CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS IN GEORGIA By KENDRA GANNAWAY SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE: DR. PETER R. WEBSTER, CHAIR DR. TERESE THOHEY , MEMBER A PROJECT IN LIEU OF THESIS PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF THE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF MUSIC UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2014
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 2 Abstract This study sought to learn if, how, and to what extent independent piano teachers in the state of Georgia incorporate composition, imp rovisation, creative listening, and interpretation in one on one piano lessons. The study found that within the educated and more experienced piano teacher respondents, these creative thinking activities were perceived as being included to a large degree i n piano teaching practices . However, based on three judges' review of respondent statements, it was found that these types of divergent thinking skill development activities were implemented with limited scope and depth. Keywords: creativity, creative th inking, divergent thinking, independent piano teacher, studio teaching, composition, improvisation, creative listening, interpretation
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 3 Dedication To my sons Christopher and Harry, and to my sisters Leni and Tomi
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 4 Acknowledgements I wish t o express sincere gratitude to Dr. Peter Webster as he agreed to take on the daunting task as my adviser and expertly guided and directed me, as well as serving as a source of supreme inspiration to me in a wonderfully kind and generous manner. I also wish to thank Dr. Terese Tuohey for her experienced guidance and support as a member of my committee. Others who provided the most superb of teaching , guidance, and wisdom in this journey, whom I also thank, are Dr. Keith Thompson and Mr. Ralph Hayes. My class mates throughout the program were a constant source of support; I could not have completed this were it not for them, so Thank You, fellow classmates! Also providing superb teaching and had immense patience for me throughout the entirety of my graduate stu dies has been Dr. William Bauer, to whom I express great gratitude. Finally, I wish to thank my family.
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 5 Creative Practices of Independent Piano Teachers in Georgia The central question of this study was how independent piano teachers, those with no inst itutional affiliation, perceive of and incorporate creative thinking skills into their everyday teaching practices. This study sought a deeper understanding of the practices, the prevalence of these practices, and perhaps the underlying philosophies of ind ependent piano teachers regarding student centered creative thinking skills. To that end, the reader is guided through relevant literature on the topics of creative thinking in music. In addition, an introduction to related literature in the areas of priva te piano study is presented; the social aspect of private teaching, the emphasis on performance and competition, and the nature of pedagogical training of independent music teachers and how these may affect teacher attitudes and philosophies regarding thei r approach to creative thinking activities is be considered. Using an online survey, the specific research questions which were first considered for this study were as follows: 1. To what extent do independent piano teachers incorporate creative thinking acti vities in their teaching practices? 2. What is the relationship between educational background and inclusion of creative thinking activities? 3. What is the relationship between membership in professional organizations and inclusion of creative thinking activiti es? 4. What is the relationship between regular participation in competitive events and inclusion of creative thinking activities?
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 6 Su bsequently, a follow up interview with respondents was designed to explore the following questions: 1. How do independent piano t eachers understand student centered creative thinking activities? 2. What may be discovered about independent piano teachers' personal teaching philosophies regarding the inclusion of creative thinking activities in their practice? 3. How do the results from the se interviews help to further explain and/or clarify the data? Need and Review of Literature In this review of literature, the reader will be introduced to the larger meaning and the urgency of the incorporation of creative thinking skills in children thr ough one on one piano study. Secondly, this review will identify a working definition of creative thinking skills for purposes of this study. Finally, the topics of musical experiences in composition, improvisation, listening, and interpretation in perform ance as practiced by independent piano teachers in the literature are explored. Lack of Research and Clarit y of Meaning While there is much empirical research on pedagogical approached to developing meaningful creative exchanges with children in school se ttings, there has been little empirical research as to how creative thinking development skills are practiced Ã‘ if at all Ã‘ in the independent music teacher's studio private lesson. The absence of such research has been noted frequently in the literature (Chap pell, 1999; Elgersma, 2012; McPhee, 2011; Meichang, 2010).
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 7 The general view is that "Piano pedagogy is still in its infancy as a field of research, as is studio teaching in general" (Jacques, 2006, p. 13). Meichang (2010) compiled an analysis of 457 maste rs and doctoral research studies completed in the area of piano pedagogy between 1951 through 2008. Of the 457 research studies, only eight belonged to the category of private piano tuition and "only three studies are specifically and exclusively devoted t o private piano study" (p. 111). Further convoluting the dearth of research in the field of private piano study is the historic metamorphosis of what is meant by "creative skills." Prior to about 1980, the term creative skills for pianists included trans position, harmonization, accompaniment, improvisation, and composition (Lyke & Enoch, 1987). In their most recent edition of the textbook for tertiary piano pedagogy for undergraduates, Lyke, Haydon, & Rollin (2011), devote only seven pages of the 608 page text discussing one creative process Ã‘ elementary composition for the young pianist. Contemporary understanding of creative processes in music include improvisation, listening, composition, and thoughtful interpretation (Webster, 1994). However, in Lyke, Ha ydon, and Rollin's text, these topics are not included. Even with the general understanding among music educators that "creativity" is somehow important, a complete understanding of exactly what comprises creative skills remains elusive and sometimes misu nderstood. For example, engaging in the activity of transposition or "filling in the missing note" of a familiar melody may not enhance divergent thinking skills which are the heart of any truly creative activity. Why Is This Important? The research liter ature is highly populated with results of a multitude of studies showing that musical achievement, enhanced motivation, and the actualization of more sophisticated
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 8 musical skills results from regular engagement in creative thinking activi ties ( Brenner & St rand, 2013; Faulkner & Coates, 2011; Odena, 2012). Gowan, Khatena, and Torrance (1981) stated: "The development of more creative talent in our country is not an education frill, but a central issue in the preservation of our culture" (p. xiv). Torrance (19 81) continued this inveterate insistence in his own chapter of this volume when he stated: "The development of the creative thinking abilities is at the very heart of the achievement of even the most fundamental education objectives, even the acquisition o f the three R's" (p. 99). With the continued tendency to reduce and restrict music educators in our school systems and since piano study outranks all other instruments in terms of the percentage of children who engage in one on one instrumental or vocal s tudy (Duke, Flowers, & Wolfe, 1997), one is likely to surmise that piano instruction is a logical environment for the practice and enhancement of creative thinking skills (Mitchell, 2011). Uszler (1996) estimated that 10 percent of children study piano wit h an independent piano teacher in the United States (p. 20). The literature strongly supports the importance of the inclusion of creative thinking activities from the very first piano lesson (Chappell, 1999; Truman, 2011; Young, 2011). In fact, it has been suggested that beginning piano students require the most highly trained and experienced independent piano teachers in order to establish proper basic technique and pianistic habits (Jacques, 2006). A significant number of these children will experience pi ano study as their only introduction to the practice of music, for better or worse (Duke, Flowers, & Wolfe, 1997). Thus, it stands to reason that the expertise of the independent piano teacher regarding the infusion of creative thinking skills in each less on has become an issue of verisimilar importance in our society. This study sought to explore the question of whether or not a selected sample of independent piano teachers
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 9 engage students in creative thinking skills, and if so, to what extent, and how the se teachers include such skills in their teaching practices. Definition of Creativity Interest in creativity in all domains has virtually erupted since the advent of "modern creativity research" (Sawyer, 2012, p. 4) in the1950s and 1960s. During this time pe riod, the formal definition of creativity in music has dramatically morphed as well. However, the entanglement of issues surrounding the desire to accurately describe creative thinking has been complicated . The field of creativity is vast and definition s abound based on the field or domain under discussion. Even within the domain of music, exactly how to describe creative activities and skills in music remains a controversial issue. One method of clarification is to approach this problem through two pos sible avenues: (1) scholarly work Ã‘ often centered around philosophical matters; and (2) discussions regarding divergent and convergent thinking. For purposes of this study, I have followed the excellent direction of eminent scholars in the field by choosing to view creativity as "creative thinking skills" as the latter phrase "place[s] the emphasis on the process itself and on its role in music teaching and learning" (Webster, 1990b, p. 22). For purposes of this study, we will consider creative thinking skil ls as musical experiences that primarily fall within the four areas of composition, improvisation, listening, and thoughtful approaches to interpretation in performance (Webster, 1990b). Within the field of creativity, creative thinking skills are those th at enhance the development and use of divergent thinking skills (Webster, 1989). Current scholarly thinking. In the realm of current scholarly thought, Barrett (2012) iterated the persistence of verbiage on the topic quite succinctly when she stated: "In short,
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 10 definitions of creativity are not fixed, and are subject to challenge" (p. 55). Brenner and Strand (2013), in their case study exploring several individual music teachers' methods of teaching expressivity in music, asked the teachers to define creat ivity. What they found was that "The teachers defined creativity as personal decision making through use of imagination and/or personality, a process that involved risk taking and imagination" (Brenner & Strand, p. 85). As Barrett (2011) so pointedly stat ed regarding the fluid nature of current scholarly thinking regarding definitions of creativity in music, there persists a multitude of terminological variat ions. Adding confusion, in the literature there is a duality of two referential points of viewing c reativity: "creativity with a capital C , the kind that changes some aspect of the culture" (Csikszentmilalyi, 1996, p. 27), more colloquially known in scholarly circles as the Big C ; and the little c , which refers to creativity in the everyday sense. Sawye r (2012) in his rigorous exploration of creativity in all domains posits two separate definitions as well. First, the "Individualist definition: Creativity is a new mental combination that is expressed in the world" (p. 7). Second, the "Sociocultural defin ition: Creativity is the generation of a product that is judged to be novel and also to be appropriate, useful, or valuable by a suitably knowledge able social group" (p. 8). Webster (1990b) advanced music educators' thinking in his classic article "Creati vity as C reati ve T hinking" in which he presented a model of creative thinking in music that describes product intentions, process, and the products themselves. Through a discussion of each aspect of the detailed model, he maintained that sets of enabling s kills and conditions are necessary aspects of producing creative products. Webster asserted that, although many elements required for creative thinking in music may be a result of experience, the "transfer of these abilities into the mosaic of creative thi nking does not often occur naturally" (p. 24). Perhaps most importantly,
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 11 Webster stated what might be the most salient point, "that creative thinking is part of the total curriculum effort and should not be viewed as just a classroom activity" (p. 24). As with any discipline, practitioners are more thoughtfully prepared for practical experience by exploring personal philosophical groundings. Younker (2014) presented the idea of sustainability when she suggested "our ability to nourish the arts is only poss ible if we have a clear vision and understanding of the value for musical experiences" (p. 21). Particularly when considering a major shift in focus, such as the actualization of creative thinking activities infused into an individual piano study curriculu m, each teacher must delve into their deeper selves and consid er the philosophical perspective as Reimer (1970) suggested here: Without the larger view, without a continually deepening sense of the inherent value of one's work, it is very easy to begin to operate at the level of daily problems with little regard for their larger contextÃ‰ Having lost a sense of purpose, which was perhaps not very strong to begin with, the teacher begins to doubt his value as a professional and as an individual. (p. 6) Indeed , many scholars express disappointment with the continued prevalence of the master/apprentice model which is the basis of most one to one individual music teaching (Karlsson & Juslin, 2008; McPhee, 2011; Sturm, James, Jackson, & Burns, 2000) for the primar y reason that this approach includes little, if any, encouragement of individual creative thinking abilities (Bolden, 2014; Welch, Ockelford, & Cross, 2012). Convergent and divergent thinking. In seeking the definition of creative thinking, it is necessar y to consider notions of convergent and divergent thinking. Webster, in his 1989 conference presentation, provided us with the axiomatic connection of these two types of thinking and creative thinking skills when he stated:
