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Instrumental and vocal teaching: how do music students learn to teach?

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Publication details

JournalBritish Journal of Music Education
DatePublished - Mar 2009
Issue number1
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)57-70
Original languageEnglish


A survey of final-year music students at the University of York for the Investigating Musical Performance research project(1) found that 45% (23 of the 51 students in the year group) regularly gave instrumental or vocal lessons. Semi-structured interviews with 16 students revealed a range of teaching activities including workshop leading, one-to-one lessons and group teaching. This paper examines the attitudes of the nine students engaged in giving instrumental(2) lessons and explores their development as teachers and their understanding of some of the key concepts of teaching and learning. Findings suggest that students learned to teach through increased experience rather than formal training, and although they were enthusiastic, reporting benefits to their own learning and performing, they could have been more pro-active regarding their development as teachers and more resourceful in their approaches towards lesson content and materials, strategies relating to modelling and motivation and the teaching of practice techniques. Increased provision of support and training opportunities could be made by Higher Education institutions, by giving students feedback regarding their effectiveness as teachers, opportunities to discuss their teaching, and enabling learning through mentoring partnerships with more experienced teachers.

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