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ERIC Number: EJ790079
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8510
Reconciling Technical and Expressive Elements in Musical Instrument Teaching: Working with Children
Davidson, Jane W.; Pitts, Stephanie E.; Salgado-Correia, Jorge
Journal of Aesthetic Education, v35 n3 p51-62 Fall 2001
The process of learning to play a musical instrument involves hours of individual practice. Even for players who do not reach high levels of competence, a considerable amount of time will be spent in working independently of the teacher, meaning that music learning demands a high level of self-sufficiency and the ability to be self-reflective if it is to be successful. Research into the motivations for establishing and sustaining a practice routine is growing, and there have been some recent investigations into the activities that children undertake in the name of practice. The specific question of the balance that children achieve between technique and expression in their practice sessions has been less systematically reviewed, although it is anecdotally evident that children will struggle for hours to "get the notes right." In other words, there is generally little emphasis on those elements of expression and interpretation that are considered to give music its aesthetic appeal. Given that expressive musical performance is the long-term goal of all instrumental work, it seems surprising that the technical focus of standard practice behavior has not previously been questioned. This article attempts to address that omission, drawing on established the research literature and making important connections between the philosophy and psychology of musical understanding. The article ends with a transcript of a music lesson with a nine-year-old girl on the piano to illustrate how a grounded and bodily approach to music can aid in bringing expressive intention to the center of the teaching and learning experience. (Contains 29 notes.)
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A