Announcements, improving as a teacher

Upcoming Poster Session @ Mich. Music Conference

Remember that improvisation paper for school that I’m been mentioning here and there?  Well, I’ve been accepted to present my research findings at the poster session on January 22 as part of the 2009 Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan!  I don’t know if any of you Michiganders out there are planning on attending the conference, but if you are, please drop by during the meet-the-author session at 10:30 and say hello!

What follows is my abstract, which gives you a sneak peak into what the upcoming series about improvisation will discuss (starting tomorrow!):

Incorporating Improvisation into Piano Pedagogy
and other music education settings with Western classical music
by Joy Morin

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate a practical method for incorporating improvisation into piano pedagogy and other music education settings with Western classical music. Research reveals a decline in the use of improvisation in performance and pedagogy settings throughout history, accompanied by an increasing trend that favors accurate, literal renditions of music scores. The value of improvisation will be discussed: (1) that improvisation provides a way for musicians to be creative and express individuality; (2) that improvisation appeals to both the audience and the performer; and (3) that improvisation strengthens the connection between theory and practice for the developing musician.  The proposed method for incorporating improvisation is in answer to the common obstacles that music educators commonly face, lack of time, resources, or training, and is based around the idea that rather than teaching improvisation as a separate entity from other areas of teaching, improvisation can be incorporated into private lessons as a way to introduce and reinforce concepts that the student is already being taught in the lesson.  In consideration of this method, four recommendations for teachers will be made: (1) developing related skills in the student; (2) creating a conducive atmosphere for the student to improvise; (3) using improvisation as a way to introduce new musical concepts; and (4) conducting improvisation sessions that are a combination of musical concepts.  Although most of what is discussed in this paper is specific towards private piano teaching, implications for other music educators will be made.

(c) 2010 Joy Morin

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