We’ve accomplished so much in the realm piano pedagogy over the decades. So many fine teachers, fine books, and fine pedagogical piano literature.
The music education community can tout similar advancements, and yet we piano teachers tend to know so little of them. We know little of the theories and recent research regarding music learning, and of the approaches music educators use in the school systems. Does anyone else find it odd?
There seems to be a certain degree of separation between the worlds of piano pedagogy and music education. We don’t interact much. We took separate courses while in college. We have separate professional organizations.
Do we piano pedagogues consider ourselves under the same umbrella as music educators?
Even better, do we perhaps consider piano study to have at least some degree of overlap with music education?
Or perhaps could we consider piano study to be more of a lens, whereby we see one’s music education as something that can be demonstrated through piano proficiency?
The more I study MLT (Music Learning Theory), the more aware I am of the gulf we have tended to create each within ourselves — our piano teacher selves and our music educator selves.
We piano teachers do not always think about the underlying music education part. As a whole, we piano teachers tend to focus our learning objectives on piano playing ability at the expense of addressing the student’s level of musical understanding.
We piano teachers might be good at the piano part. But are we really so good at the music part? Do we truly understand how music is learned?
Don’t we have much in common with music educators? Wouldn’t it benefit us piano teachers to identify more deeply as music educators? Wouldn’t there be much to benefit from more interaction with the music education community?
I’m directing these questions to myself as much as to you.
What if we piano teachers truly embraced our role as music educators? And what if we spent time to together rethinking what it means to be a piano teacher?
It’s time for conversation. We have much to talk about.
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Interested in learning more about getting at that underlying musical understanding? Stay tuned for future blog posts exploring what “audiation” is and how we can teach it.
Leave a comment: Do you feel that your own piano study experience involved mostly addressing piano playing skills, or also that underlying musical understanding?