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Publication Detail
Musical learning styles and strategies in the instrumental music lesson: : the Ear-Playing Project project
Abstract
Seventy-five audio recordings of learners attempting to copy a melody by ear were transcribed and analysed. Thematic analysis through NVivo was carried out and combined with judgements from four independent experts using a criteria grid. Overall, the learners’ spontaneous responses to the ear-playing task, termed here ‘learning styles’, were classified into four main categories, termed impulsive, shot-in-the-dark, practical and theoretical. Learners who showed evidence of possible Absolute Pitch (AP) were categorized across all the first three learning styles, suggesting that the ability to play back by ear from a recording may not be aided by AP. After the initial spontaneous response, the learners’ most common learning approaches, termed here ‘learning strategies’, included listening without playing, playing isolated notes, asking questions, listening and playing along with the recording, and experimenting. The findings suggest that the practice of playing along to a recording can reveal a range of spontaneous learning styles amongst students, of which teachers may otherwise remain unaware, and a range of further learning strategies that may provide new insights for music teachers.
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