Education: Enhancing Pre-Service Teacher Understanding of Instrument Performance

Title: Using Research to Improve Soprano Recorder Performance Skills
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Education, Music
Authors: Steve Kimball, Mark Kiehn, Pao Lor, University of Wisconsin–Green Bay
Submission Date: February 26, 2007

Executive Summary: Future professional educators need to consult scholarly research to develop teaching philosophy, learning theory, and methods/pedagogy. This lesson study was designed to encourage students to go beyond the classroom by utilizing research to improve performance skills on the Soprano Recorder Instrument, and to further their practical knowledge of teaching pedagogy.

Past experiences indicate that students practice in different ways and often inconsistently. The course instructor emphasized learning how to practice efficiently and effectively by directing the students to the literature on muscial practice approaches.

The specific goals of the lesson were as follows:

  1. Students will be exposed to literature regarding formal systems of musical instrument practice.
  2. Students will be exposed to ways of improving their understanding of different methods of teaching/practicing instruments.
  3. Students will engage in small group and large group discussions to identify themes in the literature regarding efficient practice of musical instruments.

Students were required to find an article (ideally, an article on Soprano Recorder Instrument practice) through an over-night assignment. They were to write a summary of the article’s content and describe how the article related to their own practice of instruments. Additionally, students examined the article to see if it enhanced their understanding of different music education methods and pedagogy.

The activity was successful in several ways. The students received an opportunity to be exposed to the literature on musical instrument practice. They had the opportunity to see if their method of practice was actually one discussed by authors in the music education field. Students were exposed to various teaching methodologies in addition to a variety of practice methods in the literature. Students also were able to share their summary and findings with their peers in both small groups (n=10) and large groups (n=30) settings.

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