Competition is reported in the general education literature as having a largely detrimental impact upon student engagement and long-term motivation, yet competition has long been an accepted part of the music education ensemble landscape. Adjudicated ensemble competitions and competition-festivals are commonplace in most Australian states, as opposed to large-scale cooperative events. Arguments advanced in support of competitive events revolve primarily around perceived extra-musical benefits framed from the director / conductor perspective. The student voice is rarely considered in assessments of the impact of participation. This study presents student feedback following participation in an alternative large-scale cooperative music ensemble festival. Students were surveyed immediately after the event, and key findings revealed enhanced enjoyment and motivation to continue and improve across all year levels and playing groups following the cooperative festival. These findings indicate the need for music educators to rethink the purpose of large-scale music ensemble events, understand the potential of cooperative events in promoting long-term musical engagement, and highlight the importance and value of acknowledging the student voice.
Lowe, G. M. (2018). Competition Versus Cooperation: Implications for Music Teachers following Students Feedback from Participation in a Large-scale Cooperative Music Festival. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 43(5). https://doi.org/10.14221/ajte.2018v43n5.6