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 12 creative thinking in music [can be defined] as a dynamic process of alternation between convergent and divergent musical thinking, moving in stages over time, enabled by certain skills (both innate and learned), and by certain conditions, and resulting in a final product. (p. 29) [bold i n original] Convergent thinking describes the search for a single correct solution to a problem whereas divergent thinking describes the ability to imagine many, often diverse, solutions (Fairfield, 2010). Baer (1996) maintained that a multitude of researc h studies has shown that divergent thinking training enhance divergent thinking abilities, but that divergent skills associated with creativity are perhaps domain or even task specific; therefore, the transfer of divergent thinking training may be limited (p. 183). Dudek and Verreault (1997) found that children who performed well "on divergent thinking tests appear to be emotionally open and free to express their individuality" (p. 321). It is clear to scholars, researchers and many music educators that the approaches teachers take to any given musical problem greatly influences the development of divergent thinking abilities in children (Webster, 1993). Creative Thinking Skills Although rigorous and verbose definitions of creativity in music abound, schola rs seem to have arrived at a consensus of sorts regarding how creativity presents in musical terms. Most agree that there are four primary centers of engagement in music: (1) composition, (2) improvisation, (3) interpretation in performance, and (4) listen ing (Bolden, 2014; Webster, 1994). Composition. Perhaps an obvious avenue of application of creative thinking skills is composition. However, the pedagogy of music composition is largely not considered in the curriculum of the piano performance or pedago gy major Ã‘ or even the music education major Ã‘
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 13 in their formal studies in college or university (Bailes & Bishop, 20120; Katz & Gardner, 2012). In their 2011 (4 th edition) text for piano pedagogy majors, Lyke, Haydon, & Rollin (2011) include a chapter entitled "Elementary Composition for the Young Pianist" by Lee Evans (p. 85 92). However, this and few other pages in this 617 paged text leads one to believe that creative skills such as composition, improvisation, and listening skills are a neglected part of a c ollegiate trained piano teacher Ã‘ from teaching beginners through graduate school. The fact remains that composition is peripheral to piano lessons for most teachers (Smith, 2014). For those independent piano teachers who do endeavor to include compositiona l activities in their teaching practices, each of these teachers manifests a unique approach to composition with each individual student Ã‘ how could it be otherwise? Webster (2012) referred to this phenomenon when he stated: "I marvel at how so many children have different starting places for composition and there is no one right way to begin" (p. 94). Once composition renders in the piano lesson, the delicate aspect of revision, of guiding students to engage in more fully developing their skill becomes at i ssue as well. The compositional aspect of revision lies almost solely in the individual teacher's purview and once again we encounter a pedagogical issue of lack of teacher training (Webster, 2003). However, revision is a necessary appurtenance of composit ion. As We bster (2012) discussed here : We know from [the research in the areas of art education and writing] that children may not naturally gravitate to revision, largely because they do not have proper diagnostic skills. Children can revise and can do so very well, but they must be taught to do it and to do it regularly. (p. 98) It stands to reason that for the small percentage of independent piano teachers who do infiltrate their teaching practices and philosophies with creative thinking skill developmen t activities such
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 14 as composition find their students' overall musical skills more facile (Honea, 2008; Plude, 1996; Webster, 1990a). Improvisation. "Some [piano] teachers, though they support the idea of improvisational experience, feel inadequate when tr ying to implement this creative form of expression" (Lyke, 1987, p. 138). We again encounter the recurrent theme of the lack of pedagogical training and the reflection of that void in the literature when discussing improvisation in individual piano lessons (Laughlin, 2004). According to Rogers (1999), "Improvisation is rarely an integral part of traditional piano study" (p. 1). Indeed, even after many years of private study, a pianist may be well equipped to perform standard Western classical literature wh ile simultaneously being unabl e to improvise even a simple 12 bar blues (Mitchell, 2011). Woosley (2012) stated very pointedly the need for this skill for pianists when he discussed the avoidance and discomfort when faced with the prospect of teaching comp osition or improvisation, therefore, it "should become a regular part of a classical pianist's training" (p. ii). However, if the piano teacher finds discomfort in the idea of including improvisation in their teaching practices, this very discomfort precl udes the ineluctably unfettered environment that must be created in order for a student to be able to improvise (Mitchell, 2011; Westney, 2005). A student must feel that they are in an open and nonjudgmental atmosphere in order to improvise ( Goswami, 1999; Mitchell, 2011; Young, 2011). Performance. Thoughtful approaches to interpreting music of other composers remains the primary avenue of creative thinking activities for most piano teachers. In this aspect of independent piano teaching are copious volumes dedicated to describing in great detail the rules of interpretation of standard Western art music, these rules being typically referred to as
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 15 "common practice." Gabrielsson (2003), in his updated review of literature on the topic of music performance, "co nfirms the impression that music performance research is in a very active stage" (p. 221). Even so, there remains a delicate balance in the arena of performing in a creative manner, as Fitzpatrick pointed to when asserting that performers today are "consid ered absurd or obnoxious" if they do not adhere closely to common practice, while simultaneously being expected to "inject originality into his or her interpretation" lest is become a tedious chore to be a listener (2014, p. 207). There is no argument am ong scholars and practitioners that a creative approach to more thoughtful interpretations of standard Western art music remains im portant. What remains suspect are the driven independent piano teacher s who view their student population as their own vehicl e for validation th rough highly competitive events. A great deal of importance seems to be placed on their students regularly placing or win ning competitions. At the most basic level, these teachers seem to be unfocused as to a philosophical base from whic h to develop each of their individual students' ways of knowing music as an art (Persson, 1996). Webster (1993) referred to this phenomenon, lamenting that "it is such a pervasive view among parents, the media, and the populace in general that the professi on seems trapped into accepting this narrow view of music education" (p. 35). Listening. Relatively new as a category of its own regarding creativity thinking is the act of listening. Peterson (2006) wrote a rigorous position that vociferously asserted li stening as an integral part of the creative process: Although listening is included as one among a list of other activities, listening is really at the heart of all musical activity, because musical activity of any kind invariably involves attention to sou nd through listening. (p. 15).
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 16 Researchers in the field of creative thinking in music have embraced listening as a product of creative activity (Hargreaves, Hargreaves, & North, 2012). Campbell (2005), in her article "Deep Listening to the Musical World," introduced a pedagogy of listening where listening is the main activity and is developed in order to make a pathway toward new musical experiences (p. 32). Francis (1992) suggested that by helping students develop their listening skills, it may "spark the creative process" (p. 37), but that this is often neglected in individual piano study. Woody (2004) discussed the "primary purpose of music" as being "the communication of expression and emotion, teaching to improve sensitivities in students' listening sk ills can provide lifelong benefits to students" (p. 32). Not only can creative listening skills be developed for the lifelong benefits to students of instrumental music study, but these skills can be immediately implemented to further the overall musician ship of the student through the means of careful and purposeful listening, not only to what others perform, but what the individual piano student creates (Campbell, 2005; Francis, 1992; Johnson & Koga, 2006). Attributed to the rapid developments in the fie ld of cognitive science, the act of listening to music has transformed from being primarily thought of as an inert and disengaged activity to one that is viewed as the listener responding in an engaged and thoughtful manner (Kerchner, 2014). The Nature of Independent Piano Teaching The social aspect. Context is integral when considering creative thinking process or product. The nature of creative activities is inherently social, although popular notions of creativity have historically been viewed as solita ry in nature (Young, 2011). However, Young specifically called on teachers to insert themselves into the creative worlds of children in order to
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 17 involve themselves in a student's search of their emotional selves so as to provoke imagination for purposes of authentic and o riginal music interpretation. The requisite social setting of teachers guiding students in what teachers perceive to be creative activities to enhance creative thinking skills is fraught with difficulties in teacher student interactions (M itchell, 2011). Sometimes unaware that they are hindering rather than encouraging creativity, teachers can Ã‘ and often do Ã‘ quash creativity in their students (Goswami, 1999; Riggs, 2007). According to Gowan, Khatena, and Torrance (1981, p. xi), teachers contr ol much of the physical, emotional, and mental environs in which students might otherwise indulge in the type of risk taking behavior that necessitates creative outputs. Privacy of the studio teaching setting. In order to discover how and to what extent i ndependent piano teachers include creative thinking activities in their regular teaching practices, the researcher must tread with care, given the history of the nature of the student teacher relationship as well as the privacy of the teaching studio. When a student crosses the threshold of their private teacher's studio, that which is experienced remains somewhat of a mystery; in fact, this venue is often treated with a certain sense of privacy that is not spoken of freely (Jacques, 2006; Persson, 1996). H allam (1998) stated that "what goes on in individual instrumental lessons is largely hidden from view. We know relatively little about the ways in which instrumental music teachers interact with their pupils" (p. 229). W hat transpires in a private studio l esson is often treated with tepidity, the underlying assumption being that what transpires within the intimate teacher student relationship must be held with the highest regard and secrecy (Jaques, 2006; Persson, 1996). In a search of the literature, the re are numerous articles, dissertations, and theses lauding the pedagogical mastery of eminent teachers of piano performance. However, upon careful
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 18 examination of these articles, a common theme emerges : that even the great performers themselves did not con sider themselves to be adequate teachers until several years of experience teaching, much of that being by trial and error (Schneider, 1923; Uszler, Gordon, & Smith, 2000). Meichang (2010) eschewed this practice of pedagogics holding in awe the methods of such expert piano teachers by pointing to the obvious oversight that these educators "primarily present traditional, performance oriented or conservatoire oriented teaching philosophies and practices" (p. 147). Chronister (2001) also discussed the erroneou s pervasive assumption that a great performer must equate to a great teacher. It is with these considerations in mind that the methodology of the study was designed. By elic iting voluntary and anonymous e mail responses and only asking respondents ten ques tions, one of them being open ended, it was reasoned that this would be perceived to be of little or no threat to the independent piano teacher . To explore in further detail, the second part of the study was designed to personally interview volunteers from the sample. It was assumed that this method would elicit the richest responses and, aside from invading the studio itself during lessons, was the methodology thought to produce the most in depth data. Therefore, in an effort to accurately depict how indep endent teachers understand student centered creative activities and their personal teaching philosophies, this study solicited the individual piano teacher's reflections of their private studio. Emphasis on performance and competition. The teacher centere d approach to individual piano study leads us to the imbalance of learning various performance skills as opposed to a focus on enhancing divergent thinking abilities ( Francis, 1992; Speer, 1994; Webster, 1993). Albergo (1988) asserted that "competitions ca n not help but influence the objectives of those teachers involved" (p. 49). Greer (2001) suggested that independent piano
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 19 teachers alter their approaches to teaching by focusing on creative activities, forcing teachers to engage in more than idly moving t hrough a method book series (p. 32). Despite understanding among parents and music educators regarding the importance of creative thinking skill development, teachers continue to experience difficulty in actually implementing creative thinking activities ( Webster, 1990a). In the private piano studio, this may be a result of over emphasis on outcomes of judged events, whether competitive or not (Chappell, 1999; Mitchell, 2011; Webster, 1993). Education and training of independent music teachers. Because thi s study sought to explore any relationship between the educational background of the independent piano teacher and if, how, and to what extent they incorporate creative thinking activities in regular teaching practices, the literature was searched on this topic. Since the advent of piano pedagogy programs in the college/university setting in the latter quarter of the 20 th century, college music major graduates now seem to dominate the population of independent piano teachers who are actively teaching (Uszle r, 1996). Extrapolating from the Music Teachers National Association Foundation (MTNAF) survey of 1989, Uszler combined this data with information gathered by other organizations (most notably the American Music Conference survey of 1994) and estimated tha t, as of the publication date of her article in 1996, there were about 150,000 independent music teachers in the United States, primarily piano, voice, and strings teache rs (Uszler, 1996). With the approximation of 50,000 teachers holding memberships in pr ofessional organizations, there may be two thirds of independent piano teachers who "might be offering private music instruction" (Uszler, p. 21). Therefore, of the approximated third of teachers from which data was gathered during MTNAF's 1989 survey, Usz ler estimated that 75% were college educated.
