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The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’s apprentices: A critical analysis of teaching and learning of musical interpretation in a piano master class
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Music, media and Theatre.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8514-5422
2020 (English)In: Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning, ISSN 0081-9816, E-ISSN 2002-021X, Vol. 102, p. 37-65Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Master classes, arguably the pinnacle of the master–apprentice tradition, have been common within higher education of Western classical music. Although claimed to be effective, teaching and learning of musical interpretation in this setting are not well-researched. One seven day long piano master class in the form of a self-contained university course was critically analysed from a hermeneutic perspective and philosophically discussed using three components from the ancient dialogue Philopseudes concerning the learning of magic as well as my experiences of apprenticeship. The empirical material consisted of observations of and field notes from 18 master class lessons; six video-stimulated interviews with two students, master class teacher, and the students’ regular teacher; qualitative semi-structured follow-up interviews with two students and the students’ regular teacher; and scanned versions of the students’ scores. The analysis indicated that the students’ learning of musical interpretation is hindered owing to the master’s beliefs and actions; the lessons centre on the master’s privileged access to secret knowledge mediated in writing; and, the metaphors of gods, ghosts, and Weiheküsse, can be used to understand the master’s storytelling and teaching. I suggest re-negotiating the master class and the required competencies of teachers for such classes within higher music education. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Svenska Samfundet för musikforskning , 2020. Vol. 102, p. 37-65
Keywords [en]
higher music education, Western classical music, musical interpretation, master class, master– apprentice tradition, Philopseudes, magic, hermeneutics
National Category
Music Pedagogy
Research subject
Musical Performance
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-82091OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-82091DiVA, id: diva2:1511907
Note

Validerad;2021;Nivå 1;2021-04-20 (alebob)

Available from: 2020-12-21 Created: 2020-12-21 Last updated: 2023-08-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Dialogue Lost? Teaching Musical Interpretation of Western Classical Music in Higher Education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dialogue Lost? Teaching Musical Interpretation of Western Classical Music in Higher Education
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to contribute to a better understanding of musical interpretation in teaching and learning Western classical music from both a teacher’s and student’s perspective within the context of piano main instrument teaching in higher music education in Sweden. The following research questions were formulated to fulfil this aim: first, how do teachers and students understand musical interpretation as educational content?; second, how do teachers and students understand teaching and learning of musical interpretation?; third and finally, how could verbal and musical dialogues be used for improving teaching and learning of musical interpretation?

The thesis employs an overarching hermeneutical framework and consists of three movements. Multiple forms of empirical material were created and collected to understand the complex phenomenon: semi-structured interviews (with and without stimulus) with teachers, students, and master class teacher; video and audio recordings of master class lessons and workshops; annotated scores; audio-recorded student performances and written instructions, written responses, and reflective one-minute papers. The empirical material was hermeneutically analysed and presented using poetical condensations, haiku formed poems, (auto)ethnodrama, and collaboratively negotiated student narratives.

The results outline that musical interpretation is neither verbalised nor negotiated. Furthermore, the students are held responsible for developing or already having the skills and capacities required for autonomy and a personal, authentic artistic voice, described as the desired learning outcome. That the students find their education backwards-looking and not preparing for a professional career in music could at least partly be due to the instrumental lessons being mainly devoted to demonstration and imitation without argumentative support. Moreover, as the teachers’ capacity to verbalise and engage in dialogical practices seems to be situationally bound and requiring questions, the possibilities to, on an organisational level, empower students to initiate and enter such dialogues should be further studied.

The created dialogical pedagogical situations, opening for musical and verbal collaboration, helped establish a shared understanding of musical interpretation and highlighted the difference between students’ intentions and performances. These situations offered collaborative explorations of what musical interpretation is, might be, and could be. I suggest that musical interpretation, including its philosophical and ethical aspects, is lifted as a general subject at a programme level, thus securing that it is dealt with adequately, not merely relying on individual teachers. Finally, methodological considerations and suggestions for further research are put forward.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2022
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Keywords
Musical interpretation, higher music education, Western classical music, teaching and learning, one-to-one tuition, hermeneutics, poetry
National Category
Music Pedagogy
Research subject
Music Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-88258 (URN)978-91-7790-991-0 (ISBN)978-91-7790-992-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-02-04, L165, Kunskapsallén 12, Piteå, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2021-12-09 Created: 2021-12-09 Last updated: 2022-01-14Bibliographically approved

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