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Musical learning in one-to-one singing tuition: obstacles and options in a dynamic field

Karin Johansson, PhD, MMus.

Project description:
A collaborative, longitudinal case study with one participating teacher and two students was carried out at Malmö Academy of Music 2008-2009, in the framework of the project Students’ Ownership of Learning (SOL) based at the Royal Academy in Stockholm. With a focus on the teaching situation and the relations between education and professional life on individual and collective levels, the aim was to study (i) the students’ development as musicians and singers, (ii) the interaction between the teacher’s intentions and the students’ expectations, and (iii) the development and change of the teaching situation. The data consisted of video recordings of lessons, qualitative interviews, written reflections, and stimulated-recall discussions. Singing tuition was seen as a discursive practice and the analysis focused on relationships between goals, expectations and the educational situation:
•    The student’s desires, talents and limitations
•    The teacher’s goals, values and teaching ambitions
•    Traditions, tacit dimensions and historical patterns in the field of one-to-one tutition
•    The rules and practice of the musical profession that the students are trained for. Preliminary results point at interesting contradictions in the practice, as, for example, between a traditional focus on a solo singer identity and students’ ambitions to develop their voices as ensemble instruments. The study suggests that obstacles in the teaching situation may be overcome by using professional practice as a developmental transfer and that collaborative studies may function as tools for enhancing students’ independent musical knowledge development.