system was established. The project was piloted and developed at Barnsley College and University of Huddersfield (Barnsley Campus) with first year undergraduates on the BA Popular Music course across 2000–2008. Individuals agreed to allow their bands to identify particular personal attributes for each member that, they felt, could be improved and used as peer assessment criteria. In-depth interviews were conducted with 16 students over a 4-year period and the following areas emerged as a focus of these: self-knowledge, feedback, confidence, honesty. The study has implications for devising peer assessment systems that are responsive to individual learners and their unique needs. It also suggests the desirability of providing peer assessment activities that might foster trust among participants and, if so, supports the provision of exceptional feedback. Now in its ninth year, this system has been refined into a model.