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What to research in Instrumental one-to-one lessons?

Discussion in 'Music' started by josax01, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. Hi, I'm a PGCE student focusing on secondary education. I'm really stuck on what to submit as my research topic though, as I want to base my research on my instrumental one-to-one teaching (woodwind - mainly flute and saxophone) but not really sure what I could discuss/research and look out for in my lessons. Any ideas would be really appreciated! Thanks, Jo x
     
  2. Hi, I'm a PGCE student focusing on secondary education. I'm really stuck on what to submit as my research topic though, as I want to base my research on my instrumental one-to-one teaching (woodwind - mainly flute and saxophone) but not really sure what I could discuss/research and look out for in my lessons. Any ideas would be really appreciated! Thanks, Jo x
     
  3. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    What ideas have you had so far? If you post these first you will probably get more help.
     
  4. Current "hot" topics in education are:
    • assessment and monitoring progress
    • planning for different abilities and special needs
    • use of different learning styles
    • demonstrating "musical understanding"
    • Development of non-examined skills such as improvising, musical understanding, harmonisation, transposition, composition and memorisation within the context of instrumental lessons
    It is surpising how different the teaching of an instrument on a one to one basis can be from the teaching of music as general subject in the classroom. I've have taught many students who have had years of instrumental teaching but who are some of the most ignorant music students I have taught - they can play the notes, sometimes quite expressively, however they understand nothign of the structure, musical foundations, techniques or provenenance of the music they are playing. They can not improvise or compose, they have no idea about harmonic progressions, the structure of chords or the construction of phrases - EVEN SOME WITH GRADE 5 THEORY. My theory is that have been simply taught "to the exam" and this shows what an impoverished and dangerous philosophy that can be.
    Question that burn in my mind have always been:
    • Should you teach students with instrumental experience differently in the classroom to students with little or no experience and if so, how?
    • The effects (positive or negative) of students bringing their instruments into classroom lessons
    • How can a music curriculum be designed to accomodate experienced and non-experienced musicians
    • How much influence should the classroom music agenda (which is primarily one of musical understanding) change the way musical instruments have been traditionaly taught.
    I dated the leader of our country youth orchestra when I was studying A Level music. At the end of a concert I attended I started to talk to her about a piece the orchestra had played by Milhaud. "Which one was that?" she asked. "The modern sounding one," I said. Still a blank look. She went on to get a performance degree at a London College. Need I say more?
     
  5. YesMrBronson - what I had thought of before was how the curriculum can be linked into individual lessons - i.e. a topic on reggae music in their classes would be continued in their instrumental lessons and see if this helps the pupils in their ks3 classes or not through communication with their music teachers and their end of topic assessment results. Whether this is good enough to research I'm not sure.

    Rockmeamadeus, I really like the points you have made, especially about the "questions that burn in my mind". I am always continually finding pupils when I've been supply teaching for music services, that are really good at performing but have no or very little knowledge about the piece and wouldn't be able to answer any theoretical questions regarding it. Especially like you said, not knowing even who composed the piece they are playing.
     
  6. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Established commenter

    And maybe I can offer a slightly opposing view, that even if a child who is competent on their instrument can't compose or improvise they at least have the skills to begin to do that should they wish. Someone who can play 'Twinkle twinkle' on a keyboard with one finger is a lot further away from any meaningful improvisation.
    Instrumental teachers vary wildly. Some just teach to the exam while others give a much broader education. To make a wild generalisation, in my experience private teachers are much better at giving a rounded education than peris. Peris are nearly always strapped for time and in order to push students through exams there isn't time for much else.
    One of our sons' teachers, who is really excellent, also teaches in schools. She used to display her results and the in-school pupils always got much lower marks than the private ones. There just isn't the same time to go into things in depth.
    There's your research almost done - two sides to the coin. All you need to do is write a conclusion!
     
  7. That is a very good point really! I used to work for my local music services and I'd constantly run over the 15 min time slot, sometimes because I would just get carried away teaching and sometimes because I felt I couldn't leave without the pupil fully understanding; whereas I know some teachers just say that's it times up, off to my next school but I genuinely would feel a little frustrated as I know they're not getting the detailed explanation I'd ideally like or I would have to spread information out bit by bit lesson by lesson. However with private students, I've never felt like they don't understand how to do things and like you say, the results are always better. Thanks Doitforfree!
     

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