Th 2013 July 25 @ 10am – Panel Discussion: A Conversion with Pedagogy Leaders from Around the World, moderated by Andrew Hisey.
Panel members included Elissa Milne, Gulimina Mahamuti, Ratko Delorko, Irina Voro, Seung-Ji Ryu, Janet Lopinski, Claudia Deltragia, and one other speaker from Argentina (who was not listed in the program).
What is the status of pedagogy around the world?
Australia is an exam culture – students and parents expect to take exams. When the exam board makes a change, teachers pay attention. The board recently made some changes to promote contemporary music, so teachers are using a lot of contemporary music. Australia is moving to a repertoire rich teaching approach rather than teaching only competition pieces all year. Australia is a country of innovators and they don’t respect authority very much.
Chinese piano pedagogy is blooming. Chinese culture experiences hyper competition, great parental devotion due to the one-child policy, and a rising middle class which can afford pianos. The result is significant parental involvement. Many children practice 5-6 hours a day with a practice supervisor. Half of the audiences at concerts are children. Music exams are on the rise and are considered important for evaluating progress. Music making has changed somewhat into a exam passing business. Not many teachers attend conferences or interact with other teachers around the world.
Germany is small but has many musicians. There are over 150 symphonies, which are supported by the government. Most cities have public music schools of good quality. The quality previously was not high, but the rise of private studios increased the competition and caused the quality to rise. The over 80 universities are creating concert pianists without work, who become frustrated teachers who produce frustrated students. The hope for the future is that students and teachers will realize that not every student needs to become a concert pianist.
Argentina. State supported music schools, European conservatory model. Exams help provide structured goals and complete education. State support is not always consistent. The system tries to produce concert pianists but often fails. There is nothing for older beginners. The system produces musicians with little education in pedagogy. There are very few independent music teachers because the state schools are free.
Russia is a very large country where the music system is perfected to a near ideal situation. Every detail is carefully structured. Every child receives an hour of private lessons in addition to a general music class. Gifted or music focus children receive another 5-6 hours of music focused classes. Those who move can easily transfer to other schools. Schooling is free or nearly so. It is a great program from those who wish to become music professionals. The system does not aid those who do not. The system is starting to die, however, due to lack of interest in becoming a concert pianist in children. There is also a lack of funding so the schools are trying to find other sources of income. Schools do not teach children how to be creative or derive joy from the creative process, so she suggested that this in the future should become the value of teaching music.
In Korea, the interest in pedagogy has been increasing since the 1980’s. Universities are beginning to offer Masters and Doctoral degrees in pedagogy degrees. Most colleges offer one or two semesters of pedagogy for undergrad piano majors. The age of beginner students is getting younger and the number of senior citizen piano students is also increasing. There are many private music institutions as well as independent teachers. The number of public schools beginning to offer music classes is also increasing. There is a piano teachers association that sponsors an annual national conference. Research in piano pedagogy is increasing.
Brazil. International pianist Guiomar Novaes inspired the younger generation. The European conservatory model is present. There are also many independent teachers. Anyone can teach, even without a degree. Pianos are expensive. There are few published materials due to a lack of intellectual property laws.
Canada. The population is around 35 million. Around 54% are or have been engaged in music lessons in some form. The examination system is central. The Royal Conservatory has been setting the standard and shaping pedagogy for over 125 years. The goal is to realize human potential through music and the arts. Having this path is helpful to young teachers and parents. The assessments require well-rounded repertoire, Etudes, and technical exercises. The completed assessments are accepted as high school credits. The danger is that this path can potentially stifle creativity. Conferences encourage teachers to expand beyond the exam requirements.
Wishes for the future of pedagogy:
– That teachers would meet students where they are rather than only imposing the teachers’ expectations to the student.
– That great pianists will again be recognized by the public.
– That lessons are more accessible for all students and provide them with skills they can use throughout their lives.
What kind of cultural ambassador roles should teachers take in the future?
– That teachers look to the past and ask themselves what they can learn from the past.
– That we keep the joy of music making alive. We are the bearers of the beautiful. This will bring us together.
– That we search out music from all nationalities for our students to play.