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 20 Even so, the prevalent model of pedagogy in tertiary music education remains quite outdated with the dominance of the master/apprentice approach (Cho, 2010; Chronister, 2001; Crum, 1998). Convoluting the issue is the fact that the vast majority of piano teachers at all levels, from the beginner through the university or conservatory, did not choose to teach piano as their p rimary professional goal ( Wolfersberger, 1987). Albergo (198 8) asserted that most likely, the absence of intentional design or construct in individual piano lessons is a result of the plethora of method books available to teachers (p. 16 17). Specific to teacher training with regards to creative thinking skills, Brophy (2002) referred to his finding that practicing teachers viewed their college training in the areas of improvisation and composition as the weakest aspects of their tertiary education. Ironically, the abundance in the literature regarding creative thinking skills as they are incl uded in piano lessons is the fact that this research remains largely absent. It is the lack of empirical research in the teaching setting of the independent piano teacher that is oft en discussed in the literature. Summary What it is that piano teachers do in private study may indeed have ramifications that impact all other areas of music performance and education. Beginning with Guilford's (1950) seminal address to the American Psychological Association, continuing with the writings of many others in the f ield of creativity, and specifically with Webster in the field of creativity in music, literature in the field unequivocally stresses at great length the importance of creative thinking or divergent thinking skill development. A review of the literature in terms of the private piano teacher has : (1) revealed the notable lack of research of teaching practices of the independent piano teachers, especially with regard to creative thinking activities; (2) included a discussion of creativity in music from the vi ewpoint of exploration of scholarly writings
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 21 regarding philosophical approaches and divergent thinking skill development; (3) presented literature on each of the four primary experiences of creativity in music; and (4) discussed the literature on various t opics related specifically to private studio teaching. Creating avenues of research to practice on this topic, especially with regard to the studio teacher, may retain the power to inextricably weave its tendrils of influence throughout the entirety of fut ure generations as they experience music. As Webster (1990b) stated so clearly, "environments that encourage divergent thinking in music are just as important as environments that encourage convergency of thought. Are we doing enough in our rehearsals, pri vate studios and classrooms to insure the ve ry heart of this [creativity in music] model?" (p. 24). The findings in a search of the literature were the impetus for the design and execution of this study. Since there is such a dearth of empirical research o n this topic, learning how independent piano teachers' perceptions and pract ices in the state of Georgia have advanced or remained static may have implications for future professional development. Methodology Design The purpose of this study was to explor e independent piano teachers' perceptions and practices regarding the inclusion of creative thinking activities, those which are student centered and encourage divergent thinking skill development, with students during individual piano lessons. This study used an explanatory approach to data collection in order to elicit a deeper understanding of the central question. Part 1 included the gathering of mostly quantitative data through an online survey while Part 2 was intended to further explore teacher perce ptions, philosophies, and practices regarding student centered creative thinking activities more qualitatively during a semi structured interview .
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 22 In order to answer the first set of research que stions , Part 1 of the project was devoted to the creation an d administration of an online survey instrument (see Appendix A). Questions of educational background, membership in professional organizations, and regular participation in competitive events were the primary data sought in the quantitative online survey. Initially, this data was sought for the purpose of exploration of any possible relationship between educational background and creative thinking activities, membership in professional organization and creative thinking activities, and regular participatio n in competitive events and creative thinking activities. Included in the Part 1 of the online survey was question number 3 which solicited a n open ended description of the exact nature of creative activities in the respondent's teaching practices. In ord er to help focus comment on creative activities, the survey contained a definition for purposes of this study of creative thinking activities as typically falling into one of the four ways of experiencing music as being composition, improvisation, interpre tation, and listening. Question number 3 was the single open ended question contained in the online survey. Part 2 of the design included a follow up interview with respondents to the online survey who indicated that (a) they do include creative activitie s in their piano teaching; and (b) they were willing to participate in a subsequent follow up interview. The central question of the study was to determine if, how, and to what extent independent piano teachers include d creative thinking activities regardi ng their r egular teaching practices. B ecause the nature of creative activities Ã‘ even with a given definition Ã‘ is subject to individual interpretation, the follow up interview with approximately 20% of the respondents was deemed as warranted.
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 23 Reformation of Research Questions Response to the survey was less than expected and the diversity of background was surprisingly limited. This is discussed more fully in the Results section below. A recasting of the research questions was required and they are presente d here: Part 1 Ã‘ Survey: 1. What is the relationship between educational background and inclusion of creative thinking activities? 2. To what extent do independent piano teachers incorporate creative thinking activities in their teaching practices? Part 2 Ã‘ Follow u p Interviews: 1. How do independent piano teachers understand student centered creative thinking activities? 2. What may be discovered about independent piano teachers' personal teaching philosophies regarding the inclusion of creative thinking activities in the ir practices? 3. How do the qualitative results from the interview further explain and/or clarify the survey data? Participants The participant sample sought was independent piano teachers in selected sections of the state of Georgia, defined for purposes of this study as those not affiliated with a K 12 school, college, or university in their piano teaching. These teachers might also be music educators in a school setting, but their piano teaching is separate and apart from their classroom teaching. The
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 24 stud y was designed to produce between 40 and 50 respondents by issuing approximately 250 invitations to complete the short online survey. Geography. Geographical setting was also of interest. The assumption was that during the course of obtaining contact info rmation for independent piano teachers who are not members of professional organizations, a representative sample from both a rural and urban setting would be forthcoming. Two geographic areas in Georgia were initially targeted Ã‘ one urban and one rural, eac h with approximately the same general population base. These targeted areas are depicted in Appendix B. Both rural and urban areas were targeted to allow for possible variation of teaching practices based on population density. Professional affiliation. I n order to properly represent the piano teaching population at large in Georgia, it was reasoned that a portion of the participants would be active piano teachers not members of four main professional teaching organizations, namely the Music Teachers Natio nal Association, National Federation of Music Clubs, National Association for Music Educators, and American College of Musicians (Piano Guild). In order to locate these teachers, a strategy of contacting local community independent piano teacher leaders, s uch as chairpersons of chapters of the various professional organizations, was implemented. The reasoning was that experienced piano teachers become aware of their piano teacher community through various means, such as (a) an independent piano teacher has intermediate or advanced student(s), typically in their teenaged years, who choose to teach a few students as a means of income; (b) independent piano teachers interviewed or acquired students who studied with other teachers who are not members of professi onal organizations; and (c) the independent piano teacher has been made aware of other teachers in their area through other social or professional means. The
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 25 ratio of independent piano teachers who are and who are not members of professional organizations was left undetermined. However, this strategy failed to return responses and the hope of identifying piano teachers not members of the four professional organizations did not materialize. In order to identify participants that would in fact respond to the survey , a database of teachers belonging to each of the four primary professional organizations was compiled, eliminating duplicates. The Georgia Music Teacher's Association provided a listing of membership in the state of Georgia. Their listing contained teacher names, zip codes, telephone numbers, and email addresses. The Georgia Federation of Music Clubs, prior to implementation of data collection, committed to provide a listing of their membership in the state of Georgia which included teacher names, z ip codes, telephone numbers, and email addresses. The researcher had access to membership of Georgia Music Educator's Association as a District Chairperson through the organization's website. It provided teacher names, zip codes, telephone numbers, email a ddresses, and primary instrument. The American College of Musicians, Piano Guild division, agreed to provide the researcher with a listing of their membership in Georgia. Based on the UnitedStatesZipCodes.org ( http://www.unitedstateszipcodes.org/zip code database/ ) database listing of zip codes that identified which county each zip code appears, the database of piano teachers was sorted by zip codes and the teachers in the targeted coun ties were identified. The first email invitation to complete the online survey was sent on September 27 th , 2014 to 230 piano teachers in the targeted geographic areas based on their zip code. As the database grew with new data obtained from both profession al organizations and individual piano teachers, by October 1 st , 123 email invitations were sent to additional teachers in the same
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 26 primarily targeted geographic areas based on zip code information. After two reminder email invitations were issued over the following two weeks, a total of 20 teachers had responded. The timeframe for this study was the Fall of 2014. On September 30 th , the researcher received Georgia Federation of Music Clubs' membership listing. However, the information from Georgia Federation of Music Clubs was not in electronic form and did not include zip codes. After combining this new information in the database and eliminating duplicates, 256 new email addresses of independent piano teachers had been added to the database of teachers in G eorgia. Because of the response rate at this point, it was decided to issue email invitations to the 256 additions to the database on October 6 th . Of the 256 invitations, 15 respondents completed the questionnaire. The American College of Musicians Piano G uild division membership roster for the state of Georgia did not include email addresses. Therefore, the only method to acquire email addresses , the 70 members of this organization who were not members of any other professional organization was by attempti ng to reach them by telephone. It was decided that this process was unfeasible due to time constraints. In total, the database contains 113 names of teachers who are members of professional organizations in Georgia but for whom email information was not ob tained. In order to reach the targeted 40 to 50 respondents, invitations to complete the online survey were sent to the remaining 294 teachers in the remainder of geographic areas within the state of Georgia for whom email addresses had been obtained. In t otal, over a 15 day period, email invitations and reminder emails were sent to 903 unique email addresses in Georgia. The survey was closed 36 days after the first email invitation was issued because 52 responses had been received.
