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The Subject Matter and Intentions Related to Verbal Feedback in One-to-One Vocal and Instrumental Lessons in Higher Music Education

Wagner, Julia (2021). The Subject Matter and Intentions Related to Verbal Feedback in One-to-One Vocal and Instrumental Lessons in Higher Music Education. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, Guildhall School of Music and Drama)


Rationale: one-to-one lessons are the central learning context within conservatoires. Access to this context for research purposes can be challenging because lessons are private in nature. What is known about the subjects and intentions of verbal feedback in one-to-one lessons remains limited, so it is difficult to know whether feedback intentions are mutual and/or realised. Among one-to-one performer-teachers in music, formal teaching qualifications are not usually required and continued professional development is largely voluntary. Subsequently, performer-teachers, while being experts in music performance, may lack some skills that characterise expert pedagogical feedback. Consequently, calls continue to appear within higher music education research for further empirically based exploration into pedagogical practices in one-to-one vocal and instrumental lessons. The aim of this thesis is to contribute to evidence concerned with pedagogical verbal feedback subject matter and intentions in the conservatoire one-to-one vocal and instrumental context.

Method: A qualitative exploratory research design involved in-depth semi-structured one-to-one interviews with twenty-one professional classical musicians between the ages of twenty-two and seventy-five, who were all performers and teachers. Data were thematically analysed.

Findings: the subject matter identified were related to the technical, musical, psychological, social and physiological development of classical musicians. The findings revealed consistency, interrelation, breadth and depth as well as diversity within overarching categories. There is a need for clarity of expectations and alignment of intentions in this context. Brought to the forefront were boundary issues related to verbal feedback, teachers’ roles and if and how teachers are able to offer particular types of feedback.

Contributions: (1) The development of three typologies of feedback subject matter and intentions; (2) Eleven overarching concluding insights; (3) A theoretically grounded framework for understanding one-to-one learning processes; (4) Potential implications for institutional policy concerned with learning and teaching; and (5) An evidence-base that could underpin continued professional development.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
[thumbnail of Wagner Thesis 2021.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
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