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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00737

Instrumental Technique, Expressivity, and Communication. A qualitative study on learning music in individual and collective settings

 Andrea Schiavio1, 2*, Dylan van der Schyff3, Michele Biasutti4,  Nikki Moran5 and  Richard Parncutt1
  • 1Centre for Systematic Musicology, University of Graz, Austria
  • 2Department of Music, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • 3Faculty of Music, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 4Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education and Applied Psychology, School of Human and Social Sciences and Cultural Heritage, University of Padova, Italy
  • 5Reid School of Music, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

In this paper we present a qualitative study comparing individual and collective music pedagogies from the point of view of the learner. In doing so, we discuss how the theoretical tools of Embodied Cognitive Science (ECS) can provide adequate resources to capture the main properties of both contexts. We begin by outlining the core principles of ECS, describing how it emerged in response to the information-processing approach to mind, which dominated the field for the latter half of the 20th century. We then consider the orientation offered by ECS and its relevance for music education. We do this by identifying overlapping principles between three tenets of ECS, and three aspects of pedagogical practice. This results in the categories of ‘instrumental technique’, ‘expressivity’ and ‘communication’, which we adopted to examine and categorize the data emerging from our study. In conclusion, we consider the results of our study in light of ECS, discussing what implications can emerge for concrete pedagogical practices in both individual and collective settings.

Keywords: musical learning, embodiment, Instrumental technique, expressivity, Musical communication

Received: 26 Nov 2018; Accepted: 16 Mar 2019.

Edited by:

Meryem YILMAZ SOYLU, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, United States

Reviewed by:

Ana Moreno-Núñez, Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain
Lu Wang, Ball State University, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Schiavio, van der Schyff, Biasutti, Moran and Parncutt. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Andrea Schiavio, University of Graz, Centre for Systematic Musicology, Graz, 43210, OH, Austria,