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 27 The number of participa nts for the Part 2 interview was expected to be ten, choosing half of the respondent volunteers who teach in a rural setting and the other half who teach in an urban setting to allow for possible variations in teaching practices based on population density . Ten respondents represented 20 25% of the expected return from the online survey. The criteria for determination of which teachers would be chosen for follow up interviews was determined by (1) those teachers who indicated that they did include creative thinking activities in their teaching practices and (2) who agreed to be contacted (see Appendix A). It was assumed that enough respondents would volunteer so that half of the teachers chosen for the follow up interview would be in rural areas and half in urban areas. Of the 52 completed surveys, 12 teachers volunteered for the follow up interview. After subsequent attempts to contact these volunteers, ten responded. Because of time constraints and scheduling conflicts, six follow up interviews were comple ted, three with teachers who reside in urban areas and three with teachers in rural areas. The semi structured follow up interview allowed for conversation style, open ended questions regarding the individual teachers' perceptions of what constitute creat ive activities, how they implement this type of teaching, and their general attitudes and philosophies regarding creative activities in their teaching. IRB Approval University of Florida's Institutional Review Board issued approval for this research study on September 25 th , 2014 (see Appendix C ).
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 28 Results Introduction Using both quantitative and qualitative elements, this study intended to explore independent piano teachers' practices of including creative thinking skill development activities in privat e lessons. Data was initially collected using an online survey questionnaire with a subsequent follow up interview with approximately 20 25% of the respondents of the online survey. Because of limited responses and the narrow and common attributes of the r espondents, the original research questions were altered as stated above. The nature of the low response rate is explained below. Response P opulation Locating independent piano teachers who are not members of professional organizations was a time intensiv e task. In addition, each teacher contacted that fell into this category indicated that they would participate in the survey and provided their email address. However, none of the independent piano teachers in this category completed the online survey. Af ter multiple invitations to complete the online survey were sent to 903 independent piano teachers in Georgia, the response rate was 5.6%, or 51 completed surveys, between the time of the first email invitation and the close of the survey 36 days later. Tw elve of the respondents agreed to a follow up interview. Six of those respondents live in rural areas and six in urban areas. Because of scheduling conflicts and time constraints, the Part 2 interview participants were n =6, three in rural areas and three i n urban areas. Respondents were overwhelmingly in the category of experienced teachers. Seven teachers were in the category of teaching between one and eight years, with one teacher having one year of experience, one with three years, one with five years, two with seven years, and two
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 29 with eight years. Fourteen teachers were in the category of having teaching experience between 10 and 19 years while there were 30 teachers who had 20 or more ye ars of experience . Of the 51 completed responses, 100% of respo ndents were members of at least one of the primary four professio nal organizations . Twenty eight respondents were members of Georgia Music Teachers Association, 26 were members of Georgia Federation of Music Clubs, 18 were members of Georgia Music Educator s Association, and eight were members of Piano Guild. One respondent was a member of all four organizations, six were members of three of the primary four, 15 were members of two of the primary four, and 29 were members of only one of the primary four orga nizations . In addition, there were 12 other professional organizations listed in the other category ; these are listed in Appendix D . The educational background of the respondents was primarily those who had earned Bachelor degrees. There was one responden t who had no college, two respondents who had some college but did not earn a degree, 29 respondents who had earned Bachelor degrees, 17 who had earned Master degrees, and two respondents who had earned terminal degrees. There were 72 different degrees and /or certifications listed by the respondents (see Appendix E ). Part 1 Ã‘ Survey Responses Research question number 1. What is the relationship between educational background and inclusion of creative activities? In order to determine respondents' level of i nclusion of creative thinking activities in their teaching, three judges independently evaluated the open ended response of question 3 (see Appendix F). Using a Likert type scale of 0 through 5, zero being no inclusion of creative thinking activities and 5 representing evidence of extensive inclusion , teachers' written statements were assessed accordingly . Ratings from each judge were collected and reviewed,
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 30 after which the judges were engaged in discussion regarding possible issues of misunderstandings. U sing Pearson's correlation coefficient, the three judges' ratings were tested to determine inter judge reliability. The correlation coefficient betwe en judges one and two was .85 , between j udges two and three was .89 , and between ju dges one and three was . 81 . An average rating for respondents was computed using the ratings of the three judges with a result of .85, which was deemed acceptable for this study. The minimum average creative rating was zero, maximum was 4.33, the mean was 2 with a standard devi ation of 1.146. The average creative rating assigned by the three judges compared to the level of education were as follows : the three respondents who had either no college or some college had an average creative rating of 1.11, respondents who had Bachelo r degrees had an average creative rating of 2.16, respondents who had Master degrees had an average creative rating of 2.18, and those two respondents who had terminal degrees had an average creative rating of 1. After performing a one way ANOVA with the l evel of education as the grouping variable and the dependent variable being the composite creative ratings, no statistically significant differen ce between levels of education was found, ( F =2.012, p = .125). There seemed to be no basis to conclude that edu cational background of the respondents was significantly related statistically to level of creative thinking encouragement. For purposes of further research, the observation that the higher creative ratings were found among the respondents with Bachelor an d Master degrees is notable. Survey research question number 2. To what extent do independent piano teachers incorporate creative activities in their teaching practices?
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 31 Of the 51 completed responses, five teachers answered no to the question of whether or not they included creative thinking activities in their teaching practices (question 2, Appendix A). The response was overwhelmingly positive with 90.2% indicating that they do include creative activities and 9.8% indicating that they do not include cre ative activities in their piano teaching. However, the subsequent open ended response to question 3 that asked teachers to describe these creative thinking activities revealed that a further six teachers described activities that would not necessarily enh ance a students' divergent thinking/creative thinking skills. These six teachers' descriptions of creative thinking activities are found in respondents 23, 31, 32, 36, and 37 in Appendix G . For purposes of future research, it may be important to note that respondents' understanding of creative thinking activities may be uncertain. The specific creative activities to which teachers referred in their open ended responses to question 3 was Interpretation = 18, Listening = 31, Composition = 18, Improvisation = 20, and Other = 6. Sample responses in the Other category include respondent 27's statement "Analysis as a tool to creativity. Understanding aesthetics through linguistic comparison" and responden t 49's "I record students performing their music, reciting lyrics, etc, and we make music videos. Sometimes the visual of the video is a slide show of photos, sometimes a bit of animation, we shoot video, and we do puppets." Although Listening appears to be more prominent than the other ways of experiencing creati ve thinking in music among respondents, the written comments may be interpreted in vario us manners regarding listening. As Bolden (2014) stated, creative listening in music is a scenario in which: Students are invited to respond in a way that allows them t o consider and decide how to artfully construct representations of the music they hear. Such representations might take
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 32 the form of a film or sculpture or dance inspired by the piece, or a prose report crafted to communicate what the listener noticed withi n the music, and the meaning she made of it. (p. 2) Teacher comments that were interpreted as being in the Listening category may be better categorized as ear training, keen listening for variations in interpretation, and other similar more traditional ear training activities. However, creativity scholars in recent decades have come to understand that listening skills may manifest in creative ways such as a mental musical map. For future research, it may be notable that teacher understandings of creative li stening skills were outdated. Part 2 Ã‘ Follow up Interviews Interview research question number 1. How do independent piano teachers understand student centered creative activities? In the follow up interviews, teachers in the study who indicated that they incorporated improvisation and composition were asked to describe in more detail how they approached these experiences in their teaching practices. Upon further exploration through the extended interviews, a pattern was revealed that teachers frequently co nfused improvisation and composition. In addition, in most cases, composition seemed to be initiated by the student, not the teacher. Composition was understood by one teacher in the follow up interview as adding arpeggios or chords to an ending in order to "au g ment the sound or make it a little bigger than it is ," although the teacher's written statement in the online survey was "composing their own endings ." Another teacher stated "I have all my students write at least one original composition in the fir st year of taking lessons."
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 33 In one follow up interview, when asked "Do you ever do straight up improvisation at the piano?" one teacher responded with "Yes. We do that with composition. It's under composition. Sometimes they come to me Ã‘ Ã”I've got a song, i t's not in the book, it's not my lesson, but do you want to hear it?' and I love for them to play it." She continued by discussing altering the student's piece by her addition of "something that makes it sound richer. Then it makes them more proud because I've been sold into their little piece." In the follow up interviews, teachers also misunderstood creative approaches to teaching versus student centered activities that enhance student divergent thinking abilities. For example, one teacher in responding to a wrap up question in the interview of "can you think of anything else that you do in your teaching that you would consider a creative activity?" discussed how she approaches each student as an individual, asserting that her teaching is creatively tailo red for each student's unique learning style. For future research, a more descriptive and thorough definition of creative thinking activities, making a clear distinction between student centered divergent thinking activities and teacher centered creative a pproaches to teaching , may be important. Regarding improvisation, of the 20 independent piano teachers who stated that they do incorporate improvisation in their teaching practices, many teachers referred to "question and answer phrases" or "improvising o ver chordal structures" which was explained in the follow up interviews as primarily using the tonic, subdominant, and dominant chords. None of the teacher respondents discussed straying beyond the primary three chords of a given key. However, one teacher wrote in the open ended question of the online survey that: First and foremost, we begin improvisation as a process of doing. We don't think, we do. We play what we feel from a very young age. As we learn music theory, i.e. scales and
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 34 chords, this process can be confused as a thinking activity rooted in academics. These scales and chords are simply tools, not boundaries, we can use them or we can go beyond them in a musical adventure. (Respondent 35 in Appendix G) A teacher in the follow up interview was discussing improvisation when she stated that "it's really hard to find time to do it with all of them in 30 minutes," but that she has had, over the 30+ years of her teaching, a few students who "really like to do that sort of thing." When queried about t he process of perhaps taking improvisation a step further, writing it down Ã‘ maybe with invented notation Ã‘ ad going through the process of revision, she responded by saying that she had done that in the past, that she had always encouraged students if they wa nted to "do that." She continued by saying she recently lost a student (du e to the student quitting) who: loved to make up things. She would come in and play this piece that went on forever, take half her lesson and it would all be what she'd made up. So I encouraged her and he lped her with the theory part. I asked if any of her pieces were notated, to which she responded "No. She usually branched off from some musical phrase that she found that she liked, then she would branch off from there." Regarding i nterpretation, several teachers discussed in the open ended question on the survey that they worked with students to create story lines that were representative of a particular piece that they were studying. This avenue of approach is referred to often in the literature (Ferer, 2009; Johnson & Koga, 2006; Westney, 2005). Musical imagery has often been suggested as "an incredibly powerful way to help students connect to the sounds they are making" (Johnson & Koga, 2006, p. 27). For example, one teacher descr ibed a particular sonatina movement that she has frequently taught by saying "sometimes I give them kind of a
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 35 little idea and then let them go with it". She continued with the specifics of this particular piece when she said: If you look at [the music], th e first starts out seems like a trumpet. You know, Ã”listen, something's fixin' to happen .' Then at about measure 12 or so, it comes in with that pretty melody. Then you have the running notes that could be something else happening. But it's just easy for m e to think of what that might be while they're playing it and help them make up a story about it. Another teacher responded in the online survey by stating that "We do a great deal of creating stories to help us to express our music with detail." The sixt h and final teacher in the follow up interviews is considered an outlier. The fact of finding this outlier has significant implications in a sample of 51 respondents to the survey. This teacher has developed an extremely effective method of infusing creati ve activities in every aspect of traditional piano teaching. He encourages improvisation within standard repertoire (a Chopin Nocturne was specifically discussed in the interview); composition is not only actively encouraged, but this teacher is an active composer himself; active engagement in listening remains part of each lesson; and his students experience the inevitable advancement and self sufficiency in interpretations. Even though this teacher is technically an outlier , because of the significance of his teaching practices for future consideration, specific quotations and implications of this teacher's practices are included in Appendix H. Part 2: Interview Data Research question number 2. What may be discovered about independent piano teachers' pers onal teaching philosophies regarding the inclusion of creative thinking activities in their practices?
