“Whereas production is a process that focuses on an end-product, problem solving is a process that centers on a problem. Students apply critical and creative thinking skills to prior knowledge during the problem solving process. The end result of problem solving is typically some kind of decision, in other words, choosing a solution and then evaluating it.
There are two general kinds of problems. Close-ended problems are those with known solutions to which students can apply a process similar to one that they have already used… Open-ended or loosely structured problems, on the other hand, are those with many or unknown solutions rather than one correct answers. These types of problems require the ability to apply a variety of strategies and knowledge to finding a solution” (Egbert, 2009).
Tools for Problem Solving in Music
Webquests are inquiry-based lessons where students use the web to obtain most or all of the information. Teachers can use webquests to develop problem-solving skills, promote higher level thinking skills, and incorporate technology in the classroom. You can search for webquests on Education World, WebQuest.Org, Zunal, and Filamentality. When you get more comfortable, you can create your own webquest following a few simple steps or use the Zunal Webquest Maker. As your students get more comfortable, they can create webquests over a variety of topics for each other. Here are some music webquests to get you started.
- Does music really COUNT? How are music and math related? by Allison Hightower
- I’m waving my hands! Why don’t you understand what I mean? Play, play! by Peter McGuire
- Musical instruments of the world by Anastasia Borushko
- Where it all Began and Where it is Now…Music Theory by Sandra Murphy-Robb
- Who is your favorite musical artist? by Haley Michel
- Music from where? by Jennifer Cunningham
Virtual Field Trips
Why spend all day in the classroom? Students can go on virtual field trips and learn about other places in the world. No need to board a bus or be strapped by a schedule and budgets. Students can go wherever they want to experience music. You can search for virtual field trips at Tramline Virtual Field Trips, Virtual Field Trips by Vicki Blackwell, and Virtual Tours. When you get more comfortable, you can create your own virtual field trip using your own camera and upload them to the web for others to experience. Students can even create their own virtual field trips when they go to museums or attend musical events. Here are a few virtual field trips to get you started.
Egbert, J. (2009). Supporting Learning with Technology: Essentials of Classroom Practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.