Performance or learning? Reflections on pedagogical practices within the Conservatoire
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Student performance matters. While this is true across the entire spectrum of education, it is especially true for Conservatoire students. The ability to triumph in performative events - recitals, concerts, competitions - is the unequivocal marker of an excellent Conservatoire student, and by implication, the marker of excellent teaching of that student in their chosen place of learning. The excellent teacher, who 'produced' the excellent student, certainly in the logic of the traditional Conservatoire, is presumed to be one who is expert in introducing the student apprentice into the mysteries, rigours and pleasures of excellent performance by being themselves an excellent musical practitioner - a model of what it means to perform at the highest level. What follows in this paper is not a rejection of the value of performance or the value of master-apprentice pedagogy, but a reflection on the extent to which learning and performing may in fact stand in opposition to each other, particularly when performance is deemed to be the only measure of a successful education. I would like to highlight some recent research and scholarship that opens up this idea more fully, in order to understand what the implications might be for academic teaching in the Conservatoire and make a case that 'master-apprentice' teaching might take its place in a more diverse field of pedagogical practice rather than dominating that field.
The Musician in Creative and Educational Spaces in the 21st Century. Proceedings from the 18th International Seminar of the Commission for the Education of the Professional Musician (CEPROM)
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