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 36 In the follow up interviews, it was evident that most teachers who perceived themselves as incorporating many creative thinking activities actually view ed them as peripheral. One teacher who described what sounded like innovative creative thinking prompts for her students in the online survey stated in the follow up interview when asked if she incorporated any listening activities in her teaching, said th at "what I'll do as things kind of wind down is we'll go back and catch up on some of the theory stuff. So I do do activities like that, but again, it's kind of an after thought" (referring to the theory method companion book that contains ear training act ivities). Another respondent who had indicated that about a third of every lesson was dedicated to creative activities in the online survey, subsequently stated during the follow up interview that "I don't spend a great lot of time on improvisation or cre ativity, spending time on creating their own music just because by the time I hit those four books, in 30 minutes, usually the time is up." This teacher described the typical lesson to me as using companion method books (for example: lesson book, performan ce book, theory book, and activities book all in the same method, intended to be used simultaneously) as the source of almost all of her teaching activities. Her statement that "the first ten minutes is their lesson and I can spend the rest of the time on the new concepts," practicing extensively on the new material so that the student would be motivated to practice between lessons was indicative of priorities in each lesson. Interview research question number 3. How do the qualitative results from the int erview further explain and/or clarify the survey data? Both the open ended questions and the follow up interviews provided information from which to learn. From the online survey, there emerged a clear pattern of how respondents perceive creative activiti es, even when provided with a definition for purposes of this study as primarily falling within the four areas of creative music experience. Many respondents perceived
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 37 teaching practices that they considered to be creative thinking activities of their stud ents as including either (a) functional piano skills such as harmonization, transposition, and theory, or (b) creative teacher approaches to basic convergent thinking skill acquisition. For example, one teacher stated that the typical method of incorporat ing creative thinking activities in her lessons was through replacement of theory as presented in method books while another teacher described entire lessons centered around the method book theory to Ã”catch up' on theory after several weeks of focusing on preparation for a recital. This teacher's point of view was that the centrality of using method theory was almost exclusively how she included creative thinking activities. Another teacher continued to reiterate that she does do composition and improvisat ion with the few students who express an interest. However, upon further discussion, she continued to refer to functional piano skills. At the end of the interview, I asked her if there was anything else that she could think of that would be considered stu dent centered creative activities that she practices in her teaching. She responded by discussing how she is creative in the manner in which she individualizes her teaching based on student desires and learning styles. This pattern of teachers describing m ethods of teaching in ways that "no one else does" was verbalized by each of the first five interviewees i n this study. Discussion The primary purpose of this study was to explore if, how, and to what extent independent piano teachers incorporate creative thinking activities in their teaching practices. To that end, this study found ample evidence of teacher perceptions and teacher practices with regard to the inclusion of creative thinking activities in piano lessons. However, the nature of independent pi ano teacher perceptions and practices appeared to be limited in scope and depth.
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 38 Because the population of piano teachers who contributed to this study were almost exclusively teachers who had more experience, education, and subsequent professional develo pment opportunities through their membership in professional organizations, the findings of this study should not be assumed to be representative of the piano teaching population as a whole. However, within the more highly educated and experienced populati on of piano teachers, this study provided interesting data . Wit h regard to inclusion of each of the four primary methods of experiencing creative thinking skill development, which is through composition, improvisation, listening, and interpretation/perfor mance, this study found a pattern that the vast majority of independent piano teachers primarily focus on various approaches to interpretation as the primary avenue through which they incorporate multiple creative thinking activities in their teaching. Kar lsson (2008) referred to the lack of empirical research of expression in individual instrumental playing and that "research could help to describe the nature of current teaching of expression in order to reveal both its advantages and disadvantages" (p. 31 0). Karlsson asserted that research efforts in this regard: could actually prove to be the most important, because what is the Ã”best solution' to this dilemma depends in a non trivial sense on what, exactly, is wrong with current instrumental teaching prac tice. Is it that expression is simply ignored? Is it that expression is not explicitly addressed by teachers? Is it that teachers do not offer specific feedback about expression? (p. 310) This study found that, although expression, or thoughtful approaches to interpretation, is not explicitly ignored, but that it may not be effectively addressed by teachers. This study revealed that many teachers do offer feedback regarding expression in interpretation, but that instead of
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 39 attempting to assist students to d evelop methods to bring forth their unique sense of individual interpretation, many teachers s eem to juxtapose their own interpretation . Riggs (2006), as she posited a new philosophical base from which to work as a teacher to address the continued narrowi ng direction toward more teacher centered styles in which studio teaching has developed over the past several decades, state d: " A new model concerned with the development of the Ã”whole' student as an individual can serve as a philosophical supplement to st udio instructors who may not have received much training " (p. 176) . Riggs continues in the integrated model she suggests by asserting that the teacher centered approach has historically been "effective in developing technical fluency" but significantly lac ks "interest in the Ã”intrapersonal' development of each student [and] can hinder the potential to grow into an independently creative and expressive artist" (p. 179). This study did find evidence of this type of personal philosophical development in one te acher during the follow up interview (discussed at length in Appendix H). However, the other respondents of this study were found to be primarily continuing the traditional master/apprentice, teacher centered approach of private studio teaching. For exampl e, d eveloping a story line, imagery, and listening to various interpretations of an individual piece were common approaches to interpretation and expression. However, this study found that, although independent piano teachers indeed use this technique, sto ry lines were mostly, if not exclusively, created by the teachers, not the students. The descriptions of student experiences seemed limited with teacher prompted or suggested story lines. This exemplifies a teacher centered approach to learning, therefore lacks encouragement of divergent thinking skills of the student.
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 40 Perhaps the issue is grounded in how many independent piano teachers feel regarding time constraints. Webster (1993) suggests that many piano teachers continue to skirt the initial time inves tment even in perfunctory attempts to guide students towards the ideal goal of student independence. The reason for this seems to be the initial investment of time and energies as well as the teacher's philosophical view of "teacher knows best" which is an inevitable outcome of the master/apprentice approach (Cho, 2010; Persson, 1996). Hickey & Webster (2001) refer to this phenomenon here: Music students of all levels and in all settings are infrequently asked to make aesthetic judgments or contribute their opinions about such judgments. In the press of time, it seems most expedient for teachers to focus less on student involvement in this part of music making and more on telling students how to play, listen, compose and improvise. The ironic truth is that i f at least some time were devoted to asking students to think in sound and make aesthetic decisions, the resultant learning a b out music would be so much more powerful that far less time would be required in subsequent rehearsals and classes to reach musica l goals. (p. 22) In fact, one teacher stated in the follow up interview regarding creating story lines and imagery when she said "it's just easy for me to think of what that [imagery] might be while they're playing it." Composition seemed to be something that, although 18 teachers r esponded that they do teach , scope seems quite limited for the most part. With the caveat that the definition of composition and improvisation were often misunderstood, the teachers in this study described a wide range of to wha t extent this is a part of their teaching practices. For the most part, independent piano teachers who used composition the most frequently were typically responding
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 41 to the student who initiated the activity. One such teacher s tated in a follow up intervie w that, although she does not initiate composition, she manages the student who does initiate as she described here : But I do certainly allow them if they come to me and they say Ã”oh, I did this by myself' then we definitely write it down, we name it, we c ontinue to work on it. I try to teach them song form and why this would work and this wouldn't, and how it relates to their theory, and this, that, and the other. This teacher exemplifies someone who was traditionally trained in a performance c entered coll egiate environment which has been the standard for many decades. She earned a Bachelor of Music in P iano Performance then continued her performance studies at a highly regarded conservatory . With such an educational background, it makes sense that she woul d relate a student's composition entirely to theory, i.e. "I try to teach them song form and why this would work and this wouldn't, and how it relates to their theory." Webster (2003) described this entirely music theory centered approach to revision as be ing a product of the fact that many, if not most, music teachers have not personally studied or practice composition except within the bounds of traditional music theory courses. He discussed this here: Part of this attitude [of not feeling competent to te ach composition] comes from our years of traditional music theory, which includes the study of tonal part writing and the analysis of large masterworks. We have come to think of musical understanding in terms of highly technical knowledge that seems necess ary to apply to a child's composition when we imagine ourselves as leaders of change. (p. 57) Most teachers who participated in the follow up interviews revealed that composition and improvisation is incorporated in a largely limited manner, explaining th at because of time
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 42 considerations, there simply was not time during lessons for these activities unless the student initiated a sense of priority. Here again, Hickey & Webster's (2001) comments as referred t o earlier , asserted that, to the contrary of most teachers' beliefs, the inclusion of composition and improvisation on a regular basis allows students to develop overall musicianship and musical flexibility that reduces time spent on attaining "musical goals" (p. 22). It seemed that, even among these mo st educated and experienced of independent piano teachers, there was a significant lack of pedagogical training , sense of competency , and even basic contemporary understanding in the areas of composition, improvisation, and creative listening . For example, the teacher who stated in the follow up interview that she provided evidence that she was "sold into their little piece" by adding richer harmonies to a student 's initial efforts at composition is an example of ignorance or misunderstanding of the process of revision which is the central ed ucational value of composition. Webster (2003) described the negative outcomes of such teacher centered engagement here : If a teacher suggests a musical procedure or a change in a given melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre, d ynamic, or other musical element, the teacher is going well beyond the bounds of creative integrity. The child is not making aesthetic decisions but is being told what to do, thus increasing dependence on the teacher. (p. 56 57) Smith (2014) pointed to the crux of the issue when she discussed the requirement of a "substantive change" in teacher approaches and that "It also suggests that teachers have some experience with composing themselves and that this exposure focuses on intent and expressivity. We cann ot teach what we do not understand" (p. 149). Perhaps the most confusing or misunderstood aspect of creative methods of experiencing music was the category of listening. According to the literature, creative listening encompasses
