Music Education Special Interest Group
Research Seminar Announcement
The private world of public master classes: instrumental sub-cultures and gendered perspectives on excellence
Dr. Marion Long
Date: 17th October 2011
Time: 12.30 – 1.30
Further details from Lucy Green, firstname.lastname@example.org
All are welcome
Public master classes provide students with an opportunity to both perform in front of colleagues, teachers and the public and to receive feedback on their performance from a master musician, selected for their musical expertise in a particular musical repertoire. The master musician is perceived to possess an exceptional blend of musical knowledge derived from firstly a distinguished musical career as a high profile performer and secondly in most but not all instances, a rigorous training in the values and methods of a particular musical tradition.
Recent research by Hanken (2008) has identified that master classes are relatively complex forms of learning in which the traditional master-apprentice pedagogic model expands to incorporate an audience. The presence of the audience of colleagues, faculty teachers and the public creates a particularly pressurised learning environment which tests an individual student's ability to perform convincingly. This audience can be described as 'informed' because it typically brings to this arena a shared awareness of the conventions of the musical style, and a specialised knowledge of a particular musical instrument or voice. The master musician judges the performance and provides positive, constructive or negative feedback, reflecting an expectation that the student will strive to master and to transcend the structural formalities and stylistic conventions relevant to the music that they have performed.
A team of researchers from the Institute of Education and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama have investigated 373 conservatoire students' experiences and perceptions of various types of master class, collected in a questionnaire and analysed using quantitative and qualitative approaches. Students' performing experiences of public master classes were found to differ significantly according to their principal instrument of study. Further differences involving students' experiences as members of the audience reflected combined factors of principal instrument of study, gender and year at college. In particular these findings indicated that perspective taking on the concept of musical excellence was articulated through gender. A discussion of these findings will examine firstly, the extent to which students' performing and listening experiences and perceptions of public master classes were to some extent predetermined by intrinsically exclusive or inclusive attitudes towards music and secondly, the implications for the reproduction of musical sub-cultures and gendered perspectives on excellence in schools as music students take up positions as instrumental music teachers.
MARION LONG completed her PhD in Psychology of Education at the Institute of Education University of London, UK. Her PhD examined the effect of a music intervention on the temporal organisation of children's reading behaviour. She is involved in several research studies across a range of topics.