Process journals are educational scrapbooks that make your student’s thinking visible. If done correctly, they might be messy and scribbly.  My students use paper journals (old school) and their books are big, ugly messes.  They’ve scribbled in the notes of handouts, they’ve drawn rough sketches of music ideas, they’ve drawn arrows between ideas, they’ve pasted pictures of world music they’d like to explore. Every time one of my students tells me they’ve finished their journal and need a new one, we celebrate! Their books are living documents that very clearly show their thinking, creating, and performing processes. 

But how are we supposed to organise the process journals? 

The IB’s “Further Guidance” document gives great advice on process journal organisation.  

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The 3 Roles: Researcher, Creator, and Performer

The student’s process journals must have evidence of student research (extra-musical findings), music critiques and score analysis (musical findings), creations (motif ideas, workings-out, etc.), and performances (progress videos, progress audio files, reflections on the creative cycle, evaluations, peer feedback, etc.)

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The 3 Musical Processes

The 3 musical processes are linked to the three assessments found in Standard Level (SL)  and Higher Level (HL) music. They include Exploring Music in Context, Experimenting with Music, and Presenting Music.  

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The 3 Contexts

The three contexts are personal, local and global. Personal contexts include music the the student is very familiar and comfortable with. Local contexts include music with which the student may familiar with, but is no means an expert.  A global context includes music with which the student has little or no familiarity. The context of a piece of music changes according to each student’s life. In the example of expat students, they hold citizenship in a country they only sometimes visit.  The music of their home culture would be a local context because they’d slightly know the music, but would not be familiar with it. In contrast, you may have an expat student who has lived their whole life in the host culture and takes private music lessons. They may consider that music culture to be very personal. 

When students are choosing topics to study, they must always start with the local and global contexts. Students need to have highly challenging goals for their learning. If they are studying a topic they already know really well, they won’t be pushing themselves. 

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The 4 Areas of Inquiry

This is an excellent way of organising knowledge, and it can be easily applied to MYP classes as well!  Basically, music falls into one of three categories:

* Music for Sociocultural and Political Expression: Basically, this is music that has a job. It’s music played at weddings, funerals, holidays, ceremonies, and more.  

* Music for Listening and Performance: This is music for music sake. It’s composed because people are creative and they want to express themselves and communicate to others. 

* Music for Dramatic Impact, Movement, and Entertainment: This is music that has a supporting role. It’s helping someone else out. It’s music for the ballet. Music for the music theatre. Music for movie soundtracks. Music that tells a story (programme music). Music for operas. 

* Music Technology in the Electronic and Digital Age: How music technology has evolved over time and how it is used today