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 43 activities such as creati ng a mental map of a piece and listening as an engaged learner as opposed to a passive vessel that is left with only a vague impression of the listening experience (Dunn, 2006) . Of the four avenues of experiencing music in a creative manner, creative liste ning seemed to be the most elusive among this teacher population to understand Ã‘ especially with re gard to the difference between creative listening and passive listening , or even creative listening and ear training . The fact that the listening experience, b y its very nature, must be an experience of extreme subjectivity simply adds to the problematic nature of describing the variance between listening as a creative activity and listening as a receptacle of sound . Multiple iterations of teachers responding s pecifically to the Listening category as "critical listening including questioning and response strategies" was encountered in both the online survey and the follow up interviews. Teacher descriptions of having students determine the name of a children's s ong through listening and "I teach interval listening skills through a variety of classroom games" are both examples of teacher perceptions of developing pure aural skills Ã‘ teacher centered activities rather than genuinely divergent thinking creative thinki ng activities, yet the teachers in the study erroneously described these as creative thinking activities. Instead, these listening exercises and strategies might better be described as helping students to develop keen listening skills. In one follow up int erview, when asked about the role of listening in her teaching responded by describing using the theory method book's listening exercises when she stated that "I will use some activities in the theory book to do some of the listening stuff like that." O n a more positive note, o ne teacher in the follow up interview discussed the fact that most piano students have no understanding of why it is that they routinely learn cadences (typically a series of chord progressions that include the tonic, subdominant, an d dominant
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 44 chords). She addresses this through developing their listening skills. She said that she often tells students when creating chord progressions "Never leave me on the five. Don't leave me on the seven of the scale, never walk away." Francis (1992 ) wrote about the value in learning this listening skill when she stated that "Students can be led to feel and hear how unfinished a piece sounds if the music stops on degree two or seven, for instance" (p. 38). Dunn (2006) discussed the development of li stening skills in students as being an essential component of any music education. In fact, he asserted that: Intuitive listening can be influenced by education. An important goal of music education is to enhance each individual's ability to interact meani ngfully with music over a lifetime. We know that music instruction makes a difference in what people know about and can do with music. (p. 36) Genuinely creative listening is largely described by scholars as the listener actively creating mental imagery or representations, creating a "holistic framework that becomes our vehicle for remembering and making sense of a given listening experience" (Dunn, p. 36). A verbal description of this type of listening activity was absent in the open ended responses of the survey as well as in follow up interviews. In the follow up interviews, what Schons (2005) referred to as the typical piano lesson methodology primarily using method books was found to be the case in the first five follow up interviews, even among these most educated and experienced of teachers. The teachers in this study seemed to have an impression that creative thinking activities such as composition, improvisation, and listening are incorporated into method books Ã‘ mainly in the theory books. However, a lthough there are minor exceptions, method theory books typically focus on support of new concepts introduced in the lesson method book. Some of the more modern method theory
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 45 books include ear training exercises, transposition, and harmonization. However, based on the particular method book, very little in the realm of exercises that require divergent thinking skills are included, if at all. In fact, in Albergo's (1988) extensive exploration of the primary eight method book series at that time, neither the authors nor the 240 teacher respondents viewed creative objectives as being essential (the highest importance rating in her research study) to piano study. Of the five creative objectives that were identified, only transposition was rated as important (the second highest importance rating) and the other four creative objectives were categorized as the lowest on the importance rating scale, being nice to do (p. 134). Prioritization of creative skills in this study of independent piano teachers' teaching prac tices supported Albergo's findings. Limitations. I believe that this study failed to locate a representative sample of the various iterations of piano teachers in Georgia. Through a diligent search for piano teachers who are not associated with profession al organizations as well as teachers who do not have a college degree, there were several teachers identified. However, none of those teachers responded to the invitation for the online survey, even though they indicated during telephone conversations that they would participate. There has been speculation that the reasoning for this may be complex, but perhaps may include a sense of disconnection with other piano teachers in order to retain true independence, an idea that they may not have much to contribu te because they may typically teach younger or early level students, a sense of inferiority because they do not have a college education, or some other reason or combination thereof (discussion of these three items can be found in Uszler, 1996). This is an area for further study . There were six teachers who responded in the affirmative to whether or not they include creative activities in their teaching practices (question 2), but upon judge review were
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 46 subsequently placed in the category of not including creative activities. Cons ideration of respondent statements such as "sometimes group lessons include a music related snack which they make, like forming music symbols out of biscuit dough" and "learning how to perform at recital, combat fears, and oth er pe rformance related material " were judged to be activities that do not fall within the category of student centered thinking. Implications for further research. Perhaps the most difficult, yet the most important implication for future research is locating a nd communicating with a truly representative independent piano teacher population. Following an in depth search of the literature, it seems that this has yet to be done to any extent in any geographical setting of the United States. For future research, i t may be important to note that independent piano teachers' perceptions, definitions, and understandings of creative thinking activities may be uncertain or outdated. Perhaps a more descriptive and thorough definition of Ã”creative thinking activities', mak ing a clear distinction between student centered divergent thinking activities and teacher centered creative approaches to teaching, may be warranted . The observation that the higher creative ratings were found among the respondents with Bachelor and Mast er degrees may also be notable. Summary I found a significant portion of independent piano teachers bereft of adequate formal pedagogical training with regard to creative thinking activities, if any. In addition, there remain multitudes of piano teachers with absolutely no college/university education who have, for various reasons, decided to teach piano and are therefore juxtaposed with the most highly educated of teachers Ã‘ many of whom expected and planned to be performers as their main profession.
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 47 We ca n logically extrapolate that most independent piano teachers have experienced an almost complete lack of exposure to creative thinking pedagogy. It follows, therefore, that if a one to one independent piano teacher does include any creative thinking activi ties in their teaching practices, it is largely because some sort of professional development or personal exposure guided them to develop these themselves . Despite the urgency of scholarly thought regarding the veritable infusion of creative thinking skil l development activities into the study of music, independent piano teachers seem either ignorant of the saliency of this agenda , resistant to change in how they approach their everyday teaching, or perhaps unsure as to how to transform their teaching from the traditional model. It could be that a large part of the resistance derives from the fact that most independent piano teachers did not choose teaching as their first choice, rather, it was a choice of convenience (Crum, 1998; Frederickson, 2007, p. 32) . Resentment resulting from the vicissit ude from performer to teacher may be the fundamental issue in reluctance to change what has become fairly simple to do, i.e., to use method books as a sole source of decision making of wha t to teach and when to teach it. It has been suggested in the literature "that musicians who have specifically made a choice to teach are better teachers in the long term than those who report that they see teaching as a Ã”backup' activity" (Frederickson, p. 328). Perhaps the issue l ie s squarely in the purview of professional organization leadership . Music Teachers National Association is the most elite of professional organizations for the independent piano teacher. MTNA's publication American Music Teacher is specifically directed a t the one to one studio teacher, primarily for the piano. Articles that appear in American Music Teacher primarily focus on issues of performance and most issues in recent decades are bereft of creative topics such as composition and improvisation .
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 48 In ord er to reengineer the independent piano teacher's curriculum, new habits must be formed, as Sternberg (2007) asserted here: The main things that promote the habit [of creativity] are: (a) opportunities to engage in it; (b) encouragement when people avail t hemselves of these opportunities; and (c) rewards when people respond to such encouragement and think and behave creatively. (p. 3) Researchers must venture into the highly sensitive arena, more commonly referred to as the private teaching studio, and walk a tight rope of delicacy in order to explore what exactly occurs and in the process of doing so, creating ing vivid awareness of the ineluctable importance of the need for a drastic change in philosophical bases and everyday teaching practices (Mitchell, 2 011). As musicians, we speak of our musical beginnings: the magical experiences in which we were engaged that led us to a career as a musician or a music educator. Creative beginnings, how to nurture those creative beginnings as educators, and perhaps eve n a constant state of creative thinking as manifest in every aspect of how a child experiences music is what this researcher believes to be of utmost important to every music educator. Webster (2014) stated this Big Idea very clearly in his "Senior Researc her Award Acceptance Address" by stating: I believe a big idea in music education is the development of personal philosophies of music teaching and learning that place creative thinking in music as a central tenant . I believe deeply in the idea that Ã”think ing in sound' is critical to our success and that this thinking must always celebrate our students' own music and own ideas about music making at every possible turn. I came to believe this in my formative years as a teacher
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 49 and researcher, and I will cont inue to believe this Ã‘ speak, write, and teach about this Ã‘ until I can no longer do so. (p. 207)
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CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 59 Appendix A Online Survey page 1 * 1. How many years have you bee n teaching private piano lessons? (Select one option) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted.
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 60 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 20+ ! page 2 * 2. For purposes of this study, I have de fined creative activities as primarily falling in one of four areas of the study of music: (1) thoughtful approaches to interpretation in performance, (2) composition, (3) improvisation, and (4) listening. However, there may be other teaching practices t hat you have developed and consider to be enhancing the creative thinking abilities of your students. Given this definition, do you incorporate creative activities in your piano lessons? (Select one option) Yes Go to Page No. 3 No Go to Page No . 4 The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted.
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 61 ! page 3 3. Will you please describe some examples of what types of creative activities you include in your teaching practices? Share as much as you have time to write. __________________________________________________________________ __ ____________________________________________________________________ ! page 4 * 4. Please check all of the boxes for professional music organizations with which you are a member. GMTA/MTNA NFMC/GFMC ACM/Piano Guild NAfME/GMEA Other (please specify) ______________ ! page 5 * 5. Do you regularly enter students in judged events? (Select one option) Yes Go to Page No. 6 The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted.
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 62 No Go to Page No. 7 ! page 6 5. Please list the organizations in which y our stu dents regularly participa te in judged events (check all that apply): GMTA/MTNA NFMC/GFMC ACM/Piano Guild NAfME/GMEA Other (please specify) ______________ ! page 7 * 7. Have you ever attended a college or university? (Select one option) Yes Go to Page No. 8 No Go to Page No. 9 ! page 8 The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted.
