Approaches to learning and performance of expert and novice musicians
This research considered the teaching and learning of music in the light of relevant psychological models with a view to informing both research and practice. Carroll's (1963) model of learning was tested using 109 violin/viola pupils aged 6-16 years. Measures relating to tim required for learning and time spent learning were regressed on independent measures of learning outcome. A multiple R of .902 (p=.0000) was obtained. The variables included in the final equation were: time learning (beta weight .796), teachers rating of ability to understand instructions (.199), Mill Hill Vocabulary grade (.172) and Bentley Test Music Grade (.167). This clear demonstration of the importance of time in learning music led to further investigation exploring the nature of the development of individual expertise. Three groups were compared: twenty two professional musicians, 6 advanced students and 49 novices. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to investigate approaches to interpretation, practice, memorisation and performance. The students and novices, aged 6 to 18 were also recorded both practising and performing a short piece. Current models were analysed and evaluated for their goodness of fit to the data. These included the formulations of Pask (1976b), Biggs and Collis (1982), Perry (1970), Marton and Saljo (1976a,b), Entwistle et al (1979b), Sloboda (1985), and Luria (1970). The results reinforced the greater explanatory value of these multivariate orientation models over older single construct models. However, while each illuminated aspects of the learning and performance of expert and novice musicians, none alone were able to provide an adequate explanation. The data showed that a better explanation was obtained when orientation to learning was seen to include measures of planning and arousal. The study also monitored changes in approach to learning occurring as part of the actual development of expertise.