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Title: Key signature pedagogy : an exploration of instrumental music teaching and learning in Ireland : 'fascinating laboratory' or 'deviant tradition'?
Author: Taaffe, Kay
ISNI:       0000 0004 5357 4665
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This study examines pedagogy and assessment in instrumental education in Ireland. It arises from a concern that instrumental teaching and learning have remained situated in a 'black box', operating outside of mainstream education, and have not benefitted from the research and theory which have influenced other areas of education. Using Shulman‘s (2005) framework of 'signature pedagogy', the data enable a rich description of instrumental pedagogy in practice. The study explores how this pedagogy is shaped by assessment processes, and questions if current pedagogical practices meet the needs, aspirations and expectations of students, teachers, parents and examiners. The influence of institutions, such as examination boards and conservatoires, on practice is considered. It is argued that Key Signature Pedagogy is congruent with Bernstein's 'performance' pedagogical model (1996) and is determined by institutions which have historically regulated instrumental education for professional purposes. A pragmatic research methodology is employed using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Data are obtained by questionnaires completed by parents, semi-structured interviews with teachers and examiners, and a focus group with students. The data suggest that certain unchanged cultural rituals characterise instrumental education in Ireland. Teachers‘ pedagogical practices are influenced by their experiences as students, and the nature of their professional preparation may account for varying levels of agency, adaptability and openness to new ideas in teaching. Parents enrol their children for altruistic reasons, emphasising enjoyment, social interaction, personal and academic development. However, a high stakes examination system impacts on what is taught in lessons and how it is taught, resulting in a culture of performativity. Many factors impact on students' engagement in instrumental lessons, but the prevailing rituals of Key Signature Pedagogy frequently do not sustain students' musical or wider interests. The study concludes with a proposal for a new framework for instrumental teaching, learning and assessment, based on Bernstein's 'competence' model (1996).
Supervisor: Jones, Jane Yelka; Maguire, Margaret Mary Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available