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 63 * 8. Please tell us what degree(s) you have or if you did attend college, but did not finish a degree. Check all that apply. Attended college, but did not r eceive degree Master of Music Performance Associate degree in music Master of Piano Pedagogy Associate degree in other than music Master of Music Education Bachelor of Music in Performance Master degree in other than music Bache lor of Music in Piano Pedagogy DMA Piano Performance Bachelor of Music Education PhD Music Education Bachelor of Arts or Science Terminal degree in other than music Other (please specify) ______________ ! page 9 9. Tha nk you for participating in this online survey. If you would consider sharing your teaching philosophies and practices regarding how you incorporate creative activities in your teaching, please provide me with your preferred e mail address and telephone number so that I might contact you. If you choose to participate in a personal interview, I anticipate that the interview will take no longer than 45 minutes and may be via phone or in person. You do not have to answer any question that you do not wish to answer. With your written permission, I will audiotape the interview, transcribe the interview, and send a copy to you for verification. After I receive verification from you, I will erase the audiotape. Your identity and any personally identifiabl e information will be kept strictly confidential. If I use information from your interview in my final study, your name will be changed. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted.
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 64 ____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _______________________ 10. Yes. Yes, I would like to participate in a follow up interview Yes, I would like to have a copy of the final study sent to me Yes, I would like to participate in a follow up interview AND I would like a copy of the final study The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. The linked image cannot be displayed. The Ãžle may have been moved, renamed, or deleted.
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 65 Appendix B Original Targeted Geographic Regions in Georgia
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 66 Appendix C IRB Approval
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 67 Appendix D Other Professional Organizations Listed by Respondents in Online Survey No. of Respondents Name of Professional Organization 2 NATS 2 SAI 1 ACDA 1 AGO 1 CG 1 Mu Phi Epsilon 1 Ruth E. Marsden Music Prep School at Toccoa Falls College 1 Creative Ministries 1 Atlanta Federation of Musicians 1 Cultural Arts Council of Douglas County 1 AFA 1 NFA 1 Atlanta Recorder Societ y 1 Lauda Musicam of Atlanta
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 68 Appendix E Degrees and Certifications Listed by Respondents in the Online Survey Number of Respondents Name of Degree or Certification 12 Bachelor of Music in Performance 20 Bachelor of Music Education 7 Bachelor of Art s or Bachelor of Science 2 Bachelor of Music in Piano Pedagogy 2 Associates Degree 9 Master of Music Education 6 Master of Music Performance 1 UK diploma Perf; Licentiate Acupuncture; B of Physiotherapy Ireland 2 No degree 1 PhD of Music Education 2 Master other 1 Bachelor of Science in Vocational Education 1 Bachelor of Church Music 2 Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy 1 DMA Conducting 1 Master Elementary Education 1 Ed. S Educational Leadership 1 Ed. S Music Education 72 TOTAL ALS O LISTED: Liceniate in Piano Performance Royal Schools of Music Liceniate in Piano Performance from University of South Africa MTNA Certification Yamaha
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 69 Appendix F Judge Ratings by Respondent
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 70 Appendix G Online Survey: Question 3 Responses Av erage Creative Respondent Respondent's Comments Rating 1 ! NONE Ã ( this is probably choir director ) ! " ! # # ! ! ! ! 2 ! 1. Let them, with guidance, make up accompaniment to melody. 2. Let them make up a melody using a set number of notes. 3. Let them make up a story to accompany pieces. 4. I play piece while they move to music responding to change of tempo and dynamics. 5. Let them use different dynamics and tempo to a piece to hear how a change can affect the mood and story. ASk which to they like best? ! ! ! ! $ " ! # # 3 ! NONE ! " ! # # ! ! ! 4 My student was struggling with the interpretation of a particular piece so we pulled up Youtube and found several videos of people performing this piece. We then discusses what was similar and different and what she wanted to use in her interpretation. ! ! ! % " & # # ! ! ! ! ! 5 ! I don't use activities per se, but as a student starts a piece, we look at the title and think about how the piece should sound. As practice on the piece continues, with dynamics, articulation, tempo, etc., the student learns how the piece should sound. If appropriate, I play part of the piece for him or her and talk about my own idea of interpretation. Does the piece dance? Does it sing? Should it be snappy or beautiful? Occasionally, a student will compose a piece, an d I always help if I can. ! ! ! ! ! % " ' # # ! ! ! ! ! 6 ! I teach theory skills using Music Ace 1 & 2, listening at lesson at level of student certainly incorporating intervals. I encourage early improvisation skills and if they are afraid to try I start them off with a short melody and have them continue any way they choose and we alternate playing the melody. Sometimes students compose short pieces while using Finale. I also have treble, bass clef/note magnetic aids that they seem to enjoy. Musicianship is the primary goal!! ! ! ! ! ! $ " & # #
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 71 ! ! ! ! ! 7 ! Listening activities might include playing a melody and allowing the student to listen and play it back. In addition to finish" the melody by composing their own ending. Many times I will begin with a question phrase and ask t hem to write or play and answer phrase. With very young children I might ask them to finish a familiar song, playing by listening and finding the correct notes then memorizing them. Many time I have students improvise endings of pieces with appropriate arp eggios, etc. ! ! ! ! ! ( " ' # ! ! ! ! ! 8 ! I do most of my creative activities in group sessions. With regard to interpretation performance, I ask students to listen to others' performances and complete a listening sheet on which they list adjectives to describe the m ood the music created. I have had students compose melodies by placing stickers on printed staff paper. I play it for them if they can't read it. I have had students create rhythm patterns by gluing wrapped candies to posterboard "measures", then they clap the rhythm ! ! ! ! ! ( " ' # ! ! 9 Ear training activities, improvisation on five finger patterns for beginners with teacher accompaniment and adding runs or reading off a chord chart or lead sheet for intermediate and advanced students. ! ! ( " ! # 10 ! NONE ! " ! # ! ! ! ! ! 1 1 ! I encourage my students to observe all dynamic and other notations in their pieces; and THEN, to "feel" those changes, not just mechanically perform them. Sense how the music flows and tells a story or expresses an emotion; let their pieces "sing." My s tudents analyze how their pieces are put together, how they are composed. My students practice improvising over chordal structures. At times I play a piece so that my students can hear my interpretation not just notes on a page. ! ! ! ! ! ( " & # ! ! ! ! ! 12 ! 1. I e mploy the use of expressive counting to reinforce creative phrasing. I believe humans express emotions and energy through their breath and verbally counting or singing the music gets us that much closer to "feeling" it. 2. Subtexts and Stories. I often hav e students write very specific emotional subtexts beneath every phrase of music and determine how the emotions evolve through a work. There's a train of thought and emotion that is very human in music, and the discovery of that show ! ! ! ! ! ( " & # ! ! 13 Approxim ately ten minutes of each thirty minute lesson has creative activities included. Theory, technic, improvising, creating, composition, even dancing and partner play are incorporated. ! ! & " & #
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 72 ! ! ! ! ! 15 ! We do a great deal of creating stories to help us to ex press our music with detail. Almost all of my students do improvisation exercises, whether just the short prepared improvs in method books or me giving them some parameters and them just creating around those to full on improvisations that are 100% their i deas. We also do some composing and listening exercises. ! ! ! ! & " ' # 16 ! In early stages, playing a melody in different piano octaves, in intermediate levels and later, using different chord accompaniment patterns while playing a melody, enhancing hymn accomp animent by doubling the bass line, adding passing tones, playing 4 note chords in the r.h. ! ! ! % " ' # 17 ! children < 7 years old, pitch : bells, glockenspeil, xither, irish whistle rhythm activities; drums and various percussion instruments children >7 compos ition: noteflight.com ; playing pop tunes by ear Piano Maestro Repertoire CDs Playing duets with other students or with the teacher using a different instrument. Wendy Stevens " Rhythm Cups" Monthly listening challenge: range of instrumental/vocal performa nces; Students are provided a list of local live performances ! ! ! ! ! & " ' # 18 ! I try to emphasize the importance and the opportunity of creating phrasing on the piano by the application and release of arm weight. Dynamics "micro dynamics" should be continuo us in any piece and actually between any two notes, no two consecutive notes getting exactly the same emphasis. This must be a truly creative activity since it can be done successfully in different ways, and because the effects are too numerous and too sub tle to be indicated on the music. ! ! ! ! ! ( " ! # 19 Group lessons and learning how to perform at recital, combat fears and other performance related material !"! # 20 dance move to music / play music all stacatto or legato and compare the sounds / master classe s / theory challenge competitions %"! # 21 ! Hymnplaying, arranging, transposition,original composition ("& # 22 ! The creative activities I have my students so pretty much fall under either the composition or interpretation categories. I have all my students write at least one original composition in the first year of taking lessons. If they have lot of interest in composition, then we'll do more. I find that only a few are into composing. Interpretation is something that becomes more important as they are mor e proficient players I focus on that much more after 3 years of study. ! # &"! #
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 73 ! ! ! ! ! 23 ! I have begun to use flash cards in my lessons with some of my students. I am trying to help them to learn to recognize the notes quicker. Not only with note naming, but identifying different musical marks such as pedal mark, slurs, ties, fermata, etc. I also use a dry erase board and many times I have drawn the staff to try to help them also learn the notes by using "Every Good Boy Does Fine" f or the treble line notes, and FACE for the treble space notes. ! ! ! ! ! % " ! # ! ! ! ! ! 24 ! 1.ADHD student's favorite piece was Jaws. I asked him to compose a song and at an unexpected time, insert the Jaws theme melody and rhythm. When lesson book pieces were borin g, I asked him to insert that rhythm or melody within the lesson book song somewhere. He LOVED that. 2. I ask students to draw pictures that depict their compositions 3. To show steady 8th notes vs uneven ones I ask students to walk and skip 4. To illust rate legato vs staccato students walk and jump ! ! ! ! ! & " ! # ! 25 Finding songs "by ear", encouraging students to develop their own interpretive skill, composition and improv when there is interest ! ( " ' # 26 ! YES, but did not complete this question ! " ! # ! ! 27 C ritical listening including questioning and response strategies. Articulating thoughts and expressions about music verbally. Analysis as a tool to creativity. Understanding aesthetics through linguistic comparison. ! ! ( " ! # ! ! ! 28 ! We talk about what the piec e is about (whats the story you're going to tell through music), what the tone is supposed to be, observing tempo and dynamic markings. I often record them on my cell phone, then we play it back and listen so the students can be the listener and see if the music goals were accomplished ! ! ! ( " ! # ! ! ! ! ! 29 My students compose pieces. They begin the composition with freedom to use any notes that sound good to them; from that they develop the song by entering the piece into the computer using Sibelius. They have t o enter rhythm, pitches, key signatures, etc. From this bare bones piece I have them to experiment by using different rhythms, adding & deleting notes, dynamics, etc. They may title the song at the beginning & attempt to work to make the song adhere to the title or decide on title at end ! ! ! ! ! $ " ! # ! 30 sing the melody, listen to other performers interpretations, look at text if it applys, some improv, some composition, transposition, lots of counting and rhythm exercises ! ( " ' #
