Student/teacher interaction in the one-to-one piano lesson
The subject of this thesis is student/teacher interaction in the one-to-one piano lesson. As well as analysing lesson interaction itself, this research also considers the influences and effects of this behaviour. Two longitudinal studies monitored pupil/teacher dyads over a two-year period, and found that interaction changes very little over time beyond a small increase in relaxation which was more evident through participant report than observation. Five short study dyads, involving five undergraduate students an d three teachers were each recorded over a series of piano lessons. Using multiple sources of evidence, three perspectives were explored, that of the observer, the teacher and the student. Analysis focussed on five specific topics; student learning, student communication, influences on teaching, teachers' use of gesture and movement, and how teachers respond to the needs of their students. The primary conclusion drawn from these studies is that the student/teacher relationship and lesson behaviour is asymmetrical, teacher-dominated and formulaic. This style is teacher promoted, student supported and influenced by previous experiences. Lesson routine is based on improving performance skills through the study of individual pieces and involves three steps - student performance, teacher assessment and advice. Student performance is the primary medium by which they communicate their ideas and progress, and from which teachers identify the students' needs. Strengths (teaching content and imaginative methods of delivery) and weaknesses (students' passivity, frustration and teachers' lack of understanding) were evident in the lessons at the tertiary level and the teacher-dominated approach is seen as inappropriate for students at this level. It is suggested that a more student-directed lesson style would improve learning and lesson interaction, and prepare students better for a future of independent music making.