September 2016 MTNA e-Journal

Autonomous Practice: A Comparison Of Self-Regulation Among First-Year Music Majors And Implications For Music Instructors
By Pamela D. Pike, NCTM

Nine first-year instrumental and vocal music majors were observed practicing during a two-month period. All students were encouraged to reflect aloud as they practiced; four of the participants watched videos of their practice and reflected upon what they saw. Students fell into three categories of self-regulation: non-self-regulator; emerging self-regulator; and basic self-regulator. Twenty discrete practice strategies were observed. Technical/tone/intonation work, slow practice, isolation and rhythmic practice occurred most frequently. Frequently used non-playing strategies included rhythmic preparation and annotating the score. Frustration, tension and off-task behaviors also were observed. Recommendations include: using self-reflection and practice videos to improve self-assessment; teaching specific forethought, practice and time-management techniques in applied lessons; and creating opportunities for students to learn about self-regulation across the curriculum. Read More.


Student Perspectives On Secondary Piano: Implications For Teaching Practice
By Laura Amoriello, NCTM

The purpose of this study was to explore student perspectives on secondary piano to better understand and address their needs for learning. Research questions examined students’ perspectives on secondary piano curriculum, students’ perspectives on preparing for and taking the piano proficiency examination and student suggestions for secondary piano instructors based on these experiences. Data from workshop participants (N = 6) and focus groups (N = 10) were collected using a qualitative methodology that included extra-help workshops with students, interviews with workshop participants and focus groups. Data analysis revealed six themes: 1) learning individually versus in groups, 2) the central role of music making, 3) responsibility for learning, 4) curricular concerns, 5) the role of the piano proficiency exam and 6) defining piano proficiency. The most prevalent perspectives were: music making as essential to secondary piano study, balancing group and individual approaches, linking curricula to student career goals and preventing the proficiency exam from dictating course content. Discussion generated implications for secondary piano teaching. This study does not advocate a specific method of teaching secondary piano, but explores options for addressing student needs. Read more.