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 74 ! ! ! ! ! ! 31 ! I host group lesson s once a month which include a ton of games involving theory concepts such as note naming, interval "races,"etc. Students earn "Bach bucks" by correct answers to turn in for prizes. We have a blast! Sometimes group lessons include a music related snack whi ch they make, like forming music symbols out of biscuit dough or music craft projects like making a "practice abacus." This past summer at our piano camp we made "lapbooks" about different composers from each period..... ! ! ! ! ! ! % " ' # ! ! ! ! ! 32 ! Breathing to rh ythms, and sometimes clapping to rhythms, if a child is really having problems with rhythm. Also, I often have them sing dynamics & it seems to help them tackle them better. If I have a difficult time getting a small child to remember a particular note dur ation (like how long to hold a whole note), I often try to associate a color with that type of note. I.e., a child may think of the color red for a whole note b/c you have to "stop" for it longer, like a red light/sign. ! ! ! ! ! % " ' # ! ! ! ! ! 33 ! I encourage the s tudents to make up stories to fit the music, especially when learning a sonatina. This helps with rhythm and interpretation and helps them to have more fun in learning an unfamiliar piece. Young students love to make up lyrics to their pieces. Dramatizing the music also adds to the fun and joy of learning and gets the student moving and off the bench. In the early learning stage, I have students play the melody line and imagine they rest of the score. ! ! ! ! ! ( " ! # ! ! ! ! ! 34 ! One activity I use for composition wi th elementary students is to have them go outdoors and make a list of sounds they hear. We then go to the piano and the student explores various sounds or pitches that could be used to describe the outdoor sounds. We talk about how composers get ideas for their compositions and relate the process of composing to writing a story: brainstorming, writing the main ideas, adding details, editing and publishing. The students love being creative and writing a song! ! ! ! ! ! & " & #
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 75 Appendix H The Outlier In empirical research, it is common practice to eliminate obvious Ã”outliers,' defined by the Engineering Statistics Handbook as "an observation that lies an abnormal distance from other values in a random sample from a population." Typically, "outliers are often bad data points" which is the reason for the common practice of dis inclusion. However, according to the same source, "outliers should be investig ated carefully. Often they contain valuable information about the process under investigation." In the case of this research study, an obvious outlier was discovered in the final of the six follow up interviews. To more fully understand the gravity of the discovery of this independent piano teacher and his regular teaching practices, first we must be knowledgeable as to the stated future direction of tertiary music study in the United States. On October 24, 2014, toward the end of the timeline of this study , the College Music Society published a document entitled "Transforming Music from Its Foundations: A Manifesto for Progressive Change in the Undergraduate Preparation of Music Majors" http://www.music.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1859:transforming musi c study from its foundations a manifesto for progressive change in the undergraduate preparation of music majors&catid=139&Itemid=1123 This document suggests a radical departure from the traditional performer centered undergraduate curriculum in all fiel ds of music to a method of study in which the student is referred to as a "composer improviser performer." Conceptually, the path of study described as the new ideal includes improvisation, composition, and other creative thinking activities as taking prio rity as opposed to the traditional approach of re creating already composed musics.
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 76 In most private piano lessons today, the traditional approach is also that of being a superb re creator of already composed musics. As has been stated frequently in the lit erature, one on one piano study is dominated by master/apprentice teaching. Historically, this practice has further entrenched independent piano teachers' focus away from student centered activities to teacher centered models. Even with the plethora of emp irical research and popular belief that creativity must remain in the forefront of educational direction in all fields of study in order to propel society Ã‘ even evolution Ã‘ forward, education of children continues to devolve in the direction of convergent thi nking, distinctive measurable methods of knowing. The study of music in schools and in one on one teaching has been dominated for over five decades by those educated with the paramount priority of expert re creation of already composed music. However, of a ll music educators, one on one teachers retain the most freedom to vary from this stultifying path. Independent piano teachers, therefore, have the potential to be eminently effective in a paradigm shift. A remarkable teacher The central question of this s tudy was directed at seeking knowledge about if, to what extent, and how independent piano teachers have embraced the inclusion of creative thinking activities, also known as student centered or divergent thinking activities. In the final follow up intervi ew, I talked with a remarkable teacher, one who infuses creative, student centered activities at the heart of his teaching, the epitome of what I believe the recent direction of the CMS Manifesto encouraged to tertiary music educators as to what a musician of the 21 st century should be. In the following section, I will present his teaching practices that I believe relate directly to both the CMS directive and the heart of this study.
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 77 As mentioned above, a large majority of independent piano teachers incorpo rate creative thinking activities in the musical experience of interpretation. John (how I will refer to this teacher) has developed a unique approach to expression, focusing on the phrase as the primary unit of any given piece of music. Although John refe rs to his technique in this regard as "expressive breathing," I found it to be far more in depth than this two word phrase was able to convey. During the follow up phone interview, John presented an example of the Beethoven Sonata, Op. 49, No. 2, first mov ement through Ã”expressive counting'; his voice rose and fell with the notes of the melody as he put counting words to each note (1, 2, 3 al la, 4 al la, 1, etc.), shaping the phrase quite musically. He used one breath for the entire phrase, as a singer wou ld do, his preparation prior to uttering any sound was clear, as it would be with a singer, and so on. He stated that "literally, where the counting itself is the phrasing, where we have the beginning of the phrase, the climax of the phrase, the direction, essentially. Creating the sense of momentum. Phrasing is king in music." John developed this technique as he researched the literature on the topic of expression and interpretation in music. He said: It comes down to the key to human expression, and in my research, I found that the link was through the breath. The way we breathe changes depending on our emotions, so if someone is excited, their breath might become more accelerated, when they're scared, it becomes more shallow. When they're hearing passion, it 's going to be a deeper breath. John discussed that he guides his students in being sensitive to expression in everything that they play, from th eir very first lesson. He said: one big thing is, you don't have to wait for a student's hands to develop be fore you can teach them to be musical or to listen musically. A great way to do it is through singing.
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 78 With young students, especially if they're 4 or 5, even 6 or 7, I usually devote about 5 to 10 minutes of their l esson to listening and singing. He spok e of very young children being able to sing with dynamics, for example a crescendo and experiencing "the sense of what it means to sing with quietness and hushed excitement." John approaches listening by first guiding students to develop their ears "in te rms of very, very specific things." He asks students to observe and describe the differentiation between one playing and a second of the same very short passage, with articulation, tone, and even technique. For more advanced students, he assigns them vario us artists ("and they'll find some additions") of which to "investigate different recordings." The second part of John's homework assignment to these students is to "write about some of the interpretations, what did they hear the person do, why do they thi nk they did it, and their favorite ones." Also in the category of listening plus improvisation, is John's approach to creating a beautiful melody line. Here are John's words: One thing I like to do with composers who traditionally improvised like Chopin, for example, is have the students improvise. I just recently had a student performing the Chopin Nocturne Op 9, No. 2 in Eb major, and she was playing it a little bit, not robotic Ã‘ that's a little bit harsh Ã‘ but it was definitely not free. So what I had her do for a week was I said Ã”no, just play the right hand, no left hand and I want you to improvise'. I gave her some tools for improvisation, basically the use of passing tones or neighbor tones or ornamentations. She came back the next week and played her improvised melody, no left hand, so that it was just completely focused on that. That was nice. She really came back with a much more interesting interpretation. Then I explained to her I believe that musicians should have the freedom to improvise on Chopi n because he
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 79 always improvised on it, but that common practice is not to. Being able to play the notes on the page without improvisation, but always being able to improvise on it because I think if we're going to have a complete understanding of Chopin's w ork, we're going to have to be able to improvise in the style that he would improvise in. Same goes for other comp osers like Lizst and even Bach. Composition, again in the spirit of the CMS Manifesto, is something that John not only teaches, he practices a s well. Here is what he said: I happen to be a gifted composer, conductor, vocalist, violinist, pianist, I kind of do it all in music. I've been able to effectively break down different elements like teaching composition. I used to teach composition class es for my group piano classes for ages 4 and up. They would be basically two week courses, but by the end of it they would understand how to put a chord progression together. It's not rocket science. It can be taught Ã‘ and that's the key point right there, I think. It can be taught and it doe sn't take a long time to teach. This outstanding teacher not only genuinely infuses creativity in every one of the traditionally viewed four areas of musical experience considered to be Ã”creative', e.g. composition, impro visation, interpretation, and listening, this teacher also teaches music history and theory through the use of divergent thinking activities. His students use the theory text that is, for most undergraduate music majors in the United States, their first ye ar theory text. In addition, John assigns Ã”homework' to his more interested and advanced students in the area of music history that includes exploration of other major events of the time period in question. Not only to the central question of this study, m ore importantly to the direction of music education in the United States in general, I believe that the reader may find inspiration in the fact
CREATIVE PRACTICES OF INDEPENDENT PIANO TEACHERS 80 that there are music educators who have forged their own individual paths parallel to that discussed in the Coll ege Music Society's Ã”Manifesto' Ã‘ that of creating the next generation of musicians who are improviser composer performer. As Campbell stated in her Executive Summary of the CMS Manifesto, "improvisation and composition provide a stronger basis for educating musicians today than the prevailing model of training performers in the interpretation of older works." The prospect of seeing a prevalence of this type of infusion of creative activities, of divergent thinking skill acquisition, into all aspects of music education, gives a sense of hope and renewal, of inspiration. In the follow up interview, John spoke of the Asian American community, of which he is a part, and how they view: winning competitions as the important accolades, not that they're not important , they are. But that's not how you build a musician. Musicality is an art, it's a creative art. I'm a very strong proponent of not telling my students what to do, because I feel that the moment we put those limitations up, we kill the music. I'd much rathe r have the student come up with an idea that I would have never thought of myself, and let's fly with it Ã even though in competition, a judge might not like it. I really don't care. Because if we can unlock the creativity, then we're creating an artist. I t just so happens that, well, those are the same students that DO win the competitions because we DO want to hear original ideas. It's ironic that once you stop caring about what other people think, then suddenly it actually starts working. Did you play it for yourself, did you play it the way you liked it? That's the most important thing , when it all comes down to it. From creative flow and the peak experiences of self actualization comes intrinsic motivation for students to pursue creativity as a way of life, with further motivation to find moments for artistic expression and personal satisfaction in all aspects of their being. Riggs, 2007, p. 176
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