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Title: Learning to play Scots fiddle : an adult learning perspective
Author: Campbell, Katherine
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis examines how adults learn to play Scots fiddle. It focuses on a group of adults who are members of an intermediate-standard fiddle class in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. The class is part of the wider contemporary phenomenon in Scotland whereby traditional music is being taught on the fiddle and other instruments in evening classes, workshops and residential courses. Although the current investigation is located within the field of ethnomusicology, insights are also drawn from modern adult learning theory. A review of related literature reveals that, hitherto, studies which have considered settings in which traditional music is formally taught have often chosen to focus on the role of the teacher. As a consequence, considerable emphasis has been given to the concept of transmission. I argue here, however, that the ethnomusicologists' prevailing view of transmission as a transfer of information from a teacher to those being taught may not be the most appropriate framework through which to consider learning, and particularly so where adult learners are concerned. If we are to deepen our understanding of how people learn to play traditional music, we need to understand in greater depth the learner's perspective. The results of the study shed significant insights into the complexity of practice and the importance of this activity for learning the fiddle. The findings also highlight the variable and individual nature of the learning process. In turn, this underlines the inadequacy of the traditionally held view of transmission as a framework for understanding how instrumental skills are taught and learned. The implications arising from this investigation for conceptual understanding in ethnomusicology, adult music education and the formal tuition of traditional music in Scotland are discussed, and topics for further research are indicated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available